Galatasaray Lisesi

Galatasaray Lisesi

Infobox School
name = Galatasaray Lisesi
native_name = Lycée de Galatasaray
Galatasaray High School
Galata Sarayı Enderun-u Hümayunu
Galatasaray Mekteb-i Sultanisi
Mekteb-i Sultani
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Galatasaray Lisesi, known in other languages by its French name "Lycée de Galatasaray" was known in Turkish as the "Galata Sarayı Enderun-u Hümayunu" ("Galata Palace Imperial School") and later the "Galatasaray Mekteb-i Sultanisi" ("Galatasaray School of the Sultans"). It is one of the most influential high schools of modern Turkey. Established in 1481, it is the oldest Turkish high school in Istanbul and the second-oldest Turkish educational institution in the city after Istanbul University which was established in 1453. Being an Anatolian High School, access to the school is open to students with a high Nationwide High School Entrance score. Galatasaray S.K., which would go on to win the UEFA Cup in football in the year 2000, was formed in this institution with initial players all being members of the school.

The name "Galatasaray" means "Galata Palace", as the school is located near Galata, the medieval Genoese citadel at the north of the Golden Horn, also known as Pera ("Peran en Sykais"). Since the 19th century, the name "Pera" refers to the larger borough of Beyoğlu which includes the Galata district.


The history of Galatasaray Lisesi dates back to 1481. The high school started as "Galata Sarayı Enderun-u Hümayunu" (Galata Palace Imperial School) in its current location in Beyoğlu.

Origins (1481-1830)

Bayezid II (1447-1512) founded the "Galata Sarayı Enderun-u Hümayunu" in 1481. Known as the "peaceful Sultan", he revived the city of Istanbul after the conquest of 1453. Bayezid II often roamed the city, disguised as an ordinary citizen. Legend has it that on one of these rambles, he found a wonderful garden near Galata filled with beautiful red and yellow roses. In this garden, he met "Gül Baba" (Father Rose). The Sultan asked the wise man about how to improve the Empire and the city as they filled with a range of immigrants, from Spanish Jews to Turks from the Karaman region. Gül Baba explained that he was happy with the city, his rose garden and the reign of the Sultan, but he would be much happier if there were a school which would educate all students from this diverse range of backgrounds, as this would train the wise men needed to serve such a large Empire. He told the Sultan he would be proud to serve as a teacher in this school in order to create a generation of valuable subjects to the Empire. Bayezid II took Gül Baba at his word and returned to the garden weeks later with the edict which established the Ottoman Imperial School, on the grounds next to the rose garden, with Gül Baba as its headmaster. Thus Gül Baba became the first headmaster of Galatasaray and administered the school for many years. He died during the Ottoman raid to Hungary and his tomb is located near Budapest.

When the Ottoman army went to war, dervishes and minstrels accompanied it to provide religious prayers and entertainment. Dervishes and minstrels also used to arm themselves and joined the fighting whenever necessary. Gül Baba was one of these dervishes. Janissaries were fond of the dervishes of the Bektashi order, since they regarded Hacı Bektaş as their convent's chief.

German historian Theodor Menzel suggests that Gül Baba's name was a nickname, as "rose" was the sign of being a leader of the Bektashi lodge.

Interim period (1830–1868)

Galata Palace Imperial School remained open until the 1830s, when the movement of reform and reorganization abolished the Ottoman Empire's old establishment. Sultan Mahmud II (1808-1839) replaced the Imperial School with the Ottoman Medical School, staffed largely by French professors, and most courses were taught in the French language. The Medical School functioned at the Galata Palace buildings for some thirty years.

Modern period (1868–1923)

Sultan Abdülaziz (1861-1876) was the first Ottoman sultan to travel to Europe. Invited by Napoleon III, in June-July 1867 he attended the World Exhibition in Paris. He then visited Queen Victoria in London, Wilhelm I in Prussia and Franz Joseph I in Vienna. Sultan Abdülaziz was impressed by the French educational system during his visit, andon his return to Istanbul he announced the Edict of Public Education, which established a free compulsory education system for all children until they became twelve. In September 1868, influenced by the French "Lycée" model, a school was established under the name "Lycée Impérial Ottoman de Galata-Sérai" (in Turkish: "Galatasaray Mekteb-i Sultanisi"). French was the main language of instruction, and many teachers were European. The students included members of all religious and ethnic communities of the Ottoman Empire.Many students from this 55 year period became prominent statesmen, educators, bureaucrats and writers in Turkey and in other nation-states which were once a part of the Ottoman Empire. Some even served as the first statesmen in their newly established countries in Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia.

