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Turkey - Expo Paris 1900

Turkey at the Exhibition Expo Paris 1900
Architect(s) : Dubuisson

This palace of the Ottoman Empire was, in fact, a vast construction, with a frontage of 27 meters on the quay, with a depth of more than 37, and raising the point of its campanile to 47 meters high.
The construction of this palace was entrusted to a French architect, Mr. Dubuisson, who endeavoured to represent here the purest types of Turkish art, which is too often confused with Arab art, which is quite distinct. Thus we find, very happily juxtaposed, the most interesting parts of the principal monuments of Constantinople. The great arcade, which formed the façade on the Seine and which measured 20 metres in height and 17 metres in width at the base, was borrowed from the superb mosque of Kait-Bey, dating from the seventeenth century; the square tower, which formed the corner of the palias, also reproduced certain details of the same monument. On the side façades we found, on the Invalides side, parts of the famous Souleïmanièh mosque, and, on the opposite side, details of the Bayazed mosque; other motifs had been taken from the interiors of the mosques of Roustem, Ahmed-Pacha, Sainte-Sophie, Brousse, etc. Finally, the central dome was a reproduction of the one in the mosque of Sultan Murad IV.
The whole building was of a dazzling whiteness that was highlighted by panels painted in delicate colours and friezes of glazed earthenware; the domes, surmounted by the crescent, were gilded, while the large bays and windows closed with multicoloured stained glass completed this luminous ensemble, which evoked the enchanting landscapes of the shores of the Bosporus.
The interior of the palace had four floors. The ground floor was devoted to small bazaar shops where a glittering array of small objects was displayed, reminiscent a little too much of the well-known products of the Rue de Rivoli. On the other hand, the vast rooms on the first floor were filled with the wonders of Turkish industry. On the floor and along the walls were spread out in profusion splendid carpets from the imperial manufacture of Hereke, among which one admired above all an exact repetition of the one which was offered by the sultan to the emperor of Germany during his visit to Constantinople; it is a piece of incomparable beauty and enormous value, the work of ten workers who had worked on it without interruption for four years. Then, in this room and in the adjoining galleries, there was a delightful jumble of precious fabrics, ancient embroidery, chased copper vases, ewers, jewel-encrusted weapons and perfume bottles.
On the upper floor was a curious reconstruction of the most interesting parts of Jerusalem, in a street of which a sort of small native bazaar had been set up.

©Louis Rousselet - L'Exposition Universelle de 1900