During the second half of the 16th century, Rumeli Beylerbeyi Mehmet Paşa (a kind of General Governor of a larger region) of Sultan Murat III had a seaside mansion built. The name of Beylerbeyi stems from this. During later periods, the palace was adjoined to the Sultan’s lands. Sultan Mahmut II had a wooden palace constructed in its place during the first quarter of 19th century. This wooden palace was incinerated and another one built in its place for Abdülaziz by the famous architect of the period, Sarkis Balyan and his brother. It is this palace that we know now as Beylerbeyi Palace. Completed in 1865, the palace became the summer home of the Sultan’s family, and it was also used to host foreign guests.
The palace’s garden is decorated with trees, statues, and pools. A hall with an indoor-pool, selamlık, harem, and admiral’s room catch the attention of visitors in the inner part of the palace. Furthermore, the valide sultan room (used for Mother of the Sultan in power), dinning room, reception room, and blue hall are also worth seeing. There are a total of 26 rooms and 6 sitting rooms. It is said that the Marble Mansion and the Yellow Mansion were built by Sultan Mahmut II. The Yellow Mansion was restored during Sultan Abdülaziz’s period. The Ahir Mansion [Stable House], located on the side of the bridge, was built for the Sutan’s horses.
Abdülhamit was kept in custody in this palace until his death in 1918, after he was dethrowned. After the foundation of the Turkish Republic, Atatürk’s guests were hosted in this palace. It has since been transformed into a museum, and it is one of the important historical architectural buildings located on the Anatolian side of Istanbul.
Translated by Mr. Irfan KOKSAL