Located in the eastern end of Turkey, Agri’s Dogubeyazit district, Ishak Pasha Palace has defied time for more than 200 years.
The palace is one of the rare examples of Ottoman palace structures after the Topkapi and Dolmabahce palaces in Istanbul. Considered a “kulliye,” or social complex, rather than a palace, the building is the last monumental structure that was built in the famous Tulip Era of the Ottoman Empire in the 18th century. The construction of Ishak Pasha Palace commenced in 1685 by Dogubeyazit flag officer Colak Abdi Pasha, however, the palace could only be completed in 1784 with the efforts of Cildır Governor Ishak Pasha.Regarded as one of the masterpieces of the Ottoman era, the palace bears traces of Ottoman, Seljuk and Farsi architecture, which is not surprising given the fact that the construction of the building took 99 years and during this period various cultures and historical figures affected the aesthetic taste on the Ottoman lands. Composed of two different yards covering an area of 7,600 square meters, the palace was built with great efforts as there was no construction technology back then. The palace was built with white stones from neighbouring villages and black stones from Mount Ararat which were carried on animal backs. The walls of the palace which were constructed with cut stones are decorated with both Quranic and poetic verses.
Similar to most of the monumental buildings, there have always been rumours about the Ishak Pasha Palace. Rumour has it that the dungeons of the palace play light games on people. Hence, the guards choose a dungeon with more light or less, depending on the severity of the inmate’s crime. It is also claimed that the milk produced by the villagers nearby was delivered to the palace via a complex underground system and the milk was then poured through the palace fountains.
Aside from legends, rumours and the historic importance of the building, Ishak Pasha Palace which is 100 kilometres from Agri’s city centre attracts thousands of tourists every year thanks to its eagle nest-like position. While the place fascinates visitors with colourful flowers in its gardens during the spring, Ishak Pasha Palace also amazes tourists with its magnificence in winter. It has been reported that the palace attracted 57,541 local and foreign tourists between January and November.
Speaking to the press, Provincial Culture and Tourism Director Muhsin Bulut informed that the cold weather has no impact on the number of visitors coming to Dogubeyazit to see the palace. “Although it is minus 10 degrees Celsius outside, our visitors are able to tour every section of the palace thanks to the latest restoration undertaken by the Culture and Tourism Ministry,” Bulut said. He further noted that the roof of the palace has been covered with tampered glass to prevent rain or snow from accumulating inside the palace. “The snow which is accumulated on the tampered glass melts within two days and is disposed of outside the palace,” he added.
Bulut invited everybody to Dogubeyazit to see Ishak Pasha Palace and concluded by saying: “Those who come to Agri can also turn their trip into a small tour by paying a visit to the nearby provinces of Kars, Ardahan and Igdir. Considering the tough times we have been going through as a nation, we need to get to know our ancient civilization better. We need to attach greater importance to the values that make us who we are. I advised those living in the western provinces to travel to the eastern parts of the Turkey as the people residing in the eastern provinces to travel to western Turkey. I believe that we should launch a campaign to revive domestic tourism.”
Source: Daily Sabah