Yıldız Şale Köşkü (“Star Chalet Kiosk”) is a 60-room Ottoman imperial palace of wood and stone built at the top of a hill in Yıldız Parkı overlooking the Bosphorus in the Beşiktaş district of Istanbul (map).
It is the residential part of a larger palace complex that included administrative offices and guards’ barracks.
Begun on orders of Sultan Abdul Hamid II in 1880, it reached its final form in 1898 after several expansions.
|Kaiser Wilhelm II’s Ceremonial Room, a vast space with the largest silk Hereke carpet in existence.|
It was intended as a residence for visiting royalty and heads of state, and that it was, hosting Kaiser Wilhelm II, its first and principal intended guest, on several occasions, and thereafter such luminaries as General Charles de Gaulle, Iran’s Reza Shah Palavi, and even US President Bill Clinton.
Abdul Hamid himself, fearful of assassination attempts, took up residence here later in his reign and reigned over the vast but crumbling Ottoman Empire from the safety within its high walls and remote location.
—by Tom Brosnahan