The Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul is one of the most beautiful buildings in Turkey, it was erected in the mid-19th century on an embankment near the Bosporus, on the European side of the city. The name of this palace can be translated from Turkish as “Garden on the mound.
Maps of Dolmabahce Palace
The earth mound on the site of the palace was originally intended for the construction of the Beshiktash. It was actually erected in the 17th century in a wooden version, but turned out to be too unreliable structure, so it collapsed rather quickly.
Two centuries later, Sultan Abdul-Medjid had the idea of building a new European-style Dolmabahçe Palace on an empty mound. He regarded the architecture of the old Topkapi Palace as outdated and out of step with the times.
Map of Dolmabahce in Istanbul
Map of Dolmabahce Palace
History of the Dolmabahce Palace
Construction of this palace began in the 19th century on the initiative of the then reigning Turkish sultan. Once he was bored with the current residence, the Sultan’s Topkapi Palace, it seemed too banal for the Ottoman Empire.
In those days Europe was extremely popular and in demand in this country, the Turks looked at the European architecture with admiration, so the Sultan decided to build a European palace in the Ottoman Empire, like Versailles in France.
The project was created in the baroque style with rococo elements by the Turkish architect of Armenian origin Karapet Balyan. For a long time the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul was the main residence, and after Kemal Ataturk’s death it was turned into a museum.
Description of Dolmabahce Palace
The palace, standing on the shore of the Bosphorus, stretches for 600 meters, in front of its facade laid out a beautiful park. The interiors are decorated with gold, precious stones, precious wood carvings, stucco, silk carpets, etc.
According to historians, at least 15 tons of gold and 40 tons of silver were spent in the construction of the palace. In the ceremonial hall one can still see the chandelier that was presented to the sultan in the middle of the 19th century by British Queen Victoria.
Dolmabahce Palace is divided into two parts. In the first part of the palace there were state meetings of the sultan with leaders and ambassadors of various countries, official receptions, ceremonies, etc. The second part of the palace was the residence of his huge harem. In the second part of the palace lived his huge harem.
The Imperial Apartments, built in two tiers and connected by a wide staircase, offer a beautiful panorama of the Bosphorus, with warships, merchant ships, barges, etc. passing through it.
The building that housed the palace kitchen and cooks was built at some distance from the Dolmabahce Palace. The author of the project believed that the aromas of the various viands should not distract the Sultan from the affairs of state.
In the museum complex tourists can see thousands of valuable historical and artistic exhibits about the peculiarities of harem life and state activities of the Turkish sultan and his court.
The most interesting places
Collection of paintings by Ivan Aivazovsky. Russian tourists are especially interested in Aivazovsky paintings, which the famous artist painted by order of the Turkish sultan in his new palace. Sultan admired the work of our marine painter, so he ordered 40 paintings at once.
Jewelry Salon. This salon in the Dolmabahce Palace is incredibly popular with tourists because. In it you can see the jewels that once belonged to the Sultan, his family and concubines, many nobles of the Turkish court in the 19th century.
The harem in the palace. But most of all visitors are interested in the chambers where the Sultan himself, his wives and children lived. It’s always interesting to touch the things they’ve used in their lives. The harem has halls for family and personal celebrations, for entertaining concubines, etc.
Ceremonial Hall. It is here that the famous crystal chandelier, a gift from Queen Victoria of the British Empire, is located. There is also the largest Turkish carpet, measuring more than 100 square meters. Next door is the equally famous Secretariat Hall.
Glass Pavilion. From this pavilion you can see beautiful panoramas of natural sights stretching around Istanbul. From here the Turkish sultans watched military parades and watched the life of their entire palace. The walls and ceiling of the pavilion are built of antique glass, inside it is full of sunlight and transparent air, decorated with magnificent German chandeliers of crystal and transparent jewels.
Ataturk’s Room. He was the last Turkish leader to use the Dolmabahce Palace as his residence. Ataturk chose his own room to live in. Today it is preserved in its original form with authentic furniture and decorations.
