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Dolmabahçe, İnönü Stadium

Dolmabahçe, İnönü Stadium
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Source: Sedat Tokay Archive

Dolmabahçe İnönü Stadium

BJK İnönü Stadium (originally named the Dolmabahçe Stadium) was designed by Italian architect Paolo Vietti-Violi, who collaborated with Turkish architects Şinasi Şahingiray and Fazıl Aysu for the project. The ground of Dolmabahçe Palace's stable was chosen as the location to build the stadium. The first foundation was laid on May 19, 1939, but construction work was halted due to the outbreak of the Second World War. The stadium was eventually inaugurated on May 19, 1947, by İsmet İnönü, the second President of Turkey and himself a Beşiktaş fan, and Lütfi Kırdar, the Governor of Istanbul. The initial capacity was 16,000. In the original project plan, there were two bronze statues of athlete figures at the Eski Açık stand: one throwing a discus, and the other throwing a javelin. However, the statues were never built due to financial concerns. The oil factory which was found behind the stadium was demolished to construct the Yeni Açık stand at the west part of the stadium in 1950 (hence the name Yeni Açık, meaning the New Open stand - referring to the two covered stands Numaralı and Kapalı, and the other uncovered stand, Eski Açık). Yeni Açık was eventually covered with a separate roof structure in 2004. Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe shared the stadium with Beşiktaş for many years, until the construction of the Ali Sami Yen Stadium in 1964, and the renovation of Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in 1982.

The first football match at the Dolmabahçe Stadium took place between Beşiktaş and AIK Stockholm of Sweden, on November 27, 1947. The first goal in the stadium was scored by Süleyman Seba, the most famous and longest-presiding Chairman of the club (in the 1980s and 1990s), when he was a player at Beşiktaş. Beşiktaş lost this match 3–2. In 1952, the stadium was renamed as Mithat Paşa Stadium, and later in 1973, it was renamed as İnönü Stadium. A leasing contract was signed between Beşiktaş JK and the Ministry of Youth and Sports in February 1998 which gave all usage rights of İnönü Stadium to Beşiktaş JK for 49 years.

Renovation work took place at the stadium in 2004. The tartan track was removed within the scope of these renovations and the ground level was lowered by 4 meters to increase the capacity of the stadium to 32,145 spectators. The press seats were relocated to the Numaralı stand from the Kapalı stand. The executive suites that were found in the middle of the Kapalı stand were demolished and for the first time in Turkey, the wire fence between the stands and the pitch was removed for space. The number of gates was increased by 100%. A press center for Beşiktaş TV was built inside the stadium. Restrooms and lunch counters were also renovated. The Yeni Açık stand was covered with a metallic roof, and the stadium complied with UEFA standards.

The stadium's location is near the Bosphorus and is very close to Taksim Square. The stadium could be reached easily by any means of public transport (bus, ferry, metro, light-rail, funicular etc.) due to its central location.

There were four different parts of the stadium: Kapalı was where the most hot-blooded fans were during the matches. Yeni Açık was on the western side, facing the Bosphorus. Eski Açık was the smaller stand opposite Yeni Açık where visiting supporters were typically seated. Numaralı is where press, VIP, and protocol seats were located.

Citation: Wikipedia