The Garden Guide

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

Public parks in Istanbul Turkey

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533. Public walks and promenades. The higher classes of females in Constantinople may and do walk in disguise, not only in the Armenian burying-ground, but in the sloping gardens of Dolma Baktche, a mile beyond on the shore of the Bosphorus These gardens are frequented by many parties of ladies, who seat themselves on silken cushions and rich carpets, the furniture of their houses, and view the djerid playing in the flat below, or the humours of a Jewish mountebank under a spreading mulberry tree. A little boy called a Dolop-oglassi, generally accompanies them, and plays on a mandoline, while they are sipping their coffee and sherbet, and attending to the gambols of their infant children. (Hobhouse's Travels in Albania, &c., vol, ii. p. 848.) In the valley of Sweet Waters, near Kiat-Hana, are the pleasure-grounds and kiosque of the sultan Achmet III., which were constructed by a Frenchman on the plan of the gardens at Fontainebleau and Versailles. The river is there converted into a straight canal, running between avenues of tall trees. At the kiosque the stream runs over two flights of marble steps. Near the cascade is a grove of tall trees, which is the resort of parties from Pera and Constantinople. In this garden the French sit taking refreshments, and amusing themselves with the Jew conjurors, &c.; but the Turks generally place themselves in two little lattice-work boxes built as namasgahs, or places of prayer, contemplating the spectacle, which is to be seen on any fine day in the valley of the Sweet Waters. (Hobhouse's Travels in Albania, vol. ii. p. 858.) At Sultanie Baktchesi, near the village of Beicos, are the ruins of a magnificent kiosque, the gardens of which still remain. In the garden belonging to the Tekeh, or dervise's chapel, on the mountain above Magia Bornou, Mr. Hobhouse was shown a flower-bed more than fifty feet long, rimmed round with stone, and having a sculptured turban at each end, which, after having been called the tomb of Amycus, and the bed of Hercules, is still named the Giant's Grave. (Ibid.)