Palace and park covered an area of 500.000 square meters on the
hillside overlooking the Bosphorus between Beşiktaş, Ortaköy and
Balmumcu. This area of natural woodland became known as
Kazancıoğlu Park after the Turkish conquest, and probably became an
imperial estate during the reign of Sultan Ahmed I (1603-1617).
Murad IV. (1623-1640) is known to have enjoyed excursions here, and
Selim III (1789-1807) had a country pavilion or köşk known as Yıldız
built here for his mother Mihrişah Valide Sultan. It is after this
köşk that the park came to be named.
successor Sultan Mahmud II (1808-1839), Sultan Abdülmecid
(1839-1861) and Sultan Abdülaziz (1861-1876) had new mansions and
pavilions constructed in the park, and in the late l9th
century Sultan Abdülhamid (1876-1909) abandoned Dolmabahçe to make
this complex his home. He greatly expanded the palace with many new
buildings during his reign.
Palace became the fourth seat of Ottoman government in İstanbul,
after Eski Saray (the Old Palace) which stood where İstanbul
University is today, Topkapı Palace and Dolmabahçe Palace.
section of Yıldız Palace named Şale (after the Swiss chalet which it
was designed to resemble) is one of the most interesting examples of
l9th century Ottoman architecture. Set in its own walled
garden, Şale consists of three adjoining sections built at different
dates. The original section dates from 1880, the second section
designed by Sarkis Balyan from 1889, and the third section known as
the Merasim Köşk (literally Ceremonial Pavilion) was designed by the
Italian architect Raimondo DAronco and completed in 1898. Each of
the additional wings was built for two separate state visits by the
German emperor Wilhelm II, since accommodating state guests was one
of the Şales main functions.
building has two main storeys and a basement, and is built of both
timber and masonry. In keeping with traditional Ottoman houses, the
Şale consists of two separate sections which could be used as Harem
and Selamlık when required. There are seven entrances, and the
windows have wooden shutters. Three elegant staircases, one of
marble and the other two of wood, connect the two main floors.
informal air of a country house is deceptive, as both the scale of
the building and the opulence of the interior show. Behind the
façade we find not a modest pavilion but a small palace, whose
grandiose reception rooms are decorated with mural landscapes,
geometric moulding, and painted designs in a mixture of Baroque,
Rococo and Islamic style.
imposing of all is the Ceremonial Hall, with its single piece Hereke
carpet, custom made to fit the room and measuring 406 square metres,
its gilded coffered ceiling and large pier mirrors. The Banqueting
Room has a more oriental atmosphere with doors intricately inlaid
with mother-of-pearl, while the focal point of the Yellow Room is
the landscapes which adorn the ceiling. The valuable furnishings
imported from various European countries, the elegant porcelain
stoves, magnificent vases, and splendidly carved bedroom suites bear
witness to the sumptious tastes of the period.
the fall of the monarchy the Şale was for a time run as a high class
casino, before being restored to its original function as a guest
house for visiting heads of state and royalty. Among the famous
names who have stayed here are Şah Rıza Pehlevi of Iran, King Faisal
of Saudi Arabia, King Hüseyin of Jordan, President Sukarno of
Indonesia, King Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, and Preiesident De
Gaulle of France.
the Şale at Yıldız Palace is open to the public as a museum-palace,
and private receptions are held in its gardens.