Beylerbeyi Palace- The palace on the Anatolian side

Beylerbeyi Palace- The palace on the Anatolian side

Beylerbeyi Palace

One of the major palaces standing on the Anatolian side. There are many important buildings about Ottomans, however, we can say that major palaces are Topkapi Palace, Dolmabahce Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, and Yildiz Palace in Istanbul. The Sultans ruled one of the most dominant empires in the history from these palaces. But, this one is definitely more modest compared to Topkapi Palace and Dolmabahce Palace.

Beylerbeyi Palace- Main Building
Beylerbeyi Palace

In the complex, there are some other buildings except the main palace. These are closed to visitors including the tunnel and marine kiosks at this moment.

  • Marble kiosk: Was built as a hunting lodge with a fountain and pool inside.
  • Yellow kiosk: This one has two floors and one side faces the garden and the other one faces the street.
  • Stable kiosk: Represents the Ottoman horse culture. Built for Sultanate horses.

Beylerbeyi Palace- History

Beylerbeyi Palace was built in order to be used as a summer residence by sultans. Sultan Abdulaziz ordered the palace and Sarkis Balyan designed this fascinating one. You know that Balyan family has the signatures on many important palaces, mosques, etc. in the Ottoman Empire. Actually, there was a wooden palace located on the same location which was ordered by Sultan II. Mahmud. The current palace replaced the old wooden one.

Ottomans built the palace between 1861-1865. According to some sources, there are over 5,000 people had worked here and musicians had played some songs to motivate the workers during these days.

Beylerbeyi Palace- Information

There are some facts you should be definitely aware of before visiting the palace.

  • Beylerbeyi means “Lord of Lords” in Turkish.
  • Sultans used the palace as a summer residence, however, there were many important guests stayed in the palace during their visit. These important guests are Prince of Serbia, the King of Montenegro, the Shah of Iran, and the Empress Eugenie of France. [1]
  • One of the sad stories about the palace is Abdulhamid’s story. Sultan Abdulhamid II spent his last five years in the palace under house arrest. During his exile, he died in the palace in 1918. The palace didn’t have a heating system and the former sultan had to spend cold winters in this palace. So, he died from pneumonia as expected.
  • You will probably notice the paintings regarding seas and ships on the walls. This is coming from Sultan Abdulaziz’s sea fondness.
  • Photography or recording is not allowed inside the palace. If a responsible person notices while you take a photo, he or she can warn you and request you to delete these photos.

Beylerbeyi Palace or Dolmabahce Palace

Definitely Dolmabahce Palace. Our personal view is Dolmabahce Palace can really compete with Topkapi Palace. We are still not sure which one is the best.

However, this is also unfair to compare the Beylerbeyi Palace and the Dolmabahce Palace. As we already mentioned, this one was constructed as a summer palace, so this is more modest. However, you can very much feel the Ottoman spirit like Dolmabahce Palace.

If you plan to visit Uskudar, Kuzguncuk, and Cengelkoy- we are sure that you should spend at some time around Uskudar and visit Beylerbeyi, Cengelkoy and Kuzguncuk districts when you visit Istanbul- the number two place is this palace (you know the top one, don’t you? Still thinking? Of course Maiden’s tower 🙂 ) So, check this one and don’t bypass.

Beylerbeyi Palace- Architecture

The palace stands on the shore of the Bosphorus and sits on a rectangular area. The exterior represents both combinations of East and West. But we can say that it is closer to European style. The main building is a two-story construction on a basement consisting of kitchens and storerooms.

There is a total of 24 rooms, 6 halls, and a hamam inside of the building.

What to See in Beylerbeyi Palace

Here is the plan of the complex.

The sketch of the palace plan
Beylerbeyi Palace plan

Main Building- First Floor

The main building consists of two general sections as Selamlik and Harem. Basically, Selamlik is the admin section and Harem is the private area of the Sultan and his family.

The carpets mostly came from Hereke- Kocaeli which is very well-known because of splendid carpets. Moreover, everything is symmetrical, this is why we also love the Dolmabahce Palace.

At the entrance, you will see the big chandelier and a big vase which is made of porcelain. There are some ships on the ceiling but we can say that they are at every spot in the building.

Going thru the palace, you will see the Chamberlain’s room where high ranking statesmen were being received by the general secretary and the grand vizier’s room which had been used as dining, resting and receiving guests by the Prime Minister at those times.

After that, Sultan’s chamber starts. There are some rooms around the saloon such as reception room and Sultan’s room. The big saloon has a pool. The chandelier is very good and there are four blue porcelains around the pool. Oh, did you notice? There is a statue, who is this Sultan on the horse? Of course, Sultan Abdulaziz 🙂 The sultan was relaxing and receiving his quests in the reception room. In his apartment, it was like a recreation room where he was watching dances and operas.

After a corridor, the chamber of Sultan’s mother starts. In her apartment, there is a dining and reception room. There is a treasurer room right after. After that, there is an entrance hall of Sultan’s mother’s apartment.

