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 Daşçı
Translation by: Barry Wood, İnci Türkoğlu
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: TR 45