Sublime Porte

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The Sublime Porte in Ottoman times
The Sublime Porte in 2006

The Sublime Porte, also known as the Ottoman Porte or High Porte (Ottoman Turkish: باب عالی Bab-ı Ali, from Arabic: باب‎, báb (gate) and Arabic: عالي‎, alī (high)), is a metonym for the central government of the Ottoman Empire, by reference to the gate giving access to the block of buildings that housed the principal state departments in Istanbul. Today, the buildings house the governor of Istanbul.


The particular term was used in the context of diplomacy by Western states, as their diplomats were received at the porte (meaning "gate"). During the second constitutional era of the Empire after 1908 (see Young Turk Revolution), the functions of the classical Divan were replaced by the reformed Imperial Government, and "porte" came to refer to the Foreign Ministry. During this period, the office of the Grand Vizier came to refer to the equivalent to that of a Prime Minister, and viziers became members of the Ottoman Senate.

Porte is French for "gate"; therefore, the terms High Porte and Sublime Porte are bilingual combinations of English High or Sublime and French Porte, equivalent to the Ottoman Turkish Bab-ı Ali (meaning High – or Supreme – Gate).

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 41°0′40″N 28°58′41″E / 41.01111°N 28.97806°E / 41.01111; 28.97806