The new visual culture in eighteenth-century Istanbul: building up new shore kiosks and gardens on the outskirts of the royal palace


MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES, vol.56, no.2, pp.165-192, 2020 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 56 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/00263206.2019.1686361
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Geobase, Historical Abstracts, Index Islamicus, Jewish Studies Source, Linguistic Bibliography, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, PAIS International, Political Science Complete, Public Affairs Index, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.165-192
  • Keywords: Topkapi Palace complex in Istanbul, Istanbul in the eighteenth century, visual culture, seaside palace, summer harem, Ottoman residential architecture
  • Abdullah Gül University Affiliated: Yes


This article examines the construction and expansion of a less-known royal shore kiosk complex in Istanbul, namely the Shore Palace near the Cannon Gate (Topkapisi Sahil Sarayi) or Summer Harem, which was built on the outskirts of the royal palace complex in the eighteenth century, to interpret the changing features of royal residential culture and spatial practices. In this article, I aim to propose a new thematic frame based on the central role of the issue of visuality to examine the shifting cultural paradigm of eighteenth-century royal patronage. The eighteenth century witnessed the physical expansion of the complex and renovation of the furnishings several times and the official records of these activities provide us with invaluable information for the visual construction of these buildings, which were torn down after a devastating fire in 1862. Furthermore, the choice of location and all physical changes in the interiors and gardens demonstrate the spatial results of the changing codes of visual culture in the cityscape. In this respect, examination of this case enables us to discuss how the new visual culture was adopted and exercised in and around the royal palace gardens by the royal court members.