Tersane Garden (MEGT)
Istanbul, Türkiye
Tersane Garden, which was later incorporated into Aynalıkavak Garden, was first made during the reign of Mehmed II, who also constructed the Tersane Köşk here. It had hothouses where vegetables and the best kinds of fruit, such as lemons, oranges, citron, pomegranates, grapes, peaches, and apricots, were grown. Details of income gained from the private gardens can be found in a document from 1580 concerning repairs and other expenses of Tersane Garden.
Evliya Çelebi summarizes the information about Tersane Garden: Tersane Garden, the sultan’s private garden on the shore near Hasköy, was formerly a royal vineyard in the time of the infidel sovereigns. After the conquest, Mehmed II, who first set up his tent here and divided up the spoils of war among his commanders, liked the place and gave orders for a garden to be built here with kiosks, pools, and fountains. One could faint from the sweetness of the scent from the twelve thousand cypress trees laid out in a chessboard pattern here. The garden was adorned with thousands of fruit-trees, plane trees, weeping willows, box and pistachio trees, which shaded it from the sun. Fountains gushed with water night and day like springs in the Garden of Eden. The songs of nightingales and birds were food for the soul. Of the fruit, the juicy apricots and peaches were especially praised (Seyahatnâmesi, 1:124b). Eremya Çelebi (XVII. asırda İstanbul, 251–52) repeats this information.
Evliya Çelebi states further:
Mehmed Han built such a paradisiacal köşk on the shores of the Golden Horn one might think it was set in the Garden of Eden. . . . A master gardener and three hundred helpers look after it. . . .
Mehmed II had an imperial boat-house and boats built here. Whenever the sultan wished to go to his new palace or one of the others, he would sit on a jeweled throne in his roofed cabin in the stern of his swallow-swift caïque and, accompanied by the music of pipe and drum, would set out along the Goden Horn. He would go wherever he wanted, observing the many-storied waterside mansions, the vineyards, gardens, and shipyards. There was an imperial stable at Tersane Garden and there the sultan would mount his Arabian horse and ride to play jereed or polo at Okmeydanı to the north of the garden. (Seyahatnâmesi, 1:124b)
Concerning the cypresses here, Evliya Çelebi states that, following the conquest of Istanbul, Akşemseddin underwent forty days of penance here, praying for those who had died on active service during the siege. Mehmed II planted seven cypresses here with his own hands and Akşemseddin planted one; the latter Akşemseddin, Evliya recounts, went into rapture after planting this cypress near the Çimşirlik pool.
Tersane Garden is depicted in the Gaznevî Album of 1676 (ÏÜK T. 5461, 25v) with its cypress trees, and Aynalıkavak Kasrı with the imperial apartments by the shore and other buildings.
The mansion built here by Süleyman I had a beautiful garden situated in a cypress grove. Selim I and Ahmed I also had houses built on the grounds of Tersane Garden, the latter among the enormous cypress trees. Many people came here to stroll among the orchards and cypress groves along the Golden Horn. According to Eremya Çelebi (XVII. asırda İstanbul, 251–52), the garden was adorned with flowers of every color. Murad IV and Sultan Ibrahim, who was born here, built imposing waterside residences here.
Mustafa Naimi, a historian of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, says that, because the gardens at Tersane Garden were on a slope, the head gardeners of the orchard of the inner harem garden went as far as to consult the müfti and viziers as to the best location to plant the most important of the many plants collected for the garden. He supplies this information about the garden at the time when the mansion was being built. This mansion burned down in 1676 and was repaired by Mehmed IV. The building was extended in 1726 by Ahmed III in order to accommodate the whole of his harem. It received its name, Aynalıkavak, from the mirrors brought from Venice and installed at that time.
Mahmud Gaznevî’s work is mainly concerned with Aynalıkavak, and he mentions that Mehmed the Hunter was also fond of the palace and garden here. In the reign of Ahmed III, the palace and mansions were put to great use and the furniture was renewed and new equipment bought for this and other gardens.
In 1736, according to a letter written by Mehmed, the chief architect to the sultan, concerning repairs to the wall between the harem apartments and the Ağas’ apartments, extensive repairs were undertaken to the palace at Tersane Garden during the reign of Mahmud I. Repairs to the Hasbahçe Köşk were undertaken between 1791 and 1797. When the shipyards were extended in 1805, the palace buildings along the shore, which were in ruins, were pulled down. An 1806 document concerning gardeners’ wages points out that work was being done in the garden. Further, two documents from the reign of Mahmud II concerning gardeners’ wages show that there were hothouses here at that time. During the reigns of both Abdülmecid and Abdülhamid II, use was made of the fruit and vegetable raised in these gardens.
 The text for this entry is adapted from Nurhan Atasoy, Garden for the Sultan, 286–90.

Source: Travel Account, 17th century | Court Chronicle, 17th century | Unknown, 17th century

-Nurhan Atasoy, Seyit Ali Kahraman


Evliya Çelebi Seyahatnâmesi: Topkapı Sarayı Bağdat 304 Yazmasının transkripsiyonu (Open in Zotero)

İstanbul tarihi: XVII. asırda İstanbul (Open in Zotero)

Naîmâ Tarihi (Open in Zotero)

A Garden for the Sultan: Gardens and Flowers in the Ottoman Culture (Open in Zotero)

Gaznevi Album T. 5461 (Open in Zotero)

Originally published at: Atasoy, Nurhan, and Seyit Ali Kahraman “ Tersane Garden.” Middle East Gardens Traditions. Dumbarton Oaks, December 1, 2014. https://www.doaks.org/resources/middle-east-garden-traditions/catalogue/C98. Archived at: https://perma.cc/5UDZ-R9BM.

Istanbul, Türkiye
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Dates of attested life: 1453- mid 19th century
Date of entry of information: August 2007
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Tersane Garden
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