Photograph: Sevinç Gök GürhanPhotograph: Sevinç Gök GürhanPhotograph: Sevinç Gök GürhanPhotograph: Sevinç Gök GürhanPhotograph: Sevinç Gök GürhanPhotograph: Sevinç Gök Gürhan

Name of Monument:

İshak Paşa Palace


Doğubeyazıt, Ağrı, Turkey

Date of Monument:

hegira 1199 / AD 1784

Period / Dynasty:



Construction began under Governor (sancakbeyi) Çolak Abdi Pasha, the palace was completed under Ishak Pasha II.


The Ishak Paşa Palace, one of the rare monuments in the Ottoman style from the late AH 12th / AD 18th century, is located in the Doğubeyazıt district, 97 km east of Ağrı, and 2000 m above sea level. Founded by the descendents of a high state official, the palace is situated on top of a platform running east–west, in keeping with the natural orientation of the site. The palace was constructed to be defensible and some of its sections have one storey, some two, and others three, including the basement.
The plan of the palace resembles that of an Ottoman capital-city palace on a reduced scale; the most useful sections from a functional point of view are organised around two principal courtyards. One of the most damaged sections of the building is the first courtyard, on either side of which are rooms in a state of collapse. It is thought that these rooms were used for visitors to the palace and for stabling their horses and other transport paraphernalia, such as carts. The right side of the courtyard was reserved for the dungeon.
The second courtyard, accessed by passing through a relatively high doorway, contains the most important areas of the palace such as the mosque, men's quarters, and assembly hall; the harem, the women's quarters is accessed from here through an imposing portal. Yellow and brown stone brought from the surrounding area was used in the construction of the palace, the general appearance of which shares the basic characteristics of Turkish architecture, but the details of which reveal an eclectic style showing the influence of Great Seljuq, Anatolian Seljuq, Ottoman, and European styles such as Gothic and Baroque.
Each of the palace portals has a different detail, the stonework decoration being noteworthy. The portal opening to the first courtyard, with its exuberant exterior and the low arches and muqarnas conch, recalls the Anatolian Seljuq style while also revealing the influence of the French-Empire style contemporary with the building. The portal leading to the second courtyard was designed as a two-storey entrance with Gothic characteristics; it has a relatively high pointed arch with two stylised cypress trees carved in high relief either side; its strong plastic effect is noteworthy. The portal into the harem has rich stonework decoration showing Baroque influence. Facing each other on either side of the relatively high monumental gate are two lion figures, from which a broad border of stylised floral motifs grows to form a rectangular frame around the gate. The inscription giving the date of the palace's construction is located above the harem portal. Both the mosque, with its gently swelling dome, decorated drum, and minaret adorned with interlacing bands of two different colours of stone, and the tomb of çolak Abdi Pasha, with its lively ornament of great plasticity, are important features of the palace from a decorative standpoint. The Ishak Paşa Palace has to a large extent been ruined through the passage of time; in the late 19th and early 20th centuries it was used as military barracks.

View Short Description

The İshak Paşa Palace in Ağrı province is a rare example of Ottoman civic architecture of the AH 12th / AD 18th century. The palace resembles an eagle's eyrie at an altitude of 2,000 m above sea level. The palace complex bears deep-rooted elements of Turkish architecture overall but displays an eclectic style, combining European influences such as Gothic and Baroque with the Great Seljuq, Anatolian Seljuq and Ottoman arts. Built by a Pasha dynasty, the palace is particularly noteworthy for its highly individualised portals and its stonework decoration.

How Monument was dated:

Knowledge about the identity of the palace's patron is based on the inscription found above the harem gate, which faces the second courtyard. In this inscription it is claimed that the palace was commissioned by Ishak Pasha in 1199 / 1784. Yet the foundation of the palace is traceable to the middle of the 11th / 17th century, since çolak Abdi Pasha, whose tomb (turbe) is in the second courtyard in front of the mosque, was at that time governor (sancakbeyi) of the area. The date given in the inscription is thus thought to be the date that the group of buildings took its final form under the auspices of Ishak Pasha II, meaning that construction of the palace continued for about 100 years.

