Sublime Porte

The Sublime Porte, also known as the Ottoman Porte or High Porte (Ottoman Turkish: باب عالیBāb-ı Ālī or Babıali, from Arabic: باب‎, bāb "gate" and Arabic: عالي‎, alī "high"), was a synecdochic metonym for the central government of the Ottoman Empire.

Imperial Gate Topkapi Istanbul 2007 002
The Imperial Gate (Bâb-ı Hümâyûn, leading to the outermost courtyard of Topkapi Palace, was known as the Sublime Porte until the 18th century.
DSC04009 Istanbul - La Sublime Porta - Foto G. Dall'Orto 25-5-2006
The later Sublime Porte proper in 2006
1913 Ottoman coup d'état
Crowd gathering in front of the Porte's buildings shortly after hearing about the Raid on the Sublime Porte (also known as the 1913 Ottoman coup d'état) inside.


The name has its origins in the old Oriental practice in which the ruler announced his official decisions and judgements at the gate of his palace.[1] This was the practice in the Byzantine Empire and it was also adopted by Ottoman Turk sultans since Orhan I, and therefore the palace of the sultan, or the gate leading to it, became known as the "High Gate". This name referred first to a palace in Bursa, Turkey. After the Ottomans had conquered Constantinople, now Istanbul, the gate now known as the Imperial Gate (Turkish: Bâb-ı Hümâyûn), leading to the outermost courtyard of the Topkapı Palace, first became known as the "High Gate", or the "Sublime Porte".[1][2]

When Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent sealed an alliance with King Francis I of France in 1536, the French diplomats walked through the monumental gate then known as Bab-ı Ali (now Bâb-ı Hümâyûn) in order to reach the Vizierate of Constantinople, seat of the Sultan's government. French being the language of diplomacy, the French translation Sublime Porte (the adjective being unusually placed ahead of the word to emphasise its importance) was soon adopted in most other European languages, including English, to refer not only to the actual gate but as a metaphor for the Ottoman Empire.

In the 18th century, a new great Italian-styled office building was built just west of Topkapi Palace area, on the other side of Alemdar Caddesi street. This became the location of the Grand Vizier and many ministries. Thereafter, this building, and the monumental gate leading to its courtyards, became known as the Sublime Porte (Bab-ı Ali);[3] colloquially it was also known as the Gate of the Pasha (paşa kapusu).[1][4] The building was badly damaged by fire in 1911.[4] Today, the buildings house the provincial Governor of Istanbul.[3]


"Sublime Porte" was used in the context of diplomacy by Western states, as their diplomats were received at the porte (meaning "gate"). During the Second Constitutional Era of the Empire after 1908 (see Young Turk Revolution), the functions of the classical Divan-ı Hümayun were replaced by the reformed Imperial Government, and "porte" came to refer to the Foreign Ministry. During this period, the office of the Grand Vizier came to refer to the equivalent to that of a prime minister, and viziers became members of the Grand Vizier's cabinet as government ministers.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Porten". Nordisk familjebok (in Swedish). Vol 21 (Papua–Posselt) (Uggleupplagan ed.). Stockholm: Nordisk Familjeboks förslag aktiebolag. 1915. pp. 1418–1419.
  2. ^ Albayrak, Ayla (2009). Istanbul. Mondo matkaopas (in Finnish). Image. p. 81. ISBN 978-952-5678-15-4.
  3. ^ a b Aysliffe, Rosie (2014). Istanbul. DK Eyewitness Travel. Lontoo: Dorling Kindersley. p. 63. ISBN 978-1-4093-2925-1.
  4. ^ a b "Konstantinopoli". Tietosanakirja (in Finnish). Vol. 4 (Kaivo–Kulttuurikieli). Helsinki: Otava. 1912. p. 1295.

Coordinates: 41°0′40″N 28°58′41″E / 41.01111°N 28.97806°E

1913 Ottoman coup d'état

The 1913 Ottoman coup d'état (January 23, 1913), also known as the Raid on the Sublime Porte (Turkish: Bâb-ı Âlî Baskını), was a coup d'état carried out in the Ottoman Empire by a number of Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) members led by Ismail Enver Bey and Muhammad Talaat Bey, in which the group made a surprise raid on the central Ottoman government buildings, the Sublime Porte (Turkish: Bâb-ı Âlî). During the coup, the Minister of the Navy Nazım Pasha was assassinated and the Grand Vizier, Kâmil Pasha, was forced to resign. After the coup, the government fell into the hands of the Committee of Union and Progress, now under the leadership of the triumvirate known as the "Three Pashas", made up of Enver, Talaat, and Djemal Pasha.

