Armenian Architects of Istanbul: Online Exhibition/ Ստամբուլի Հայ Ճարտարապետները

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The main gate of İstanbul’s Dolmabahçe Palace was designed by Armenian architect Garabet Balyan. (Photo: Mehmet Yaman)

The Turkish Museum of Architecture has recently opened an online exhibition of structures in modern Turkey created by Armenian architects during the Ottoman era. The website describes the Armenian contribution to architectural development of Istanbul as follows:

“Armenian architects took on a prominent role in the construction of palace buildings and official buildings in the Ottoman Empire. The staff of the Imperial Architects Office that directed such construction projects always included Armenian architects. Young recruits to this office were trained within a master-apprentice relationship. In other words, the Imperial Architects Office also operated as a kind of school of architecture.

The architects of the Balian family…, had already been realizing the construction projects of the palace. Almost all the large mosques commissioned by sultans in Istanbul in the first half of the century were the work of the Balians. Increasingly, Levantine, Greek and other Armenian architects began to carry out the projects of public buildings and private buildings of their own communities. They were either trained by practice, or were graduating from the schools of architecture in Europe. Meanwhile, architecture seemed no longer to be a ‘popular’ profession for the Muslims of Ottoman society. After the opening of the School of Fine Arts, for a long period of time, the majority of students at the Department of Architecture were Rum/Greek and Armenian. ”

Süleymaniye Mosque, 1890
Süleymaniye Mosque, 1890

During the course of the Ottoman history many famous architects of Armenian origin have been instrumental in the development of the empire. The architecture of Istanbul would be unimaginable without the Balian family – a dynasty of famous Ottoman imperial architects of Armenian ethnicity.

For five generations in the 18th and 19th centuries, they designed and constructed numerous major buildings, including palaces, kiosks, mosques, churches and various public buildings, mostly in Istanbul. The nine well-known members of the family served six sultans in the course of almost a century and were responsible for the evolution of the architecture of the then-capital city. The most important and largest construction built by members of the family was Dolmabahce Palace, which is considered to be one of the world’s finest palaces of the 19th century. Most of their buildings are still in use and registered as historical monuments.

Another famous Ottoman-Armenian architect was Mimar Sinan chief Ottoman architect and civil engineer for sultans Suleiman the Magnificent, Selim II, and Murad III, in the 16th century.[5][6][7]  He was, during a period of fifty years, responsible for the construction or the supervision of every major building in the Ottoman Empire. More than three hundred structures are credited to his name. He is also considered one of the world’s first earthquake engineers. His apprentices would later design the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul, Stari Most in Mostar and help design the Taj Mahal in the Mughal Empire. He is considered the greatest architect of the classical period of Ottoman architecture, and has been compared to Michelangelo, his contemporary in the West. Among his masterpieces are such famous building as the Süleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul and the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne.

 

See bellow for the images from the exhibition:

