Istanbul Travel Guide

Shield of the Ottoman Empire

  • Armorial bearings of Ottoman engraved on a stone.

  • Armorial bearings of Ottoman placed on the ceiling of the door of Bab-i Ali. This armorial bearings is the only one of its kind.

The shield was ordered first by Mahmud II from an Italian artist. From 1881 on, Sultan Abdulmecid, started to use the Shield of the Ottoman Empire (Arma-i Osmani). But the design of the Shield of the Ottoman Empire was a result of the efforts of Abdulhamid II.

Shield was designed by an English

The shield of Ottoman Empire was designed by an English Prens Charles Young. There are 30 different symbols on the shield of Ottoman Empire such as; sun, signature of Abdulhamit II, tufty headgear, shield, flag, spear, cannonball, sword, bugle, bow, anchor, caliphate flag, Koran, scales, bayonet rifle, order of compassion, order of glorious, order of boast and order of Ottoman.

A statute was made that contained information about which elements were used  in which order, and what each element symbolized. The use of the shield was also regulated. Every element of the shield had a different meaning. Some shields are in old Ottoman style, others have a new style. Examples are the old battle axe which the janissary used, and the infantryman’s modern bayonet rifle.