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[Ottoman Architecture] [Ottoman Architecture] [Late period]


SULTAN ABDULHAMIT II PERIOD AND THE BUILDINGS (1876-1909)       


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During the reign of Sultan Abdulhamit II, the construction activities continued, especially in Istanbul, the capital of the empire. Abdulhamit II moved to Yildiz Palace, as he found Dolmabahce Palace insecure, and added new buildings to the complex of the palace. Yildiz Palace resembles the Topkapı Palace as it gathers various building together partially and asymmetrically, as compared with the Dolmabahce Palace. The palace was mainly completed during the reign of this sultan and was named as Yildiz Sarayı Humayunu (Yildiz Palace). During the reign of Sultan Abdulhamit II, the land around the palace was bought and the yard was extended to what is called the Yildiz Park today. With such extension, the palace was spread to an area of 80 hectares, including the gardens.

The palace consisted of kiosks, used as residence by the sultans and their sons and also allocated to officials, and some other buildings such as theatre, museum, library, pharmacy, zoo, small mosque, Turkish bath, repairman’s, carpenter’s, ironworks, locksmith’s, etc.

Right outside the palace was the troops of the imperial corps under the First Army.

Sultan Mehmet Resat (1909-1918), who took the throne after Abdulhamit II, was operated in the "Four Seasons Hall" of the kiosk called as Special Office. After his death on July 3rd, 1918, Sultan Mehmet Vahdettin IV (1918-1922) became the sultan. Rather having stayed at the Dolmabahce Palace, the sultan also rested at the Yildiz Palace as well.

The palace, long time used as the School of War, was transferred to the Ministry of Culture in 1978 and then was allocated to the Directorate of Yildiz Palace. Today, there is the Palace Theatre, Museum of Staged Arts and Museum of Yildiz Palace here.

Hıdiv Mansion: It is located on a steep hill between Kanlıca and Cubuklu, on the Asian coast of the Bosporus. The mansion was built as a residence for Abbas Hilmi Pasha, the last governor general of Egypt, in 1906. The building was restored in 1984, and some parts were rearranged as restaurant, patisserie and hotel room.

The influence of foreign architects was strong during the reign of Sultan Abdulhamit II. Most of the buildings were planned by foreign architects such as Alexander Vallaury, Raimando D’Aronco and Gulio Mongeri. The German architect Jackmund, who also planned the Sirkeci Train Station, Otto Ritter, the architect of the Haydarpasha Train Station and Philippe Bello, assistant of Helmut Cuno ad Vallaury, were a few of such architects.

We do not have much information about the life story of Vallaury. When Osman Hamdi Bey was appointed as the director of the School of Fine Arts in 1882, he promptly made attempts to solve the problems of instructors and buildings in the school and the first building of the school was built by Vallaury. He also worked as in instructor in architecture among the first cadre of the school and Philippo Bello became his assistant in 1902. He taught Science of Architecture until 1908.

Istanbul Museum of Archeology (1892) and the former School of Fine Arts, both built by Vallaury, bear the traces of western neo-classical architecture. The Museum of Archeology is interesting with its entrance hall, resembling the Greek temples and its plain facade. Another important building by Vallaury is the High School of Commerce, which was destroyed at a fire later.

Haydarpasha School of Medicine (Marmara University, Faculty of Medicine) was built in 1901. It is an amazing building of eclectic style, reflecting the eastern effects on architecture as well, with its impressed sharp arches and onion-type domes on the tower on both sides.

Similar things can be said for the Duyun-u Umumiye (Public Debts Administration) building in Cagaloglu. It is an eclectic building, which includes elements of Turkish architecture on the doors, windows, arches of terraces, fringes and bars on the roof.

The most amazing building by Vallaury is the Ottoman Bank building in Karakoy. This glorious building in the centre of commerce was built in 1890s and it has a neo-classical style.

Another famous architect of the Abdulhamit II period was Raimondo d’Aronco. He studied architecture until 1880 at the Academy of Venice and collected numerous awards with his projects in Italy. He was invited to Istanbul to hold an international exhibition, via the Embassy of Italy; however, he the project was canceled because of the earthquake in July 10th, 1894. After the earthquake, he was engaged in restoration of many buildings. Meanwhile, he had the opportunity to better know the rich cultural heritage and architecture of Istanbul.

