Photograph: Rüçhan ArıkPhotograph: Rüçhan ArıkPhotograph: Rüçhan ArıkPhotograph: Rüçhan Arık

Name of Monument:

Kubadabad Palace


Beyşehir, Konya, Turkey

Date of Monument:

Hegira 633 / AD 1236

Architect(s) / master-builder(s):

Saadeddin [Sa‘d al-Din] Köpek, Bedreddin [Badr al-Din] Sutaş.

Period / Dynasty:

Anatolian Seljuq


Sultan Alaaddin Keykubad [‘Ala al-Din Kay Qubadh] I (r. 616–35 / 1220–37).


The palace, which consists of various structures, is located 3 km north of the town of Gölyaka (Hoyran), on the southwest shore of Lake Beyşehir in the province of Konya. On top of the rocky hill where the palace was built and within the walls surrounding it there is a prehistoric mound.
Today almost 20 ruined structures, large and small, can be seen above ground on the site. The palace complex consists of the Great Palace on the north side of the site; the Small Palace to the south of it; at the southernmost part, a boathouse on the shore of the lake and small pavilions surrounding it; the walls of an inner courtyard; duck-boards; and various ruined structures whose functions have not been determined.
The Great Palace, measuring about 50 m x 35 m, is the largest building of the complex and consists of three main sections: a palace building, a courtyard, and a terrace extending to the lake. The Small Palace, another structure whose walls may remain intact, has a similar plan. In both buildings the basic plan is of large and small rooms on either side of an axis determined by an iwan once used as the throne room and the forecourt. Excavations in the Small Palace, whose walls are thicker and more regular than those of the Great Palace, have revealed traces of a stairway, showing that this section had two stories.
The structures in the complex were constructed using rubble stone.
In addition to its architecture, the palace is important for the tiles decorating its walls. Most of these are star- and square-shaped, 20 cm to 24 cm in diameter, and decorated with figurative motifs in lustre or underglaze techniques. The star-shaped tiles are arranged with cross-shaped tiles between them to form panels on the walls. Each panel is surrounded with a border formed by turquoise-coloured rectangular tiles 10 cm wide. The motifs on the tiles, which often repeat, include trees of life, sirens, sphinxes, griffins, one- or two-headed eagles, lions, dragons, horses, donkeys, peacocks, various kinds of game animals as well as human figures. The influence of Central Asian traditions is felt in compositions in which the sultan and courtiers (and, rarely, women of the palace) are shown sitting cross-legged. The figures are often shown holding in one hand plants such as pomegranates and opium poppies, symbolic of eternal life and paradise, earlier examples of which are found in 3rd- / 9th-century Abbasid ceramics.
In addition to the palpable influence of Abbasid, Seljuq, Fatimid and even Sassanid art on the tiles of the palace, it is also possible to speak of the powerful influence of the rich symbolic world of Central Asian shamanistic culture.
The area is protected as a natural and archaeological site. Scientific excavations began in 1965 and study of the remains of the palace continues today under the direction of Prof. Dr. Rüçhan Arık.

View Short Description

Built on the shore of Lake Beyşehir, this Seljuq palace has been under excavation since 1964 and a large portion of it has been exposed. The main sections are the Great Palace and the Small Palace as well as a water distribution system, various work areas and the remains of a bathhouse. The fabulous tiles in various forms that once faced its walls have figurative decoration that reflects Abbasid, Seljuq, Fatimid and Sassanid influence as well as the extensive influence of Central Asian shamanistic culture.

How Monument was dated:

There are no structures remaining in the palace that bear inscriptions relating to construction. It is dated according to the testimony of the famous traveller Ibn Bibi, dendrochronological tests performed on wooden fragments retrieved from the ruins, and the style of tiles.

Selected bibliography:

Arık, R., Kubad Abad, Istanbul 2000.
Oral, Z., “Kubad Abad çinileri [Tiles from Kubad Abad]”, Belleten, Vol. XVII, No. 66 (1959), Ankara, pp.209–22.
Otto-Dorn, K., “Bericht über die Grabung in Kobadabad 1966”, Archäologischer Anzeiger, Heft 4, Berlin, 1969, pp.438–506.
öney, G., Türk çini Sanatı [Turkish Tile Art], Istanbul, 1976.

Citation of this web page:

Ertan Daş "Kubadabad Palace" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2022. 2022.;ISL;tr;Mon01;5;en

Prepared by: Ertan DaşErtan Daş

Dr Ertan Daş is an assistant professor in the Department of Archaeology and Art History, Faculty of Letters, Ege University, Izmir. Born in Afyon, Turkey, in 1963, he graduated from that department, in 1986 and started working there as an expert in 1988. He completed his MA at the same university in 1997 with a thesis entitled “Turkish Monuments in Afyon”, and received his Ph.D. with a thesis entitled “Early Ottoman Turbes in Anatolia (1300–1500)” in 2001. He has published on the burial traditions of Turks, turbes (mausoleums) and tombstones, and onTurkish architecture including hans (inns), hammams (bath-houses) and mosques.

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 05


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 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period

Seljuqs (Anatolian)


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