Beylerbeyi Palace was built by the Sultan Abdulaziz during the second half of the 19th century. Raised on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, this splendid summer palace is a reflection of the sultan’s attraction to western styles of architecture.
Beylerbeyi Palace’s architect, Sarkis Balyan, designed it in the style of the Second Empire . Unlike a lot of Ottoman palaces, Beylerbeyi Palace is constructed of stone and not of wood. Three stories tall, it has a modest 26 rooms, with apartments for the sultan, his mother and his wives.
Beylerbeyi Palace is considered less grand than the Topkapi or Dolmabahce palaces. However, like other classic Ottoman houses, it is organized around a sofa, which is the central room on the main floor, which is always on an upper story. The sofa is entered by way of stairs and feeds into all the other wings and rooms on the same level, which means that the house is free of hallways. The wings are called eyvan and allow the sofa to be filled with natural light. In the case of Beylerbeyi Palace, this light comes from the Bosphorus. Besides the clear light, the windows offer gorgeous views.
Bathing Pavilions and Crystal
The palace is also famous for its bathing pavilions. One is for men and is called the selamlik and the other is for women and is called the harem. Another nod to the west are the palace’s chandeliers, which are largely made of Baccarat crystal. The rugs, which are Egyptian, are huge and intricate.
The reception hall also delights the guest with the inclusion of a fountain and a pool, which were very soothing and cooling in the heat of Istanbul summers. There is also a pool behind the palace as well as stables, kiosks and terraced gardens.