Built by Sultan Abdülaziz (1861-1876) in 1866, the Great Mâbeyn Pavilion became the main structure of birun (administrative) section of the palace complex. This magnificent building, designed by Agop and Sarkis Balyan, included a combination of Baroque, Art Nouveau and Neo Classic styles. It is located in the first court and is close to the main gates, Valide Sultan Gate and Imperial Gate.
“Mâbeyn” means “in between” in Arabic. The word “Mâbeyn” was used by Ottomans for the highest administrative office under the sultans. Sultan Abdülhamid II used the two-story pavilion for official meetings and receptions as well as official ceremonies. Abdülhamid II held full control of the empire, so this building witnessed important historical events.
The interior of this eclectic style building was designed according to the traditional Ottoman architectural style. The upper floor of the building was used by Sultans and the lower floors by the high-level officers. Among the noteworthy places of this two-floor building are the 400-m2 imperial meeting room (Divanhane) with pool and stairs with the crystal handrails. The Divanhane designed in European style is the only rectangle and flat-roofed meeting hall in any Ottoman palace.
A special team assigned for the restoration of the building took great effort to restore each object to its original condition. After the Ottoman Empire ended in 1923, 117 original pieces of the palace’s furniture and decorations were given away to museums for protection and 142 pieces were retained in the building. Now, all of those pieces of high historical value are reclaimed and brought together in this pavilion.
This historical building with a magnificent setting decorated the background in many Turkish movies. This magnificent building is now returned to its original mission as a “State Guesthouse” to host foreign visiting dignitaries from all around the world. Together with the building itself and the decoration, this historical building impresses its visitors. Many 5-star hotels in the city must feel envious of this pavilion.
It is located on the 1st Court.