D'Aronce designed many palaces and other buildings for high officers, pashas and for the Embassy of Italy. The building of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forests and Mines, which was built in 1900 and is used as the Rectorate of the Marmara University today, and the Embassy of Italy in Tarabya, which is the summer residence of the Embassy of Italy today bear the influences of the Ottoman baroque style and of the Istanbul kiosks with small balconies and wide fringes.

The Small Mosque of Kara Mustafa Pasha, which was built in 1902 and was destroyed during the road construction in Karakoy is an example which merges eastern and western elements. The artist tended towards an understanding of Art Nouveau after 1900. This movement was style which emerged in Europe in late 19th century as a reaction against the spread of keenness on style and eclecticism. It defends hand crafts and natural works against industry. The artist preferred to work with traditional forms against the academic rules. Yet, he was also influenced by technology and used thin, iron columns. He tried to transfer all information based on herbs to architecture. The folded figures of plants were enjoyably applied. The figures of leaves, folded lines and asymmetrical compositions prevailed. Japanese stamps were the primary resource of the Art Nouveau. Art Nouveau is analyzed in two periods in Istanbul. The first is the period between 1900 and 1915, when the professional architects applied such movement on monumental buildings; and the second is the period between 1922 and 1930, when the movement was revived after a short interval. The second period can easily be traced in the architecture of houses around the Bosporus and on the Asian coast.

Tomb and Library of Seyh Zafir, built by D’Aronco in 1902, is located on the Yildiz Hill in Besiktas. Plain geometrical figures and linearity is obvious on the walls of this building. The fountain is a modern application with gradual and geometrical construction. The patterns on the fountain are asymmetrical, which is also striking.

The Botter Apartment, which is located on the İstiklal Avenue today, was built by Raimondo D'Aronco, the official architect of the palace, for J. Botter, the tailor of Abdulhamit II. The building was completed in 1907. The entrance to the apartment is asymmetric with a door on one side. There is also a composition of plants on the entrance door, with folded tree branches and flowers. The building has an untraditional facade, bearing traces of the influence of art nouveau. Winding bars in the balconies and abstract figures of flowers and plants on the facade are examples of such style.

D’Aronco also designed some buildings of art nouveau on the Bosporus, such as the palace for the Emine Naciye Sultan and the coastal building for the Governor General of Egypt in Bebek. Furthermore, the China Factory in Yildiz and the Sale Kiosk were designed by him. He went back to his country in 1908.

Another important architect of this period was Giulio Mongeri. He was an Italian architect who worked in Istanbul in early 20th century and in Ankara after the declaration of Republic. Mongeri held an exhibition of 5 architectural projects in Istanbul Salon of Exhibition in 1903. Between 1909 and 1928, he worked as an instructor at the School of Fine arts.

One of his early works was the Karakoy Palace. He was an architect of eclectic style. Later on, he designed the Embassy of Italy, which is the Macka Industrial High School, which had a neo-classical style. The building is heavy and massive with triple windows in a monotone arrangement, heavy cornices and vertical plaster.

The St Antoine Church in Beyoglu is a neo-gothic example of his architecture. After the declaration of the Republic, he designed some buildings in the context of National Architectural Movement.

The Sirkeci Train Station is one of the works of this period, built with an inspiration from the Turkish architecture by the German architect Jachmund. The Haydarpasha Train Station, designed by the German architects Otto Ritter and Helmut Cuno, was completed between 1906 and 1909. It reminds the German baroque architecture with its high roof and monumental facade.

The German Fountain, designed by Spitta in Sultanahmet is an example where the Turkish-Islamic architecture is merged with elements of western architecture, with its appearance of a water-tank, resembling the Emir Bayındır Cupola in Ahlat.

The wars of Tripolis, Balkans and the World War I, which started one after the other, interrupted the architectural activities. Under the influence of the rising nationalist movements, the Turkish architects attempted to initiate a Renaissance, regarding the numerous works of ancient Turkish architecture and as a result of this, the First National Architecture Movement emerged, led by the architects Kemalettin and Vedat Tek.