In 1911, the Freedom and Accord Party (also known as the Liberal Union or Liberal Entente), Kâmil Pasha's party, was formed in opposition to the CUP and almost immediately won the by-elections in Istanbul. Alarmed, the CUP rigged the general elections of 1912 with electoral fraud and violence against Freedom and Accord, earning them the nickname "Election of Clubs" (Turkish: Sopalı Seçimler). In response, the Savior Officers (Turkish: Halâskâr Zâbitân) of the army, partisans of Freedom and Accord determined to see the CUP fall, rose up in anger and caused the fall of the CUP's post-election Muhammad Said Pasha government. A new government was formed under Ahmed Muhtar Pasha, but it too was dissolved after a few months in October 1912 after the sudden outbreak of the First Balkan War.After gaining the permission of sultan Mehmed V to form a new government in late October 1912, Freedom and Accord leader Kâmil Pasha sat down to diplomatic talks with Bulgaria after the unsuccessful First Balkan War. With the Bulgarian demand for the cession of the former Ottoman capital city of Edirne (Adrianople) looming and the outrage among the Turkish populace as well as the CUP leadership, the CUP carried out the raid on the Sublime Porte. After the coup, opposition parties like Freedom and Accord were subject to heavy repression and their leaders arrested or exiled to Europe, while many CUP members were put into power. Coup leader Enver Bey (later Pasha), soon to be Minister of War, withdrew the Ottoman Empire from the ongoing London Peace Conference and moved it closer to Germany ahead of World War I.

Albanian Pashaliks

The Albanian Pashaliks (Albanian: Pashallëqet shqiptare) were three Ottoman pashaliks ruled by Albanian pashas from about 1760 to 1831 and covering roughly the territory of modern Albania, Kosovo, and Northwestern Greece.

Avram Petronijević

Avram Petronijević (September 13, 1791 – April 22, 1852) was a politician and several times Foreign Minister of the Principality of Serbia.

Petronijević was born in Tekija, on the Danube. He taught school in neighboring Orşova (Romania), and in 1817 he returned to Serbia. He became the personal secretary of Prince Miloš Obrenović. He was a member of the Serbian deputation in Constantinople from 1821 until 1826, and later several times a Serbian deputy (ćehaja) at the Turkish government (Sublime Porte). Later, with Toma Vučić-Perišić, Petronijević stood at the head of Ustavobranioci (Defenders of the Constitution) against the Prince Prince Miloš Obrenović. During the reign of Prince Alexander Karađorđevic, from 1844 until his death he was Minister of Foreign Affairs and Representative of the Prince (or Prime Minister). He died in Tsargrad (Constantinople) on April 22, 1852 and was buried in the church of St. Petka on the Bosporus, in addition to Samuilo Jakovljević, his colleague from deputation, who died in 1824.

Cyprianus of Constantinople

Cyprianus (Greek: Κυπριανός) served as Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople twice, in 1707-1709 and 1713-1714.

He served as metropolitan bishop of Kayseri. On 25 October 1707 he was elected Patriarch, succeeding Neophytus V.

He gave emphasis to the strictness of clerics' lives and preserved up to today, is his circular about clergy being forbidden to use bright clothing («μὴ λαμπραῖς ἐσθῆσι χρῆσθαι τοῖς ἱερωμένοις»). He made, though, enemies and was led to his deposition in May 1709. Later, he was exiled to Vatopedi Monastery of Mount Athos.

In November 1713, when Cyril IV of Constantinople refused the increase to the tax to Sublime Porte and resigned, Cyprianus was reelected Patriarch. Neither he, though, was able to pay the tax of 25,000 Kuruş and he resigned again on 28 February 1714.

Cyril IV of Constantinople

Cyril IV (Greek: Κύριλλος Δ΄), (? – 1728) served as Ecumenical Patriarch during the period 1711–1713.

He descended from Mytilene. He was remarkably educated and served as metropolitan bishop of Cyzicus.

