“During the era of the Tanzimat, the school became a window onto the west.”
New York Times
Galatasaray High School is one of the most influential institutions of modern Turkey. Established in 1481, it is the oldest Turkish high school and the second-oldest Turkish educational institution after Istanbul University which was established in 1453.
The origin of Galatasaray (Galata Palace), which gave birth to a football team in the beginning of the century, can be traced back to the conversion of the Galata Palace Imperial School (Galata Sarayı Enderun-u Hümayunu), which was founded to groom skilled statesmen for service to the Ottoman Empire. Once education reforms were enacted in 1868, Sultan Abdülaziz, who that year became the first sultan to visit Europe, ordered the school to undergo extensive modernization to bring it in line with the schools in western countries, especially France, that had so impressed him. Thus, the oldest and most deep-rooted educational institution in the country entered a new era. Until then, education in foreign languages did not exist in Ottoman schools. Galatasaray became the first to launch courses in French and paved the way for educational innovations throughout the Ottoman lands. It opened windows to the West for both the Ottoman Empire and later the Republic of Turkey.
Over the centuries Galatasaray High School produced thousands of graduates who made their mark on the cultural, social and political development of the country
By the end of the Ottoman Empire, Galatasaray High School, or “Mekteb-i Sultani” (School of Sultans) as it was then called, was the only public school providing Western style education in line with the country’s new period of enlightenment. Within years, the school grew in importance and improved its curriculum and staffing to provide the necessary educational groundwork required to enable graduates to implement legal, political and social reforms. Furthermore, it became a symbol of the westernization period and the application of ‘Tanzimat’ Reforms. Many princes, such as the two sons of Abdülhamid, studied at Galatasaray. At that time the school saw many improvements, thanks largely to the support of the crown. Many courses were designed specifically to provide students with the tools to become effective senior civil servants. Under Tevfik Fikret, the headmaster in 1908, the compulsory education program extended to nine years with three year programs each for the elementary, secondary and high schools. Persian, Arabic, Latin, Greek, Armenian and German became optional courses, and piano and violin lessons were also added to the curriculum.
In 1927, following the establishment of the new Republic of Turkey and the educational reforms of 1924, it was renamed Galatasaray High School. In 1967, Feriye Palaces, which houses the Galatasaray University, opened its doors to welcome girls for the first time. Nowadays, Galatasaray Elementary School, High School and University are among the best educational institutions in the country.
With more than five centuries of history and tradition, Galatasaray High School, where education is provided in French, is recognized as the oldest and one of the finest educational institutions in Turkey.
The Galatasaray University was founded on the 14th of April, 1992 through an international convention signed by then President of the Republic of Turkey, Turgut Özal, and French President François Mitterrand. The initiative to establish the new university was spearheaded by students at Galatasaray. And now The Galatasaray University is one of the most esteemed educational institutions of the country.
Born to Lead
Founded under nearly impossible conditions, this Club is now one of the most prestigious social institutions of the Turkish Republic.
At the beginning of 1900s a young man named Ali Sami Bey became interested in a game he would see the British playing in the meadows of Istanbul. That young man, with the help of his friends and classmates at Galatasaray Sultani (high school), would become the founder and first president of the Galatasaray Club, despite the fact that none of the founding members including himself knew where, how or with what money they would organize their venture. Moreover, no one had any idea how to play the ‘strange’ game, or from whom to receive the appropriate training.
At the beginning of the last century, the five hundred year old Imperial School was reestablished as a modern, high-level educational institution with the goal of providing a new generation of “qualified people” -schooled in the arts of administration and diplomacy- with the tools necessary to face the challenges of rapidly expanding Westernization. An unexpected byproduct of the new school was the emergence of one of this country’s most important social institutions: The Galatasaray Sports Club.
Ali Sami (Yen), the founder and first president of the Galatasaray Sports Club was born on the 20th of May 1886, in the Kandilli district of Istanbul. The son of Şemsettin Sami, the famous man of letters, Ali Sami Bey became Ali Sami Yen when the law on surnames was enacted in 1934. Not only he was one of the leaders of football, Galatasaray and Turkish sports in general, Ali Sami Yen was also one of the founders and presidents of “Türkiye İdman Cemiyetleri İttifakı” – the Alliance of Training Associations of Turkey. In addition, he was the president of the Turkish Delegation at the 1924 Paris Olympics and president of the Turkish Olympic Committee between 1926 and 1931.
The sports complex where the team plays its matches now bears his name.
“Our aim is to play together as a team, to have our own color and name and to beat the foreign teams.”
Ali Sami Yen, 1905
“You can not think of Galatasaray without sports and sports without Galatasaray.”
Ali Sami Yen
The dates on the timeline do not necessarily show the exact date of the branch’s establishment but rather indicate the approximate dates of the sports division becoming significantly active within the School or the Club.
Türk Telekom Arena Ali Sami Yen Sports Complex: 52,500 seats capacity
The stadium is planned by a consortium coordinated by ASP
(Arat-Siegel + Partner), and the project is led by architect Mete Arat.
Türk Telekom Arena is built on a total of 82,000 m2.
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