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New perspectives to save cultural heritage
Altan, M. Orhan

Yegan Kahya *, Kani Kuzucular, Nilüfer B.Yöney, Ay§egül Özer.
Istanbul Technical University, Faculty of Architecture, Dept.of Restoration, Ta§ki?la 80191 Taksim Istanbul, Turkey.
kahya@itu.edu.tr, kuzucu@itu.edu.tr, niluferb@superonline.com, ozeraysegul@hotmail.com
KEY WORDS: architecture, building, research; architectural heritage conservation, surveying and mapping; photographic
recording and documentation; architectural documentation and damage assessment, post-disaster conservation
Sultan Abdiilaziz Imperial Hunting Lodge was built in the second half of 19 th century during the construction of the Anatolian-
Balkan Railway, which played an important role in the urban development of izmit. This imperial lodge outside the capital city
might have been constructed on the foundations of a former palace built during the reign of Murat IV. Due to its location above the
izmit Gulf, it has become one of the most important elements of the urbanscape. Witnessing important turning points in the history
of the city, the lodge has been used as the centre of local government and then as a museum. It has been effected by a number of
major earthquakes due to its location on the North Anatolian Fault, and following its latest restoration in 1998, it suffered great
damage during the Kocaeli earthquake of August 17, 1999. The damage was further aggravated as the building had not been well
maintained, had been the subject of inappropriate repair interventions and left exposed to the effects of climatic conditions.
In order to decide on the type, method and techniques of intervention necessary, the level of damage needed to be studied and
documented in detail. Various types of deformation and deterioration visible on the building were documented with traditional
methods, and the data obtained enabled the definition of appropriate interventions at these points. This paper aims to present the
architectural, structural and material characteristics and the post-earthquake structural problems of a formerly unpublished building
designed by the Balyan Family through its architectural documentation and damage assessment.
Figure 1. Panoramic view of Izmit at 1910
Sultan Abdiilaziz Imperial Hunting Lodge, also known as the
“Izmit Lodge” or the “Imperial Lodge” is located within a large
garden surrounded by high retaining walls on a hill overlooking
the Gulf of Izmit. According to various sources, another smaller
structure, known as the “Small Palace” and constructed during
the reign of Murat IV (1623-1640) was also located in this area.
Evliya (^elebi (1314H), who came to izmit in 1650 described
this building, which was destroyed in an earthquake at a later
date (Yiicel, 1980): “... one of the best ordered of the great
palaces is that of the conqueror of Baghdad, Sultan Murad the
Fourth; this is a large palace in a garden. It is not possible to
describe all of its characteristics or beauty. It is used by the
royal family. About two hundred Bostanci (gardener) soldiers
are employed in its gardens.” 1 Evliya (1314H) also stated that
there was an arsenal next to the palace 2 , which indicates that it
was probably located at the same location or very close to the
present building.
The existing Hunting Lodge dates from the 19 th century and
was probably constructed for Sultan Abdiilaziz, who was
1 "...mukellef saraylarin en muntazami, Bagdat fatihi Dorduncu Murad
Han sarayidir ki. bag ve bahgeli bir btiyiik saraydir. Vasfinda lisan
kisirdir. Halen padigahlara mahsustur. Bahge iistadi, ikiyuz kadar
Bostanci neferi vardir... ”.
2 “...Himkar sarayi yaninda Tersane-i Amiresi vardir... ”
expected to come to izmit to stay for a few days for the
inauguration of Haydarpa?a-izmit Railroad (Arar 1997; Yiicel
1980). However this railroad, the construction of which began
on August 4, 1871 (Anon.A. 1933; Taylan 1936) was
inaugurated by the prime minister of the period, Rii§dii Pa$a, on
May 3, 1873 / 5 Rebiiilevvel 1290 (Inal 1982). The exact date
of construction of the lodge is not known, but the building must
have been completed by 1873. Other sources argue that the
building was constructed during the reign of Mahmut II (1808-
1839) and was reconstructed or completed during the reign of
Sultan Abdiilaziz (1861-1876) (Anon.B. 1963; Darkot 1968;
Oztiire 1981). It was designed by the imperial architect Garabet
Amira Balyan (Tuglaci 1981) and its decorative programme
belonged to the painter and decorator Sepon Bezirciyan
(Pamukciyan 1961), who was promoted to the post of the
imperial decorator (saray nakka.fi or resimciba$i) as a result of
his success here.
The building is visible in panoramic photographs of Izmit taken
in early 20 th century (e.g. by G.Berggren etc.) due to its
prominent location in the urbanscape. It witnessed important
incidents in the history of the city. The first of these was
Ataturk’s visit to the Kocaeli Group on June 18-22, 1922, when
he spent June 18 at the Hunting Lodge. On the following day,
he had an interview with the French author C. Farrere at the
palace garden (Tevhid-i Efkar, June 19, 1922) and made a
historic speech to the citizens of Izmit (Yiicel 1980). During the