31 Mart 2014 Pazartesi

Education in the Palace

Mimar Sinan University - Findikli

Garabet Amira Balyan from Balyan family is the architect of the double palaces Sultan Abdulmecit have ordered to be built for his daughters Cemile Sultan and Munire Sultan.

Cemile Sultan’s palace was used as the parliament after the fire that damaged Ciragan Palace. Established as Sanay-i Nefise after the independence, with a name change the palace joined the Fine Arts Academy in 1928.

A fire that took place in April 1st 1948 resulted in the loss of various important books, documents and pieces of art.

By being reopened in 1953 after the restoration, Adile Sultan Palace that was used as the Ataturk High School for Girls and Zevki Kadin Elementary School buildings were joined to Mimar Sinan University’s grounds. 

Now the Elementary School building has the tiniest post office inside, and a beautiful fountain by the building. You can get more information about the history from here (only Turkish).

While the university is mostly only open to students and educators, you can still visit these spectacular buildings through keeping up with the special exhibitions and events that take place in the establishment. You can follow their program here (only Turkish). To get there, just walk towards Karakoy from Kabatas and take in the amazing view of the Bosphorus.

And here’s an insider’s tip: While here, stop by at the Mimar Sinan University shop located in the Tophane-i Amire building across the street. The shop sells Mimar Sinan University publications at a discount rate as well as university related memorabilia. 

Take care of yourselves,
Tracer of Istanbul

25 Mart 2014 Salı

Details that Set Apart

Surp Yegya Armenian Church - Eyup

Sometimes details are the aspects that make a whole perfect. Istanbul in a way, is unique and perfect in its whole because of the small details the city holds. One way or another, everyone who tours around this city gets caught up in a detail and falls under its charm.

This week we visited this tiny church in Eyup. Since the church these days only opens its doors a few times a year for special occasions, we took pictures and toured around this beautiful spot on your behalf.

While the exact date when the church was founded is unknown, it is guessed that Surp Yegya was built around 16th 17th century. Closed down in 1766, the  Church reopened its doors through an edict passed on March 26, 1800. Having been run down with time, the Church started holding masses again in 1832 with the Bezciyan Family’s financial support. The last restoration of the building took place in 1995.

Church’s grounds also housed Bezciyan Elementary School from 1832 to 1980. The building closed down due to lack of sufficient student enrollment.

This special landmark that once served the Armenian congregation, who gradually moved away from Eyüp, is just one of the many beautiful and unique details that Istanbul harbors- and we love getting lost in the details!

Take care of yourselves,
Tracer of Istanbul

19 Mart 2014 Çarşamba

The Oldest Functioning Shipyard of the World

Halic Shipyard

Standing once where the Byzantium shipyard used stand, Halic Shipyard was built after Sultan Mehmet’s conquest of Istanbul. The shipyard that was formerly known as Tersane-i Amire, was built in 1455.

As once it was considered to be a maritime center of the world, today Halic Shipyard holds the record for being the oldest functioning shipyard with its three dry docks and maintenance facilities. Unfortunately the Shipyard is closed to the public. You can find more information on the Shipyard from City Ferry’s brochure here (only in Turkish), or from here.

While there are many rumored projects that aim to transform Halic Shipyard in the future, for us the best project would involve preserving the Shipyard and building a museum on its grounds that would deliver its history to future generations.  

Take care of yourselves,
Tracer of Istanbul

11 Mart 2014 Salı

The Last Palace

Yildiz Palace - Besiktas

Situated alongside Ciragan Palace in what was formerly known as Kazancioglu Gardens, Yildiz Palace now stands where once sultans used as a hunting site. 

The first summer palace on the site was ordered to be built by Ahmet Ist. The palace was started to be called “Yildiz” (meaning star) after Selim IIIrd ordered a summer palace to be built on these grounds for his mother. 

Throughout years and reigns of different sultans, more and more additions were made to the palace; and during Abdulhamit IInd’s reign it started to be used as the primary palace for the ruler.

After belonging to the military between the years 1922 and 1978, the palace was then transferred under the custodianship of Culture and Tourism Ministry.

Unfortunately it is forbidden to take photos inside Yildiz Palace; however you can get detailed information, pictures and a 3D tour of the palace from here.

If you are there to visit Yildiz Palace do not pass by Yildiz Park. Though quite crowded, Istanbul Tulip Festival (held in April) is a beautiful event that will give you the opportunity to experience the pleasantness of this park. You can get Tulip Festival’s information from this link. But the upcoming dates are not announced yet.

Take care of yourselves,
Tracer of Istanbul

5 Mart 2014 Çarşamba

The Building that Awaited its Music

Sureyya Opera House - Kadikoy

In order to talk about Sureyya Opera House, you must first learn about Sureyya Ilmen himself. Founder of the aviation organization and a textile factory, Ilmen not only served as a member of the parliament but also donated most of his wealth to charities and different causes. As such, the opera house was built with his donations and he was the founder of the Sureyya Opera Group. 

We found information on the history of the opera house in Katoglu, Gursel and Aydemir’s book that they’ve written for Kadıkoy Municipiality.  The architecture of the opera house was created through incorporating three different foreign design esthetics (one of them being Champs-Elysées of Paris is known only). 

Having being incomplete, the opera house was started to be used as a movie theater in 1927, while the Sureyya Opera Group continued showing in Beyoglu French Theater and Kadıkoy Apollon (Hale) Theater.

After Kadıkoy Municipality’s restoration of the building in 2006, the opera house finally started fulfilling its purpose and is still hosting the Sureyya Opera Performances. As Istanbulites, we think you will be missing out a lot if you don’t go and experience the beauty and power of opera here. You can find the program here, and take the 360° virtual tour of the building- although it can never compare to the real deal!

Russian painter Nikolai Kalmukov, whom later moved to Turkey and changed his name to Naci Kalmukoglu, created the ceiling frescos and wall panels. You can find more information (only Turkish) on him and pictures of his paintings in a video through  this link from an exhibition that took place in Izmir last year.

The statues that adorn the exterior of the building as well as the columns around the stage were made by the first Turkish sculptor Ihsan Ozsoy. You can find more information on the artist here.

This week we took you to Sureyya Opera House that waited 80 years to be reunited with its music. Life is better with music, so why don’t you play a tune you like right now and be reunited it with it immediately. 

Take care of yourselves,
Tracer of Istanbul