İshak Pasha Palace: the Ottoman jewel of eastern Turkey

Sitting just 30 km from the Iranian border, this Ottoman stalwart blends together the architectural design of the surrounding cultures (Ottoman, Persian, and Armenian) with fluidity and precision. The imposing structure carries with it memories of a time gone by, when pashas and their families ruled the mountains of Anatolia, and the Ottomans controlled from Iran to the shores of Spain, from the tip of the Arabian peninsula to the walls of Vienna.

Construction started on the palace in 1685 by Colak Abdi Pasha, the bey of Beyazit province, continued by his son İshak Pasha and completed by his grandson Mehmet Pasha, surviving over 300 hundred years through war, the fall of the Ottoman empire, infighting, and now, secured as a UNESCO work heritage site.

The site consists of multiple courtyards, a Mosque, the men’s quarters, baths, a ceremony hall, a bakery and kitchen, dungeons, a massive Harem, a soup kitchen, and an impressive central heating system.

Though the palace was abandoned after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the essence and grandeur of what used to be can be found inside it’s intricate and ornate walls. But what makes the palace truly breathtaking is it’s location; surrounded on all sides by the Iranian border, the charming/rugged town of Doğubayazıt, Turkey, the hills in the shadows of the 5,000m Mt. Ararat, and the tomb of an Uratian King. A visit to the palace is not just about the site itself, but about the region that has been home to Urartu and Armenian Empires, was occupied by Persians, Assyrians, and Ottomans, and is home to the landing spot of Noah’s Ark.

The main gate of the palace that leads to the first courtyard.


The entrance into the Harem.
One of the rooms used as a bakery.
The first courtyard right inside the main gate.
One can stand in awe of the architectural detail of this 300 year old structure.
One of the archways that are found throughout the palace.
The outer wall the surrounds the palace.


The Mosque in the center of the palace.



A view of the palace from the ancient tomb that sits above the site with the view of modern-day city Doğubayazıt, Turkey