Yildiz Palace promises a travel experience away from the crowds of Istanbul and in touch with nature. The palace, which you can walk through Yildiz Park, consists of several pavilions spread over an area surrounded by trees.
You can find brief information about the history and architecture of Yildiz Palace in this article. In addition, Yildiz Palace entrance fee and opening hours are also noted.
However, before talking about Yildiz Palace, it is useful to mention the Ottoman palaces in Istanbul. Because the Ottoman rulers lived in Topkapi Palace for many years. The palaces along the Bosporus came to the fore in the late periods of the empire.
Ottoman Palaces in Istanbul
When Constantinople was conquered by the Ottomans in 1453, Sultan Mehmed II built a palace near where the Grand Bazaar is today. After placing his family in this palace, the sultan started the construction of Topkapi Palace.
Topkapi Palace was originally designed for the sultan to concentrate on state affairs. Inside the palace, there was the sultan’s private room, offices, a training area and a school named Enderun, where future statesmen would be trained.
Topkapi Palace was called the “New Palace”, and the first palace built in which the family lived was practically called the “Old Palace”. The Sultan had put some distance in order not to be affected by his family in state affairs.
However, after a few generations, the function of Topkapi Palace changed. During the time of Suleiman the Magnificent, the sultan’s harem was also moved from the Old Palace to the Topkapi Palace, the New Palace.
The Ottoman royal family lived in the Topkapi Palace in Sultanahmet for nearly 400 years. However, by the 1800s, the palace was out of date. The shores of the Bosphorus, the rising star of the city, were filled with mansions. Sultans also started to think of living on the shore of the Bosphorus.
In short, the first of the Ottoman palaces in Istanbul were the Old Palace and Topkapi Palace. In the 1800s, palaces such as Dolmabahce, Beylerbeyi and Yildiz were built one after another.
Imperial Palaces on the Bosphorus
Sultans had previously stayed in hunting lodges and mansions on the shores of the Bosphorus. However, Mahmud II was the first sultan to leave the Topkapi Palace permanently.
When Mahmud II was still a child, a riot broke out in Istanbul and Sultan Selim III was killed. The young prince, who witnessed this in the palace and who was saved from the hands of the rebels thanks to a woman in the Harem, had decided to leave Topkapi.
For this reason, Mahmud II lived in a seaside mansion in the district of Besiktas that does not exist today. Sultan Mahmud also became the sultan who practiced horse riding and shooting in the Yildiz Forest and inspired the construction of a palace in this region in the future.
Mahmud II’s son Abdulmecid was the one who built the first of the imperial palaces on the Bosphorus. Abdulmecid, who had the Dolmabahce Palace built in a European style, lived here since 1856.
In the years following the construction of the elegant Dolmabahce Palace, the Beylerbeyi Palace on the Asian Side and the Yildiz Palace, which is the subject of our article, were built.
The History of Yildiz Palace
The History of Yildiz Palace dates back to the time of Sultan Selim III. The first pavilion in Yildiz Palace was built for Sultan Selim III’s mother Mihrishah Sultan. As mentioned above, Yildiz Park was already used by the sultans for riding and hunting. With the construction of independent mansions, a palace with different architecture emerged.
The additions to Yildiz Palace by sultans like Sultan Abdulmecid and Sultan Abdulaziz resulted in a bigger palace. However, the only sultan who resided at the palace fulltime and put it in its final shape was Sultan Abdulhamid II.
Abdulhamid II came to the throne and remained as the Sultan for 33 years. The Ottoman Empire was in decline and he thought Dolmabahce Palace would be defenseless in the event of a riot. Therefore, he preferred to live at Yildiz Palace.
Things to See in Yildiz Palace
Among the things to see in Yildiz Palace, Shale Pavilion and Malta Pavilion attract the most attention of visitors. The theatre of the palace and Sultan Abdulhamid II’s workshop are among other additional buildings. Yildiz Tile and Porcelain Factory still carries on its activities.
