Located on the shore of the Golden Horn in Hasköy, the Aynalıkavak Palace (Aynalıkavak Kasrı) was built in 1613 by the Ottoman Sultan Ahmet I. It was a growing structure and expanded until the late eighteenth century and took its today’s shape. It is one of the Ottoman imperial palaces located in Istanbul and definitely a hidden gem of the city. Some of the other Ottoman imperial palaces in Istanbul are Beylerbeyi Palace, Dolmabahçe Palace, and Yıldız Palace.
Aynalıkavak Palace literally means “the Palace of the Mirrored Poplars”, because after the Ottoman-Venetian battle in 1715, the Venetians sent a number of mirrors to the Ottoman Sultan Ahmet III as gifts and the palace was decorated with these huge mirrors. The palace was abandoned during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, however, restoration projects took place in the 2000s and today the palace is in very good condition and serves as a museum with its very nice cafe overlooking the Golden Horn.
There is a Museum of Turkish Music on the basement floor of the Aynalıkavak Palace and it contains many historical musical instruments.
In 1779, during the reign of Abdülhamid I, the Aynalıkavak Treaty between the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire was signed in this palace.
The palace is located in Hasköy and the best way to get to the Aynalıkavak Palace is to take a bus passing by Aynalıkavak Bus Station and to get off at Aynalıkavak Bus Station. The palace is next to the Aynalıkavak Bus Station.
Located on the eastern shore of the Golden Horn, the Aynalıkavak Palace is also close to a number of museums and monuments including Rahmi Koç Museum, Miniaturk, Eyüp Sultan Mosque, and historical Fener and Balat neighborhoods.