Best Western Empire Palace Hotel Sultanahmet Istanbul
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    BW Empire Palace Hotel
    This is the true spirit of Istanbul- welcoming and pleasing! No matter if for a business trip or a family holiday, the loveliest and most convenient place to stay is this S-Class Hotel. Built in the 17th century, Best Western Empire Palace is an old Ottoman house set 400 meters away from the domes and minarets of the Blue Mosque. The Boutique hotel offers comfort and pleasure for all kinds of travelers.
    DISCOVER ISTANBUL AT BEST WESTERN EMPIRE PALACE HOTEL
    TOPKAPI PALACE   UP
    Topkapi Palace which was built by Mehmet The Conqueror between the years 1462 and 1478 was constructed at Seraglio Point surrounded by the Sea of Marmara, the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus . It is located on the first hill of old city. Topkapi Palace is one of the finest examples of the Ottoman civil architecture in existence. After harems were added to it Suleyman moved with all his harem to the new palace. Topkapi Palace, the greatest residence of The Ottoman Dynasty, is one of the best museums in the world. This vast and fascinating complex served as Imperial residence for the Ottoman Empire for more than four centuries.
    Topkapi Palace consisted of three courts and a large terrace. The first court was open to the public but the second court requiresd special permission to enter. The third court was reserved for servants, court officials and students, This court had a mint. the Ministry of Finances, a bakery and a hospital.
    The second gate, which looked like a fortress with two towers opened into the second court. The Kitchens were located to the right and consisted of ten rooms with three large domes. In each room cooking was done for different ranks-for the sultan, for his mother and his wives. A head cook, ten chefs and 480 cooks worked each day cooking for 5000- 7000 people and during holiday time for 10000- 12000 people. Today Chinese, Japanese, Turkish and European porcelain are exhibited in these former kitchens. This is the world's third largest collection of porcelain after Peking and Dresden.
    The complex of the harem has 400 rooms,10 baths, 2 mosques, a hospital and a prison. The most influential person in the harem after the sultan was the sultan's mother. The third most important person in the harem was the Chief Black Eunuch.
    In addition, the third court included schools, a summer residence and bath, government buildings and a mosque.
    In the first room one can see the armor of Mustafa III, decorated with gems, the ivory throne of Murat IV, a golden music box in the shape of an elephant, pearl trimmed Koran holders, golden water pipes, tobacco boxes, shields, swords, helmets, daggers pistols, and vases of jade.
    In the second room is the canopy throne decorated with mother of pearl, emeralds and rubies belonging to Ahmet I, the golden cradle of the princes, precious stones, and the Topkapi dagger with emeralds and 22 uncut emeralds.
    The third room contains the 86 carat diamond surrounded by 49 brilliants, two golden candle holders, and an Indian throne trimmed with 250.000 pearls.
    In the former government building, built by Mehmet II, the holy relics brought from Egypt by Sultan Selim are kept. The prophet's mantle, Muhammad's sword, his bamboo bow, his letter to the patriarch of Egypt, one of his teeth, a hair from his beard, and his footprint in the marble of Mecca can be seen.
    The terrace is decorated with several pavilions, the most beautiful being the Bagdat Pavilion which was built to commemorate the conquest of Bagdat in 1638. Other pavillions include The Revan Pavilion which was built in 1631, The Mecidiye Pavilion built in the 18th century and the Sofa Pavilion built in 1704.

    DOLMABAHCE PALACE   UP
    This beautiful Ottoman Palace, magnificently situated at the European side of the Bosphorus strait, was built by the son of Mahmut II, Sultan Abdulmecit 1839-1861, who ascended the throne at the age 16. His decision to have a new fashionable residence similar to European palaces started the construction of the Dolmabahce Palace in 1843.
    After the demolition of the former palace in wood, the work for the new palace started under architects Garabet and Nikogos Balyan, members of the famous Balyan family which gave nine reputed architect to the Ottoman Empire for nearly a century. Serving under the six sultans, they were responsible for the westernization of the city's architecture. The construction of the palace which covers an area of 250.000 square meters, took about 13 years and finished in 1855. Abdulmecit, the first occupant of the palace, lived there 15 years. Since some of the Sultans didn't show too much interest to Dolmabahce palace, it stayed empty most of its time.
    Dolmabahce Palace consisted of the sultans wing, the festival greeting hall(also known as the throne hall) and the harem. To impress foreign ambassadors they were received through the entrance hall which was decorated with vases from Sevres and Yildiz and led up stairs with railings made of crystal glass from Venice. Crystal and silver candle holders, crystal chandeliers, curtains of silk from Hereke, gilded cornices and silk carpets, rooms decorated with painting of the Russian artist Aiwazowsky gave everyone the impression that one was in the residency of a wealthy emperor.
    The baroque clock tower and the Dolmabahce Mosque, commissioned by the mother of Abdulmecit I and built by Sarkis Balyan in 1853, complete the Dolmabahce Palace complex.
    Dolmabahce was the favorite palace of Abdulmecit and Mehmet Resat who reigned during the first World War.
    Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, died in this palace on the 10th of November, 1938.

