Dolmabahce Palace Harem

Dolmabahce Palace Harem: A Glimpse into Royal Life

Dolmabahce Palace’s harem is located within the complex of Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul, Turkey. It is popular among tourists worldwide for its amazing architecture and historic artifacts. It served as the Sultan's and his family's residence during the 19th century.

The harem was built on the orders of Sultan Abdulmejid during the mid-1800s. Back in the day, harems were an important feature of Middle Eastern architecture. These special zones made within the palaces were used to ensure private leisure zones for the royal family. The harem in Dolmabahce features multiple gardens, courtyards, and a clock tower. You can also admire the oval-shaped pool within the harem gardens.

The Harem was a private area within the palace, where the Sultan lived with his mother, wives, children, and concubines. It was strictly out of bounds for everyone but the royal family. You can admire the decorations in the area which are made of crystals, gold, and glass. The rooms in the Harem also offer fantastic views of the gardens in the palace.

Experience the lavish Ottoman lifestyle that the Sultan used to carry and immerse yourself in the history of Dolmabahce Palace’s harem.

Book Tickets: Dolmabahce Palace Tickets

Facts About Dolmabahce Palace Harem

  • Dolmabahce Palace Harem is made up of many sectors like the Blue Hall where celebrations used to be held. There was a Pink Hall, which was made exclusively for the ladies. 
  • You can also check out the area behind the harem section. Over there, you'll find a small pavilion that was built for the Sultan's birds during the 19th century.
  • Get a chance to admire traditional Turkish art in the form of architecture and fabrics like rugs. You can also check out many oil paintings in the harem section.
  • The harem was a lavish area with priceless decorations, such as ornate tiles, gold-layered ceilings, and sophisticated furniture.
  • Every family member's needs were considered while making the Harem. It features dedicated rooms for the Sultan's wives, children, and concubines. Each room showcases a unique interior design and decorations.
  • The importance of the harem goes beyond its architecture. It also served as the primary administrative center for various events during different periods.

Suggested Read: Dolmabahce Palace Architecture 

Reasons to Visit Dolmabahce Palace Harem

The Dolmabahçe Palace’s harem offers a truly immersive experience by portraying the lavish lifestyle of Ottoman rulers. Here are some of the reasons to visit the unique harem:

  • Historical Importance: The harem of Dolmabahce Palace used to serve as the living quarters of the Sultan's family. According to many researchers, the harem was the unofficial power center during the reign of the Ottoman Empire. Today, the palace is open to the general public as a museum and offers great insights into Ottoman culture and history.
  • Unique Architecture: You can admire the amazing architecture of the harem, which is a blend of Baroque, Ottoman, and Rococo styles. It is bound to impress you with royal marble flooring and tile work in different areas of the palace. You can also check other sections of the Harem including the Pink Hall, Blue Hall, and others.
  • Precious Artifacts: Harem of Dolmabahce Palace is home to a huge collection of precious artifacts. You check out the decorations in the Harem which are made from crystal, Baccarat glass, and gold. Get a chance to admire Hereke rugs, made of cotton, wool, and silk, which enhance the royalty of the place with their colorful designs. You can take a look at the gold-decorated ceilings and huge chandeliers.
  • Stunning Scenery: You can admire the scenic views of the Bosphorus Strait that runs between the Marmara Sea, and the Black Sea. Get a chance to enjoy the sight of ships and boats gliding in the shining waters of Bosphorus. You can also take a look at the Harem’s Garden and admire the old trees and flowerbeds.

Also Read: Dolmabahce Palace Gates 

Highlights of Dolmabahce Palace’s Harem

  • Pink Hall: The Pink Hall was also known by the name 'Pembe Salon'. This portion of the Harem was used by the Sultan's mother for hosting her guests. You'll find it to be heavily decorated with crystal, and gold items on the walls. The hall also has a beautiful chandelier made of crystals. 
  • Blue Hall: Also known as the 'Mavi Salon', the Blue Hall was the center for religious ceremonies and celebrations. It was also called the Imperial Hall back in the days before being labeled the Blue Hall. You can check out the lavish items of decoration in the hall and admire the scenic views of the Bosphorus as well.
  • Atatürk’s Room: The final years of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who was the Turkish Republic's founder, were spent in this room. The Atatürk’s Room is different from all the other rooms in the palace. This is because its theme is focused on minimalism and simplicity. You can take a look at the clocks in the room, which are always found showing 9:05 AM. It was the exact time of Mustafa's passing.
  • Harem Gardens: Harem Gardens are located in the area behind the Aviary (Bird Garden) and the Selamlık. You can explore the oval-shaped pool in the middle of the gardens. Admire the beautiful flower beds that have been arranged in a geometrical manner. You will be amazed at the sight of a redwood tree, which is the oldest tree in the palace compound.
  • Dolmabahçe Clock Tower: You can also visit the Dolmabahçe Clock Tower, which is a symbol of the Ottoman Empire's modernization. Admire the architecture of the tower, which is a combination of neoclassical and neo-baroque styles. The tower stands at a height of almost 90 feet and offers stunning views of the waterfront along the Bosphorus.
  • Bird Garden: Although the Bird Garden is not exactly within the Harem, it lies on the alley leading to it. It is located between the Selamlık Garden and the Harem Garden. You will get a chance to admire many decorations along the way including unique statues, fountains, and scenic views.

Also Read: Dolmabahce Palace Sufera Hall 

History of Dolmabahce Palace Harem

The harem in Dolmabahce Palace, located in Istanbul, Turkey, used to be the primary administrative facility for the Ottoman Empire. It was built between 1843 and 1856, on the orders of Sultan Abdulmejid I. Before the Harem of Dolmabahce Palace, the royal Ottoman family used to live in the Topkapi Palace. 

