Selimiye Barracks Istanbul
The barracks were first built in 1799 and named after Sultan Selim III who intended them to be the base of his new army that would replace the janissaries.In 1808 the barracks burnt down and were rebuilt in 1825 using much stronger materials by Sultan Mahmud II and this was two years after ousting the troublesome janissaries. At that time the barracks had only one wing and three others were added during the reign of Sultan Abdulmecid by the architect Krikor Balyan which created the enclosed parade ground.
Turkish First ArmyThe barracks were used as a school in the early days of the Republic and reverted back to their original use in 1963. This vast four towered structure today houses the headquarters of the Turkish First Army.
British Military HospitalThis is also the site of the British Military Hospital where Florence Nightingale worked during the Crimean War (1853-1856) and where she famously became known as the “Lady with the Lamp” preventing many fatalities by introducing basic rules of hygiene.
Florence Nightingale MuseumThe small Florence Nightingale Museum (closed Saturday & Sunday) is housed inside one of the towers and exhibits her personal items along with information about the Crimean and other wars Turkey has been involved in.
Visiting the BarracksAs the barracks are still in use as a military base appointments have to be made two days in advance of a visit by sending a fax to 0216 553 1009 along with a copy of passports, advising what time you would like to visit (they usually tell you 11:00) and a phone number so that an official can call and confirm with you.
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