Manisa Palace Garden

 
Catalogue
Ottoman Gardens
City
Manisa
Country
Turkey
Dates
15th century 1856
Authors
Nurhan Atasoy;
Seyit Ali Kahraman

Description

Until 1595, when this custom was discontinued and the princes became prisoners of the palace, princes were traditionally sent with their tutors to one of the provinces, including Manisa, in order to learn the art of governing, which was like a finishing school for them. When Manisa ceased to be a princely fief in 1595, even though 200 gardeners were detailed to look after the garden, it fell to ruin through disuse. In spite of measures taken in the nineteenth century, it could not be prevented from final decay and the property was sold in 1856.

In Talîkîzâde’s 1595 work entitled Şemâilnâme-i Âl-i Osman, a double-page miniature (Topkapı Sarayı Müzesi TSM A3592, 10b11a) gives a plan of the important buildings of the city of Manisa, with the walls of Manisa Palace occupying a central position. The names of the buildings depicted in this miniature are reminiscent of those at Topkapı Palace. At the bottom is a wall with a row of windows and an arched gate, the Bab-ı Hümayun, which gives access to the first courtyard. On the left-hand side of the first courtyard a wall separating the courtyard from the harem, with the two-story gate to the harem depicted at the intersection of the harm wall with the external wall. Behind the harem is an arched gate giving access to the harem garden, which has a fountain in the middle of a courtyard surrounded by a colonnade.

At the right-hand side of the first courtyard is a small garden with two cypress trees surrounded by a red fence. This may be the infirmary. At the back of the first courtyard, opposite the Bab-ı Hümayun, is a gate giving access to the second courtyard. The tall building with red lattices, which appears to be directly above the gate is the Kasr-ı Adl (Tower of Justice). On either side of this are tall buildings with chimneys. In the garden behind this are different kinds of trees: cypress and trees full of blossom are pictured. This garden-courtyard is delimited by a high white wall with buttresses. The palace garden is said to have covered eight acres.

Describing Manisa, Evliya Çelebi dwelt on the palace garden in particular. The place he describes is not the now derelict remains of Manisa Palace, which is said to be the palace of the princes, but the old Hünkar Garden: This, situated to the north of the city, is indeed a place worth seeing. It encompasses 3,500 paces and is surrounded by a brick wall. It produces seven loads of green barley a year. However hard one tries to describe the dwellings, courtyard fountains, jets of water, and flowers of this garden, the whole can never be told. In this paradisiacal garden the number of poplars, planes, cypresses, and willows is uncountable. An open-air prayer area adjoins this garden.

He also describes the flowers of the area: At the time when the princes were governors here, they would enjoy themselves in these summer pastures for five or six months. Historians of this place call it Süseni Diraz Yaylası. There are indeed very tall irises here, whose delightful fragrance fills one’s brain with perfume. . . . Its tulips are famous and loved for their beauty in spite of having no scent. Çelebi Hoca paid ten kuruş for a Manisa tulip bulb. They do not grow tall like the Monla Çelebi tulips but are of a pretty scarlet color with a texture like moire silk or velvet (Seyahatnâmesi, 9:33a). This must be the Manisa tulip of later fame.

 


The text for this entry is adapted from Nurhan Atasoy, Garden for the Sultan, 236–39.

 

Source

  • Travel Account, 16th century
Catalogue
Ottoman Gardens
City
Manisa
Country
Turkey
Dates
15th century 1856
Authors
Nurhan Atasoy;
Seyit Ali Kahraman