The influence of Galatasaray on modern Turkey has been enormous. As the need for administrators, diplomats, and other leaders with a modern education and capacity to handle Western administrative apparatus became more and more pressing, the graduates of Galatasaray filled these roles in the politics of the Ottoman Empire and, after it, of the Republic of Turkey.

Lycée de Galatasaray, with its contributions to the Westernization of the "East", came to be considered the "Window to the West".

Since this period, the district where this institution stands has been known as Galatasaray. In 1905, in one of Galatasaray's classrooms, the Galatasaray Soccer Club was founded.

From the establishment of the Republic of Turkey to the Integrated Education System (1923–1992)

With the abolition of the Ottoman Empire and the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, the name of the school was changed to "Galatasaray Lisesi" (Lycée de Galatasaray).

Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, visited Galatasaray 3 times: on December 2, 1930; January 28, 1932; and July 1, 1933.

Instruction was conducted in Turkish and French, and the school was composed of an Elementary School (5 years) and a Lycée (7 years) where French Language and Literature, Philosophy, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, English, and German were taught selectively in the last four years.

The school became co-educational in 1965, and female students now constitute at least 40% of the school's pupils.

One of the main buildings of the Feriye Palace on the Bosphorus, in the Ortaköy district, was also given to Galatasaray when it needed more room for expansion.

Integrated Education System (1992–present)

In the 1990s, Galatasaray entered another period of transformation. The signing of the Turkish-French Bilateral Agreement of 1992 led to the foundation of Galatasaray University which essentially grew out of the Lycée. With the addition of a new primary education school, the three units have emerged as autonomous components of an integrated education system under the aegis of the University.

The admission to the Lycée is by selective exams. Turkish primary school graduates take a very competitive centralized exam if they wish to be enrolled in a limited number of elite public high schools. Galatasaray admits 100 students from the top 750 of about 600,000 candidates. Galatasaray primary education school graduates are admitted to the Lycée, subject to examination. Lycée graduates may continue their higher education in Galatasaray University, where 25 percent of the enrollment quota is reserved for them, also subject to examination.

Until 1997, Lycée de Galatasaray was an 8-year school, which, for graduates of the 5-year compulsory primary school, involved 2 years of preparatory, 3 years of junior high, and 3 years of senior high school education. Galatasaray has become a 5-year senior high school with the introduction of the 8-year compulsory primary education system in Turkey, starting in the 2003-2004 academic year, including 1-year prep.

Galatasaray, being a boarding school, has a richly diverse student body, with boys and girls coming from every corner of the country. The current curriculum consists of a blend of Turkish and French curricula, plus a number of additional language and elective courses. Courses on Turkish Literature, Geography, History, Ethics, and Art are taught in Turkish. French Literature, Philosophy, Sociology, Mathematics, and Science courses use French as the language of instruction. In addition, English is taught from the primary school's sixth grade on, while Italian and Latin are taught in the Lycée grades.

The students set up an English Club in 1997, which regularly participates in the Harvard Model United Nations Conferences.

The "Lycée de Galatasaray" diploma is equivalent to the French "Baccalaureate", and graduates of Galatasaray are admitted to universities in France without further examinations. Moreover, they have no difficulty in enrolling in the best universities in Turkey and abroad. After obtaining their University degrees, many of these students join the Civil and Diplomatic Services, which befits the Enderun and later Imperial school traditions.

Graduates of this school during the last 80 years have included two Prime Ministers, eight Foreign Affairs Ministers and scores of cabinet Ministers and Undersecretaries. Apart from these the alumni of this institution have become academicians, judges, educators, writers, doctors, architects, engineers, journalists, artists, film directors, poets, painters and many other professionals.

Many Galatasaray alumni have joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They constitute an important body in the Diplomatic Corps, and the number of those who have reached the Ambassadorial rank exceeds one hundred.

Today, Lycée de Galatasaray graduates continue to occupy high ranking political, industrial and business positions within and outside Turkey. They are represented by 17 Alumni Associations, 9 in Turkey, and 8 in Europe, North America and South Africa.


Education is primarily in French and Turkish. English and Italian are also taught as second languages. There is also a slight exposure to Ottoman Turkish, Persian, and Arabic through Literature and Religion classes, as well as Latin and Greek through the French classes.

