Thursday, February 10, 2022

What I learned about Ottoman Palaces

Before the country now known as Turkey, it was the Ottoman Empire for centuries. The capital of the Ottoman Empire was Istanbul. In the city there are still many remnants of the old function of the city. Two of the most interesting are Topkapi Palace and the Dolmabahce Palace.

Images of Dolmabahce Palace

Let us start with the Dolmabahce Palace. This is the more familiar type palace for westerners. Dolmabahce Palace was started in 1847 and completed in 1856. The palace was built, supposedly, in the European style in order to provide a suitable home to the Emperor of the Ottomans that still ruled large swathes of Europe. At the time the Ottoman Empire included present day Turkey proper, Lebanon, Israel,  Bulgaria, Macedonia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Albania and vast parts of Greece, Serbia, Syria and Iraq. 

The Emperor wanted to be an equal of the European Kingdoms, and so built a castle in their style. See the images above.

Topkapi Palace
Throne Room top right, Harem entrance lower right

The other "Palace" is Topkapi Palace in the oldest part of Istanbul. It is right behind the Hagia Sophia. You enter through a gate, that opens into a series of courtyards. Various rooms are built on the site, including a throne room, the Harem, royal quarters and others.

What I first took as a haphazard series of add-ons, I have learned more about. It turns out that this is the style of the early leaders of the Ottoman. Since the empire was founded by horsemen and raiders, the "Palaces" where grand extensions of bedouin camps. As the commander of a land settled, he would use an expansive series of tents to build his home and seat of government. Topkapi Palace is the physical extension of this tent type seat of government. It was founded over 500 years ago. It was extended and improved until the Dolmabahce was completed in 1856.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The tale of Chiselborough

 Our second dog sit in England this past month was in Chiselborough. Which is a village of about 100 - 125. It was in the middle of nowhere....