Dolmabahce Mosque. The mosque was erected in the southern part of the palace in the mid-19th century. Its architecture corresponds to the late Baroque style. At one time the building housed a naval museum, but today it is a recently restored working mosque.
The Imperial Staircase. The first and second floors of the official part of the Dolmabahce Palace are connected by a magnificent staircase with a crystal railing, built in an exquisite Baroque style. Many great men of the 19th and 20th centuries walked this ladder.
Dolmabahce Palace Museum opening hours
This palace is open to visitors on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 09:00 to 16:00. It is closed on Monday, Thursday, weekends, and the first days of Muslim holidays. Museum hours vary slightly depending on the season.
According to the quota set by the museum’s management, the Dolmabahce Palace can be visited by no more than 3,000 people in one day, and it closes if the quota is exceeded. Therefore, we recommend that you go to the museum in the first half of the day.
Dolmabahce Palace Tours
Tourists are not allowed to walk around the palace complex on their own to avoid damage to its historical and cultural values. So you should definitely pay for a group tour with a professional guide.
Tours are conducted in English and Turkish. Russians can purchase booklets with extensive information about Dolmabahce Palace in Russian. Audioguide in Russian and other languages is available free of charge against cash or passport.
The cost of tours of the Dolmabahce Palace:
- A full tour of the palace costs 60 Turkish liras, or $10.41.
- A visit to the harem is 30 Turkish liras or $5.21.
- A visit to the state part of the palace is 30 Turkish liras or $5.21.
Every November 10, Turkey celebrates Ataturk Day in memory of Turkey’s father, Ataturk. On this day, admission to the Dolmabahce Palace for all visitors is completely free. The owners of the museum card of Istanbul are certainly entitled to a discount.
Ticket offices are located near the palace, next to the Clock Tower. No tickets are sold on the Internet, so beware of fraudsters. Ticket prices vary slightly depending on the holiday season.
Dolmabahce Palace tour itineraries come in two varieties: visiting the state part of the palace, including. Ataturk’s room, and a visit to the harem. For these routes you should buy separate tickets or a full ticket for both routes.
Each route lasts about an hour. Visitors are not allowed to take pictures or make videos of everything they see inside the palace. It is also forbidden to leave the tour group or to be alone in the museum.
How to get to the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul?
If you are in Sultanahmet, one of the central tourist areas of Istanbul, you can take the T1 streetcar to the palace, get off at the Kabataş stop and then walk about five minutes along the promenade.
From the famous Taksim Square you can take the tourist funicular to the Kabataş stop. From other parts of Istanbul you can get to Dolmabahce by shuttle bus, aiming at Kabataş or Beşiktaş, from where you continue on foot.
You can take a break in the cafeteria overlooking the Bosphorus, located on the museum grounds, near the Clock Tower. The cost of food in the cafeteria menu is quite reasonable, you can order soup, salad, pizza, hamburger, drink coffee or tea.
Dolmabahce Visit Reviews
Vera Strokova, 67, Torzhok:
The beauty of the palace is simply breathtaking. Turkish sultans were well aware of what luxury and comfort. King Louis XIV of France would have loved this palace. Admired the Dolmabahce Palace and the stories about the lives of the sultans.
Igor Salikov, 28, Voronezh:
A successful combination of Eastern and European ideas of beauty in architecture, baroque and rococo. I learned a lot about Ataturk and Turkish history in general. Most of all the beauty of the Bosphorus Strait, slowly carrying its waters outside the palace windows, fascinated me.
Evgenia Reznikova, 42, Ryazan:
This palace combines the best features of the European part of Turkey: the magnificent architecture, furniture, chandeliers, crystal, clocks, collected from all over Europe. I thought it would be boring, but the guide talked about the amazing legends and secrets of the palace.
Andrey Nefedov, 50, St. Petersburg:
I did not like the organization because. I had to gallop through the halls of the palace after the guide. I also didn’t like the fact that it was forbidden to bring a video camera. There are so many artifacts in this palace that you have to look at them for days at a time.