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Selimiye Barracks

Selimiye Barracks
Selimiye Kışlası
Harem, Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey
Selimiye Barracks
Selimiye Barracks is located in Istanbul
Selimiye Barracks
Selimiye Barracks
Site history
Built 1828 (1828)
Built by Sultan Mahmud II
Battles/wars Crimean War (1854-1856),
Garrison information
Occupants First Army HQ, Turkish Land Forces

Selimiye Barracks (Turkish: Selimiye Kışlası), also known as Scutari Barracks, is a Turkish army barracks located in the Üsküdar district on the Asian part of Istanbul, Turkey. It was built first in 1800 by Sultan Selim III for the soldiers of the newly established Nizam-ı Cedid (literally "New Order") in frame of the Ottoman military reform efforts.[1]


  • Construction 1
  • Crimean War 2
  • Today 3
  • Location 4
  • References 5


The initially wooden barracks was designed by Krikor Balyan. It was burnt down in 1806 by revolting Janissaries, who were against the reforms. Ordered by Sultan Mahmud II, rebuilding of the barracks in stone began in 1825 and it was completed on February 6, 1828. It is a gigantic rectangle building 200 m × 267 m (656 ft × 876 ft) with a large parade ground in the center. The structure has three floors on three wings and two floors only on the eastern wing due to inclined terrain.[2] During the reign of Sultan Abdülmecid I, the barracks were renovated twice, first in 1842–1843 and again in 1849–1850. During this process, a tower seven stories in height was added to each of the four corners, giving the barracks the look they have today.

Crimean War

An 1856 lithograph of the Selimiye barracks as a hospital during the Crimean War.

During the Crimean War (1854-1856), the barracks were allocated to the British Army, which was on the way from Britain to the Crimea. After the troops of the 33rd and 41st[3] left for the front, the barracks were converted into a temporary military hospital.

On November 4, 1854, Florence Nightingale arrived in Scutari with 38 volunteer nurses. They cared for thousands of wounded and infected soldiers until she returned home in 1857 as a heroine.

Around 6,000 soldiers died in the Selimiye Barracks during the war, mostly as the result of cholera epidemic. The dead were buried at a plot next to the barracks, which became later the Haydarpaşa Cemetery.[4]

Today, the northmost tower of the barracks is a museum.[5]


Today, it serves as the headquarters of the First Army of Turkish Land Forces.


Selimiye Barracks is situated in the Harem neighborhood between Üsküdar and Kadıköy, close to the Sea of Marmara. The highway connecting the ferryboat terminal and overland bus terminal to the motorway O-2 Istanbul-Ankara runs close beside the barracks.


  1. ^ Istanbul (Turkish) Being the world's largest barracks of it time, it was where Florence Nightingale laid the foundation for modern nursing during the Crimean war.
  2. ^ Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (Turkish)
  3. ^ The Royal Regiment of Wales
  4. ^ Understanding Gallipoli (Turkish)
  5. ^ Nightingale Museum at Selimeye Barracks
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