At the end of the corridor, there are two rooms- Sultan Abdulhamid’s and his wife- Musfika Kadinefendi’s. They were designed very modest. In his room, there are some chairs, one bed, and an armchair.

Main Building- Second Floor

Ok, we are one the second floor. The tour starts with Sultan Abdulhamid’s study room where he was meeting with his family and studying. Next to it, the supervisor room’s stands.

And then, you will see the hall of Sultan’s Mother’s apartment. Her guests were welcomed and directed here.

Then, there is a bath which was used by Sultan Abdulhamid. This bath was also used by his mother as a dressing room. Right after, you will notice a reception room which was also used by Sultan’s mother.

Sultan’s apartment starts after these rooms. The big Blue Hall has blue colons, huge carpets, and big chandeliers. There are some adjacent rooms which were used as a break room, bedroom and Turkish bath, dining room including crystal chandelier, gold leaf, and clocks. Additionally, foreign statesmen stayed in these rooms.

On the corridor, you will also see some coffee cups, candlesticks, coffee set, porcelain dinner set, etc.

After those rooms and hall, Selamlik admin section starts. Sultan met with foreign ministers in this area. He had an audience room to be used as a reception room. There is also a waiting room here.

There is a hall decorated with pearl and clock in the middle. Right after a room called the clothing room where gifts were presented. Finally, there is a dining room and that’s it 🙂

The Garden

The palace garden is quite relaxing. There are some animal figures and a small pool around the outside cafe. When you get closer to the doors opening to the sea, you can take some pictures. Of course, the bridge view from the garden is very good.

The garden
The bridge view from the garden

The Cafe

We can say that the cafe is not good enough. But you can sit and enjoy the relaxing environment around the pool and take look at the ducks. Btw, lemonade is not bad, you can try it 🙂

The palace's cafe
The cafe and the small pool

The Tunnel

The historical tunnel is connecting Uskudar and Beylerbeyi. Basically, the tunnel is situated under a hill and the tunnel was commissioned by Sultan Mahmud II.

The historical tunnel was being used as a museum and exhibition site after the closure to traffic during the 1970s. In 2016, it was opened to traffic again, however, now it is closed again and under restoration. Even it was open to traffic, there was a walking road as well. Now, we are not sure what will happen in the near future.

The Gift Shop

There is a gift shop at the exit. This is a small one, but there are good pieces. Check it out.

Gift shop in the palace
The gift shop in the palace

Where is Beylerbeyi Palace Located?

The Beylerbeyi Palace is located along the Anatolian shore of the Bosphorus and very close to the bridge. You can recognize the palace easily due to its great architecture. You will definitely notice the palace during your Bosphorus trip.

Official address: Beylerbeyi Mahallesi, Abdullahaga Cd., 34676 Uskudar-ISTANBUL

Beylerbeyi Palace- How Much Time

We have never seen a long queue at the entrance. So, we believe you will not lose any time here.

A couple of hours is definitely enough for Beylerbeyi Palace. The palace is not very big, but the garden is good that you can also enjoy the cafe, as well. But, it would be good to combine Kuzguncuk and Cengelkoy districts, right before or after.

Beylerbeyi Palace Dress Code

There is no specific dress code for the palace. It would be good to be careful about the season. Check out this post if you are more interested in Istanbul seasonal info. You can wear shorts, t-shirts, jackets, sandals, etc., basically whatever you want. There is no general rule such as for women when they enter mosques.

Istanbul is one of the most multi-ethnic city like we mentioned in our Dolmabahce’s post, so please feel free to behave like yourself since there are a lot of styles existing in this beautiful city.

Beylerbeyi Palace- Ticket Price / Entrance Fee

The museum pass is not valid like Dolmabahce Palace, Basilica Cistern, and Galata Tower. The price is 40 Turkish Lira (TL) for a non-Turkish person. Turkish people can enter the facility by paying 20 TL. Additionally, if you are a Turkish student, they charge 10 TL only.

Moreover, if you just want to take some photos in the garden, the price is only 5 TL. It is up to you, but we strongly recommend you to check the interior of the palace.

Beylerbeyi Palace Opening-Closing Days

The palace is closed on Mondays like other national palaces. Throughout the year, it is open from Tuesday to Sunday. Moreover, be careful about the 1st of January and the first days of the Eids which happen twice a year.

Beylerbeyi Palace Opening-Closing Hours

As a summary, the palace is open between 09:00-17:00 during summertime (April-October). In the winter period (November-March), it is open between 09:00-16:30. Since there is no expected queue at the entrance, you can go and enjoy the palace anytime between these hours.

Beylerbeyi Palace English Tour

You can take a free audio guide after the entrance. Keep your audio guide safe since you should give your ID, passport or some money as a deposit. Please make sure to bring it back before the palace closes.

Audio guide
The free audio guide kiosk

The audio guide is very good. We really liked it. It automatically recognizes your location and then the audio begins. But, anytime if you want to spend more time at a location, the audio also re-starts after a short while. You can also press the number and listen to it again.

