Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday, May 20, 2013

I walked to the Dolmabahce Palace in Besiktas, it is not far from the apartment I was staying at in Findikli, less than a kilometer, but as I almost expected it would be, the queues are long.  So I decided to take the funicular tram to Taksim Square and grab a bite to eat.  But where do I go after?

I know of another palace around Besiktas, I took bus no. 129T from Taksim Square and got off at the Yildiz Teknik University, it’s a couple of minutes walk up the road to the entrance.

Yildiz Palace is the 4th seat of the Ottoman empire after the Edirne Palace, Topkapi and Dolmabahce.  It used to be an imperial estate in the early part of the 17th century during the time of Sultan Ahmed I, and thereafter, several Ottoman sultans built their mansions here scattered around the hills of the park, hence the existence of several kiosks and pavilions around the expanse of the hill park in various architectural designs.

Built in 1880, the Yildiz (Star in the Turkish language) Palace became the residence of the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II.  He transferred residence here, he was concerned that with the location of the Dolmabahce Palace along the bosphorous, an attack is imminent taking into account two previous coup attempts.

Not a single tourist that day, perhaps I was early or everyone is patiently waiting in line at the nearby Dolmabahce Palace.  I was the only one wandering inside the palace, not exactly, a security personnel is roaming around too.

It’s a good museum palace with several interesting Ottoman artifacts on display belonging to the sultan. There is a separate hall for those lovely ceramics and glass vases. 

Upon exiting the main gate, I passed by the  neo-gothic Yildiz Clock Tower constructed in 1889 on order from Sultan Abdulhamid II, it stands right at the entrance of Yildiz Hamidiye Mosque.

Yildiz Clock Tower.
The dome of the Yildiz Hamidiye Mosque.

Entry fee to the palace museum is TL8
Open every day except Tuesday.
Address: Yildiz, Besiktas – Istanbul

After my brief tour inside the palace, I walked my way down to Muvezzi Caddesi onto Ciragan Caddesi to the entrance of the hill park.  

Few meters before the park's entrance on the right side is the Kucuk Mecidiye Mosque designed by Nigogayos Balyan, an Armenian architect who, along with his father worked on the Dolmabahce Palace, Topkapi Palace, Ciragan Palace and the picturesque Ortakoy Mosque.  The same Balyan family - who served six sultans of the Ottoman dynasty - responsible for countless projects such as the Topkapi, Ciragan Palace, palaces, royal residences, mosques, churches, and other beautiful structures around the city, including the Yildiz Palace.

The dome of the Kucuk Mecidiye Mosque.

Yildiz Park is considered to be the largest public park in Istanbul and used to be part of the vast imperial garden of the Yildiz Palace.

The historical Çadir and Malta pavilions are now elegant restaurants inside the park set near a fountain lake where graceful swans and ducks swim. At the far end is the Porcelain factory.  It is reported that some of the trees around are as old as the Ottoman times.  This park is a respite from the busy streets of the city.  You can run after the little squirrels scurrying around the grasses and trees. 

Entry Fee is for buses or vehicles only.

Address: Ciragan Cd., Besiktas, Istanbul, Turkey

So if you're one - like me - who gets impatient with long queues at the Dolmabahce Palace, then you know there is another palace around the area.


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