Before the establishment of the Dolmabahce Palace, Harems were not necessarily built within palaces. So, the living quarters made for the Ottoman rulers at the new residence brought a revolutionary change in architecture. Despite the huge costs involved, the Harem was successfully integrated with the main building. You'd be surprised to know that this wasn't all, they also built a Bird Palace and a variety of gardens. This was to ensure that the Sultan's family could have beautiful views from their rooms.


If you're on a trip to Istanbul, it's recommended that you visit the Dolmabahce Palace Harem. It's a treat for all the people who love diving into the regional history of a place.

Must Read: Dolmabache Palace History 

Architecture & Design of Dolmabahce Palace Harem

Let's talk about the stylish architecture of the Dolmabahce Palace Harem, which is a blend of multiple cultures.

  • Classic Combination of Styles: The architecture of the Harem is a beautiful blend of Baroque, Ottoman, and Rococo styles. Every room on the premises carries precious decorations in the form of antique items made of gold and silver.
  • Exclusive Residence: The residence for the royal family was not made in a separate structure. It was, in fact, a part of the primary building and was home to the Sultan, his mother, children, wives, concubines, and other important individuals. Unavailable to the general public back in the day, this area used to be super secure. Only the Sultan or his family was allowed to enter.
  • Neo-Baroque Craftsmanship: You'll find almost every wall and corner of the harem decorated with various antiques. Some of them include Yildiz Palace rugs, gold-inlaid upholstery, and Baccarat crystal chandeliers. 

The Dolmabahce Harem is considered to be a symbol of royalty and luxury of the Ottoman Empire. It speaks volumes about the culture, tradition, and innovation that was encouraged at that time.

Also Read: Dolmabahce Mosque

Plan Your Visit to Dolmabahce Palace Harem

Essential Information
How to Reach

Best Time to Visit: Most of the travelers on vacation in Istanbul, prefer visiting Dolmabahce Palace during summer. Istanbul observes summer between June and August and the average temperatures stay between 17 and 34 degrees. However, if you prefer small crowds and a comfortable pace for your visit. It's recommended that you visit the harem between September and November, or April to May. You will experience average temperatures ranging roughly between 14 and 25 degrees. We'd suggest reaching the palace 15-20 minutes prior to its opening time. That way, you'll get plenty of opportunities to click great pictures with your friends and family.

Location: Vişnezade, Dolmabahçe Cd., 34357 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Türkiye

Opening Hours: 9:00 to 5:30 PM (Tuesday to Sunday) (Closed on Mondays)

There are multiple ways in which you can reach the Dolmabahce Palace.

  • Cab: If you're somewhere around the city center, you can take a short cab ride from Taksim Square. It will take you roughly 5 minutes to reach. 
  • Tram: You can choose to board the T1 tram line available from Taksim Square and get off at Kabatas Station. From where it's just a 5-minute walk to the palace.
  • Funicular: Catch the F1 Funicular line from Taksim Square to the Kabatas Station. Upon reaching, you can reach the palace via a 10-minute walk.
  • Bus: You can board a bus from Taksim Square (city center) to Mimar Sinan Üniversitesi, from where it's a 2-minute walk away.

Also Read: Hotels Near Dolmabahce Palace

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FAQ's of Dolmabahce Palace Harem

Who designed Dolmabahce Palace harem?

The design of Dolmabahce Palace’s harem was made by architect Garabet Balyan and his sons Evanis Kalfa, and Nigoğayos Balyan. The palace is one of the most visited tourist spots in Istanbul. It once served as the administrative center during the reign of the Ottoman Empire in the 18th century. 

Is the harem in Topkapi Palace worth it?

Yes, the Topkapi Palace Harem is one of the best attractions to visit on your trip to Turkey. Although you may have to wait in long queues because of the crowd, the palace and its harem are a must-visit. You will get a chance to admire the lavish architecture of the Ottoman and many historic artifacts.

When was Dolmabahce Palace harem built?

The Dolmabahce Palace was built in the mid-1800s on the orders of Sultan Abdulmejid I. The design of the lavish palace was created by architects Garabet Balyan, Evanis Kalfa, and Nigoğayos Balyan. As of now, the palace has been converted into a museum that is home to a variety of historic artifacts.

What’s inside Dolmabahce Palace harem?

Inside the Harem, you can explore the Pink Hall, which was used by the Sultan's mother for hosting her guests. You can also check out the Blue Hallm which used to serve as the center for religious ceremonies and celebrations. Moreover, you can visit Atatürk’s Room, where Mustafa Kemal Atatürk spent his final years.

What can I do at Dolmabahce Palace harem?

You can take a look at the beautiful combination of Baroque, Rococo, and Ottoman architecture within the Harem. Get a chance to admire many luxurious handicraft items such as crystal chandeliers, Hereke carpets, and more. 

What are the timings of Dolmabahce Palace harem?

The Dolmabahce Palace is open to the general public from Tuesday to Sunday. The visiting hours are from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM, every day. The palace stays closed every Monday, and the opening hours might differ on the occasion of Eid al-Adha or Arafa of Adha.

Where is Dolmabahce Palace harem located?

The Dolmabahce Palace is located in the Besiktas district of Istanbul. You will find that the Harem is integrated with the Selamlik building in the palace. The exact address of the palace is:

Dolmabahce Palace, Vişnezade Mahallesi, Dolmabahçe Caddesi, Beşiktaş, Istanbul, Turkey

Is Dolmabahce Palace harem wheelchair accessible?

Yes, the harem of Dolmabahce Palace is accessible via wheelchair. However, the upper floors cannot be visited through a wheelchair. The palace is among the most beautiful tourist hotspots in the town and welcomes around 1.5 million tourists annually.


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