Tokad Garden and Beykoz Pavilion (MEGT)
Istanbul, Türkiye
Evliya Çelebi (Seyahatnâmesi, 1:139b) says that Tokad Garden was made in 1458 when Tokad Kalesi was conquered, and that it belonged to Mehmed II. Apparently, Mehmed II was hunting in the forest inland from Beykoz İskelesi, when he heard the news that Mahmud Paşa had taken Tokad Kalesi. He was so pleased that he said, “Be quick. Make me a garden here and call it Tokad Garden and build a hunting lodge here and surround it with walls like those of Tokad to protect it from wild animals.” This lodge was all on a single floor with a pool and a şadırvan. The water from the fountain in the pool would spring up into the air as though to hit the gilded roof of the dome above it. There was a master gardener with a hundred gardeners under him. Since the terrain was mountainous and wooded, the sultan often came here to hunt and Evliya Çelebi records how he watched the sultan pressing the hunt hard. He also says that Murad IV often came here to enjoy himself by walking around and playing jereed on the green grass.
Eremya Çelebi (XVII. asırda İstanbul, 46) says that Süleyman I also enjoyed this favorite hunting ground of the sultans. One of the important men of his time, Celalzade Mustafa, describes how, in 1523, when he was with the sultan preparing to go to the area of Yalova and İznik to hunt, they came to Beykoz Yaylası. Celalzade says that even in the fall there were still tulips and that the grass was green.
An entry in account books from 1564 records repairs to the imperial garden. The ones relating to building work and repairs at Beykoz Garden talk of a new hamam and water system, repairs to the gardeners’ hamam and the watermill, to the gardeners’ and pages’ quarters, and to the nearby palace of Tokad. Beykoz Garden and Tokad Garden are also mentioned in accounts for equipment supplied and repair work done in 1580.
Antoine Galland mentions going to Beykoz Hünkar İskelesi with the French ambassador in 1673. He describes it as a pleasant place where a grassy meadow invited one to relax in the shade of oak, plane, cypress, beech, linden, elm, ash, and many other trees. A stream of water as thick as one's arm could be seen flowing from a fountain near a beautiful stream and a linden tree with a magnificent large trunk.
After saying that the ambassador was invited in the evening by the head gardener to rest at the palace called Beykoz in the vicinity of Tokad, three quarters of an hour away from Hünkar İskelesi, he gives some information about this place: One reaches this along a level valley with hills on either side. The heights are covered with trees but are not very steep so delight the eyes. The palace is at the end of the valley and always shaded by the trees which surround it. There were many rare trees here, one of the rarest being a chestnut tree from India. From the trunk, which could scarcely be encompassed by three men linking arms, sprang four large branches which in turn gave forth branches to such a great height that it was impossible to see the upper branches. In spite of belonging to the sultan the building was neither beautiful nor impressive. For our visit a covered room was used and another one, called a köşk in Turkish, the further side of which was open. In the middle of the room was a pool with a fountain and sixteen taps from which flowed streams of water as thick as one's finger.
Galland came here again the next day with the ambassador and describes the possibilities for hunting: When we got to Tokad we thought it even more beautiful than the previous day and were struck with amazement at the number and size of the trees. Meanwhile a number of men were discussing the possibilities for hunting in the area and spying out the land. The gardeners said there were a number of wild boar around which did great damage to the gardens. The steward showed His Excellency the palace which, like like many others, had not been used for so long that many of the mattresses and cushions were ragged and torn . . . (İstanbul’a ait günlük hâtıralar, 89–92).
In 1833, a monument commemorating the pact signed with Russia against Egypt was put up at Selvi Burnu near Beykoz Hünkar İskelesi. Later, when the governor of Egypt had renewed diplomatic relations and wished to wipe out the memory of this column by erecting a larger monument, he obtained permission to build Beykoz Kasrı for the sultan. The wooded park stretching from the palace down to the sea was laid out with great care. However, nothing remains here of the former buildings. The nineteenth-century garden still exists.
The text for this entry is adapted from N. Atasoy, Garden for the Sultan, 326–28.

Source: Travel Account, 17th century

-Nurhan Atasoy, Seyit Ali Kahraman


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

İstanbul tarihi: XVII. asırda İstanbul (Open in Zotero)

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

İstanbul’a ait günlük hâtıralar (1672–1673) (Open in Zotero)

Originally published at: Atasoy, Nurhan, and Seyit Ali Kahraman “ Tokad Garden and Beykoz Pavilion.” Middle East Gardens Traditions. Dumbarton Oaks, December 1, 2014. Archived at:

Istanbul, Türkiye
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Date of entry of information: August 2007
Century/Date of creation: 1458
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Tokad Garden and Beykoz Pavilion