UNKNOWN Küçüksu Kasri of the Bosporus ca. 1880 Güzelce - x +

CN: PHOT1880kucu

MT: albumen print on paper (22x27)

TX: inscribed with fountain pen at lower center of border <Sultan's Palace_ "Sweet Waters of Asia">

CM: The Göksu and Küçüksu streams, also referred to by the Westerners as the 'Sweet Waters of Asia', flow into the Bosporus in Anadoluhisari, previously called Güzelce. The Sweet Waters of Asia, famed in nineteenth century European visions of the Orient, meander from the Asian hills into the Bosporus by Küçüksu Kasri (Pavilion), the fine little rococo palace built for Sultan Abdül Mecit I in 1857. Küçüksu Kasri is also known as Göksu Palace because of the Göksu stream that flows next to it. The area attracted the attention of Sultan Murat IV in the seventeenth century with its stunning natural beauty. The first buildings appeared in the early eighteenth century. Sultan Abdülmecit I had the existing pavilion built as a summer residence in the middle of nineteenth century. The architect is Nikoğos Balyan (1826-1858), one of the members of the famous Balyan family.

This attractive part of the Bosporus on the Asian shore is mentioned by Byzantine historians, and in Ottoman times became one of the imperial parks known as Kandil Bahçesi (Lantern Garden). Sultan Murad IV (1623-1640) was particularly fond of Küçüksu and gave it the name Gümüş Selvi (Silver Cypress), and in several sources from the seventeenth century onwards the name Bağçe-i Göksu is used. During the reign of Mahmud I (1730-1754) Divittar Mehmed Paşa built a two-storey timber palace on the waterfront, which continued to be used by Selim III (1789-1807) and Mahmud II (1808-1839). During the reign of Mahmud's son Abdülmecid (1839-1861) the western influence on Turkish architecture reached a peak, and the sultan had the earlier building demolished and the present stone pavilion or royal lodge constructed in the new style used for Dolmabahçe and Ihlamur. Küçüksu Kasri was designed by Nikoğos Balyan in 1856 and completed in 1857. The pavilion has a ground area of 15x27 meters and consists of a basement and two main storeys, the basement containing a larder, kitchen and servants, quarters. Both first and second floors have four corner rooms opening onto a central gallery, a plan that reflects that of the traditional Turkish house. The pavilion was designed for short stays when the sultan took country excursions or went hunting in the woodland here. Unlike other imperial buildings Küçüksu was not surrounded by high walls but by castiron railings with gates on all four sides. During the reign of Abdülmecid's younger brother Abdülaziz (1861-1876) more elaborate decoration was added to the façade. All the outbuildings which once belonged to the pavilion have since been demolished. The ornate seaward façade and double flight of steps sweeping exuberantly around the ornamental pool and fountain are decorated with diverse western motifs. This European exterior is echoed in the interior furnishing and, decoration executed by Sechan, stage designer at Vienna Opera House. The ceilings are richly decorated with carton-pierre moulding and painted designs. There are so many fireplaces made of Italian marble of various colours in diverse styles that Küçüksu is like a museum of nineteenth century fireplace design. The elegant parquet floors have different patterns in each of the rooms, which are furnished with European style furniture, carpets and paintings. After the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923, Küçüksu Kasri was used as a state guest house for some years, and is nowadays open to the public as a museum.

[Megakles 01/2005]