Yildiz Palace and its environment which witnessed the late years of the Ottoman Empire was once the centre of politics and bureaucracy. Today, Yildiz Technical University which is named after its neighbourhood uses the remaining buildings of the palace in one part of the garden of the Yildiz Palace. This historic fabric having hosted sultans, their wives and children and other palace servants in the past is the education and working place of our students and university members today. Yildiz Technical University history dates back to 22 August 1911 with the foundation of the Conductors (technicians) School. Our university has been formed by growing under different names in time. The Conductors School, founded as a dependant of Nafia Nazareti (the Ministry of Public Works), was founded in order to meet the need for technicians of the public works of the province. The period of education was two years. However, since not possessing a building, the school had to move several times. [1] Conductors School first started education in the building which is now hosting the Health Museum in Sultanahmet. When the building had to be emptied in order to be used as a hospital during the Balkan War in 1913, Conductors School moved to a mansion in Sehremini. The Conductors School which operated its training activities in the buildings of various neighbourhoods of Istanbul was converted into the School of Public Works in 1922 and moved to a part of the Gumussuyu Barracks where the Engineering School was. In 1924, the School of Public Works was turned into a public boarding school. The School of Public Works constantly having to move because of building problems continued education in the Memduh Pasa Pavilion in Kurucesme between 1935 and 1937. In 1937, the Yildiz Technical School period started upon the abrogation of the School of Public Works and moved to the buildings in the garden of the Yildiz Palace. [2] Today, the historical buildings in the garden of the palace is used by different units of our university. 


In the garden of the palace are pavilions of sultans’ sons and wives.  These buildings are usually two-floored and made of stone. [3] The Cukursaray building where the Graduate School of Social Sciences is placed is also one of the sultan’s wife pavilions. However, the information about the Cukursaray varies in different resources.   It is claimed that Sultan Abdulmecid had a pavilion called Cukursaray built in 1846-1847 and placed his mistress Yildiz. [4] In another resource, the painting of the Ihlamur Summer Palace which is found in of its rooms confirms the hypothesis that it was built after 1856. Besides, a ribbon pattern which is seen in the ceiling of another room is also found in the ceremony hall of the Şale Pavilion built in the Abdulhamid II period. Based on this clue, we may claim that both Cukursaray and the Şale Pavilion were made by the same constructor and thus the Cukursaray is a pavilion built in the Hamidian period.  The Cukursaray having left its mark on Yildiz Palace and being home to Sultan Abdul Hamid II’s daughters and sisters who are virtually identified with the palace has the feature of 19th century architecture. The building is a very humble structure of rectangular shape and composed of rooms that open to the aisle. The first floor of the building consisting of basement, entrance and first floors is parted in three by a long aisle and doors. Two baths are in the beginning and end of the aisle. The bathtub and basins are made of marble. The Cukursaray building served as the dormitory of the university and the basement was used as the dining room. [5] After that, it was used as the administrative building of the Istanbul State Architecture and Engineering Academy until 1983. Since 1985 the Graduate School of Social Sciences has carried on its works.


[1] Faik Resit Unat, Türkiye Eğitim Sisteminin Gelişmesine Tarihi Bir Bakış, Ankara 1964, p. 80     Also see . Emre Dölen, “Yildiz Technical University” İstanbul Encyclopaedia, v.VII, p. 527-529

[2] Emre Dölen, “Yildiz Technical University” İstanbul Encyclopaedia, v.VII, p. 527-529

[3] Afife Batur , “Yildiz Palace” İstanbul Encyclopaedia, v.VII, p. 524

[4] Şenay Arifzade, “Palace Baths” TBMM National Palaces Symposium Papers, Istanbul 1985, p.132.

[5] Hakime Esra Görgülü, Yıldız Teknik Üniversitesi (Yıldız Sarayı) Çukursaray Yapısı Koruma ve Restorasyonu Üzerine Bir Araştırma, Master’s Thesis, Architecture Department, Graduate School of Natural and Applied Sciences, YTU, p.38-50