Gülhane Park

Gulhane Park in Istanbul in Turkey

During Ottoman rule, the 13-hectare Gülhane Park was the garden of Topkapı Palace. It is located within the outer palace walls and lies on the slope of Eminönü.

The garden houses several attractions, such as the historic Column of the Goths, which lies north of the park. It bears a Latin inscription, which says: “To Fortuna, who returns by reason of victory over the Goths.” The column was erected to commemorate the victory of the Eastern Roman Empire over the Goths. It is believed that it was built under Constantine the Great. The Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam is also here. It is located in the former stables of Topkapı Palace on the western edge of the park. The museum was opened in May 2008 and has numerous replicas of important inventions from the Islamic world of the 8th to 16th centuries.

The outer palace walls mark the border of ancient Byzantium. Next to the main entrance – the Soğuk Çeşme Kapısı (“Gate of the Cold Fountain”) – lies the polygonal Alay Köşkü (“Procession kiosk”) on a wall tower, through whose window the sultan could observe the activities in front of the opposite high gate, the official residence of his Grand Vizier. The kiosk in its current form with its tail roof was redesigned and restored in 1819 by Sultan Mahmud II. The sultans watched the magnificent processions and parades from here. The processions of the merchant associations and craft guilds, which were held only a few times in a century and would last for days or weeks, were considered the most famous procession. For example, in 1637, 1109 guilds participated in a procession, offering colorful presentations of their crafts. Such a presentation of economic life was last held under Sultan Mustafa II in 1769. Since 1970, this kiosk houses the handicrafts and artworks of the Kenan Özbel Collection.

Part of the garden was opened to the public in 1912. Once a venue for chivalrous games and archery competitions, it is now a wooded public park with attractive events and leisure facilities, as well as tea gardens to relax and enjoy.

In recent years, Gülhane Park has undergone several restoration and modernization work. The natural landscape of the 1950s was retained. With its large area, its flower gardens, greenhouses, terraces, cafés and fountains, the park offers its guests a peaceful atmosphere in the middle of the city.

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