He was elected Patriarch in 1709, but Athanasius V of Constantinople took the Throne. So, he became Patriarch after Athanasius' deposal. He fought for the economical reconstruction of the Patriarchate, but he refused the increase of the tax to the Sublime Porte, so he was forced to quit in 1713.

He stayed in Istanbul until his death in 1728.

Darwish Pasha al-Kurji

Darwish Pasha al-Kurji (also known as Osmanzade Dervish Pasha) was an Ottoman statesman who served as wali (governor) of Sidon in 1770–1771 and Damascus in 1783–1784. He was the son of Uthman Pasha al-Kurji, who was of Georgian origin.

Darwish Pasha owed his assignment as Wali of Sidon in September 1771 to his father's influence with the Sublime Porte (Ottoman imperial government). Darwish Pasha was dismissed from Sidon in October 1771 after fleeing Sidon after arrival of the rebellious Arab sheikh of Galilee, Zahir al-Umar, who occupied the city. Darwish Pasha was subsequently appointed wali of Karaman in November. He was appointed wali of Damascus in June 1783, replacing his brother Muhammad Pasha al-Kurji who died shortly after taking office. However, the Sublime Porte deemed Darwish Pasha to be incompetent and ultimately replaced him with Ahmad Pasha al-Jazzar.

Dragoman of the Porte

The Dragoman of the Sublime Porte (Ottoman Turkish: terdjümân-ı bâb-ı âlî; Greek: [μέγας] διερμηνέας της Υψηλής Πύλης), Dragoman of the Imperial Council (terdjümân-ı dîvân-ı hümâyûn), or simply Grand or Chief Dragoman (terdjümân bashı), was the senior interpreter of the Ottoman government and de facto deputy foreign minister. From the position's inception in 1661 until the outbreak of the Greek Revolution in 1821, the office was occupied by Phanariotes, and was one of the main pillars of Phanariote power in the Ottoman Empire.

Egyptian–Ottoman War (1831–1833)

The First Egyptian-Ottoman War, First Turco-Egyptian War or First Syrian War (1831–1833) was a military conflict between the Ottoman Empire and Egypt brought about by Muhammad Ali Pasha's demand to the Sublime Porte for control of Greater Syria, as reward for aiding the Sultan during the Greek War of Independence. As a result, Muhammad Ali's forces temporarily gained control of Syria, advancing as far north as Kütahya.

Kum Kapu demonstration

The Kum Kapu demonstration occurred in the Kumkapı district of Constantinople on July 27, 1890. It ensued in skirmishing in which several demonstrators and four police officers were killed. The intent of the demonstration was " awaken the maltreated Armenians and to make the Sublime Porte fully aware of the miseries of the Armenians."


Muafiyet was a tax exemption mechanism for Ottoman towns or villages; an individual decree of tax exemption was called a muafname.After a muafname was issued to a town, the urban population would be exempted from some of the taxes on raya, such as resm-i çift. Taxation in the Ottoman Empire was complex, including various routine and extraordinary taxes, and different rates for social groups; a muafname might apply to one or more of these taxes.The Muafiyet system was a deliberate policy of the Sublime Porte, working to encourage the growth of urban populations from the 15th century onwards, although forgoing some tax revenue.

Tax exemption was prized by locals; so, the granting of a muafname was subject to "pull" as well as "push". Muafname might be requested by the local bey or kadı. Enforcement of the complex patchwork of taxes and exemptions could vary; in one case, taxes were collected from villages despite a muafname, and the local kadı wrote that subsequent legitimate taxes were held back to compensate for the wrongful taxation.

Sarajevo, in Bosnia Eyalet, was granted muafname by Mehmed II in the 1460s; there was subsequent "creep" in the remit due to pressure from groups of local people.

In 1758, a new muafname exempted all the Muslims of Sarajevo from taxes.

The populace of Banja Luka were exempted from all customary and extraordinary taxes "as long as they are ready to repulse with weapons the attacks of infidels against the Sultan's lands and fortresses".

After its conquest, both Muslims and non-Muslims of Selanik were granted a muafname exempting them from avariz-i divaniyye and tekalif-i örfiye.A muafiyet emri, or tax exemption order, might even be given to an individual ship's captain.

Mustafa Reşid Pasha

Koca Mustafa Reşid Pasha (literally Mustafa Reşid Pasha the Great; 13 March 1800 – 7 January 1858) was an Ottoman statesman and diplomat, known best as the chief architect behind the Ottoman government reforms known as Tanzimat.

