Name of Monument:
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:
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.
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. https://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=monument;ISL;tr;Mon01;5;en
Prepared by: Ertan Daş
Translation by: Barry Wood, İnci Türkoğlu
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez
MWNF Working Number: TR 05