The Pearl of the Bosphorus, the Indispensable Venue for Diplomatic Receptions
The Küçüksu Pavilion, which is one of the boarding pavilions used by the Ottoman sultans for rest, is located at the part where the Küçüksu Meadows, which are known as the sweet waters of Asia, lie between Göksu and Küçüksu Rivers and meet the sea. This local travel spot gained importance and became one of the most famous entertainment places of the century after the Kağıthane Promenade disappeared as a result of the Patrona Halil Uprising in 1730. It is known that there was a wooden mansion in the area, built by Grand Vizier Divittar Mehmet Emin Pasha for the accommodation of Mahmud I, who visited the shores of the Bosphorus frequently during his reign. Completed in 1752, this mansion hosted the sultans of the era for more than a hundred years. Sultan Abdülmecid had the present day Küçüksu Pavilion built in 1856, replacing the damaged wooden mansion.
An Elegant Pearl on the Shores of the Bosphorus
Küçüksu Pavilion was built by Nigoğos Balyan, a member of the Balyan family who have designed many of the Ottoman buildings built in the 19th century. The interior decoration and arrangements of the pavilion were made by Sechan, the decorator of the Paris Opera, who is also responsible for the interior design of the Dolmabahçe Palace. The unreinforced masonry building, which was built with the masonry technique of the era, covers an area of 15 X 27 meters and has three floors including the basement. The basement, which was used as a cellar and kitchen, was reserved for the servants, and the other floors allocated for the use of the monarch and the guests were arranged in four rooms opening to a hall in the middle. The interior of the pavilion has a stunning appearance with its embossed plastered ceilings decorated by pen work, skillfully laid parquet floors, western-style furniture, works of art decorating the walls, and fireplaces of precious Italian marbles. Some parts of the Küçüksu Pavilion, which did not include bedrooms or bathrooms in the original design due to being a recreational residence, were rearranged and decorated to correct these deficiencies during the Republican Period. The sea facing side of the pavilion has a more ostentatious and rich appearance compared to the other façades, since the sultans preferred the sea route for arrival. Baroque architecture was adopted in the decorations of the small pool, the staircase and the fountain on this façade. The exterior decorations of the pavilion were re-arranged by Sultan Abdülaziz after he replaced his elder brother Sultan Abdülmecid, who found the designs too simple.
Popular Residence of Each Period: Küçüksu Pavilion
The Küçüksu Pavilion was the address of many diplomatic receptions during the reign of Sultan Abdülaziz. Prince Edward VII, the Prince of Wales, who would be the head of the Kingdom of England in the following years, was entertained here, and this meal was recorded as the first incidence of an Ottoman sultan to take the same table with foreigners and their entourage. The pavilion, which was visited by Sultan Mehmed Reşad in 1909 for lunch with prominent soldiers and bureaucrats of the period, continued to be a place of interest during the Republican Period. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk frequently visited Küçüksu as a short-term resting spot during his Bosphorus trips, and the pavilion was turned into a museum in 1983. After a comprehensive restoration and reinforcement project that started in 1992 and lasted for four years, Küçüksu Pavilion gained its present appearance, continuing to serve as a museum-palace today.
Translated article from the National Palaces website