Istanbul Holy Places
“The arrival of Bahá'u'lláh in Constantinople, the capital city of the Ottoman empire, on 16 August 1863, marks a significant milestone in the unfoldment of His Mission.
Bahá'u'lláh arrived in Constantinople in conspicuous majesty and was received by the authorities with great honour as He disembarked from the ship. He was driven with all the members of His family to the residence of Shamsí Big, an official who was present at the port and appointed by the Government to entertain its guests. His companions were given accommodation elsewhere in the city.
The house of Shamsí Big, a two-storey building in the vicinity of the Khirqiy-i-Sharíf mosque, proved to be too small a residence for Bahá'u'lláh and soon He was moved into the house of Vísí Páshá, a three-storey building more commodious than the first and situated near the mosque of Sultán Muhammad. Neither of these houses exists today in its original form. (The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volume Two, p.1-3)
With the arrival of Bahá’u’lláh at Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire and seat of the Caliphate (acclaimed by the Muḥammadans as “the Dome of Islam,” but stigmatized by Him as the spot whereon the “throne of tyranny” had been established) the grimmest and most calamitous and yet the most glorious chapter in the history of the first Bahá’í century may be said to have opened. A period in which untold privations and unprecedented trials were mingled with the noblest spiritual triumphs was now commencing. The day-star of Bahá’u’lláh’s ministry was about to reach its zenith. The most momentous years of the Heroic Age of His Dispensation were at hand. The catastrophic process, foreshadowed as far back as the year sixty by His Forerunner in the Qayyúmu’l-Asmá, was beginning to be set in motion. (God Passes By, p.9)