Yıldız Palace Complex and Yıldız Park

The palace complex consisting of an Ottoman palace and a picturesque park with a spectacular view of the Bosphorus is one of the best spots in Istanbul. It was the fourth and the last palace complex of the Ottoman Empire after Mehmed II’s Old (first) Palace, the Topkapi Palace and the Dolmabahçe Palace. It consists of a series of buildings used for various administrative, residential and supportive functions, situated within the walled courts in an urban park. The Yıldız complex, which took its name after the 18th-century Yıldız Pavilion, was a countryside palace within a city. "Yıldız" means “star” in Turkish.

Situated on the dominant hill 1.5 km to the north of Dolmabahçe Palace, the palace and the park, covering the area of 500,000 m2, is decorated with eye-catching buildings, beautifully decorated nature paths, pools and plants from all around the world. The walled private section of the complex, where the palace is situated, is around 80,000 m2.  The outstanding park complex is currently one of the largest urban parks in Istanbul. A splendid stone bridge over the road between Beşiktaş and Ortaköy connects the Yıldız Palace to the Çırağan Palace (now Kempinski Hotel) on the shore of the Bosphorus.

The late 19th century palace complex, which was the imperial office and the residence of Sultan Abdülhamid II (1876–1909) throughout his reign, employed the latest technology, such as electricity, telephone and central heating. Housing around 12 thousand people, it was like “a city within a city”. Surrounded by around 4m-high inner and outer walls, creating private sections within the large area, the palace complex was well protected, as was the case with the Topkapi Palace. Interestingly enough, the walls do not have any watch towers.

The palace houses breathtaking gardens all around the complex. Formed by the eastern and Islamic motives, the gardens included a working ceramic factory for the palace, plants, fountains, bronze animal sculptures, large-sized pools and ponds, sprinklers, and gazebos. Influenced by the baroque era, the gardens have eclectic style. The Inner Privy Garden (Has Bahçe) also included many animal cages. Artificial ponds and curved canals were decorated by bridges, rocks and lilies.

One of the most important parts of the Yıldız Palace is its Imperial  Gate (Saltanat Kapısı) placed on the dominating wall, one of the  palace's five major gates,meant only for the sultan and his entourage. This gate was also utilized for the empire's magnificant ceremonies.The Valide Gate served harem residents and foreign dignitaries. The Koltuk Gate and Mecidiye Gate were used by employees and visitors. Situated between the first and the second courts, Harem Gate, built by Raimondo D’Aronco, links the sultan’s offices to the Harem. Most of these main gates are  situated on the west side of the complex, close to the Yıldız Hamidiye Mosque.

The private section of the palace consists of the First and Second Courts. The First Court includes the Ceremony, Çit, Yaveran and Armory pavilions in addition to a library, pharmacy and other support services. The Second Court surrounded by its own walls houses the Harem, the Sultan’s residence, Small Ceremony Pavilion and Theater. The rest of the park, also called the Third Court, includes Malta, Çadır, Şale, Acem, and Talimhane pavilions.

Popular public sites among the residents of Istanbul and tourists, the Yildiz Palace Complex houses a picturesque park and many historical pavilions and kiosks. They include:

1st Court
- Great Mâbeyn Pavilion
- Çit Pavilion
- Yaveran Apartments
- Set Pavilion
- Armory Pavilion
- Yıldız Palace Museum

2nd Court
- Yıldız Small Mâbeyn Pavilion
- Yıldız Hünkâr Pavilion
- Yıldız Palace Theater
- Yıldız Performing Arts Museum
- Yıldız Observation Pavilion
- Yıldız Island Pavilion

3rd Court
- Yıldız Park
- Yıldız Chalet Pavilion
- Yıldız Malta Pavilion
- Yıldız Çadır Pavilion
- Yıldız Imperial Porcelain Factory

Outside of the Palace Complex
- Yıldız Hamidiye Clock Tower
- Yıldız Hamidiye Mosque
- Yıldız Hamidiye Fountain

Location: It is located in the Beşiktaş district of Istanbul.
Hours: 09.00-19.00 between April 15 - October 31
09.00-16.30 between November 1 - April 14
The Museum is closed on Tuesday.
Admission: Free Parking.
Telephone: (0212) 258 30 80
Website: http://www.yildizsarayi.com.tr/eng/
Rules: If there are signs, such as clearly prohibiting the use of flashes to protect the artwork, please, follow the rules.
Attractions Nearby: Çırağan Palace, Sheikh Yahyâ Efendi Tomb, Tomb of Barbaros Hayreddin Paşa

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