beautiful terraced gardens behind Beylerbeyi
Palace used to be known as the Gardens of the
Cross because of a cross erected here by Constantine
the Great. I stood beside the large pool that
belonged to the earlier palace on the same site.
From Byzantine times onwards numerous magnificent
buildings were constructed here, enhancing the
beauty of nature with that of architecture.
The sun shone brightly and a gentle breeze was
blowing, carrying the salty tang of the Bosphorus
waves. A group of Turkish and foreign tourists
arrived. They had just finished a guided tour
of the two parts of the palace - the private
harem and the state apartments - and seen the
three halls, six reception rooms and some at
least of the 26 smaller rooms on the three storeys.
They had walked over the rush matting from Egypt
that covers the floors of this summer palace,
and seen the enormous carpets made in Hereke,
kilims, Bohemian crystal chandeliers, French
clocks, Yildiz porcelain vases, Chinese and
Japanese porcelain, furniture carved with kufi
inscriptions, sweeping staircases, richly decorated