The Kuleli Military High School was founded on September 21, 1845, at the Macka Barracks in Istanbul, which is now occupied by the Istanbul Technical University, under the name “Mekteb-i Fünun-i Idadiye.” Due to the building’s renovation, the school finished its first year in the Tiled Kiosk (Cinili Kösk) building, which at the time housed the Imperial Music Band (Mizika-i Hümayün) and the Logistics and Communications Unit (Zülüflü Baltacilar Ocagi). After the Macka Barracks were fixed up, “Mekteb-i Funun-i Idadiye” started its second school year with a ceremony on October 10, 1846. Sultan Abdülmecid was there.
Garabet Balyan, an Ottoman Armenian architect, finished the Kuleli Cavalry Barracks building, which is now the Kuleli Military High School, in 1843.
All military high schools were to be combined in 1868. At that time, Kuleli was one of four military high schools that were transferred to the Galatasaray Barracks under the name “Umum Mekteb-i Idadi Sahane.” After the combined military high schools proved to be unsuccessful, it was decided that each school should embark on its independent educational program. Due to this, the Naval High Schools “Mekteb-i Fünun-i Idadiye” and “Deniz Idadisi” relocated to the Kuleli Barracks in 1872. The institution later became known as “Kuleli Idadisi” (Kuleli Military High School).
The school was converted into a hospital during the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878) between the Ottoman Empire and Russia. The Kuleli academic staff and students consequently relocated to the Turkish Military Academy building in Pangalti, Istanbul. The school relocated back to its Cengelköy location after the war with the establishment of the “Askeri Tbbiye Idadisi” (Military Medical High School) in 1879. Due to overcrowding, the hospital on the ridge outside the school had to be evacuated and transferred to the Military Medical School. Later, the hospital relocated to the Beylerbeyi neighborhood. In 1910, the Military Medical High School, or “Askeri Tibbiye Idadisi,” moved to the Haydarpasa neighborhood.
Kuleli Barracks was again turned into a hospital during the Balkan Wars in 1912–1913 (the First Balkan War). Some of the students were assigned to the Beylerbeyi Palace’s neighboring buildings, while others were sent to the Kandilli High School for Girls (Adile Sultan Palace). The school relocated back to its building after 1913. The school briefly relocated to the Prinkipo Greek Orthodox Orphanage on Büyükada Island near Istanbul during World War I. Due to a British request in the Armistice of Mudros, the structure was abandoned at the end of World War I and used as a dormitory for Armenian orphans and refugees who had been deported during the conflict.
The Kuleli Military High School initially relocated to a military camp in Kagithane near the Sünnet Bridge that only had tents, and then, a month later, to a police station in Macka. It was moved to the former Gendarmerie School close to Beylerbeyi Palace because of British interest there (December 26, 1920).
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