Yildiz, giving its name to the whole neighbourhood, is one of many Ottoman palces in Istanbul, and one of the less famousn especially to foreigners. Built in the 19th century, it began as the park grounds to Ciragan Palace down the hill on the Bosphorus. It later grew into the Sultan's "small" rustic lodge and retreat, still quite a large palace complex that just happened to be puny compared to the likes of Dolmabahce. This particularly was important under Abdulhamit II, a reclusive unahppy ruler who ruled from 1876 until deposed by the Young Turks in 1909.
The former complex has three areas that, while still adjoining, are separate in terms of visiting and I handle them separately. All are part of the former palace, but this tip is for the walled complex of buildings at the top of the hill that is specifically calld "Yildiz Sarayi" or "Yildiz Palace." The others are Yildiz Parki, which is a free public park with its own buildings, and the Sale Kosku, at the top of the hill next to the "palace" and connected to the park, but for which one must pay separate admission. All are large and require time.
Located in between Besiktas and Ortaköy , in the Yildiz Park, the Yildiz Palace is a complex which extends 500,000 square meters and consists of several pavilions (kösk), palace buildings (kasr), and other service and management buildings. The name of this complex comes from the pavilion built by Sultan Mahmud II (1808-1839) in the large gardens that make up the Yýldýz Park. The yellow salon in the Yildiz pavilion is beautifully decorated with landscapes painted on the ceiling. Sultan Abdülmecid(1839-61) furnished this pavilion, and his mother Bezmialem had the Dilkusa Palace built in 1842.
During the reign of Sultan Abdülaziz (1861-76) the Malta, Cadir and Cit Pavilions were constructed, further enlarging this complex, but this complex saw most of its growth during Sultan Abdülhamid II reign (1876-1909). Abdülhamid made the Yýldýz palace his main residence, despite the other Sultans' preference of the newly constructed Dolmabahçe Palace. Abdülhamid, who reigned as one of the most controversial Ottoman Sultans, preferred the secluded solitude of the Yildiz Palace over the exposed location of the Dolmabahçe Palace. Abdulhamid, like all Ottoman Sultans, busied himself with a trade, his being cabinet-making and porcelain production on the palace grounds, and the production of porcelain continues there to this day in the Yildiz Porcelain Factory.
After the fall of the Ottoman Empire this palace complex, which had once housed almost 10,000 people, was abandoned. The Yildiz Park is now open to the public and many of the pavilions have been restored by the Turkish Touring and Automobile club under the direction of Celik Gulersoy.
Some of the buildings are used now for housing various non-profit organisations. The Arsenal is now an art gallery and shows are held in the restored theater. The Malta Pavilion, which was restored by Çelik Gülersoy, is open to the public as a tourist attraction. Abdülhamid's former cabinet-making workshop now houses both the Ýstanbul City Museum and an art gallery.
This vast park consists of mansions, gardens and lakes, the whole area surrounded by high walls, and all set in a superb hillside location. Popular at weekends and holidays with locals, it offers one of the few green areas within the city centre, and is a great place for walking, relaxing and eating. There is a steep walk up the hill from Ciragan Caddesi up to the first pavilion, but rewards are cooling breezes and sweeping views of the Bosphorus.
It was the centre of the Ottoman Empire for 30 years, during the reign of Abdulhamid II, and the second largest palace in Istanbul. Its main structure, Yildiz Palace, was built in the old Ottoman style and the pavilions which are dotted around the park were transformed into a power base. The most important remaining building is Sale Koske, where receptions were held, and is the largest and most ornate and reveals the luxury in which the sultans lived and entertained. The first section was modelled on a Swiss Chalet, the second two completed in the late 19th century.
Some of the mansions are undergoing restoration, but Sale is open for visitors, and two have terraces serving food and drinks. Further along the path is a State museum, the Belediye Sehir Muzesi, and Yildiz Sarayi Theatre.
The mansion I went into showed how the lavish Sultans lived and it was full of spectacular sculptures, pottery, gold and jewelled furniture etc. The old turkish bath's were interesting too.
Park: Open daily 09.00 – 17.30
Sale Kosku: Open daily 09.30 – 17.00, except Monday and Thursday.
Museum: Open daily 09.00 – 16.30, except Monday.
This is a complex of pavilions and gardens scattered over a large area of hills and valleys
overlooking the Bosphorus and surrounded by high walls. This second largest palace in Istanbul is now separated into various sections, each serving a different purpose. The 500,000 sq. m grove had always been reserved for the court, and the first mansion built here in the early 19th century was quickly followed by others. When Sultan Abdulhamid II, who was an overly suspicious person, decided that this palace offered better security, the complex soon developed into its present form.
During his thirty-three year reign, the sultan used this well-protected palace resembling a city within a city as his official quarters and harem. The different courtyards containing pavilions, pools, greenhouses, aviaries, workshops and servants' quarters were separated from each other by passageways and gates. There are two small and charming mosques situated outside the two main entrances.
The main entrance of the Yildiz Palace is up the hill from Besikta§. The Muayede Pavilion to the left of the entrance is now being renovated as a new museum. Also on the left side are the single-storied Qt Pavilion, where the guests of the sultan were accommodated, and the entrance to the harem. On the opposite side stood the offices of the military officers in charge, the Yaveran chambers. The greenhouse and the theater in the harem section are attractive examples of their kind.
The Yildiz Palace Museum and the Municipal Museum of Istanbul are also in this complex. The Palace museum was founded in 1994 and it occupies the former carpentry workshops. Carved and painted wooden artifacts, thrones, porcelain produced in the palace workshops, and other objects from the palace are exhibited here, while in the Municipal Museum next to it glass and porcelain wares, silverware, paintings depicting Istanbul and a rare 16th century oil lamp are on display.
Open Hours: Open 09:30-16:00 daily, except Monday & Thursday (October to February: 09:00-15:00)