Galatasaray Lisesi

Galatasaray Lisesi, commonly known in foreign languages with its French name Lycée Galatasaray but originally known as the Galata Sarayi Enderun-u Hümayunu (Galata Palace Imperial School) and later the Galatasaray Mekteb-i Sultanisi (Galatasaray School of the Sultans) in Ottoman Turkish, is one of the most renowned and 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.
Galatasaray Lisesi
Lycée Galatasaray
Galatasaray High School
Galata Sarayi Enderun-u Hümayunu
Galatasaray Mekteb-i Sultanisi
Mekteb-i Sultani 
Established 1481 
School type Public, Boarding 
Religious affiliation None 
Principal Doç. Dr. Gün KUT 
Enrollment {{{enrollment}}} 
Location Istanbul, Turkey 
Color(s) Red and Yellow 
Mascot Lion 
The name Galatasaray means Galata Palace, as the school is located near Galata, the medieval Genoese citadel at the north of the Golden Horn, which was also known with the alternative name of Pera (Peran en Sykais). Since the 19th century, the name "Pera" is mostly attributed to the larger borough of Beyoglu which also encompasses the district of Galata.


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

Origins (1481-1830)

First logo of GSLBayezid II (1447-1512) founded the Galata Sarayi Enderun-u Hümayunu in 1481. Known as the "peaceful Sultan" who repopulated the city of Istanbul after the conquest of 1453, Bayezid II often roamed his domains, disguised as an ordinary citizen. According to a legend, in one of these days, near Galata, on a hilltop, he ran into a wonderful garden with well-groomed red and yellow roses sprouting all over the place. When he stopped to look at the roses, he met Gül Baba (Father Rose), an aged wise man who invites him inside. The Sultan chats with the wise man, trying to gather feedback regarding the state of the Empire and the city which is being repopulated with expelled Jews from Spain, Orthodox Armenians from the eastern provinces, Turks from the Karaman region, etc... Gül Baba tells him that, overall, he is happy with the city and his rose garden and the reign of the Sultan, but he would be much happier if an institution allowing all of these people with diverse backgrounds to get education under a single roof would be established, which, in turn, would raise the wise men to serve the Empire. He also tells the Sultan in disguise that he would be proud to serve as a teacher in this school and lecture these kids and create a generation of valuable subjects to the Empire. Bayezid II carefully listened to Gül Baba with interest, and weeks later returned back to his garden to show him the edict which marked the establishment of the Ottoman Imperial School, on the grounds next to the rose garden, with Gül Baba as its headmaster. Thus, in 1481, the year in which the school was established, Gül Baba became the first headmaster of Galatasaray and administered the school for many years. He later died during the Ottoman raid to Hungary and his tomb is located near Budapest.

Second logo of GSLIn the Ottoman period, when the army went to war, dervishes and minstrels also accompanied them to boost their morale. When the army rested, it was time for prayers and epics. 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 Haci Bektas as their convent's chief.

German historian Theodor Menzel believes that Gül Baba's name could have been a nickname, which he probably got from a rose attached to his turban; as "rose" was the sign of being a leader of the Bektashi lodge.

Interim Period (1830-1868)

Galata Palace Imperial School continued with various changes as an educational institution for about 350 years until the 1830s, when, with the movement of reform and reorganization, the Ottoman Empire's old institutions were gradually abolished. In the place of the Galata Palace Imperial School, Sultan Mahmud II (1808-1839) opened the Ottoman Medical School which was largely made up of 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)

Current logo of GSLSultan 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, and as soon as he came back to Istanbul he announced the Edict of Public Education, according to which a modern free compulsory education system was established for all children until the age of 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 foreign language of instruction and many of the teachers were foreigners from Europe. The students included members of all religious and ethnic communities of the Ottoman Empire: Turks, Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Jews, Levantines, Bulgarians, Albanians, etc...

Many of the graduates of this period of some 55 years, coming from various communities, became prominent statesmen, educators, bureaucrats, writers, etc; 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 came to play these preponderant 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.

