Ever since Fatih Sultan Mehmet took over the city in 1453, many palaces and pavilions bloomed in Istanbul. The sultan would use a main palace to govern over the empire and build other summer and smaller palaces where he and the imperial family could live.
Sadly, most of the palaces from eras prior to the Ottoman period were damaged by time or destroyed by the new regime, but we can still admire many palaces from the Ottoman period that since the republic era turned into museums; the mostprominent are:
- Main palaces like:
- The Topkapi Palace – the second and oldest remaining main palace of Istanbul, built after the first main palace of Beyazit.
- The Dolmabahçe Palace – built by Abdulmecid, 400 years after the Topkapi Palace.
- The Yildiz Palace – built by AbdulhamitIIon the 19th century; this palace offers some of the few green areas left on the city.
- Summer or other smaller palaces such as:
- The Great Palace – one of the most prominent palaces from the Byzantine Period, believed to have fallen in ruins after it was abandoned due to the sack of the city of 1204 & 1261, and damaged by later earthquakes.
- The Ciragan Palace – the Torch Palace was built under the regime of Abdulmecit by the architect SerkisBalyan.
- The Aynalikavak Pavilion – portraying some of the best examples of traditional Turkish architecture, dates back to the 18 century.
- The Goksu-Kuçuksu Palace – Named after the streams that empty their waters near the palace, the Kuçuksu Palace was built by Abdulmecit I in the 19th century.
- The Beylerbeyi Palace – formerly the governor’s residence, this palace was later shaped after the Dolmabahce and Çiragan palaces from 1861 to 1865.
- Maslak Pavilions – built by Sultan Abdulaziz as a hunting lodge, is located in a hill and presently serves as a non-expensive restaurant open to public.
- Ihlamur Pavilion – named after the trees growing in its gardens, this palace dates back to the 19th century & is located in metropolitan Istanbul.
- Florya Ataturk Pavilion – the only palace from the republic period, built in 1935 to serve as summer residence to the Turkish presidents.
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