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SELİMIYE, ISTANBUL

As you approach Kadıköy by ferry from the European side of İstanbul you will see to the right on the horizon a huge building with corner towers that serves as the barracks of the Turkish First Army.

The Selimiye Barracks was originally built on a much smaller scale for Sultan Selim III in 1799 as he planned a new army for the city but had to be rebuilt in 1825 by Sultan Mahmud II after a fire in 1802 destroyed the earlier structure. The original building only had one wing but during the reign of Sultan Abdülmecid Krikor Balyan added three more wings to create a central parade ground. 

For some people it will be worth jumping through some minor hoops to organise a visit to the Florence Nightingale Museum, housed in one of the towers. It was here that the Lady of the Lamp set up a hospital to nurse those wounded in the Crimean War of 1853-56, introducing new rules for hygiene that are credited with having saved many lives. Many of those who didn't survive are buried nearby in the Crimean War Cemetery behind Haydarpaşa station.

How interesting you will find the museum probably depends on how interested you are in Florence Nightingale who features on some British school syllabi. For my money the museum is` too sanitised to give much idea what the hospital would really have been like. Still, if you'd like to visit, send a fax two days ahead of the date you want to do so to 0216-553 1009 giving a phone number that can be used to contact you with an appointment (usually 11am). 

Otherwise you might like to take a look at the Selimiye Cami which was designed for Sultan Selim III in 1803-04 and stands across the road from the barracks.

Transport info

The easiest way to get to the Barracks is to take the car ferry from Sirkeci to Harem and then walk along the shore towards Kadıköy. 

Nearby areas

Fenerbahçe

Haydarpaşa

Kadıköy

Karacaahmet

Moda

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