Subject: x0x Malta Pavilion
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x0x Malta Pavilion
By HAKAN SOYSAL
Palaces, pavilions and hunting lodges majesty of the Ottoman era.
Exhibiting vestiges of past splendor, these buildings still stand in
all their glory, offering no end of beauty to those who take the time
to visit them.
The Malta Pavilion is one of the most magnificent of all such
buildings. A fascinating example of 19th century architecture, it is
one of five pavilions in the garden of Yildiz Palace. Although the
origin of the name Malta is not known for certain, it is believed to
preserve a tradition of naming palace buildings for conquered
You can reach the pavilion either by strolling amidst the trees and
flowers of Yildiz Park or by winding up the road by car. In either
case a new vista will greet you at every turn. As promised by the
Bosphorus panorama visible from its garden, the two-storey pavilion,
built by architect Sarkis Balyan and his brother, is going to reveal
its true beauty when you step inside. The most salient feature of the
Malta Pavilion is the three-part structure of each of its facades with
a large center section flanked by two smaller.
Three tall, narrow round-arched windows constitute the main elements
of the facade decoration. There are also second-floor balconies on the
side overlooking the water. The waterside entrance of the pavilion,
which has four doors, opens onto a large salon.
THE SOOTHING BURBLE OF THE FOUNTAINS
The circular hall at the entrance is characteristic of Ottoman
building style. Mounting one of the staircases that rise on either
side, if you look up at the ceiling you will see an enormous
chandelier and a dome-shaped ceiling magnificently decorated with
curving branches and clusters of flowers in pomegranate, rose,
jasmine, carnation and tulip motifs. The lower salon, approached down
a delicately worked staircase, boasts a largish, intricately carved
marble pool. A large, covered vase, also of marble, stands in the
center of the pool on a marble base surrounded by four swans. The
cover of the vase is carved with four large, plump dovetailed fish.
Water pouring from a spout in the center of the fishes' tails and from
the mouths of the fish and the swans produces a soothing sound.
Two marble columns extend from floor to ceiling in the passage from
the salon to the hall. Next to these columns are five-tier fountains,
again marble, whose graceful swan figures blend harmoniously with the
pool in the center.
The salon on the upper floor contains a carved marble fireplace worked
with colorful flowers.
Meanwhile the large windows that rise from floor to ceiling afford a
perfect Bosphorus view.
The wall paintings in the Malta Pavilion were influenced by paintings
done by foreign artists in the period of Abdülmecid and by
developments in European architecture. The landscapes in oil exhibit
neo-classical, neo-Islamic and neo-Ottoman elements. Baroque and
rococo stylistic elements inspired by the Napoleonic era, oval
windows, undulating cornices, embedded columns surmounted by tiny
towers, column capitals in the shape of leaves, and curving arches
lend the pavilion an unusual air.
The curving arches have seashells embedded in their keystones.
By embellishing the ceilings of all its salons and chambers with
animal, fruit, vegetal and floral motifs, the architects who decorated
the pavilion underscored the building's use as a hunting lodge and
setting for recreation and picnics.
WITNESS TO POLITICAL INCIDENTS
As a witness to several historic events, the Malta Pavilion is one of
the most important buildings of the Ottoman period. When a raid,
staged by Ali Suavi in 1878 to bring Murad V to the throne, failed,
Abdülhamid detained him in the palace for security reasons.
The Pavilion was next heard of during the trial of Mithat Pasha, which
was held in a tent behind it. The Malta Pavilion then stood empty for
over forty years following the exile of Abdülhamid. Restored between
1979 and 1983 by Çelik Gülersoy, it was turned over to the Turkish
Touring and Automobile Association in 1982 under a protocol signed
with the Istanbul municipality.
'The Malta Pavilion serves visitors today as a cafeteria and
restaurant. You can gaze on the beauties of the Bosphorus as you sip
your tea, and the burble of the fountain will soothe your soul...
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