The Beylerbeyi Palace was built between 1861 and 1865 on the Asian shore of Istanbul, and it is within the cultural heritage treasury of the world. Recent earthquakes in the Mediterranean basin have highlighted the particular vulnerability of historic masonry buildings and the need of properly defining retrofitting measures. In this respect, structural behaviour and the earthquake performance of the palace have been investigated. It is seen that the inherent dynamic properties of the palace make it vulnerable to earthquake ground shaking. In order to reduce the affect of ground shaking, the use of base isolation system has been investigated. It is determined that base isolation can be used to reduce the earthquake effects on the palace and ensure the structural performance under maximum considered earthquake. Copyright (c) 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.