Historical palace stoves go on display

Historical palace stoves go on display

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Historical palace stoves go on display

Dolmabahçe Palace has the richest tiled stove collection, according to Halit Uçaroğlu, who restores them in a workshop that was established in 2005. AA photo

Hearkening back to a time before the advent of modern heating and electricity, the cultural authorities in charge of Istanbul’s Dolmabahçe Palace put the palatial dwelling’s old tiled stoves on display after years in storage.

Tiled stove master Halit Uçaroğlu, who works for the Turkish Parliament National Palaces Department, has been restoring the stoves, which range in age from 300 to 400 years, after decades of neglect.

The stoves, which are between one and 2.5 meters in length, have been placed on the walking route of palace visitors.

Furnaces and charcoal burners were generally used for heating in Ottoman palaces, Uçaroğlu said, adding that fireplaces and stoves came into use in the second half of the 19th century.

‘I enjoy bringing together pieces’

Uçaroğlu said the tiled stoves included in the National Palaces Heating Tools Collection had been kept in pieces on the ground floor of the palace for nearly 150 years without any maintenance. As such, a workshop to restore the stoves was set up in 2005 to begin the heating devices’ repair, he added.

“There was nearly a loss of 150 years here. We restore these stoves to meet this loss and revive the stoves. We display them in the palace. Some 35-40 stoves that have been so far restored are being displayed in various places of the Dolmabahçe Palace,” Uçaroğlu said.

Uçaroğlu said he had been working on the stoves for 20 years, just like his father. “I am devoted to my job. I love the stoves when I am working with them. I feel sorry when I cannot find a piece of a stove.
Stoves may sometimes have 30, sometimes 50 and sometimes 80 pieces. We bring these pieces together and revive the stoves. If a stove has 90-95 percent of its pieces, it can be recreated like its original.”

Many of the stoves possess no photos, registrations, numbers or inventory documentation, Uçaroğlu said. “We try to restore them, too, with our history researcher. I sometimes find pieces of another stove when I am looking for the pieces of a stove. It is a special pleasure to find these pieces and bring them together.”
He said the stoves that he had so far restored had not been damaged. “Of course these stoves will not heat the Dolmabahçe Palace again. But they will survive for the next 500 years thanks to my restoration. We continue restoring them to revive the past.”

Dolmabahçe Palace had the richest tiled stove collection, Uçaroğlu said, noting that the stoves were valuable because they were produced in such a small quantity.

He said the tiled stoves in the palace were mainly from Europe and that they determined their sources thanks to brands written on their metal parts.

The specialist also said restoring German and French stoves was the most enjoyable, adding that repairing a stove typically lasted between 1.5 and two months but sometimes upward of five months.