Wednesday, December 28, 2016


Cagaloglu, Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'43.9"N 28°58'33.1"E / 41.012194, 28.975861

Istanbul Governorship / Cagaloglu - Istanbul photo babiali_vilayet102.jpg


The particular term was used in the context of diplomacy by the western states, as their diplomats were received at "porte" (meaning gate). During the constitution period (see Young Turk Revolution) the functions of the Divan were replaced by the imperial government, and "porte" came to refer to the Foreign Ministry. During this period Grand vizier came to refer to the position of a president and viziers became the Ottoman Senate.

Later the name came to refer to the Foreign Ministry and in contemporary times the office of the Governor (Vali) of Istanbul Province. This name has also been interpreted as referring to the Empire's position as gateway between Europe and Asia.

It had been used from the beginning of the 19th century and had been used as an office for Viziers until the Tanzimat (Restoration Period). In Tanzimat it was only used as the Grand Vizierate office. People had known this place as “Pasha Door” that is called as “Babisafi” until Sultan Mahmoud II’s time. In the common people’s language “door” is always used as the meaning of government.

The name “Babiali” had been common in the time of Sultan Mahmoud II. The house that had been given to Dervis Pasha became the building of viziers after the death of him. After the abolition of Janissaries (the Ottoman soldiers) viziers left Babiali (1826) and it turned out to be a official complex. It became the centre of the administration of Ottoman Empire between 1850 and 1870. All the political and administrative works were done from this place.

A block beyond the mosque we come to Alemdar Caddesi, the avenue which skirts the outer wall of Topkapı Sarayı. Just to the left at the intersection we see a large ornamental gateway with a projecting roof in the rococo style. This is the famous Sublime Porte, which in former days led to the palace and offices of the Grand Vezir, where from the middle of the seventeenth century onwards most of the business of the Ottoman Empire was transacted.

Hence it came to stand for the Ottoman government itself, and ambassadors were accredited to the Sublime Porte rather than to Turkey, just as to this day ambassadors to England are accredited to the Court of St. James. The present gateway, in which it is hard to discover anything of the sublime, was built about 1843 and now leads to the various buildings of the Vilayet, the government of the Province of Istanbul.

The only structure of any interest within the precinct stands in a corner to the right of the gateway. This is the dershane, or lecture-hall of an ancient medrese; dated 1565, it is a pretty little building in the classical style of that period.


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