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BEYOĞLU GUIDE

German Palace (Consulate)

After the French built and independent embassy building in Beyoğlu in 1553, the embassies of other countries, too, started to settle into buildings in Galata and Pera. These embassy buildings, which were mostly wooden, have been burnt and rebuilt many times.
Designed by Hubert Goebbels who was commissioned in the autumn of 1870 just as construction was to be started in the spring of 1872 on Yazıcı Road, the new ambassador Von Radowitz has suspended the project arguing that the location was inconvenient and has started a search for a new piece of land. And hence, a rather large lot next to the big Muslim Cemetery in Ayazpaşa was purchased for 95,000 gold marks.
A portion of the purchased land comprised cemetery lots, hence, graves were moved with special permission; however, the tombs of historian Silahdar Mehmed Ağa from Fındıklı and his family were left intact upon their request. Along the reasons why the Germans opted for this location was that there wasn’t a large enough lot in the well known congestion of Pera and also the exceptional view of the lot in the direction of the Bosphorus and Marmara.
Due to budget restraints and lack of time, it was decided that the plans prepared by Goebbels for Yazıcı Road should be implemented. Architect Kortum, who was commissioned in his place upon Goebbels’s death, has had the building completed at great speed. The official opening of the building was done at the end of 1877.
The embassy known to be influenced by the public buildings in Berlin which was the scene of a broad construction activity in those years as regards format and volume characteristics, is perceived as a four-storey mass looking from the street. As the middle sections of the two sides and sea façades are emphasized as projections, German eagles with wings spread wide were placed on the roof at eight corners; hence the building has started to be called the “Bird Palace” by layman.
Since the lot is steeply sloped in the direction of the sea, terracing has become necessary in addition to two basement floors.
The building has become distinct with its cumbersome mass of very large scale among the texture around the embassy comprising wooden houses and konaks. No expense was spared in the interior decoration of the German Palace for which building materials and most of the tradesmen were brought from abroad.
As a result of the repairs carried out on various dates, the original façades of the building have been altered a lot (in the 1924 repair, roof eagles were removed and never been replaced). As a result of a large scale restoration carried out in late 1980s, the original format was restored and the interior decoration was made contemporary.
Since all embassies moved to Ankara in the Republic period, presently the building is used as the German Consulate.

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