Yildiz Palace occupies an area of 500,000 square meters and it’s composed of pavilions, museums, palaces, park, and gardens. After visiting the palace, taking a nature walk in Yildiz Park will give you the opportunity to take beautiful photos.
1. Sale Pavilion
The most important mansion in Yildiz Palace is Sale Pavilion, which comes from the French word “chalet” and means “the cottage”. Sale (Shale) Pavilion, which is a very elegant building, resembles Dolmabahce and Beylerbeyi palaces with its decoration.
One of the most interesting structures of the 19th century Ottoman architecture, the Shale Pavilion is located in a garden surrounded by high walls.
Sale Pavilion is a “state guesthouse” within the group of Yildiz Palace buildings. The pavilion is eye-catching with its gilded panels and mother-of-pearl inlaid doors. Some of the furniture in the palace were produced by Sultan Abdulhamid II, who was also a carpenter.
2. The Great Mabeyn Pavilion
The Great Mabeyn Pavilion was the state administration building of the palace built by Sultan Abdulaziz. The building, which has a magnificent architecture, was used for some invitations in the early years of the Turkish Republic.
3. The Small Mabeyn Pavilion
The Small Mabeyn Pavilion was built in 1901 by Sultan Abdulhamid II for recreational purposes. It is known that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (Founder of Turkish Republic) had his last meeting with Sultan Vahdettin (the last ruler of the Ottoman Empire) in the Small Mabeyn Pavilion before starting the War of Independence after WW1.
4. Malta Pavilion
Malta Pavilion stands out as one of the most elegant structures in Yildiz Park. You should note that it’s forbidden to take photos in most of the places inside Yildiz Palace complex. However, as Malta Pavilion serves as a small café today, you can take photos in this place.
When you visit the Malta Pavilion, you can see the couples who came here for a photo shoot on their wedding day. Because this structure is an ideal place to take pictures in Istanbul.
5. Palace Theater and the Workshop
Palace Theater was built for Kaiser Wilhelm II’s visit in 1889 and it housed a lot of important shows in the past. You also can visit Sultan Abdulhamit II’s carpenter workshop at Yildiz Palace Museum.
Yildiz Palace Entrance Fee 2021
Yildiz Palace entrance fee is 20 Turkish Liras as of 2021. In order to visit Yildiz Tile and Porcelain Factory, you need to buy an extra ticket worth 30 TL. Istanbul Museum Pass is valid at the entrance to the palace.
Audio guide is included in the ticket you will buy at the entrance to Yildiz Palace. After you get your ticket from the box office, you can borrow an audio guide by showing your ID from the other office.
Yildiz Palace Opening Hours 2021
Yildiz Palace opening hours are between 09:00 in the morning and 17:00 in the evening. Please also note that the museum is closed on Monday.
Visiting times of museums in Istanbul may change due to events and renovations. Before going to the museum, I suggest you visit the official website of The Palace and review the latest situation.
How to Get to The Palace?
Yildiz Palace is located in Besiktas, one of the most beautiful districts of Istanbul. You can reach the palace after a pleasant walk through Yildiz Park. The entrance of Yildiz Park is just across the street from Ciragan Palace Kempinski, one of the most popular hotels in Istanbul.
In order to get to Yildiz Palace from Taksim Square, you can take Funicular F1 to Kabatas and take buses to Ortakoy direction. In order to get to Yildiz Palace from Sultanahmet, you can take Tram T1 to Kabatas, which is the last stop, and take the buses to Ortakoy.
If you want to go faster, you can also take a taxi. The taxi ride from Kabatas to the Ciragan Palace Kempinski Hotel is 10 minutes. However, this period may be longer when there is traffic. Right next to the Kempinski Hotel you will see the entrance of the park leading to the Palace.
Although the road from Kabatas to Yildiz Palace has heavy traffic, it is quite enjoyable. If you want, you can follow the Bosphorus shore and walk from Kabatas to the palace.
Written by Serhat Engul