    BEYLERBEYI PALACE   UP
    Beylerbeyi Palace on the Asiatic shore was built by Abdulaziz between the years 1861-1865. The architect was Sarkis Balyan, one member of the famous Balyan family, which gave nine reputed palaces to The Ottoman Empire over nearly a century. Serving under the six sultans, they were responsible for the westernization of the city's architecture.
    The old palace had been built by Mahmut II, during the years 1826-1827 but the building was damaged during a fire.
    Beylerbeyi Palace served as a summer residence. There are many architectural resemblances between this building and the Dolmabahce Palace.
    The palace has 6 halls and 24 rooms. The decoration of the ceiling was done by Turkish, Italian, and French artists Chelebowsky was brought to the palace to paint its ceilings.
    The curtains and upholstery materials are Hereke Silks.
    Geometrical patterns are noticeable with colored floral bouquets in medallions.
    There is no heating system because it was built as a summer palace.
    Beylerbey Palace has been used as a guest house for many royal visitors such as the French Queen Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III, Franz Joseph, Austrian emperor, Nasireddin, The Shah of Iran and Edward VIII, The British King.

    CIRAGAN PALACE   UP
    The most picturesque spots along the Bosphorus , the area where Cıragan Palace Hotel Kempinski Istanbul now stands was known, in the 17th century, as Kazancioglu Garden.
    In the second half of the 16th century, High Admiral Kilic Ali Pasha had a waterfront house here, and in the 17th century (1648) Sultan Murat IV gave the imperial garden to his daughter, Kaya Sultan, and her husband, Grand Vizier Melek Ahmet Pasha. They had a small wooden mansion built here in which they would spend the summer months. At the beginning of the 18th century, Ahmet III presented the house and grounds to his son-in-law, Grand Vizier Ibrahim Pasha of Nevsehir, who organized torchlight fetes known as Çırağan Senlikleri (Cıragan Festivals) with his wife, Fatma Sultan. It was then that the area became known as Cıragan.
    Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, wife of the English ambassador Edward Wortley Montagu, who lived in Istanbul between 1717-1718, wrote of the original Cıragan Palace in her letters, published after her death; " It is situated on one of the most delightful parts of the canal, with a fine wood on the side of a hill behind it. The extent of it is prodigious; the guardian assured me there were eight hundred rooms in it, I will not however, answer for that number since I did not count them; but 'tis certain the number is very large, and the whole adorned with a profusion of marble, gilding and the most exquisite painting of fruit and flowers. The windows are all sashed with the finest crystalline glass brought from England, and here is all the expensive magnificence that you can suppose in a palace founded by a young man, with the wealth of a vast empire at his command." This original palace was to be torn down and rebuilt many times over the next two centuries. After the rebellion of 1730 which brought the great Tulip era to an end, the palace was left empty and fell into disrepair. It was finally taken over by Mahmut I and used as a banqueting hall for foreign ambassadors.
    Selim III's Grand Vizier Yusuf Ziya Pasha bought the Palace, demolished it, and commissioned Kirkor Balian to build a new palace in marble which he presented to the Sultan in 1805. Selim III then gave the Palace to his sister, Beyhan Sultan, but she returned it. This palace, used as a summer house during the reign of Mahmud II, was again demolished and rebuilt on a large scale by Garabed Balian in 1835-1843. Although great quantities of wood were used, the main section was made from marble and stone and included forty classical columns.
    When Sultan Abdulmecid decided to move his official residence to Dolmabahce Palace in 1855, the Cıragan Palace was torn down again , to be replaced by an imposig stone edifice designed by Nigogos Balian, and the foundations of the present palace were laid. However, due to financial problems and the "Kuleli olayi" (an uncovered conspiracy to assassinate the sultan) the construction of the palace was only half finished. It was only completed in 1857, after Abdulaziz acceded to the throne. Abdulaziz demanded his palace to be built in Arab style as a memorial to his reign. Artists were sent to Spain and North Africa to make drawings of the famous buildings there.
    The story goes that the Sultan interfered with the design so much that the plans were redrawn twenty times before he was satisfied. The palace doors, each worth one thousand gold pieces, were so admired by "Kaiser Wilhelm" that some were presented to him as a gift and stand today in Berlin Museum. The finest marble and mother-of-pearl were brought from all over the world for the new Cıragan Palace; construction was completed at a total cost of five million Ottoman gold liras. But Sultan Abdulaziz only lived here for a few months before pronouncing it to be too damp to stay in and moving out again. This former residence of king was destined to share the fate of the declining Ottoman Empire.
    Sultan Murat V, deposed during a military takeover, was held prisoner here with his family until his death in 1904. After this the palace became the new location for parliament and was opened on November 14, 1909. Parliament convened here for just two months before a fire, which broke out in the central heating vents, destroyed the entire palace in just under five hours, leaving only a stone shell. Priceless antiques, paintings and books were lost, along with many vital documents. In 1946, Parliament gave the palace, its outbuildings and grounds, to Istanbul Municipality where it was used as a dumping ground for sand and other construction materials. It was also used as a swimming pool and was a football ground for the local team. It seemed only a matter of time before the last remnants of the former palace would be torn down once and for all.
     
    HOTEL EMPIRE PALACE ISTANBUL

    Phone : 0090 212 514 54 00
    Fax : 0090 212 514 54 10
    E-Mail : info@hotelempirepalace.com

    Adress : Hocapasa Mah. Hudavendigar Cad. No:19 / Sirkeci - Sultanahmet / Istanbul, TURKEY
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