The Dolmabahce Palace, located next to the clear waters of the Bosphorus, is a living testament to Turkey’s 19th-century westernisation. The construction of the Dolmabahce Palace, ordered by Sultan Abdulmecid, was completed by a team of European Ottoman architects. Although the building plan was traditional, exterior and interior decorations were extensively inspired by European styles.
While the old Topkapi Palace had a fluid architecture, the new palace had a predetermined design layout. Contemporary European styles, like Rococo, Baroque, and Neo-classical, were incorporated. The main structure has three functional components, the administrative Mabeyn-i-Humayun, the private Harem-i-Humayun, and the ceremonial Muayede Hall. Dolmabahce Palace has 285 rooms, 44 halls, 68 washrooms, and 6 Turkish Baths, and is Turkey’s largest monolithic palace.
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The Medhal Hall, or the Main Entrance Hall, is a visitor’s first encounter with the interior Dolmabahce Palace architecture. Two sets of rooms lead off towards the sea and land from the Medhal. The sea-facing rooms belonged to top Ottoman officials, while the land-facing rooms were of the palace administrators, and Meclis-i-Mebusan and Meclis-i-Ayan members.
The Medhal has Boulle tables on both ends and a fireplace bearing Sultan Abdulmecid’s monogram. A stunning English chandelier lights up the room with its sixty arms, while Hereke furniture upholstery and royal red draperies adorn this guest waiting room.
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As you walk in from the Medhal, another enchanting example of Dolmabahce Palace architecture awaits at the Tiled Room, also known as Clerk’s Hall. The room is adorned with French-style furniture, and priceless porcelain vases line the chamber.
The walls feature stunning artworks from the Dolmabahce Palace Collection, including the collection’s largest painting, the Surre Procession by Stefano Ussi. Other prominent paintings here include a painting of the fire at Paris Municipal Theatre signed by Rudolf Ernst and one of a Dutch village girl by Delandre.
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The founding father and first President of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, spent several years surrounded by the magnificent Dolmabahce Palace architecture. As his health deteriorated, he lived his final days in the Palace and died in 1938. Ataturk’s Room is the room where he spent his time at the Palace and has been preserved in the same fashion as it had been when he lived here. The clock in this room still points to 9:05, which was the time of the leader’s death.
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The Harem was an important part of Dolmabahce Palace architecture, much like other palaces of the empire. The Dolmabahce Harem included separate quarters for the royal family, chambers for the Sultan’s concubines, rooms intended to educate and house the Sultan’s children, and the Sultan’s private living quarters. There were also spaces where the royal family indulged in leisure and entertainment activities. The Dolmabahce Palace Harem is a magnificent glimpse into the private lives of the Ottoman royal family and houses priceless treasures from the Ottoman era.
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Situated amidst a well-preserved vast green area, Dolmabahce Palace Gardens are flanked by the sea and land. The gardens showcase European features and are geometrically arranged, with ponds, lanterns, vases, and sculptures adorning the green spaces. European gardeners Koch Munika, Fritz Venze, and German Sester worked to create the European-influenced open spaces.
Architecture of Dolmabahce Palace Gardens consist of four major sections, which are classified and positioned according to the functions of the structures around them. The sections are named Hasbahce which is the largest section, Kusluk Bahcesi or the Bird Garden, Harem Garden which resembles a courtyard, and the Crown Garden. The enchanting gardens have rare plants brought in from America, Europe and Asia.
Dolmabahçe Palace, a prominent historical landmark of Turkey, showcases neoclassical architecture enriched by Baroque and Rococo nuances. Its grandeur symbolizes Ottoman modernization and cultural amalgamation along the Bosphorus.
What is Dolmabahce Palace known for?
The Dolmabahce Palace is known for being the symbol of Turkey’s march to westernisation. The final residence of the Ottomans, the Palace took inspiration from European palaces and is Turkey’s largest mono-block palace and Istanbul’s first European-style palace. The two-wing arrangement is adorned extensively with gold and crystal and houses the world’s largest collection of Bohemian and Baccarat crystal chandeliers.
Notable features include its grand entrance, ceremonial halls, stunning chandeliers, and ornate ceilings.
When was the Dolmabahce Palace built?
Construction of the Dolmabahce Palace began in 1843. It was completed by 1856 when the Ottoman Sultan moved out from the Topkapi Palace and permanently shifted the residential and administrative base of the empire to Dolmabahce Palace.
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Who designed the Dolmabahce Palace?
The construction of the Dolmabahce Palace was ordered by Sultan Abdulmecid and was brought to realisation by Abdulhalim Bey, Altunizade Ismail Zuhtu Pasha, Karabet Balyan, Ohannes Serverian, Nikogos Balyan, and James William Smith.
Who lived in Dolmabahce Palace?
The Dolmabahce Palace was the official residence of the last six Ottoman Sultans and the last Caliph. The founder and first President of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, also lived here.
How do you get to Dolmabahce Palace?
One can reach the Dolmabahce Palace by tram or taxi from the Sultanahmet Square.|
By train - Take the Bagcilar to Kabatas tram, and get off at Kabatas, which is the nearest station to Dolmabahce Palace. Walk for 10 minutes to reach your destination.
By taxi – Take a taxi from Sultanahmet to Dolmabahce Palace. However, this method costs more and you can also get stuck in rush-hour traffic.
Also Visit Topkapi Palace.
Is it worth visiting the Dolmabahce Palace?
The Dolmabahce Palace is a stunning example of European influence on Ottoman art and culture. One can witness the world’s largest collection of Bohemian and Baccarat crystal chandeliers and a valuable collection of oil paintings in this palace adorned with crystals and gold. The Dolmabahce Palace is an exquisite testimony of the wealth and might of the Ottomans and is a must-visit if you are in Istanbul.
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