Dolmabahçe Palace

Dolmabahçe Sarayı

During the boat trip along Bosphorus you will see on the European coastline the Dolmabahçe Palace in its full splendour. The palace was the last official residence of the Ottoman Sultans. It stretches along Bosphorus for almost 600 metres and contains 285 rooms, 46 halls, 6 hamams and 68 toilets. 14 tons of gold and 44 tons of silver was used for adornment of the interiors, total cost of construction was over five million golden pounds, that had a rather devastating effect on the empire’s treasury.

Dolmabahçe Palace was ordered by Abdülmecid I and built between 1843 and 1856. He wanted to build a palace that in luxury and comfort could be compared to the palaces of European monarchs. Architects Garabet Balyan and Nigoğayos Balyan (members of the Balyan family of Ottoman court architects) designed the palace.

Dolmabahçe Palace complex includes 12 gates. Tourists enter the palace through the Gate of the Treasury. In summer time on Tuesdays the military orchestra is playing there. Functionally the palace is strictly separated into three parts: Selamlık, the quarters reserved for men, the Harem, the female part and the Ceremonial Hall. The Ceremonial Hall is illuminated with the huge crystal chandeliers which contain several hundreds of electric lamps. It is also the room where the large Bohemian crystal chandelier gifted by Queen Victoria hangs, it has 750 lamps and weighs 4.5 tons. A highlight of the palace’s collection are 23 paintings by Ivan Aivazovsky which he created as a court painter during his stays in Istanbul. Also featured are 150-year-old bearskin rugs originally presented to the Sultan as a gift by Russian Tsar. The famous Crystal Staircase has the shape of a double horseshoe and is built of Baccarat crystal, brass and mahogany. Ambassador’s Hall of Süfer impresses visitors by the huge Iranian rug. Even taps in the luxurious hamam of Sultan’s rooms are made of silver.

Owners of the palace changed with the time, and when the Republic was proclaimed in the country, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk stayed in the palace and died there in 1938. Clock in the room where he died always shows the time of his death 9.05. The palace had been a museum right until 2007 when Turkish Parliament decided to make it the official residence of the Prime Minister. Tourists can visit the palace only within a group.

Address: Dolmabahçe Cad., Beşiktaş
Opening hours: summer Tue-Wed, Fri-Sun 9 am – 4 pm; Mon, Thu closed
How to reach: Kabataş (TR1)
Coordinates: 41.039177, 29.000471