Saturday, September 23, 2017


Dolmabahçe, Beşiktaş - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°02'28.5"N 29°00'14.5"E / 41.041249, 29.004029


The individual collection of Abdülmecid Efendi, who was the last heir of the Ottoman Empire and the last Caliph, available in the dinner table of the Sultan’s Room of Dolmabahçe Place, is a library of rare written works with the 11.714 written works that it contains within its structure. In the Library that has a collection on general subjects, there are the books about every conceivable subject such as history, geography, art history, architecture, literature, religion, education, sports, politics, music and military subjects as well as periodicals and written works intended for reference.

In addition, the photos and several albums of Abdülmecid Efendi and his family, maps and postcards of the era are among the important materials of the library. Some of the books have been signed by their authors and presented to Abdülmecid Efendi as a gift. However, the majority of the Library’s collection consists of the written works that Abdülmecid Efendi had purchased from the domestic and foreign publishing houses.

Majority of the books in the Library are in Ottoman, French, German, Arabic and Persian languages, and they are usually dated to between 1840-1920. Besides, there are also some handwritten works are available in the Library’s collection, such as The Holy Quran dated 1039 (according to Islamic calendar) and “Siyer-i Nebi” titled poetic book dated 996 (according to Islamic calendar).

Many of the written works in the Library are important in terms of their bindings as well. Leather, fabric (satin, velvet, etc.), wood and marble were used as binding material. Generally decors from 18th and 19th centuries are seen on the bindings. The examples from the bindings called "Star Binding" that bears the Ottoman coat of arms and sultan’s signature on one side and star and crescent form on the other are seen often.

Abdülmecid Efendi Library open for only "institutional studies" for now due to the ongoing classification, inventory and conservation works, has the nature of being an important information and documentation center, with its feature of reflecting the history of the period sophisticatedly and clearly.

Selections From The Collection

11/1259 Gift Album - Box
The outer surface of the box is detailed with brass and German silver, which shows the disorder that the world is in. Various countries are represented in the form of human head, and each of them are depicted according to the position they have taken in World War II. The inner surface of the box is decorated with Hungarian motifs by applying silk on the fabric. Images of the three great rulers (Mehmed Reşad V, Wilhelm II, Franz-Joseph I) representing the central powers are seen in an oval cartridge at the heart of the decor.

Its interior surface is covered with velvet, and in the middle, there are gilded monograms consisting of the initials of the three rulers. Peacock feather-shaped metal reliefs, which are seen frequently in the Hungarian national decorations, stand out on the album’s cover that is located inside separately. In the album, there is a presentation letter addressed to the Sultan, written in the Hungarian and Ottoman Turkish languages.

11/1265 Gift Album - Book
In the middle of the front cover, The Eiffel Tower that is the symbol of the exhibition and the exhibition area set up on its skirt are seen. There exist symbols of the pavilions of the different countries installed in the   exhibition area. The frame consisting of large and small-leafed flower motifs are highlighted with a smaller wreath crest. In the crest, there was an ornament, which is not available in its place at the moment but it can be understood from the trace that it was a crescent motif.

A rosace motif made as embossed brass with an ornamentation understanding that features the empire-term properties are located at the four corners. At the heart of the flower bouquet seen in the coat of arms at the lower edge of the wreath, the caption "Paris Sergi-i Umumisi 1889" (Paris General Exhibition) is read. There are photographs of the exhibition and the author's comments are available in the book. It is in Ottoman language.


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