The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 3: European Gardens (500AD-1850)

Garden designs on the Bosphorus

Previous - Next

532. There are numerous villas on the banks of the Bosphorus, on the Thracian border of the strait, and from Tophana there is a succession of villages, or rather streets of wooden houses, skirting the water's edge, the intervals between which are occupied with royal palaces and their surrounding domains. The Bosphorus receives thirty rivers, and has fifty valleys. The banks are every where high, and their declivities above the dwellings are covered with wood, interspersed with vineyards and hanging gardens. Beyond the village of Fondonkle are the gardens of Dolma Baktche, or the Kiosque of Melons. Many of the serais and summer-houses have rather fantastic names; one is the Pearl Pavilion; another, the Star Palace; and a third, the Mansion of Looking-glasses. The imperial palace, beyond Dolma Baktche, at the village of Beshik-Tash, is also a favourite retreat of the grand signior. The white panels, and coloured pents with gilded lattices, are, however, of a character more suitable to every surrounding object, than the domes and colonnades which an European taste might have substituted for them. (Ibid., p. 863.) Behind the point anciently called Herï¾µum, are some gardens, at the back of which is a raised terrace, overshadowed by tall venerable trees, and containing two reservoirs of water about four feet deep, with a jet playing in the midst of each. One of these is used as a bath, and is made private by a canvass screen or curtain. They are the remains of the baths of Justinian. The grove of Fanar Baktchesi is one of the many resorts of the Franks, Greeks, and Turks of the capital (Ibid., p. 880.)