Bebek Garden (MEGT)
Istanbul, Türkiye
This was one of the most important and most beautiful gardens along the Bosphorus. Evliya Çelebi summarizes it as follows: When Murad IV was deposed in 1631, the commander of the Janissaries, Hasan Halife, was torn to pieces and his garden at Bebek was appropriated by the state. Beyond this was Bebek Garden, frequented by the sultan. Selim had a house here but it was more like a lodge. There were, however, large cypress trees here. Beyond this was Deli Hüseyin Paşa Garden, which belonged to the sultan. This was full of pistachio trees. At a place called Kayalar, there were 45 dwellings and the two-storied Sıdkı Efendi Mosque. Beneath this, the sweet water from a spring ran down over the rocks. . . . The foundations of an old monastery could be seen on the raised ground between Arnavutköy and Bebek. As the currents along the shore were very strong, many ships sank there. Ropes were thrown from Akıntıburnu to help sinking ships and boats (Seyahatnâmesi, 1:135a–136a).
İnciciyan, writing in the eighteenth century, provides the following description: Bebek Garden, which stretched for more than a mile along the shore, was later abandoned and neglected, becoming a place for drunkards and vagabonds to sleep. At last, İbrahim Paşa, grand vizier to Ahmed III, had the place cleared and built a palace, a hamam, a mosque, and a market here. Later, he sold the area up to the house of Hasan Halife, and Greeks, Armenians, Jews, and Turks built houses and gardens there. In 1725, the grand vizier gave this place the alternative name of Hümayunabad (XVIII. asırda İstanbul, 161–62). İnciciyan says that this place, which had beautiful views of the straits, was once an area for imperial palaces but that it was later abandoned as not being large enough. In 1793, Abdülhamid I had a palace built here for his daughter.
Helmuth von Moltke the Elder describes the garden in the middle of the nineteenth century: It was very pleasant to stroll along the length of the shore by the bay of Bebek. Here there were magnificent plane trees and a pretty mosque and a pavilion belonging to the sultan (Mektuplar, 41). He goes on to say that many high-ranking officials lived in Bebek, including his friend, the chief physician. Many documents show that Bebek Garden was the scene of many diplomatic meetings at the end of the eighteenth century and beginning of the nineteenth, including between the Ottoman empire and Poland (1789–1806), Austria (1792), Venice (1792), Russian (1791–1795), England (1792–1806), Prussia (1789–1798).
The text for this entry is adapted from Nurhan Atasoy, Garden for the Sultan, 302–3.

Sources: Travel Account, 17th century | Travel Account, 18th century | Travel Account, 19th century | Travel Account, 18th–19th century

-Nurhan Atasoy, Yücel Dağli


Evliya Çelebi Seyahatnâmesi: Topkapı Sarayı Bağdat 304 Yazmasının transkripsiyonu (Open in Zotero)

A Garden for the Sultan: Gardens and Flowers in the Ottoman Culture (Open in Zotero)

XVIII. asırda İstanbul (Open in Zotero)

Türkiyeʾdeki durum ve olaylar üzerine mektuplar, 1835-1839 (Open in Zotero)

Originally published at: Atasoy, Nurhan, and Yücel Dağli. “Bebek Garden.” Middle East Garden Tradition. Dumbarton Oaks, November 24, 2014. Archived at:

Istanbul, Türkiye
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Dates of attested life: 17th century- 19th century
Date of entry of information: August 2007
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Bebek Garden
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