BÜYÜKADA İSKELESİB
Büyükada Pier by Mihran Azaryan
Saint Savior Hospital Chapel by Kevork Aslanyan
Saint Savior Hospital Chapel by Kevork Aslanyan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tobacco Factory - Kadir Has University by Hovsep Aznavur
Tobacco Factory – Kadir Has University by Hovsep Aznavur
Saint Stephan Bulgarian Church by Hovsep Aznavur
Saint Stephan Bulgarian Church by Hovsep Aznavur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bezm-i Alem Valide Mosque by Garabed Amira Balyan
Bezm-i Alem Valide Mosque by Garabed Amira Balyan
Sanasaryan Han - "Former Police Department" - "Mısır Apartment Block by Hovsep Aznavur
Sanasaryan Han – “Former Police Department” – “Mısır Apartment Block by Hovsep Aznavur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Saint Mary Church" - "Holy Trinity Church" - "Mahmud II Dam"  by Garabed Amira Balyan
“Saint Mary Church” – “Holy Trinity Church” – “Mahmud II Dam” by Garabed Amira Balyan
Valide Dam by Garabed Amira Balyan
Valide Dam by Garabed Amira Balyan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mahmud II Tomb by Garabed Amira Balyan
Mahmud II Tomb by Garabed Amira Balyan
Mahmud II Tomb by Garabed Amira Balyan
Mahmud II Tomb by Garabed Amira Balyan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Military Academy - Kuleli Cavalry Barracks by Garabed Amira Balyan
Military Academy – Kuleli Cavalry Barracks by Garabed Amira Balyan
Mahmud II Tomb by Garabed Amira Balyan
Mahmud II Tomb by Garabed Amira Balyan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nusretiye Mosque by Krikor Amira Balyan
Nusretiye Mosque by Krikor Amira Balyan
Dolmabahçe Palace by Garabed Amira Balyan
Dolmabahçe Palace by Garabed Amira Balyan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Küçüksu Pavilion by Nigoğos Balyan
Küçüksu Pavilion by Nigoğos Balyan
Selimiye Barracks - "Nusretiye Mosque by Krikor Amira Balyan
Selimiye Barracks – “Nusretiye Mosque by Krikor Amira Balyan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dolmabahçe Palace, Imperial Gate by Nigoğos Balyan
Dolmabahçe Palace, Imperial Gate by Nigoğos Balyan
Dolmabahçe Palace Ceremonial Hall by Nigoğos Balyan
Dolmabahçe Palace Ceremonial Hall by Nigoğos Balyan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beylerbeyi Palace by Sarkis Balyan
Beylerbeyi Palace by Sarkis Balyan
Ihlamur Pavilion by Nigoğos Balyan
Ihlamur Pavilion by Nigoğos Balyan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Sadabad Mosque" "Maçka Police Station - İTU Business Administration Faculty" "Maçka Armony - İTU Language School" by Sarkis Balyan
“Sadabad Mosque” “Maçka Police Station – İTU Business Administration Faculty” “Maçka Armony – İTU Language School” by Sarkis Balyan
Akaretler Row Houses by Sarkis Balyan
Akaretler Row Houses by Sarkis Balyan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ministry of War - İstanbul University Rectorate by Sarkis Balyan
Ministry of War – İstanbul University Rectorate by Sarkis Balyan
Çırağan Palace by  Sarkis Balyan
Çırağan Palace by Sarkis Balyan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saint Takavor Church by Mıgırdiç Carkyan
Saint Takavor Church by Mıgırdiç Carkyan
Beyazıt Tower" - "Iron and Steel Factory by Senekerim Balyan - Garabed Amira Balyan
Beyazıt Tower” – “Iron and Steel Factory by Senekerim Balyan – Garabed Amira Balyan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apartment Blocks by Levon Güreğyan
Apartment Blocks by Levon Güreğyan
Saint Mary Church by Garabed Devletyan
Saint Mary Church by Garabed Devletyan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apartment Block by Şabuh Hançer
Apartment Block by Şabuh Hançer
Dilsizzade Han - Office Building by Isdepan Hamamciyan
Dilsizzade Han – Office Building by Isdepan Hamamciyan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armenian Evangelical Church by Isdepan İzmirliyan
Armenian Evangelical Church by Isdepan İzmirliyan
Saint Paul Church by Krikor Hürmüzyan
Saint Paul Church by Krikor Hürmüzyan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ragıp Paşa Apartment Block by Aram ve İsak Karakaş
Ragıp Paşa Apartment Block by Aram ve İsak Karakaş
Ferah Apartment Block by Aram ve İsak Karakaş
Ferah Apartment Block by Aram ve İsak Karakaş

