Amasya, an ancient center of culture and science, continued to be so under the Ottomans and always attracted the special interest of the sultans. Bayezid, the son of Mehmed II, was governor here before he became sultan. Süleyman I stayed here on several occasions and Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq, when he set out on his Persian campaign, was received here as an emissary from King Ferdinand I. In addition, both Murad II and Selim I were born here.
The palace of the Ottoman princes was on the right bank of the Yeşilırmak River. This palace, known as the Beyler Palace, consisted of separate quarters for men and women, three large apartments for the eunuchs, two hamams, and two kitchens, all of which was surrounded by a high wall. There were also two gardens, each with a large pool. Following an earthquake in 1825, it fell into complete ruin.
A directive sent during the reign of Süleyman I to the chief judge of Amasya reveals testifies to the presence there of imperial gardens and orchards, the profit from the sale of flowers and fruit from which went to the sultan. A document dated 962 AH/1554 provides details of this and shows that the flowers and fruit raised in the imperial gardens brought in an income of three akçes a day, which was to be given to Mahmud, a servant in the royal household, and not to anyone else.
Evliya Çelebi stresses the beauty of the gardens in his description of the development of Amasya under the Ottomans: Amasya was conquered in 1392 during the reign of Yıldırım Bayezid, who made it his capital. Two palaces with gardens were built for the sultan. A sumptuous palace with splendid mansions was constructed in a garden bordering the river and containing a wealth of roses, hyacinths, and sweet basil. This garden was cared for by an expert head gardener and fifty gardeners with yellow caps. The inner castle contained the palace of Sultan Bayezid and his attendant officials (Seyahatnâmesi, 2:280a–b).
The text for this entry is adapted from Nurhan Atasoy, Garden for the Sultan, 238–39.
Source: Travel Account, 16th century | Travel Account, 17th century.
-Nurhan Atasoy, Seyit Ali Kahraman
Evliya Çelebi Seyahatnâmesi: Topkapı Sarayı Bağdat 304 Yazmasının transkripsiyonu (Open in Zotero)
A Garden for the Sultan: Gardens and Flowers in the Ottoman Culture (Open in Zotero)
Originally published at: Atasoy, Nurhan, and Seyit Ali Kahraman “Amasya Palace Gardens.” 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.