The grounds at Yildiz were acquired under Sultan Ahmed I (reg. 1603-1617) and were used for recreation by Sultan Murad IV (reg. 1623-1640) and Sultan Selim III (reg. 1789-1807), and included a pavilion named after the latter's mother, Valide Sultan Mihrisah.
Under Sultans Mahmud II (reg. 1808-1839), Abdulmecid (1839-1861), and Abdulaziz (reg. 1861-1876), different villas and pavilions were added to the parks at Yildiz. However, it was not until the reign of Abdulhamid II (reg. 1876-1909) that a royal palace was created at Yildiz. Abdulhamid's predecessors were based at the Dolmabahce Palace, and the Yildiz Palace was only used as the seat of the Sultan between 1889-1909, after which the Dolmabahce again became the royal residence.
The main components of the Yildiz Palace are the Cadir Pavilion, the Malta Pavilion, the Sale Pavilion, the opera house and theatre, the palace museum, the imperial porcelain factory, and government offices. A mosque, used by Sultan Abdulhamid on Friday during the Selamlik ceremony, also formed part of the complex.
Of the structures comprising the Yildiz complex, the Sale can be dated by its three parts. Originally constructed in 1880, it was added to in 1889 by the Turkish architect Sarkis Balyan. on the occasion of a visit from Emperor Wilhelm II. A third section, the Merasim (Ceremonial) Pavilion, was added in 1898 by Raimondo d'Aronco, an Italian architect, again preceding a state visit by Wilhelm II.
Today, the Yildiz complex functions as a park and museum, and the Sale Pavilion is also used for hosting private receptions.