The school years break down as follows:

Elementary School (8 years) - admission through a lottery.French Prep (1 year)Lyceum (4 years) - admission through the Secondary Education Institutions Entrance Exam (OKS)French Prep (1 year)University (4 years) - admission through the National University Entrance Exam (OSS)

Note: The most recent change happened in 2003 with the establishment of an 8-year Primary School system (which integrated the previous 5 years of Elementary School and 3 years of Junior High under a single body). With this new system, the 1-year Prep and 4-year Junior High education were transitioned into the Primary School.


"J'aime la qualité, j'aime la superiorité, alors j'aime mon Lycée."

French for "I love quality, I love superiority, thus I love my lycée."

Galatasaray sports

"See Galatasaray S.K."

Galatasaray extracurricular activities

* GSL Music Club
* GSL Press Club
* GSL Culture and Literature Club
* GSL Theatre Club
* GSL Arts Club
* GSL Social Sciences Club
* GSL Folklore Club
* GSL Firestoppers Club
* GSL Travel Club
* GSL Sports Club
* GSL Science & Technology Club
* GSL Photography Club
* GSL Civil Protection Club
* GSL Cinema Club
* GSL Natural Sports Club
* GSL Philosophy Club
* GSL Ecology Club
* GSL Computer Club
* GSL Chess Club
* GSL English Club
*GSL Anime-Manga Club
* GSL Board Games Club

GSL English Club

Founded by students Onur Günday, Emir Kısagün and Mustafa Yazıcı in 1996, the club's goal was to create real-life activities for students to practice English. Thanks to the GSL English Club, in 1997, Galatasaray became the first high school whose primary language of education was not English to become accepted by the Harvard National Model United Nations Conference. In May 1999, under the presidency of Anil Ugurlu, the English Club also published the first English language school magazine in Galatasaray's history. The magazine, named "Third Dimension", expressed the importance of a third language in the school. The creation of the English Club and the publication of Third Dimension were considered revolutionary in a traditionally Francophone school, where the influence of globalization and importance of English had finally expressed itself with the creation of the club.

Another thing which makes the English Club unique is that it's a uniquely student-managed and alumni-funded clu; the members are responsible for funding the Harvard MUN Conference through the donations they gather from the alumni. Since 1997, the GSL English Club sends an increasing number of students to the HMUN conference.

In 2005, the club reconstructed its member selection system and internal regulation thanks to the efforts of president Onur Surgit who is now continuing his higher education in the United States. Surgit's efforts have paid off as the club started to show serious progress in international conferences. Future presidents hope to build on Surgit's success and make the club progress even further.

The most significant success of the GSL English Club came when ex co-president Onur Çetintürk won the Outstanding Delegate Award in the 2006 MUNTR. Since then, the members of the club are determined to return to their homeland with an award from the prestigious Harvard National Model United Nations Conference.

In 2006, GSL English Club presidency was handed to Ali Yalgin with the utmost hope to continue the steps forward towards achieving a first place in an international MUN conference.

Galatasaray traditions

Fraternity: Ağabey-Abla tradition

At Galatasaray there is a tradition of respecting the elder brothers and sisters. The elders protect the younger brothers/sisters while the younger ones respect the elders, creating a relationship of fraternal hierarchy and ranks among the student body. After graduation, this fraternity continues regardless of age, status or geographic location.

Being the Window to the West

Lycée de Galatasaray, with its contributions to the Westernization of the "East", came to be considered the "Window to the West".

Galatasaray alumni

During 80 years of the Republican Period, there were two Prime Ministers, eight Foreign Ministers, scores of other Cabinet Ministers and Undersecretaries in the state administration. Apart from these, many academicians, judges, educators, writers, doctors, architects, engineers, journalists, artists, stage artists, film directors, poets, painters etc. constitute the illustrious alumni of this institution.

