Cihannüme Kasrı (Panaromic Pavilion), main palace ruin.
New Imperial Palace|
Ottoman Turkish: Saray-ı Cedid-i Amire
1829 Russian camp
|Structural system||various buildings surrounding courtyards, pavilions and gardens|
|Size||30–35 ha (74–86 acres)|
Edirne Palace (Turkish: Edirne Sarayı), or formerly New Imperial Palace (Ottoman Turkish: Saray-ı Cedid-i Amire) was a palace of the Ottoman sultans in Edirne, mostly during the era when the city was the capital of the empire. Few of the palace buildings have survived until now, however works are underway for its reconstruction.
The palace was built in a hunting ground and woods covering 30–35 ha (74–86 acres) land north of the city on the west bank of Tunca river. Construction of the palace began in 1450 during the reign of Murad II (r. 1421–1444 and 1446–1451), however stopped when the sultan died. After some time of interruption, it was completed by Mehmed the Conqueror (r. 1444–1446 and 1451–1481) in 1475. In the following years, the palace was continuously maintained and extended with new buildings around it during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent (r. 1520–1566), Ahmed I (r. 1603–1617), Mehmed IV (r. 1648–1687), Ahmed II (r. 1691–1695) and Ahmed III (r. 1703–1730).
The palace remained unused from 1718, when Ahmed III relocated his seat to Istanbul, until 1768, when Mustafa III (r. 1757–1774) returned to the city. During the period of a half-century vacancy, the palace fell into a state of dilapidation. The destruction continued by the 1752 earthquake and the 1776 fire. In 1825, some parts of the palace were repaired by Mahmud II (r. 1808–1839). The palace was damaged heavily when the Russian forces occupying Edirne in 1829 when they used it as a military camp. Between 1868 and 1873, many buildings of the palace complex underwent restoration by the city governors of the time. Finally, the palace was destroyed to great extent when an ammunition depot close to it was intentionally blown up on the order of Edirne Governor in fear of nearing Russian forces during the Russo-Turkish War (1877–78). The structural elements of the ruined palace were then plundered to be used elsewhere.
Archaeologist Mustafa Özer of Bahçeşehir University, who leads the excavation works at site, reported that they obtained some photographs of the palace complex taken before its destruction. It is believed that Russian photographer Dmitri Ivanovich Yermakov (1846–1916), who, according to historical records, took part at the Russo-Turkish War (1877–78) as an army topographist, visited Edirne for intelligence purposes in the 1870s, and photographed the city street by street. Özer stresses the importance of the palace photos for the rebuilding and restoration works, and believes that more photos exist.
The palace complex consisted of 72 different buildings with 117 rooms, 14 mansions, 18 bathhouses, 8 masjids or mosques, 17 gates and 13 cellars. At the time of its glory, around 34,000 people living in the palace area were served by about 6,000 servants.
The main building of the palace was called "Cihannüma Kasrı" (literally: Panoramic Pavilion), aka Taht-ı Hümayun (literally: Imperial Throne), consisting of sultan's room, flag room, library, masjid and other rooms. To the south of the pavilion, three adjacent pavilions were added for Mehmed IV, Mustafa II and Ahmed III. As a continuation to those buildings, there were harem rooms for the valide sultan (queen mother), the four sultan wives, the şehzade (prince), the cariye (odalisque), the officers and guards, an infirmary and a reception hall. West to the pavllion in front of the reception hall, a gate called "Bab'üs Sa'ade" for "Felicity Gate", or "Ak Ağalar Kapısı" for "White Aghas' Gate", was situated.
Structuring of the area around the palace took place with cobbling of the Tunca riverbed and building of levees on the banks of the river by Bayezid II (r. 1481–1512). Edirne Palace entered, so to speak, a second structuring era with Suleiman the Magnificent and his master architect Mimar Sinan (c. 1489/1490–1588). During this time, the palace was redesigned, its landscape topography was reorganized, and water supply problems were resolved. Mimar Sinan made running water available to the palace by a canal derived from the resource he had brought to the city of Edirne from nearby Taşlımüsellim village. In order to protect the palace from flooding through the supply water canal,the canal was constructed in the form of a circular arc around the palace, which joined Tunca River near Saraçhane Bridge. Tunca river and the supply water canal encircled the palace area, and made so a protection wall unnecessary.