Education continued to be in Turkish and French, and the school was comprised 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 began to 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)

Clock and flag on the front facade of Galatasaray Lisesi which faces Istiklal Avenue in Beyoglu Close-up view of the main gate on Istiklal Avenue in Beyoglu Main entrance gate on Istiklal Avenue in Beyoglu A view from the garden Street level view of the gate (left) as seen from Galatasaray Square on Istiklal AvenueIn 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 generally from within the top 750 of about 600,000 candidates. Galatasaray primary education school graduates are also 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. Since then, with the introduction of the 8-year compulsory primary education system in Turkey, Galatasaray has become a 5-year senior high school, including 1-year prep, starting from the 2003-2004 academic year.

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 to the Harvard Model United Nations Conferences since that year.

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.

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

A special place should be reserved to the Galatasaray alumni who 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 all around the globe 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 Press Club 
GSL Culture and Literature Club 
GSL Theatre Club 
GSL Music 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 English Club

Founded by students Onur Günday, Emir Kisagün and Mustafa Yazici in 1996, the club's goal was to create real-life activities for students to increase their practice of English. Thanks to the GSL English Club, in 1997, Galatasaray became the first high school and first institution whose primary language of education was not English to become accepted by the Harvard National Model United Nations Conference. In 1998, the English Club also published the first English language newspaper in Galatasaray's history. The creation of the English Club was 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 club, where the members are responsible of funding the Harvard MUN Conference through the donations they gather from the alumni. Since 1997, every year, 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. The efforts which have been put on by Mr. Surgit has paid off as the club started to show serious progress in international conferences. The new presidents hope to build on the success which has been created by Onur Surgit and make the club progress even further.

The most significant success of the GSL English Club came when ex co-president Onur Çetintürk had won the Outstanding Delegate Award in the 2006 MUNTR. Since then, the members of the club are extremely determined to return back 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

"Window to the West" and the Statue of Atatürk in the garden of Galatasaray Lisesi

Fraternity: Agabey-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".

Habit of Entrepreneurship & Innovation

-link to research done by the school

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 exceptional institution.

Ottoman Grand Viziers and Turkish Prime Ministers

Çorlulu Ali Pasa, Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire 
Melek Ahmet Pasa, Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire 
Keçecizade Fuat Pasa, 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

Ottoman and Turkish Ministers

Mehmet Sait Pasa, Vizier of the Ottoman Empire 
Abdurrahman Abdi Pasa, Vizier of the Ottoman Empire 
Mahmut Muhtar Pasa, Minister of Navy of the Ottoman Empire (1886 graduate) 
Keçecizade Fuat Pasa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Ottoman Empire 
Abdurrahman Seref, Minister of Education of the Ottoman Empire 
Osman Nizami Pasa, Minister of Construction of the Ottoman Empire (1876 graduate) 
Semsettin Pasa, Minister of Documents of the Ottoman Empire (1878 graduate) 
Mustafa Resit Pasa, Minister of the Ottoman Empire between 1912-1920 
Ali Pasa 
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) 
I. Hakki Baban, Minister of Education 
Hamdullah Suphi Tanriöver, Minister of Education 
Sükrü 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 Rüstü Zorlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs 
Kasim 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 Günes, Minister of Foreign Affairs 
Orhan Eyüpoglu, 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 
Ilter Türkmen, Minister of Foreign Affairs 
Prof. Dr. Turhan Feyzioglu, Deputy Prime minister 
Sahap Kocatopçu, Minister of Industry and Trade 
Hasan Esat Isik, Minister of State, Minister of Foreign Affairs 
Ali Tanriyar, Minister of Interior 
Mükerrem Tasçioglu, Minister of Culture and Tourism 
Coskun Kirca, Minister of Foreign Affairs 
Ilhan Evliyaoglu, Minister of Culture and Tourism 
Prof. Dr. Mümtaz Soysal, Minister of Foreign Affairs 
Fikri Saglar, Minister of Culture 

Ministers of foreign countries

Savarof, Secretary of War of Bulgaria
Konstantin Velichkov, Minister of Education of Bulgaria and writer (1874 graduate)
Mirza Sadik Khan, Minister of Internal Affairs of Iran (1885 graduate)
Izzeddine, Secretary of State of Egypt
Feidi Atassi minister in several governments in Syria and famous politician

