About Haidar Pasha Cemetery
The Haidar Pasha Cemetery near Istanbul, Turkey was the burial site of approximately 6,000 soldiers who died during the Crimean War at the Selimiye Barracks, a then British military base and hospital. It is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Haidar Pasha Cemetery history
Conditions at the Selimiye Barracks were terrible at the beginning of the Crimean War until the British nurse Florence Nightingale famously transformed them and dramatically improved soldiers’ mortality rates. As such, many soldiers died of preventable diseases such as cholera.
Haidar Pasha Cemetery was given to the British Government by the Turkish Government in 1855, and contains about 6,000 graves of the Crimean War, mostly the result of a cholera epidemic in Istanbul. An imposing grey granite obelisk erected by the British Government of that era commemorates the British dead. In 1867 the cemetery was made available for British civilian burials, and there is a separate section for such graves.
During the First World War, the cemetery was used by the Turkish forces for the burial of Commonwealth prisoners of war and after the Armistice, when Istanbul was occupied, further burials were made, mainly from No.82 General Hospital.
During the Second World War, Turkey remained neutral and Commonwealth servicemen buried there were mainly men taken prisoner during operations in the Aegean, who died while attempting to escape from camps where they awaited transport to Germany and Italy, and whose bodies were washed up on the Turkish coast. The war graves plot contains 407 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 60 of them unidentified. Second World War burials number 39, 14 of them unidentified.
Haidar Pasha Cemetery today
Most of the Haidar Pasha Cemetery Crimean graves are unmarked.
The Haidar Pasha Cemetery includes a memorial to Nightingale as well as to those who died at the Selimiye Barracks hospital during the Crimean War. There are also memorials to the First World War soldiers who died whilst in action in Georgia, South Russia and Azerbaijan as well as a cremation memorial to Indian Army soldiers killed in 1919 and 1920.
The usual route is to start by visiting the nearby Florence Nightingale Museum at the Selimiye Barracks and then Haidar Pasha Cemetery.
Getting to Haidar Pasha Cemetery
Haidar Pasha is a suburb of Istanbul between Scutari (Uskudar) and Kadikoy on the Asiatic side of the Bosphoros. The cemetery is on high ground behind the Haidar Pasha pier head and railway station.