Further structures that were added include İmadiye Pavilion by Murad IV (r. 1623–1640) as well as Procession Pavilion, Iftar Lodge, Hunting (Bulbul) Lodge and Gardener's Lodge by Mehmed IV (r. 1648–1687).
- Panorama Pavilion (Cihannüma Kasrı) and Felicity Gate (Bab'üs Sa'ade)
Particılarly in 2001, archeological works started at the palace's gate, the "Felicity Gate", and at the site of "Reception Hall". Sponsored by the National Palaces Administration, restoration works completed in 2004. It is projected that the entire palace building will be restored for use as an International Congress Center.
Due to its architecture, Cihannüma Pavilion is the most important part of the palace complex. Built in 1450-1451, it is a seven-storey building with an octagonal room atop. It consisted of "Imperial room", flag room, library and masjid. It was maintained throughout centuries, and an outside staircase was added by Abdülaziz (r. 1861–1876). Initial archaeological excavations at this site took place in 1956.
- Sand Pavilion Bathhouse (Kum Kasrı Hamamı)
In 2000, archaeological works were undertaken at Kum Kasrı Hamamı (literally: Sand Pavilion Bathhouse) and around, which revealed the existence of a water supply system. Built by Mehmed the Conqueror, the simple bathhouse has three bath sections as the "sıcaklık" (caldarium), "ılıklık" (tepidarium) and "soğukluk" (frigidarium) under three small domes with an iwan at one end. The bathhouse was connected to the palace with a walkway.
- Imperial Kitchen (Matbah-ı Amire)
South to the main courtyard, "Matbah-ı Amire" (literally: Imperial kitchen) was situated. It is a long-stretched rectangular-plan building under eight domes. The building's north facade disappeared to a large extent. The building is restored today.</tan1"/>
- Justice Pavilion (Kasr-ı Adalet)
Erected in 1561 by Suleiman the Magnificent, who is called in Turkey as Suleiman the Lawmaker, the "Kasr-ı Adalet" (literally: Justice Pavilion) is the only structure as part of the palace complex, which remained intact. In the form of a rectangular tower with a pointed metal roof, it is situated next to the tiny Fatih Bridge over the Tunca river, which was built in 1452 by Mehmed the Conqueror (Turkish: Fatih Sultan Mehmet). Two stone columns still stand in front of the building. The right one, called the "Respect Stone" (Turkish: Seng-i Hürmet), was used to hold the petitions of the people to the sultan, and the left one, named the "Warning Stone" (Turkish: Seng-i İbret), to display the capitated heads of criminals.
- Prayer platform (Namazgah)
- Kanuni Bridge
Named after Suleiman the Lawmaker (Turkish: Kanuni Sultan Süleyman), the Kanuni Bridge over the Tunca river connects the palace garden to the city. Built in 1553-1554, it is 60 m (200 ft) long and has four arches.
- Hunting (Bulbul) Lodge (Av Köşkü)
Built in 1671 by Mehmed IV, aka Mehmed the Hunter, the Hunting (Bulbul) Lodge is partly intact. It is in use today after restoration in 2002.
The Balkan Wars Memorial Cemetery is situated just east of the palace complex area.
- "Edirne sarayı" (in Turkish). Edirne İl Kültür ve Turizm Müdürlüğü. Retrieved 2015-05-10.
- "Edirne Palace restorations reveal Ottoman era culture". Hürriyet Daily News. 2013-07-26. Retrieved 2015-05-11.
- "Saray-ı Cedid-i Amire - the Ottoman palace in Edirne". Turkish Archaeological News. 2013-12-11. Retrieved 2015-05-11.
- Günal, Bülent (2013-03-10). "Fatih'in kayıp sarayı". Habertürk (in Turkish). Retrieved 2015-05-13.
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