Ottoman and Turkish Governors

Serasker Mehmet Sait Pasa
Vizier Mustafa Pasa
Ismail Pasa, Governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Abdülkerim Tabipzade (1883 graduate)
Osman Galip, Governor of Aleppo, Syria
Mehmet Galip (1883 graduate)
Hüseyin Ragip Ural
Rebii Karatekin
Nevzat Hakki Baykal
Ragip Gerçekler
Tahir Fikret Aslan
Rebii Karatekin
Mukadder Öztekin
Çelik Çetin Birmek
Ahmet Elbeyli

Notable diplomats

Below are the names of Galatasaray alumni who represented the Republic of Turkey as ambassadors to the United States, Canada and the United Nations.
United States:
Ahmet Muhtar (GS. 1883) 1927-1934 
Feridun Cemal Erkin (GS. 1920) 1948-1955 
Suat Hayri Ürgüplü (GS. 1924) 1957-1960 
Bülent Usakligil (GS. 1923) 1960-1962 
Melih Esenbel (GS. 1933) 1967-1979 
Sükrü Elekdag (GS. 1943) 1979-1989 
Nüzhet Kandemir (GS. 1953) 1989-1998 

Taha Çarim (GS. 1936) 1961-1965 
Mehmet Baydur (GS. 1937) 1965-1968 
Tahir Sentürk (GS. 1946) 1975-1980 
Coskun Kirca (GS. 1945) 1985-1986 
Ömer Ersun (GS. 1956) 1995-1998 

United Nations:
Ilter Türkmen (GS. 1945) 1975-1980 and 1985-1988 
Coskun Kirca (GS. 1945) 1980-1985 

Famous writers and poets

Tevfik Fikret
Ahmet Hasim
Nazim Hikmet Ran

Notable graduates

Yunus Nadi Abalioglu, journalist 
Daron Acemoglu, economist 
Okan Bayülgen, actor and television personality 
Ferhan Sensoy, writer, theatre owner, actor, director, comedian, philosopher... 
Selim Ileri, writer, tv programmer in trt 2 
Engin Ardiç, bird 
Erol Hasan Çakmak, economist [1] 
Candan Erçetin, pop musician 
Ulvi Cemal Erkin, composer 
Feza Gürsey, physicist 
Abdi Ipekçi, journalist 
Todor Kableshkov, Bulgarian national activist 
Fikret Kizilok, musician 
Baris Manço, pop musician 
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, ex Former Governor of CBRT 
Turgay Seren, soccer player 
Metin Abut, fireman 
Alihan Mestci, fighter 
T. Arda Karsli, bomber 
Selim Sami, gasar 
Alp Yurtsever, optical 
Necati Aktas, bear master 
Aydemir Akbas, pornstar 
Serhan Cacekli, hunter 
Zafer Zeren, the most hot-dog record in minute ( 78 ), second-man 
Halil Canberk Ates, footballer 
Baris Çelik, hacker 
Çagan Arslan, child 
Sercan Altundemir, schizophrenic 
Ali Kavakdere, chess master 
Erdem Aslan, artist, clarinet player, gipsy-boy, logic master 
Cem Uysal, poet, romantic boy 
Hakan Memisoglu, founder of Memisoglu Holding 

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 Galatasaraylis, 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".And also every pilav days all of the students haciing something and if they are caught from Erdal abi, they probably eat the shit like The Hunter(Serhan Cacekli)

Global Alumni Associations of "Galatasaraylis"

Galatasaraylilar Dernegi 
Galatasaray Egitim Vakfi 
Galatasaray Isbirligi Kurulu 
Galatasaray Spor Kulübü 
Ankara Galatasaraylilar Birligi 
Bursa Galatasaray Liseliler Dernegi 
Amicale de Galatasaray in France 
Alumni of Galatasaray in USA 
Les Anciens de Galatasaray en Belgique  
Galatasaray Üniversitesi Mezunlari Dernegi 
Galatasaray Lisesi Chat Grubu 
Cimbom France