Selected bibliography:

Akok, M., “Ağrı Doğubayazıd'da İshak Paşa Sarayı Rölöve ve Mimarisi [The Relevé and Architecture of the İshak Pasha Palace in Doğubeyazıt, Ağrı]”, Türk Arkeoloji Dergisi [Turkish Review of Archaeology], 10/2 (1961), Ankara, pp.30–48.
Bingöl, Y., İshak Paşa Sarayı [The İshak Pasha Palace], Istanbul, 2000.
Gündoğdu, H., “Doğu Bayazıt'taki İshak Paşa Sarayı ve Gerçekler [The İshak Pasha Palace in Doğubeyazıt and Facts]”, Milli Saraylar Sempozyumu/Bildiriler [The Symposium of the National Palaces], Istanbul, 1985, pp.35–43.
Gündoğdu, H., Doğubayazıt İshak Paşa Sarayı [The İshak Pasha Palace in Doğubeyazıt], Ankara, 1991.
Sözen, M., Devletin Evi Saray [The Palace, the House of the State], Istanbul, 1990.

Citation of this web page:

Semra Daşçı "İshak Paşa Palace" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021. 2021.;ISL;tr;Mon01;31;en

Prepared by: Semra DaşçıSemra Daşçı

Dr Semra Daşçı lectures on European art at the Department of Art History, Faculty of Letters, Ege University, Izmir. She was born in Istanbul in 1973. She graduated from the Department of Art, History of the Faculty of Letters, Istanbul University in 1995. She completed her Master's at the same university with her thesis on “The Child Figure in 19th Century European Paintings” under the supervision of Prof. Dr Gül İrepoğlu. She completed her Ph.D. with a thesis entitled “Use of Architecture in the European Paintings of the Renaissance Period” under the supervision of the aforementioned professor in 2001. She started working as a research assistant at the Department of Art History, Faculty of Letters, Ege University in 1999. Her areas of interest include European art of painting from the Renaissance to the 19th century and the documentary aspect of art and Orientalism, on which she has published various research findings and work

Translation by: Barry WoodBarry Wood

Barry Wood is Curator (Islamic Gallery Project) in the Asian Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He studied history of art at Johns Hopkins University and history of Islamic art and architecture at Harvard University, from where he obtained his Ph.D. in 2002. He has taught at Harvard, Eastern Mediterranean University, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the Courtauld Institute of Art. He has also worked at the Harvard University Art Museums and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. He has published on topics ranging from Persian manuscripts to the history of exhibitions.
, İnci Türkoğluİnci Türkoğlu

İnci Türkoğlu has been working as a tourist guide and freelance consultant in tourism and publishing since 1993. She was born in Alaşehir, Turkey, in 1967. She graduated from the English Department of Bornova Anatolian High School in 1985 and lived in the USA for a year as an exchange student. She graduated from the Department of Electronic Engineering of the Faculty of Architecture and Engineering, Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir, and the professional tourist guide courses of the Ministry of Tourism in 1991. She worked as an engineer for a while. She graduated from the Department of Art History, Faculty of Letters, Ege University, Izmir, in 1997 with an undergraduate thesis entitled “Byzantine House Architecture in Western Anatolia”. She completed her Master's at the Byzantine Art branch of the same department in 2001 with a thesis entitled “Synagogue Architecture in Turkey from Antiquity to the Present”. She has published on art history and tourism.

Translation copyedited by: Mandi GomezMandi Gomez

Amanda Gomez is a freelance copy-editor and proofreader working in London. She studied Art History and Literature at Essex University (1986–89) and received her MA (Area Studies Africa: Art, Literature, African Thought) from SOAS in 1990. She worked as an editorial assistant for the independent publisher Bellew Publishing (1991–94) and studied at Bookhouse and the London College of Printing on day release. She was publications officer at the Museum of London until 2000 and then took a role at Art Books International, where she worked on projects for independent publishers and arts institutions that included MWNF’s English-language editions of the books series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. She was part of the editorial team for further MWNF iterations: Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Museum and the illustrated volume Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean.

True to its ethos of connecting people through the arts, MWNF has provided Amanda with valuable opportunities for discovery and learning, increased her editorial experience, and connected her with publishers and institutions all over the world. More recently, the projects she has worked on include MWNF’s Sharing History Virtual Museum and Exhibition series, Vitra Design Museum’s Victor Papanek and Objects of Desire, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s online publication 2 or 3 Tigers and its volume Race, Nation, Class.

MWNF Working Number: TR 45


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