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Koprulu Library Istanbul

Koprulu Library Istanbul
The Köprülü Library is located on Divanyolu Street across from the Tomb of Sultan Mahmut II in the Eminonu District.  It was built by Fazil Ahmet Paşa (1635-1676) the son of Sadrazam (Grand Vizier) Köprülü Mehmet Paşa and was the last wish of his father.  Köprülüzade Fazil Mustafa Paşa completed and established the library charter as a vakıf, a non-profit organisation, in 1678.   When the library opened it was staffed by three librarians, one binder and one janitor.

The first book was donated by the Köprülü family
and the number of available books continued to grow from further donations and purchases.  Of all the donations to the library those of Köprülü Mehmet Paşa, Fazil Ahmet Paşa, Haci (Hafiz) Ahmet Paşa and Mehmet Asim Bey were among the best.  The library collection contains more than 1,000 books and approximately 3,000 manuscripts in Turkish, Arabic and English as well as around 1,500 printed works.  The author, book and subject lists of manuscripts and printed works are organised according to the Dewey Decimal Classification Method.  

The Köprülü Library is one of the first examples of an independent library building in Istanbul.  It is located in a garden with walls on three sides, surrounded by streets and constructed with alternating stone and brick, covered by a dome placed on an octagonal rim on the outside with a pendentive square plan.  The arcade part, which is reached by a four-step staircase in the western section of the library was moved to the front and is now a T-shape.  

There is a diamond-shaped head placed on top of six marble pillars and a spire arch arcade covered with four domes and access to the library is through a door in the central axis of the arcade.  The interior is illuminated by windows, one on each side, two in the upper level and three each with six upper part windows across the entrance.  There are spire discharge arches with rectangular jambs and the interior surface of the dome and pendentives are decorated with over-the-gate pen works.  The attractive ‘C’ and ‘S’ curves catch the visitors’ attention among these brown, black and red ornamentations.  Written underneath the flower designs are the word, “Maşallah,” and date 1667-1668 (1181 Hijri). Also written on the inner door “Maşallah” and the date of 1872 (1289 Hijri) and 1911 (1327 Hijri) as it is understood the library underwent restoration at both these times.

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