Saturday, April 8, 2017


Gülhane Park, Fatih - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'41.0"N 28°58'52.0"E / 41.011389, 28.981111

Cinili Pavilion / Gulhane, Fatih - Istanbul photo cinili854.jpg


The Tiled Kiosk (Turkish: Çinili Köşk) is a pavilion set within the outer walls of Topkapı Palace and dates from 1472 as shown on the tile inscript above the main entrance. It was built by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II as a pleasure palace or kiosk. It is located in the most outer parts of the palace, next to Gülhane Park. It was also called Glazed Kiosk (Sırça Köşk).

The building has a Greek cross shaped groundplan and two storeys high, although since the building straddles a declivity, only one floor is visible from the main entrance. The exterior glazed bricks show a Central Asian influence, especially from the Bibi-Khanym Mosque in Samarkand. The square, axial plan represents the four corners of the world and symbolizes, in architectural terms, the universal authority and sovereignty of the Sultan.

As there is no Byzantine influence, the building is ascribed to an unknown Persian architect. The stone-framed brick and the polygonal pillars of the façade are typical of Persia. A grilled gate leads to the basement. Two flights of stairs above this gate lead to a roofed colonnaded terrace. This portico was rebuilt in the 18th century. The great door in the middle, surrounded by a tiled green arch, leads to the vestibule and then to a loftily domed court. The three royal apartments are situated behind, with the middle apartment in apsidal form.

These apartments look out over the park to the Bosphorus. The network of ribbed vaulting suggests Gothic revival architecture, but it actually adds weight to the structure instead of sustaining it. The blue-and-white tiles on the wall are arranged in hexagons and triangles in the Bursa manner. Some show delicate patterns of flowers, leaves, clouds or other abstract forms. The white plasterwork is in the Persian manner. On both wings of the domed court are eyvans, vaulted recesses open on one side.

The pavilion, also known as Glazed (Sırça) Kiosk, is opposite the Archaeology Museum. The structure was built by Sultan Mehmet II in 1472 and with its plan and ornament; it is the first and only example of Central Asian Turkish architecture in İstanbul. Sultan Murat III built a fountain with a pool for one room of the pavilion in 1590. The tiles on the face of the pavilion, which lost its original style after the fire of 1737, are spectacular.

Çinili Kiosk, which was built by the order of Sultan Mehmed II in 1472 in the exterior garden of Topkapi Palace is quite remarkable in Ottoman Architecture due to its unique architectural design. It was not possible to do much research on this building with the aim of explaining its function and its unique status in the area it was built due to inadequacy of information and documentation regarding this building.

Even though there is no clear information regarding the use of it, thanks to the archives and documentations prepared by official Ottoman historians, it is known that various ceremonies, palatial games and sports were held in the kosk and that it was used for various purposes until the final quarter of the 19th century. In 1873, due to lack of space the need appeared to transfer to a new building the antiquities and weapon collections which were on a two-part exhibition in Aya Irini Church, and Cinili Kosk was chosen to be the new building to host these collections.

This mansion was commissioned by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror in 1472 and is one of the oldest examples of civil architecture in Istanbul. The Tiled Kiosk Museum was used as the Empire Museum between the years of 1875-1891, and was opened to the public as Fatih Museum, where Turkish and Islamic art works were displayed. The entrance of the mansion is a single storey while the back of the building adds another storey, and there is a 14-column marble porch at the entrance.

The mansion’s antechamber is decorated with mosaic china work and has six rooms and one central hall. China work and ceramics from the Seljuk and Ottoman era are on display in this beautiful building.

The entrance façade of the kiosk is single-flat and the back façade is of two-storeyed. There is a marble porch of 14 columns in the entrance. The entrance exedra is decorated with mosaic enamels. Various chinaware and ceramics from the Seljuk and Ottoman period are displayed in the Kiosk that consists of 6 rooms and a middle saloon.

Tile Museum (Çinili Kiosk)

It was used as the Imperial Museum (Ottoman Turkish: Müze-i Hümayun‎, Turkish: İmparatorluk Müzesi) between 1875 and 1891. In 1953, it was opened to the public as a museum of Turkish and Islamic art, and was later incorporated into the Istanbul Archaeology Museums. The pavilion contains many examples of İznik tiles and Seljuk pottery and now houses the Museum of Islamic Art. There are approximately 2000 works of art in the museum and its depots.

Cinili Kosk has served as a museum up until today since the day when the antiques exhibited within it were transformed to a new building which is the current Archaeology Museum in 1891. Thus, it had played a significant role in the history of Turkish museum culture, as well as became a symbol of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire with its architecture which was associated with different symbolic meanings by the Ottoman superiors.

Thus, the first museum of the Ottoman Empire called “Müze-i Hümayûn” was officially opened within Cinili Kosk in 1880. However, during the transformation of the kiosk into a museum, a huge amount of damage was done to its authentic structure. Even though a limited number of documents is available related to the history of the building, it is possible to follow the changes and reconstructions that the building had undergone during the period from this point on until the beginning of the 20th century through the archives.


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