Born in Constantinople in 1800, Mustafa Reşid entered public service at an early age and rose rapidly, becoming ambassador to France (1834) and to the United Kingdom (1836), minister for foreign affairs (1837), and once again ambassador to the United Kingdom (1838) and to France (1841). In the settlement of the Oriental Crisis of 1840, and during the Crimean War and the ensuing peace negotiations, he rendered important diplomatic services to the Ottoman state. He returned a third time as ambassador to France in 1843. Between 1845 and 1857, he held the office of Grand Vizier six times.

One of the greatest and most versatile statesmen of his time, thoroughly acquainted with European politics and well-versed in national and international affairs, he was a convinced partisan for reform and the principal author of the legislative remodeling of the Ottoman administration known as Tanzimat. His efforts to promote reforms within the government led to the advancement of the careers of many other reformers, such as Fuad Pasha and Mehmed Emin Âli Pasha.


Porte may refer to:

Sublime Porte, the central government of the Ottoman empire

Porte, Piedmont, a municipality in the Piedmont region of Italy

John Cyril Porte, British/Irish aviator

Richie Porte, Australian professional cyclist who competes for Team BMC

Toyota Porte, an automobile

Protocol of St. Petersburg

The Protocol of St Petersburg was an 1826 Anglo-Russian agreement for the settlement of the Greek War of Independence.

Ridwan Pasha

Riḍwān ibn Muṣṭafā ibn ʿAbd al-Muʿīn Pasha (Turkish transliteration: Ridvan Pasha; died 2 April 1585) was a 16th-century Ottoman statesman. He served terms as governor of Gaza in the early 1560s and in 1570–1573, Yemen in 1564/65–1567, Habesh and Jeddah in 1573–1574 and Anatolia in 1582/83 until his death. During his term in Yemen, Ottoman authority largely collapsed. Ridwan Pasha was the progenitor of the Ridwan dynasty, which chose Gaza as its family headquarters, and where members of the dynasty ruled almost consecutively until 1690.

Rumi Darwaza

The Rumi Darwaza (Hindi: रूमी दरवाज़ा, Urdu: رومی دروازه, and sometimes known as the Turkish Gate), in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India, is an imposing gateway which was built under the patronage of Nawab Asaf-Ud-daula in 1784. It is an example of Awadhi architecture. The Rumi Darwaza, which stands sixty feet tall, was modeled (1784) after the Sublime Porte (Bab-iHümayun) in Istanbul.It is adjacent to the Asafi Imambara in Lucknow and has become a logo for the city of Lucknow. It used to mark the entrance to Old Lucknow City, but as the City of Nawabs grew and expanded, it was later used as an entrance to a palace which was later demolished by the British insurgents.

Scarlat Callimachi (hospodar)

Scarlat Callimachi (Istanbul, 1773 – December 12, 1821, Bolu) was Grand Dragoman of the Sublime Porte 1801–1806, Prince of Moldavia between August 24, 1806 – October 26, 1806, August 4, 1807 – June 13, 1810, September 17, 1812 – June 1819 and Prince of Wallachia between February 1821 – June 1821.

A member of the Callimachi family, he was the son of Alexandru Callimachi and Ruxandra Ghica, and married Smaragda Mavrogheni. In 1810, during the Russo-Turkish War, he was imprisoned by the Russians, and taken to Kharkiv. He regained the Moldovan throne in 1812. Scarlat Callimachi adopted new laws and cut taxes for the boyars. He took measures against the plague, maintained upkeep of wood paved streets, supported Gheorghe Asachi's Romanian-language movement, and introduced potatoes to Moldavia.

In 1819 Scarlat Callimachi was taken to Istanbul to be executed after being suspected of collaborating with the Russians. He managed to have the sentence cancelled and in 1821 was appointed by the Porte to be Hospodar of Wallachia. He was Prince de jure a few months in 1821 and was unable to claim the throne. The Greek War of Independence broke out in 1821, and Callimachi died poisoned later that year, under suspicion of being pro-Greek.

