Aynalıkavak Pavilion (Aynalıkavak Kasrı), known as “The Shipyard Palace”, is one of the hidden gems of architecture in the heart of Istanbul. It was named after the mirrors gifted to the Sultan Ahmed III and the popular trees that embellish the gardens where they situated in. A veiled jewel of Ottoman Empire located nearby the famous Blue Mosque in the Hasköy region on the northern bank facing the Golden Horn in Beyoğlu District.
The Pavilion of Aynalıkavak dates back to 16th century, as stated by the famous Ottoman traveller Evliya Çelebi. It was built by Admiral Halil Paşa in 1613. Also known as Has Bahçe in earlier 19th century it later Aynalıkavak House and presently known as the Aynalıkavak Kasrı. The Pavilion during the Tulip Era, (Lâle Devri) was a venue for hosting entertainment events which later as of today turned into being called the Museum of Instruments at its basement.
The magnificent Aynalıkavak Pavilion ingenious structure was originally constructed during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Selim III (1789-1807), thus during the reign of Sultan Mahmut II (1808-1839) it was first reformed and then restoration and reformation work was carried out during the period of Sultan Abdülmecid (1839-1861). This imperial palace is the place where the agreement between Russia and Ottoman Empire was signed and is known as the Aynalıkavak Agreement. It was the reign of Sultan Ahdulhamid I in 1784.
Aynalıkavak pavilion beautifully depicts the work of Ottoman baroque as one of the rare illustrations of the untainted Ottoman devise not influenced by the European architecture while being topped with a magnificent dome and an elegant looking roof. The pavilions serene gardens give a relief from the crowded scenery of the city. The Pavilion constructed on a slope with a nice assortment of trees overlooking its garden give a sense of release as you enter the pavilion through the porch while passing through into the ample hall.
The interior of the Aynalıkavak Pavilion is cautiously preserved and splendidly decorated giving you the ambiance of Turkish Culture with its lofty walls and elevated ceilings, a divan room, tainted glasses, silk covered couches and a Sultan Selim III’s poem engraved on one of the blue tinted walls. The Pavilion insignificant exterior has sea-side façade on three floors while land façade sits on two floors.
The place serves as a Palace-museum and Turkish Music Research Center house but still a place in the city where you can enjoy peaceful sight of nature away from the fuss of the city.
Located in Aynalıkavak Caddesi in Haskoy. The pavillion can be visited between 9am – 4pm and closed on Monday and Thursday. The nicest way to go to Aynalıkavak Pavilion is by Golden Horn ferryboat, getting off at the Haskoy dock. Then, you walk up the hill to the palace almost 800 meters. Several city bus lines seve the Aynalıkavak stop right in front of the pavillion. Bus 36T takes you from Beyoglu, buses 47, 47C and 47E comes from Eminönü.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons