The Balyan Family: Armenian masters behind Ottoman architecture

The Balyan family was one of the most well-known Armenian families during the Ottoman era. Family members served as imperial architects for years and are remembered as the masterminds behind many palaces, mosques and barracks like the Dolmabahce Mosque and the Beylerbeyi Palace, Daily Sabah writes.
An Armenian family coming from the province of Kayseri was the origin of nine craftsmen consecutively, and they left their marks on many buildings in Istanbul and its surroundings during the 18th and 19th centuries such as palaces, mosques, churches, mansions, waterfront residences, barracks, schools, hospitals, towers, fountains, weirs and theater halls.

The Balyan Family developed a unique architectural style by blending Europe’s baroque and imperial styles with Oriental ornamental style. Apart from passing down their knowledge and experience from one generation to another, the Balyan Family succeeded in modernizing themselves and making sure they were not forgotten.

Not many people who perform their prayers at the mosques in the Bosporus are aware that some of these mosques have been built by an Armenian.

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