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Balyan Family

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.


Bibliography


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

Aptullah Kuran

Updated by Rouben P. Adalian

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