Thursday, April 9, 2009


Gülhane - Istanbul - Turkey



It is one of the oldest parks in Istanbul. It stretches along a tiny hill, between Sarayburnu, Topkapı Palace and Çizme Gate. It's not for nothing that it is called " a

In the Byzantine Period, in Gülhane, there was military depots and barracks, later on the Mangana Palace was built. But, this was a holy area because of Hagios Georgies Monastery and Panagia Hodegetria (Sacred Spring "Ayazma") were also hereabouts, this was actually a sacred piece of land.

When Mehmet the Conqueror passed his ships over land initiating a new era for the city, he didn't stop short of surrounding Sarayburnu by walls of fortification, but also had the Çinili Köşk (Tiled Pavilion) inside. In this villa many sports activities took place as wrestling, javelin etc. As the robes that touched the Ottoman throne changed, Grand vizier Sinan Pasha had İncili Villa (Pearled Villa) built here for Sultan Murad III, Ishakiye Kasrı Summer Palace, Mermer (Marble Pavilion) and Gülhane Pavilion were built. For the cleaning of the gardens and palaces in Gülhane, a squadron was arranged from the Bostancı Ocağı, and named as Gülhane Ocağı.

When Topkapı Palace fell out of grace and Dolmabahçe Palace was favored by the Sultans, the swagger of Gülhane was stilled. Pavilions were pulled down and even trees were up-rooted. In 1839, the Tanzimat Fermanı (sultan's decree of an administrative reform package) made history as the "Gülhane Hatt-ı Hümayünu" (sultan's decree) was personally read by Grand Vizier Mustafa Reşit Paşa to the public here. This was the place that the Ottoman State chose to announce its reforms in political, social and economic areas; meanwhile Abdülmecid watched what went on from Gülhane Kasrı.

Afterwards, the place where Abdülhamid II saw fit for the construction of the first big museum in the 1880s was again Gülhane Park. Then the Ottoman state had no more strength left to devote time to Gülhane. The first important construction studies of Istanbul were made in 1776 by French architect Kauffer, Gülhane was included in these studies but it could not have been renovated. In 1880’s, Sultan Abdülhamid II gave permission for the construction of the first in here. While the construction of the Müze-i Hümayün (Museum), the garden planning was revived and the opening of both the museum and the garden took place together.

Gülhane Park was once part of the imperial garden of Topkapı Palace and mainly consisted of a grove. A section of the outer garden was planned as a park by the municipality and opened to the public in 1912. The park previously contained recreation areas, coffee houses, playgrounds etc. Later, a small zoo was opened within the park. The first statue of Atatürk in Turkey was erected in this park, in 1926 and sculptured by Heinrich Krippel.

Atatürk, in 24th November 1928, in the ceremony took place in Gülhane took the "Master Teacher" reputation and introduced the Latin alphabet to public and he gave his first lecture. The Park is still one of the most important parks in Istanbul, and there is a zoo established in 1955.

It is the oldest and one of the largest public parks in Istanbul. It is located between the Topkapı Palace and Sarayburnu. The entrance of the park has one of the larger gates of the palace. The park is spread over a very large area and has very interesting and rare kinds of trees and bushes.

The park went through a major renovation in recent years. During the renovation, the zoo, funfair and picnic grounds have been removed and the open space ratio was increased. The excursion routes were re-arranged and the big pool was restored in a modern style. Concrete structures were turned to open space areas and the park gained its natural landscape of the 1950s, with the view of the old trees dating from the 1800s, which were hidden behind the concrete buildings.

The old barracks within the area of Gülhane is expected to be converted to a cultural center in due course. This center is going to host a library and an exhibition hall, together with a workshop on kilim and handicrafts.

Because of its geographical location within the historical peninsula where the heart of the city beat, since the 1880s when it opened its doors to everyone, Gülhane has always been the gathering place of the public and the meeting point of those not from the public, with members of the public. At long last, Gülhane Park re-opened its doors to its guests with its new, made-up face, around the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality's "transformation projects".

The reorganization work of the park, a first-degree reserved land on 163 dönüms (land measure 1/4 of an acre) was done amid a bit of a clamor: Despite the declaration that restoration work proceeded along with the decisions of the Board of Preservation of Cultural and Natural Heritage and under the supervision of archaeologists of Archeology Museums, the Tanzimat Museum was demolished, animals in the zoo, in service since 1955, were auctioned in a flurry to the Atatürk Forest Farm in Ankara, the aquarium in the Byzantine cistern was removed under the pretext that it caused humidity and Gülhane Festivities, involving free public concerts and acrobatic shows were called off for good.

Gülhane is still the hangout of the "people", the breathing hole of people with a paltry income. Gardening work has been done scrupulously, it's mesmeric. However, it's as if the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has loudly asserted the "urban" awareness that is has been trying to instill in the public by various advertising and commercial campaigns, in Gülhane. They try to "transform" city residents just like they "transformed" the city; where the "people" will proclaim their reply to that, we don't know yet.

Wikipedia / Gülhane Park
My Merhaba / Gülhane Park
Governorship of Istanbul / Galeri

These scripts and photographs are registered under Copyright 2009, Wikipedia / Gülhane Park, My Merhaba / Gülhane Park, Governorship of Istanbul. All Rights Reserved.