Dolmabahce Palace is a magnificent building located in an exceptional location on the shores of the Bosphorus in the Besiktas district. It was the residence of the last six Ottoman sultans and Atatürk, the first president and founder of the Republic of Turkey.

The white marble Dolmabahce Palace combines Baroque, Rococo, Classicism, and Ottoman architecture. The palace also has a clock tower. One palace gate leads directly to the sea, and the palace windows offer a beautiful view of the Bosphorus.

A few facts:

  • It was built in 1843-1856 by Sultan Abdulmecit.
  • It covers an area of 45,000 m2 and contains 285 rooms, 46 halls, 4,454 m2 of carpets, six Turkish baths (hammam), and 68 bathrooms.
  • Glass and crystal are the main attractions of the palace, which attracts its visitors.
  • You will marvel at marble staircases, vases from the French Sevres porcelain factory, Lyon silks, huge crystal chandeliers, Baccarat crystals, British sconces, and breathtaking carpets.
  • A total of 52 crystal, 30 bronze chandeliers, 142 ceiling hangers, and 60 crystal candlesticks are waiting for you.
  • Contains more than 50,000 objects in hundreds of rooms.
  • It was the first palace in Istanbul with coffee tables.

History of Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahce Palace was built by the Ottoman Sultan Abdulmecid (1839-1861) on an area of 110,000 square meters between 1843 and 1856. Its construction on the edge of the Bosphorus was taken as a sign that the Ottomans had broken the traditional link with the past. The total area is about 250,000 m2 with a vast complex of buildings, pavilions, courtyards, and gardens with a Swan fountain. The construction of the palace cost the sultan very large sums, he also borrowed from foreign banks, which contributed to state bankruptcy and the decline of the Ottoman Empire.

The interior of the palace is luxuriously furnished with up to 35 tons of gold, Venetian glass, crystal, silk, brocade, and the world’s most expensive carpets.

Dolmabahce Palace was home to a total of six sultans and the last Ottoman Caliph Abdulmecid Efendi from 1856 when the Caliphate was abolished. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, used the palace for his studies in Istanbul from 1927-1938 and died here on November 10, 1938. Therefore, the palace has an important and unique place in the hearts of the Turkish people.

The palace was partially open to protocol and visits from 1926-1984 and was finally opened to the public as a museum after 1984.

What you can see in Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahce Palace, unlike Topkapi Palace, was built as one large building, with several pavilions and a large garden around this structure. It was surrounded by high walls on the mainland side. There are two main and seven side gates and the seaside has five ports.

The gardens and gates of Dolmabahce Palace are beautiful. The gates are masterpieces of metalworking.

The palace contains over 50,000 objects in hundreds of rooms. The interior of the palace reflects the grandeur of the era and is designed like luxurious European palaces. Huge crystal stairs and chandeliers, large oil paintings, and armchairs are very attractive. The palace’s rare clocks will fascinate you.

Parts of the palace

The palace consists of three parts.

  • Mabeyn-i Hümayun (Selamlik), where the administrative work of the state was carried out.
  • The ceremonial hall where the Sultan and his family led their private lives.
  • Harem-i Humayun, which is used for state ceremonies.

The Selamlik Hall contains the mastery of cut glass and mirrors with crystal chandeliers, as well as the magnificent Hereke carpet, the dazzling crystal stairs to the upper floor, also called the Sultanate Ladder, the most luxurious Sufera Hall, where ambassadors were hosted, the Red Room and the Zülvecheyn Hall on the upper floor.

While walking through the Medhal Hall, you will see Atatürk’s room and also how all the clocks in the palace were set to 09:05, which is the approximate time he died.

The biggest chandeliers and crystal candlesticks of the palace are located in the Ceremonial Hall. The ceiling of the Sultan’s chamber in the harem and the stunning decoration of the Ceremonial Hall will surely enchant you.

Not to be missed The Gaveau Crystal Piano is made of crystal, as is its chair, which is a unique example of glass art.