Grand Viziers and Prime Ministers

* Çorlulu Ali Paşa, Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire
* Melek Ahmet Paşa, Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire
* Keçecizade Fuat Paşa, Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire
* Suat Hayri Ürgüplü, Prime Minister of Turkey
* Nihat Erim, Prime Minister of Turkey

Foreign Kings, Presidents and Prime Ministers

* King Zog of Albania (1928-1939)
* Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, 2nd President of Israel
* Mehmet Ali El-Abid, President of Syria (1932) and Ambassador of Syria to the United States in Washington D.C. (1890 graduate)
* Suphi Bereket, Prime Minister of Syria


* Mehmet Sait Paşa, Vizier of the Ottoman Empire
* Abdurrahman Abdi Paşa, Vizier of the Ottoman Empire
* Mahmut Muhtar Paşa, Minister of Navy of the Ottoman Empire (1886 graduate)
* Keçecizade Fuat Paşa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Ottoman Empire
* Abdurrahman Şeref, Minister of Education of the Ottoman Empire
* Osman Nizami Paşa, Minister of Construction of the Ottoman Empire (1876 graduate)
* Şemsettin Paşa, Minister of Documents of the Ottoman Empire (1878 graduate)
* Mustafa Reşit Paşa, Minister of the Ottoman Empire between 1912-1920
* Ali Paşa
* Dr. Cemil Topuzlu, Minister of Construction of the Ottoman Empire
* Sabahattin Tanman, Minister of Customs and Monopoly of the Ottoman Empire
* Prof. Yusuf Hikmet Bayur, Minister of Education of the Ottoman Empire (1909 graduate)
* Necmeddin Sadak, Minister of Foreign Affairs (1910 graduate)
* İ. Hakkı Baban, Minister of Education
* Hamdullah Suphi Tanrıöver, Minister of Education
* Şükrü Kaya, Minister of Agriculture, Interior and Foreign Affairs
* Hikmet Bayur, Minister of Education
* Feridun Cemal Erkin, Minister of Foreign Affairs
* Suat Hayri Ürgüplü, Minister of Customs and Monopoly
* Fatin Rüştü Zorlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs
* Kasım Gülek, Minister of Construction, Transport and State
* Cihad Baban, Minister of Culture and Tourism
* Prof. Dr. Nihat Erim, Minister of Construction, Deputy Prime Minister
* Turan Güneş, Minister of Foreign Affairs
* Orhan Eyüpoğlu, Minister of State
* Prof. Dr. Orhan Dikmen, Minister of Agriculture
* Mehmet Baydur, Minister of Trade
* Malik Yolaç, Minister of Youth and Sports
* Necmettin Cevheri, Minister of State
* İlter Türkmen, Minister of Foreign Affairs
* Prof. Dr. Turhan Feyzioğlu, Deputy Prime Minister
* Şahap Kocatopçu, Minister of Industry and Trade
* Hasan Esat Işık, Minister of State, Minister of Foreign Affairs
* Dr. Ali Tanrıyar, Minister of Interior
* Mükerrem Taşçıoğlu, Minister of Culture and Tourism
* Coşkun Kırca, Minister of Foreign Affairs
* İlhan Evliyaoğlu, Minister of Culture and Tourism
* Prof. Dr. Mümtaz Soysal, Minister of Foreign Affairs
* Fikri Sağlar, Minister of Culture

Ministers of foreign countries

* General Mikhail Savov, Secretary of War of Bulgaria (1876 graduate)
* Konstantin Velichkov, Minister of Education of Bulgaria and writer (1874 graduate)
* Mirza Sadık Khan, Minister of Internal Affairs of Iran (1885 graduate)
* İzzeddine, Secretary of State of Egypt
* Feidi Atassi, Minister in several governments in Syria and famous politician


* Serasker Mehmet Sait Paşa
* Vizier Mustafa Paşa
* İsmail Paşa, Governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina
* Abdülkerim Tabipzade (1883 graduate)
* Osman Galip, Governor of Aleppo, Syria
* Mehmet Galip (1883 graduate)
* Hüseyin Ragıp Ural
* Rebii Karatekin
* Nevzat Hakkı Baykal
* Ragıp Gerçekler
* Tahir Fikret Aslan
* Rebii Karatekin
* Mukadder Öztekin
* Çelik Çetin Birmek
* Ahmet Elbeyli
* Mar'i Pasha Al Mallah, last Ottoman Interim Governor of the Province of Aleppo, Syria (1876 graduate)

Notable diplomats

Below are the names of Galatasaray alumni, who represented the Republic of Turkey as ambassadors to the United States, Canada, the United Nations and other countries.

