Pertevniyal High School, Since 1872

About Project

Pertevniyal High School

Topkapı Palace

Dolmabahçe Palace

Sultan Abdülaziz
Sultan Abdülaziz was the son of Mahmud II (reign 1808 – 1839). He was born on 8 February 1830. His mother, Pertevniyal Valide Sultan, was a very intelligent and charitable lady. Abdülaziz lost his father at the age of nine. He lived a comfortable and free life during the reign of his elder brother, Sultan Abdülmecid (reign 1839 – 1861). Upon his brother’s death in 1861, Sultan Abdülaziz ascended to the throne as the 32nd sultan and reigned from 25 June 1861 to 30 May 1876.

There was no fundamental war in Sultan Abdülaziz’s time; however, the Montenegrin revolt, which had been going on since 1858, was suppressed in 1862. Wallachia and Moldavia united in 1864; a Prussian prince was appointed as the head of this privileged region that came under the suzerainty of the Ottomans with the name of “Memleketeyn.” (means “Two Countries”)

The last remaining fortresses in and around Belgrade were left to the autonomous Serbia in 1867. The rebellion in Crete also resulted in the island being granted autonomy in 1868. Egypt was given the opportunity to borrow foreign money; this resulted in disaster for Egypt in 1872.

When he ascended to the throne, Sultan Abdülaziz wanted to weaken the bureaucratic dominance that had taken hold of Ottoman political culture since 1839 and take over the reins, but viziers such as Ali, Fuat, Rüştü and Nedim Pasha, who had the support of foreign embassies behind them, did not allow this.

Upon the invitation of the Emperor of France Napoleon III, to a Paris exhibition, the sultan went on a journey to Europe in 1867. The Queen Victoria of England extended her invitation to the sultan as well and he accepted her invitation. This is the first and only trip (from 21 June 1867 to 7 August 1867) of an Ottoman sultan to foreign lands without military purpose.

Over the course of his journey, the sultan met the rulers of France, England, Germany, Belgium, Austria and Hungary. (Napoleon III, Queen Victoria, Wilhelm I, Leopold II and Franz Joseph I).

The sultan and his entourage set out for their journey to Europe on 21 June 1867. After a long journey, they arrived at the Port of Toulon, then moved to Lyon, and finally, they settled at the Court of Tulieri in Paris. During his stay in Paris, the sultan attended many officially organized events and musical performances. Following the sultan’s 10-day tour (30 June – 10 July) in Paris, he and his entourage left for London. They arrived at the port of Dover on 12 July 1867. The day after, the sultan was accepted by Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle.

During his 10-day visit (12 July – 23 July), he attended many musical performances that were arranged for him. The performances in London are listed below: 

- The Royal Ball organized to honor him at Buckingham Palace on 13 July. 

- Performance by the Royal Italian Opera in Covent Garden on 15 July.

- Concert and fireworks at the Crystal Palace on 16 July.

- Concert organized by Lord Mayor to the honor of the sultan in the Guildhall on 18 July. 

- Ball organized for the sultan in the Indian Office on 19 July.

Many rulers and noble personalities came to Istanbul to visit him on the occasion of the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. In Dolmabahçe Palace, he gave a feast to the future King of England, Prince of Wales Edward VII.

Sultan Abdülaziz wanted to apply the progress he saw in Europe to his country. Istanbul became a modern, socially and economically vibrant city in his time. The arrival of foreign visitors helped the repair and reorganization of the city. A tunnel operation was established between Karaköy and Galata in Istanbul. It was one of the first metro lines in the world and continues to operate today.

Foreigners were given the right to own property. By enacting the Passport Regulation and the Law of Nationality, "domestic foreigners" were sought to be naturalized in 1869.

The Educational Organization was reorganized and the Education Council was established in 1869. Schools were established to train civil servants in 1862. Galatasaray High School was opened in 1868 according to the French model to train high-level bureaucrats. Mahmudiye School (Pertevniyal High School) was also opened in 1872 with the full support of Sultan Abdülaziz. A modern university started its activities in 1870.

Sultan Abdülaziz attached great importance to transportation. During his reign, the length of the railway, which was 452 kilometers (281 miles) until then, tripled. The Istanbul-Paris railway concession was given to an Austrian company. The passage of this railway through the garden of Topkapı Palace caused some objections. The sultan famously said, "Let the railway be built even if it passes over my back." The part of this railway up to Sofia was opened in 1873.

Apart from his passion for the Ottoman Navy, which had the world's third largest fleet in 1875 (after the British and French navies), the Sultan took an interest in documenting the Ottoman Empire.

He was also interested in literature and was a talented classical music composer. Some of his compositions, together with those of the other members of the Ottoman dynasty, have been collected in the album European Music at the Ottoman Court by the London Academy of Ottoman Court Music.

As Pertevniyal High School was founded by Queen Pertevniyal, the mother of Sultan Abdülaziz, and the sultan gave full support to the school, the project includes the aims mentioned below;

- To perform the songs of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and the compositions of Sultan Abdülaziz and some other Sultans in Türkiye & abroad for the world peace.

- To perform the songs of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and the compositions of Sultan Abdülaziz in England, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium and Hungary as Sultan Abdülaziz visited these countries in 1867.