Skip to main content

Balyan Family


Ottoman architects.

The Balyan (also Balian) family was composed of nine Ottoman architects: Meremetçi Bali Kalfa (d. 1803; after whom the family is named); his sons Krikor Amira (17671831) and Senekerim Amira (d. 1833); Krikor's son Garabet Amira (18001866); Garabet's sons Nikogos (18261858), Sarkis (18351899), Agop (18381875), Simon (18461894), and Levon (18551925). These architects were responsible, individually or in collaboration with each other, for the majority of the buildings for the Ottoman Empire in and near Constantinople (now Istanbul) during the nineteenth century.

Prominent among these works are the Nüsretiye (Tophane), Bezm-i Alem Valide Sultan (Dolmabahçe), Büyük Mecidiye (Ortaköy), Küçük Mecidiye (Cirağan), Pertevniyal Valide Sultan (Aksaray), Cağlayan, Teşvikiye, Hamidiye (Yildiz) mosques; Mahmud II and Abdülmecit tombs; Dolmabahçe, Beylerbeyi, Cirağan, Yildiz, Küçüksu, Ihlamur, Baltalimani, Adile Sultan (Kandilli) palaces; Aynalikavak, Izmit, Mecidiyeköy, Zincirlikuyu, Ayazağa, Kalender royal pavilions; the Imperial College of Medicine (now Galatasaray Lycée); the Military School (Mekteb-i Harbiye); Selimiye, Davutpaşa, Rami, Gümüşsuyu, Maçka barracks and Taş Kişla near Taksim; Gümüşsuyu hospital; the Mint (Darphane); Bahçeköy Valide and Mahmud II dams; Terkos waterworks; Bayezid fire tower; Tophane, Dolmabahçe and Yildiz clock towers.

As leading figures of the Armenian Millet, members of the Balyan family were also responsible for the construction of Armenian churches, schools, and a hospital in Istanbul. They also were commissioned by other Armenian amiras to construct some of the earliest industrial plants around the capital. Their patronage of local Armenian talent made many of the official structures they raised almost entirely the work of Armenian artisans. Altogether they developed an art form described as Ottoman Baroque.

see also armenian millet.


TuğLaci, Pars. The Role of the Balian Family in Ottoman Architecture. Istanbul: Yeni Cigir Bookstore, 1990.

Aptullah Kuran

Updated by Rouben P. Adalian

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Balyan Family." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . 21 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Balyan Family." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . (February 21, 2019).

"Balyan Family." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Retrieved February 21, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.