German Fountain
The German Fountain ( Turkish: Alman Çeşmesi ) is a gazebo styled fountain in the northern end of old hippodrome (Sultanahmet Square), Istanbul, Turkey and across from the Mausoleum of Sultan Ahmed I. It was constructed to commemorate the second anniversary of German Emperor Wilhelm II's visit to Istanbul in 1898. It was built in Germany, then transported piece by piece and assembled in its current site in 1900. The neo-Byzantine style fountain's octagonal dome has eight marble columns, and dome's interior is covered with golden mosaics.

The idea of Great Palace of Constantinople's Empire Lodge ( Kathisma) being on the site of the German Fountain's, conflicts with the view that Carceres Gates of Hippodrome was found on the site of the fountain however, the hypothesis of Carceres Gates being on the site enforces the view that Quadriga of Lysippos was used to stand on the site of the German Fountain. During his reign as German Emperor and King of Prussia, Wilhelm II visited several European and Eastern countries. His trip started in Istanbul, Ottoman Empire on October 18, 1898 during the reign of Abdülhamid II. According to Peter Hopkirk, the visit to Ottoman Empire was an ego trip and also had long-term motivations: The Emperor's primary motivation for visiting was to construct the Baghdad Railway, which would run from Berlin to the Persian Gulf, and would further connect to British India through Persia. This railway could provide a short and quick route from Europe to Asia, and could carry German exports, troops and artillery. At the time, the Ottoman Empire could not afford such a railway, and Abdülhamid II was grateful to Wilhelm's offer, but was suspicious over the German motives. Abdülhamid II's secret service believed that German archeologists in the Emperor's retinue were in fact geologists with designs on the oil wealth of the Ottoman empire. Later, the secret service uncovered a German report, which noted that the oilfields in Mosul, northern Mesopotamia were richer than that in the Caucuses. In his first visit, Wilhelm secured the sale of German-made rifles to Ottoman Army, and in his second visit he secured a promise for German companies to construct the Istanbul-Baghdad railway. The German Government constructed the German Fountain for Wilhelm II and Empress Augusta's 1898 Istanbul visit. According to Afife Batur, the fountain's plans were drawn by architect Spitta and constructed by architect Schoele, also German architect Carlitzik and Italian architect Joseph Anthony worked on this project. According to the Ottoman inscription, the fountain's construction started in the Hejira 1319 (1898”“1899), although inauguration of fountain was planned to take place on September 1, 1900 - the 25th anniversary of Abdülhamid II's ascension to the throne. Construction, however, could not finish at the planned time and it was instead inaugurated on January 27, 1901 which was Wilhelm II's birthdate. Marble, stone and gem parts of the fountain were constructed in Germany and transported piece by piece to Istanbul by ships.

German Fountain constructed on the site where there was a tree which is known as Vakvak Tree ( Turkish: Vakvak AÄŸacı) or The Bloody Plane ( Turkish: Kanlı Çınar). In 1656 janissary rebellion, Mehmed IV gave demanded persons to the rebellious and the killed ones were hanged on the Plane in Hippodrome. Boynuyaralı Mehmed Pasha overcame this rebellion, which took two months and named Vak'a-i Vakvakiye, after becoming Grand Vizier. The plane named after Seçere-i Vakvak (Vakvak Tree) which believed to be in Jahannam and its fruits are human heads. The neo-Byzantine style octagonal fountain stood on a high floor, eight stairs, seven brass tap and over its reservoir there is a dome which has eight porphyry columns. Reservoir is standing on mosaic tiled platform and it is surrounded with bronze dome and carved marble. There are eight monograms in the stonework and they represent political union of Abdülhamid II and Wilhelm. There are eight medallion situated on archs that are between columns. In four of these medallions, Abdülhamid II's tughra is written on green background, and in other four Wilhelm's symbol "W" is written on Prussia blue background. Also, over "W" there is a crown and below it a "II" is written. Dome was surrounded with bronze circle, but unfortunately this circle was stolen. Exterior bronze green dome is standing over eight porphyry columns, and dome's interior is surface decorated with golden mosaics and again with Abdülhamid II's tughra and Wilhelm II's symbol. The bronze inscription on reservoir, which was written in German, reads " Wilhelm II Deutscher Kaiser Stiftete Diesen Brunnen In Dankbarer Erinnerung An Seinen Besuch Bei Seiner Majiestaet Dem Kaiser Der Osmanen Abdul Hamid II Im Herbst Des Jahres 1898" meaning "German Kaiser Wilhelm II, presented this fountain in 1898 autumn, in thankful remembrance of his visit to the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II". There is also an Ottoman inscription in the arch of fountain, Undersecretary of Seraskery Ahmet Muhtar Bey's eight couplet history verse is written by Hattat Ä°zzet Efendi. In lines, fountain's construction for commemorating Wilhelm II's Istanbul visit is told.

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