Gifts that were sent to Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamit II from Turkey and abroad on the 25th year of his accession to the throne have gone on display at Yildiz Palace.
Boasting artifacts from all over the world, a new exhibition has opened in Istanbul showcasing the gifts received Sultan Abdülhamit II, one of the most controversial figures in the late Ottoman Empire.
The “Enthronement Gifts” collection at Istanbul’s Yildiz Palace Museum features 18 valuable gifts that were sent to the sultan on his 25th silver jubilee in 1901.
The exhibition, opened in the Kaskat Mansion inside the palace, tells the story of enthronement gifts in an epic way and also sheds light on an important era in the Ottoman era.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Culture and Tourism Minister Ömer Çelik said such exhibitions also had a political dimension, as well as artistic and cultural dimensions. “It gives us an opportunity to refresh our memory.”
One of the attendees of the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s wife, Sare Davutoğlu, said the gifts sent to the sultan showed the power of an empire even at a time of dissolution.
She said the sultan was also known for his reconstruction activities in Istanbul and other parts of the empire.
“Many buildings, including the Sirkeci and Haydarpaşa train stations and the Darülaceze [almshouse] reminds us of Sultan Abdülhamit every day we pass by. The other buildings built in various places such as schools, hospitals, government office and others show us his vision,” she said.
Haydarpaşa is currently at the center of a wrangle in which developers are attempting to convert the train station into a hotel as part of a larger, insatiable drive to maximize profits from Istanbul’s valuable real estate.
The exhibition of Enthronement Gifts will continue through October 17.