Sulayman Pasha al-Adil

Sulayman Pasha al-Adil (c. 1760s – August 1819; given name also spelled Suleiman or Sulaiman) was the Ottoman governor of Sidon Eyalet between 1805 and 1819, ruling from his Acre headquarters. He also simultaneously served as governor of Damascus Eyalet between 1810 and 1812. He was a mamluk of his predecessor, Jazzar Pasha. His rule was associated with decentralization, a reduction of Acre's military, and limits to his predecessors' cotton monopoly. Moreover, he oversaw a policy of non-interference with his deputy governors, such as Muhammad Abu-Nabbut and Mustafa Agha Barbar, and diplomacy with the autonomous sheikhs of the various Levantine regions where he held authority, including Emir Bashir Shihab II and Musa Bey Tuqan. He exercised control over his domain largely through depending on the loyalty of his deputies, who also had been mamluks of Jazzar. In effect, Sulayman Pasha presided over the world's last functioning mamluk system.

Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca

The Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji Turkish: Küçük Kaynarca Antlaşması (also spelled Kuchuk Kainarji) Russian: Кючук-Кайнарджийский мир) was a peace treaty signed on 21 July 1774, in Küçük Kaynarca (today Kaynardzha, Bulgaria) between the Russian Empire and the Ottoman Empire. Following the recent Ottoman defeat at the Battle of Kozludzha, the document ended the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–74 and marked a defeat of the Ottomans in their struggle against Russia. The Russians were represented by Field-Marshal Count Pyotr Rumyantsev while the Ottoman side was represented by Musul Zade Mehmed Pasha. The treaty was a most humiliating blow to the once-mighty Ottoman realm. It would also stand to foreshadow several future conflicts between the Ottomans and Russia. It would be only one of many attempts by Russia to gain control of Ottoman territory.

Russia returned Wallachia and Moldavia to Ottoman control, but was given the right to protect Christians in the Ottoman Empire and to intervene in Wallachia and Moldavia in case of Ottoman misrule. The northwestern part of Moldavia (which became known as Bukovina) was ceded to Austria in 1775. Russia interpreted the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji as giving it the right to protect Orthodox Christians in the Empire, notably using this prerogative in the Danubian Principalities (Moldavia and Wallachia) to intervene under the last Phanariote rulers and after the Greek War of Independence. In 1787, faced with increased Russian hostility, Abdul Hamid I declared war on Russia again.Russia gained Kabardia in the Caucasus, unlimited sovereignty over the port of Azov, the ports of Kerch and Enikale in the Kerch peninsula in the Crimea, and part of the Yedisan region between the Bug and Dnieper rivers at the mouth of the Dnieper. This latter territory included the port of Kherson. Russia thus gained two outlets to the Black Sea, which was no longer an Ottoman lake. Restrictions imposed by the 1739 Treaty of Niš over Russian access to the Sea of Azov and fortifying the area were removed. Russian merchant vessels were to be allowed passage of the Dardanelles. The treaty also granted Eastern Orthodox Christians the right to sail under the Russian flag and provided for the building of a Russian Orthodox Church in Constantinople (which was never built).

The Crimean Khanate was the first Muslim territory to slip from the sultan's suzerainty, when the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji forced the Sublime Porte to recognize the Tatars of the Crimea as politically independent, although the sultan remained the religious leader of the Tatars as the Muslim caliph. This was the first time the powers of the Ottoman caliph were exercised outside of Ottoman borders and ratified by a European power. The Khanate retained this nominal independence, while actually being dependent on Russia, until Catherine the Great formally annexed it in 1783, increasing Russia's power in the Black Sea area.

The Ottoman-Russian War of 1768–74 had opened the era of European preoccupation with the Eastern Question: what would happen to the balance of power as the Ottoman Empire lost territory and collapsed? The Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji would provide some of the answer. After the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699, the Ottoman Empire ceased to be an aggressive power; it had terrified Christendom for over three hundred years. From then on, it mainly fought against the overwhelming might of Christian Europe. The Habsburgs had been one of the Ottoman Empire's chief European foes, but by the middle of the century, the tsars had taken over the Habsburgs' fight against the Turks. The Russian tsars were seeking the Black Sea, the bulwark of the Ottoman capital of Constantinople. Finally, after two centuries of conflict, the Russian fleet had destroyed the Ottoman navy and the Russian army had inflicted heavy defeats on the Ottoman land forces.The Ottoman Empire's frontiers would gradually shrink for another two centuries, and Russia would proceed to push her frontier westwards to the Dniester.

Central system

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