Concept of Kiosk

concept of kioskIf you’ve ever been to a shopping centre or train station you’ve probably been to a kiosk. But the kiosk as a building type is not a new invention. As a building type it was first introduced by the Seljuqs (a Muslim dynasty of Oghuz Turkic descent that ruled parts of Central Asia and the Middle East from the 11th to 14th centuries) and was a small building attached to the main mosque.

It consisted of a domed hall with open arched sides, gradually evolved into a summer house used by Ottoman sultans, perhaps the most famous of these kiosks are the Cinili koshk (kiosk in Turkish) and Baghdad koshk. The first was built in 1473 by Mohammad al-Fatih at the Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, and consists of a two storey building topped with a dome and having open sides overlooking the gardens of the palace. The Baghdad Koshk was also built at the Topkapi Palace in 1638-39, by Sultan Murad IV. The building is again domed offering direct views onto the gardens and park of the Palace as well as the architecture of the city of Istanbul.

Sultan Ahemd III (1703-1730) also built a glass room of the Sofa kiosk at the Topkapi Palace incorporating some Western elements, such as the gilded brazier designed by the elder John Claude Duplessis which was given to the Ottoman Ambassador by King Louis 15th. The first English contact with Turkish Kiosk came through Lady Wortley Montagu (1689-1762), the wife of the English ambassador to Constantinople, who in a letter written in 1 April 1717 to Anne Thistlethwayte, mentions a kiosk describing it as raised by 9 or 10 steps and enclosed with gilded lattices” (Halsband, 1965 ed.).

Historic sources confirm the transfer of these kiosks to European monarchs. The king of Poland, and the father in law of Louis 15th, Stanilas of Lorraine built kiosks for himself based on his memories of his captivity in Turkey. These kiosks were used as garden pavilions serving coffee and beverages but later were converted into band stands and tourist information stands decorating most European gardens, parks and high streets.

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