The audio guide
The guide is waiting for the trigger point 🙂

How to Reach Beylerbeyi Palace

Beylerbeyi Palace is located in a good spot. Anatolian side transportation is not really complex like the European side, but unfortunately, the metro line is limited. So, you should go to the palace by bus, minibus, taxi or walking. There is no available metro station or pier close to the palace.

As quick info, it is not really easy to go to the palace from Istanbul’s airports. Try to come to Kadikoy and then move to the palace by the instructions in Kadikoy section.

When we want to go to the palace, our aim is mostly to reach Uskudar first. You can always follow this path regardless of your location.

Please check the official site of buses for the latest updates. [2]

Additionally, there are multiple metro buses you can use to reach the bridge stop that you can walk 15 minutes right after. These are:

  • 34A: Sogutlucesme- Cevizlibag
  • 34AS: Avcilar- Sogutlucesme
  • 34G: Beylikduzu- Sogutlucesme
  • 34Z: Zincirlikuyu- Sogutlucesme

Check this site if you are interested in [3]. If you are visiting the places out of tourist attraction locations, definitely check the metro bus stops to use it.

Lastly, you could park your car in the palace area if you rented one.

Uskudar to the Palace

The best way is to catch a taxi because it is just 4 kilometers away from Uskudar in front of Mihrimah Sultan Mosque who was the daughter of Hurrem Sultan and Suleyman the Magnificent. Otherwise;

  • Yellow minibusses- Uskudar- Beykoz and get off from the minibus at Beylerbeyi Palace. As a reminder, do not forget to warn the driver while getting in.
  • Buses from in front of the same mosque. You can use the buses which have these numbers: 15, 15C, 15E, 15H, 15K, 15KÇ, 15M, 15N, 15P, 15R, 15S, 15ŞN, 15T, 15U, 15Y and 15Z. Please check with the driver because the bus stops are changed frequently.

Sultanahmet to the Palace

Please note that the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque are in the same area called Sultanahmet. You can go to Taksim and follow the way explained below. However, at this time, we think that using T1 and Marmaray combination makes more sense. You can stop at Sirkeci by M1 and then move to Uskudar by Marmaray. You can simply go to the palace by the ways explained in Uskudar section.

Taksim to the Palace

There are some options like:

  • Catching M2 Yenikapi- Haciosman
  • Get off at Sisli
  • Walk around 5 min.
  • And then catch 522 bus, pass the bridge and stop at 15th July Bridge/15 Temmuz Koprusu
  • Lastly, walk around 15 min.

The other one is using M2, transferring to Marmaray and go to Uskudar and follow the procedures we mentioned below from Uskudar to Beylerbeyi Palace.

Taxi can be a good option as well since it is around 10 km, but the taxi will pass the bridge and then the driver will add the bridge cost. Please be aware. We watched some news that some tourists had a discussion about bridge pass cost, taxis mostly charge you both ways’ costs.

The option which makes sense is to go to 15 Temmuz Koprusu stop by Taksim-Kadikoy yellow minibus and then walk around 15 minutes only. The starting of these minibusses is Taksim square.

Besiktas to the Palace

Kadikoy-Taksim yellow minibusses also pass from Besiktas (you can wait on Barbaros Boulevard). The other option is to use Besiktas- Uskudar ferry and then move to the palace by the ways explained in from Uskudar section.

Kadikoy to the Palace

It is around 10 kilometers. Taxi can be good, the cost will be around 35-40 Turkish Lira. Otherwise, there are three options more.

  • You can go from Kadikoy to Ayrilikcesmesi by M4 and then move to Uskudar by Marmaray.
  • If you don’t want to move to Uskudar by metro, you can directly use buses 15F and 14M from Kadikoy Pier till Beylerbeyi Sarayi Duragi (Beylerbeyi Palace Stop). You can use still use 15ÇK and 14F, but you should walk at least 10-15 minutes to reach the palace since they don’t have the palace stops. So, try the first two.
  • As of the last option, you can also use Kadikoy- Beykoz yellow minibusses (dolmus in Turkish) to reach Beylerbeyi.

Conclusion

Beylerbeyi Palace is located on a good spot where you can both enjoy the view and live Ottoman spirit. A major character of the Ottoman period- Sultan Abdulhamit spent his last years due to his exile.

We still think that the palace is “nice to see” if you plan to visit both Topkapi Palace and Dolmabahce Palace. However, if you plan to visit Uskudar, try to arrange some time for this palace. You will not regret it. From our point of view, you should definitely spend some time in Beylerbeyi, Kuzguncuk and Cengelkoy districts during your Istanbul trip. Those are great areas, especially we love spending time in Kuzguncuk and Tarihi Cinaralti Cafe in Cengelkoy. We will cover those spots in our next posts.

The palace is more modest, however, don’t miss the chance this figure standing on the Anatolian side of this fantastic city.

References

  1. https://www.sevenhillshotel.com/Beylerbeyi-Palace-Istanbul.html
  2. https://www.iett.istanbul/en
  3. https://metrobus.iett.istanbul/en
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