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Azarian Seaside Mansion - Sadberk Hanim Museum by Andon Kazazyan
Azarian Seaside Mansion – Sadberk Hanim Museum by Andon Kazazyan
Süreyya Movie Theater by Keğam Kavafyan
Süreyya Movie Theater by Keğam Kavafyan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saint Leon Church by Boğos Makasdar
Saint Leon Church by Boğos Makasdar
Taşciyan Mansion by  Artin Macaryan
Taşciyan Mansion by Artin Macaryan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Door of Armenian Cemetery by Mihran Kalfa
The Door of Armenian Cemetery by Mihran Kalfa
Armenian Patriarchate by Krikor Melidosyan
Armenian Patriarchate by Krikor Melidosyan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Agopyan Han" - "İş Bankası by Levon Nafilyan
“Agopyan Han” – “İş Bankası by Levon Nafilyan
Hovagimyan Han by Levon Nafilyan
Hovagimyan Han by Levon Nafilyan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Metro Han by Mikayel Nurican
Metro Han by Mikayel Nurican
Saint George Church by Bedros Nemtze
Saint George Church by Bedros Nemtze

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Holly Cross Church" by Ohannes Serveryan and Saint Gregory Church by Harutyun Serveryan
Holly Cross Church by Ohannes Serveryan and Saint Gregory Church by Harutyun Serveryan
Old Darüşşafaka Lyceum by Ohannes Kalfa
Old Darüşşafaka Lyceum by Ohannes Kalfa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Naval Hospital" - "Saint Jacob Row Houses"  by Aram Tahtacıyan
“Naval Hospital” – “Saint Jacob Row Houses” by Aram Tahtacıyan
Saint Saviour Hospital and Pharmacy by Ohannes Serveryan
Saint Saviour Hospital and Pharmacy by Ohannes Serveryan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kadıköy and Fatih Municipalities by Yetvart Terziyan
Kadıköy and Fatih Municipalities by Yetvart Terziyan
Anadolu Han by Sarkis Taşcıyan
Anadolu Han by Sarkis Taşcıyan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Church of Immaculate Conception" - "Saint John Chrysostomas Church " by Andon ve Garabed Tülbentciyan
“Church of Immaculate Conception” – “Saint John Chrysostomas Church ” by Andon ve Garabed Tülbentciyan
Saint Nicola Church by Vartan Tıngıryan
Saint Nicola Church by Vartan Tıngıryan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abbas Hilmi Pasha Mansion by Hovsep Aznavur
Abbas Hilmi Pasha Mansion by Hovsep Aznavur
Saint Mary Church by Andon ve Garabed Tülbentciyan
Saint Mary Church by Andon ve Garabed Tülbentciyan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sources:

1) http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/news/175916/

2) http://www.archmuseum.org/Gallery/armenian-architects-of-istanbul-in-the-era-of-westernization_62.html

3) http://www.archmuseum.org/Gallery/Photo_62_1_armenian-architects-of-istanbul-in-the-era-of-westernization.html

4) http://www.todayszaman.com//news-339453-armenian-architects-of-istanbul-exhibition-on-display-online.html#.Uv7s8YWkTNg.facebook

5) Fletcher, Richard (2005). The cross and the crescent: Christianity and Islam from Muhammad to the Reformation (Reprinted. ed.). London: Penguin. p. 138. ISBN 9780670032716. “…Sinan the Old-he lived to be about ninety-an Armenian from Anatlia who had been brought to the capital as one of the ‘gathered’.”

6)  Muller, Herbert Joseph (1961). The Loom of History. New American Library. p. 439. According to Herbert J. Muller Sinan “seems to have been an Armenian —though it is almost a criminal offense in Turkey today to mention this probability.”

7) Decree published in the Turkish journal Türk Tarihi Encümeni Mecmuası, vol. 1, no. 5 (June 1930-May 1931) p. 10.  affirms his Armenian background. This decree by Selim II dated Ramadan 7 981 (ca. Dec. 30, 1573), grants Sinan’s request to forgive and spare his relatives from the general exile of Kayseri’s Armenian community to the island of Cyprus.

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Tigran Khzmalyan

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