Beylerbeyi and its environs have been a residential area since Byzantine period. Sultan Mahmud II (1808 -1839) ordered to built a wooden palace on the site of some earlier buildings constructed in the area at various periods. When this burned down, a new palace and additional buildings were built between the years 1863-1865 by the order of Sultan Abdülaziz. The main palace building consisting of the Mabeyn and Harem sections can be visited. The Yellow Kiosk located beside the big pool on the upper terrace garden, the Marble Kiosk, the Stable Kiosk, where the royal horses were kept, and the Marine Kiosks are closed to visitors.
Beylerbeyi Palace was used as a summer residence and as the State Guest House. Many guests stayed here like Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria-Hungary (1869); Eugénie, Empress of France (1869); Nikola, King of Montenegro (1874) and German Emperor Wilhelm II. Sultan Abdülhamid II, after he was dethroned, spent his last six years in Beylerbeyi Palace and died here in 1918.
The interior design of the palace which combines Western and Eastern styles, shows some characteristics of traditional Turkish houses. The three-storeyed palace, including the basement, has 24 rooms and 6 halls. The floors of the palace are covered with straw mats from Egypt. Turkish Hereke carpets, French Baccarat crystal chandeliers; English, French and Turkish clocks made at the Haliç (Golden Horn) Dockyard in İstanbul; also Chinese, Japanese, French, German and Turkish Yıldız porcelain vases decorate the rooms and halls of the palace.
Additional Buildings and Gardens
The Marble Kiosk: The Marble Kiosk, which took its name from its outer walls made of marble, and has a fountain and a pool inside, was built as a hunting lodge by the order of Sultan Mahmud II between the years 1829-1832.
The Yellow Kiosk: The Yellow Kiosk which is located near the Marble Kiosk, faces the garden on one side and the street on the other side. The kiosk which has two floors and a basement is an outstanding example of the period, with its beautiful ceilings and other interior decoration.
Stable Kiosk: This kiosk, located at the top of the terraced garden, represents Ottoman horse culture. Horses and other animal figures are portrayed on the ceiling of the Entrance Hall. The stable itself consists of 20 stalls on each side. There are reliefs with horse head and eye motifs on the chandeliers and other fittings.
Palace Gardens: Beylerbeyi Palace is one of the prestigious buildings of 19th century and its gardens are connected to each other by ramps and stairs. The total area of the gardens is seventy thousand square meters. The magnolia and chestnut trees in the imperial garden, the linden trees in the Harem garden and the judas trees -the symbol of Bosphorus- in the terraced gardens were planted during the reign of Sultan Abdülhamid II.
Marine Kiosks: These kiosks are a pair, one belonging to the Mabeyn and the other (for the use of the sultan’s mother) to the Harem. Archive documents refer to these buildings which resemble pergolas as “tent kiosks” and “nevresm kiosks” (new design, new model) indicating the originality of their design. Both kiosks have octagonal roofs and their ceilings are adorned with depictions of various animal figures.