United States:

* Ahmet Muhtar (GS. 1883) 1927-1934
* Feridun Cemal Erkin (GS. 1920) 1948-1955
* Suat Hayri Ürgüplü (GS. 1924) 1957-1960
* Bülent Uşakligil (GS. 1923) 1960-1962
* Melih Esenbel (GS. 1933) 1967-1979
* Şükrü Elekdağ (GS. 1943) 1979-1989
* Nüzhet Kandemir (GS. 1953) 1989-1998


* Taha Çarim (GS. 1936) 1961-1965
* Mehmet Baydur (GS. 1937) 1965-1968
* Tahir Şentürk (GS. 1946) 1975-1980
* Coşkun Kırca (GS. 1945) 1985-1986
* Ömer Ersun (GS. 1956) 1995-1998

United Nations:

* İlter Türkmen (GS. 1945) 1975-1980 and 1985-1988
* Coşkun Kırca (GS. 1945) 1980-1985


* Daniş Tunalıgil (GS. 1933) -1975


* Necdet Kent: Given the title Righteous among the Nations for saving many Jews in the invaded city of Marseille in WW II.

Famous writers and poets

* Tevfik Fikret
* Ahmet Haşim
* Nazım Hikmet
* Özdemir Asaf

Notable graduates

* Yunus Nadi Abalıoğlu, journalist
* Daron Acemoglu, economist
* Haldun Taner, journalist, writer
* Şerif Mardin, social science scholar
* Tarık Papuççuoğlu, actor
* Fikret Kızılok, musician
* Renan Bilek, musician
* Barış Manço, musician
* Engin Ardıç, journalist
* Ferhan Şensoy, writer, comedian, actor, director, theatre owner
* Selim İleri, writer, TV programme producer and host in TRT 2
* Okan Bayülgen, actor and TV show host
* Erol Hasan Çakmak, economist
* Candan Erçetin, pop musician
* Ulvi Cemal Erkin, composer
* Bülent Arel, composer
* İlhan Mimaroğlu, composer
* İlhan Usmanbaş, composer
* Yalçın Tura, composer
* Feza Gürsey, physicist
* Abdi İpekçi, journalist
* Todor Kableshkov, Bulgarian national activist
* Dimitar Marinov, Bulgarian ethnographer and historian
* Stoyan Mihaylovski, Bulgarian writer and politician (1872 graduate)
* Nikola Milev, Bulgarian historian
* Simeon Radev, eminent Bulgarian diplomat and historian
* Süreyya Serdengeçti, economist, former Governor of the Central Bank of Turkey
* Turgay Şeren, soccer player, goalkeeper and team captain of Galatasaray S.K. and Turkey

Galatasaray Alumni Pilav Day

Galatasaray alumni gather on the grounds of the Lycée every year, on the first Sunday of June, to enjoy the traditional Pilav Day, a day of reunion and feast for all "Galatasaraylıs", where a special Pilav (rice pilaf) and meat is served in the school's cafeterias as in the old school days. Many schools have copied this tradition and now hold their reunions and call them "Pilav Days".

Global Alumni Associations of "Galatasaraylıs"

* Galatasaraylılar Derneği []
* Galatasaray Eğitim Vakfı []
* Galatasaray İşbirliği Kurulu []
* Galatasaray Spor Kulübü []
* Ankara Galatasaraylılar Birliği []
* Bursa Galatasaray Liseliler Derneği []
* Amicale de Galatasaray in France []
* Alumni of Galatasaray in USA []
* Les Anciens de Galatasaray en Belgique []
* Galatasaray Üniversitesi Mezunları Derneği []
* Galatasaray Lisesi Chat Grubu []
* Cimbom France []

Galatasaray alumni groups by year

* 97th term graduates website []
* 106th term graduates website []
* 108th term graduates website []
* 109th term graduates website []
* 110th term graduates website []
* 112th term graduates website []
* 113th term graduates website []
* 115th term graduates website []
* 116th term graduates website []
* 120th term graduates website []
* 121st term graduates website []
* 123rd term graduates website []
* 127th term graduates website []
* 137th term graduates website []
* 138th term graduates website []
* 139th term website []
* 141st term website []

See also

* Galatasaray University
* List of the oldest schools in the world

External links

* [ Galatasaray High School]
* [ Galatasaray University]
* [ Galatasaray Elementary School]
* [ Another website about Galatasaray]
* [ Mekteb-i Sultani 1481-1868]


* [ History of the school from the official school webpage] , for the period between 1481 and 1868. Accessed September 25, 2008 (in Turkish).
* [ History of the school from the official school webpage] , for the period between 1868 and 1923. Accessed September 25, 2008 (in Turkish).
* [ History of the school from the official school webpage] , during the modern Republic of Turkey (including during the Turkish War of Independence. Accessed September 25, 2008 (in Turkish).
* [ A documentary about the school] , served through their official webpage. Accessed September 25, 2008.

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