Things to Do in Dolmabahce Palace

Things To Do Inside Dolmabahce Palace

The Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, is a majestic symbol of the grandeur and opulence of the Ottoman Empire. Built between 1843 and 1856, it is an incredible example of European and Ottoman styles of architecture. It served as the administrative centre of the Ottoman Empire and later, the main residence of its sultans. The exterior of the Palace boasts a stunning blend of Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical elements. Its interiors are adorned with opulent decorations, including crystal chandeliers, gold leaf detailing, and intricate carpets.

Things to do in Dolmabahçe Palace abound with a variety of fascinating sites such as exploring the Ceremonial Hall, with its 36-metre high dome. Here you will find the world's largest Bohemian crystal chandelier, which weighs 4.5 tons. The Palace also houses the famous Crystal Staircase, an elegant and unique double staircase made of Baccarat crystal, brass, and mahogany. Explore the Harem section of the Palace and learn about the private lives of the sultans and their families. The Harem features beautifully decorated rooms and stunning views of the Bosphorus.

Taking a guided tour is highly recommended to truly appreciate the historical context and artistic details of the various rooms and halls. While here make time to explore the beautiful gardens of the Palace and enjoy the views of the Bosphorus from here. 

See the Harem

Visiting the Harem in the Dolmabahçe Palace is one of the most fascinating things to do in Dolmabahce Palace. The Harem which was once the private living quarters of the Ottoman Sultans and their families offers a fascinating glimpse into royal life. Admire its lavishly decorated rooms, intricate tiles, ornate ceilings, and opulent furnishings. It showcases the luxurious lifestyle of the Ottoman elite. Wander through its elegant rooms and halls while you admire the rich history of Dolmabaache Palace and the cultural heritage preserved within these walls. To say that it was one of the most important sections in the Palace will be true as it occupies 2/3rds of the Palace.

Visit the Red Room

Exploring the elegance and opulence of the Red Room in Dolmabahçe Palace is an essential part of your tour. Be amazed at its opulent décor and historical significance and learn how it served as the reception area for foreign dignitaries. Its rich red upholstery, intricate gold leaf details, and dazzling crystal chandeliers create a regal atmosphere that reflects the grandeur of the Ottoman Empire.

As you step into the Red Room, you can imagine the important diplomatic events and meetings that took place here. Admiring the magnificent frescoes on the walls and ceiling of the Red Room is one of the best things to do in Dolmabahce Palace.

Explore Clock Tower

Exploring the Clock Tower at Dolmabahçe Palace offers a captivating glimpse into Ottoman architecture and engineering. Visiting the Clock Tower adds a unique historical dimension to things to do in the Dolmabahçe Palace tour. The four-story tower was built in 1895 and it stands impressively near the palace entrance, showcasing intricate Neo-Baroque and Ottoman architectural styles.

Marvel at its ornate carvings, the elegant facade, and the large clock face designed by French clockmaker Jean-Paul Garnier. Inside, you can admire the clock mechanism and learn about its history. The surrounding area provides picturesque views of the Bosphorus, making it a perfect spot for photography. 

Take a Tour to Medhal (Main Entrance) Hall

Taking a tour of Medhal Hall, the main entrance of Dolmabahçe Palace, is a breathtaking experience. This grand hall welcomes visitors with its opulent marble staircase, grand chandelier, and richly decorated ceilings. Viewing the massive Baccarat crystal chandelier here is one of the most unforgettable things to do at the Dolmabahce Palace. This is one of the largest chandeliers in the world, and the exquisite frescoes and gilded details adorning the walls and ceilings make for a perfect setting.

As you explore Medhal Hall, you get to appreciate the European and Ottoman architectural styles. This magnificent entrance sets the tone for the lavish interiors that await, making it an essential part of the palace tour.

Visit The Secretariat's Rooms

Visiting the Secretariat’s Room in Dolmabahçe Palace offers a glimpse into the administrative heart of the Ottoman Empire. This room was used by the Sultan’s officials for important governmental tasks. It features elegant wooden furnishings, intricate carvings, and rich tapestries. Take your time to admire the portraits and decorative elements adorning the walls that reflect the grandeur of the palace.

One of the best things to do in Dolmabahce Palace is to admire the detailed craftsmanship and learn about the bureaucratic processes that took place. Exploring the Secretariat’s Room provides a deeper understanding of the palace's role in the empire's political and administrative affairs, enhancing your visit to Dolmabahçe.

Explore the Atatürk's Room

Exploring Atatürk's Room in Dolmabahçe Palace is a touching and significant experience. This room is where Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, spent his final days and passed away in 1938. The room is preserved as a tribute, with his bed, personal belongings, and the clock stopped at the time of his death, 9:05 AM, on display. You can reflect on Atatürk's immense contributions to Turkey while viewing the many memorabilia on display as well as the historical artefacts. This solemn room offers a deep connection to Turkish history and the opportunity to honour the legacy of one of its most influential leaders.

Take a Guided Tour of Dolmabahce Mosque

Taking a guided tour of the Dolmabahçe Mosque offers an enriching experience of Ottoman religious architecture. The Mosque was commissioned by the mother of Sultan Abdulmecid in 1852 and it was completed in 1855. What is fascinating is that it is not located within the walls of the Palace but near it. The Mosque features stunning Baroque and Neoclassical elements. With a guided tour learn about its historical and cultural significance. You can marvel at the intricate interior details such as the grand dome, ornate mihrab, and beautiful stained glass windows. Admire the Mosque's harmonious blend of architectural styles and learn about its role in the religious life of the Ottoman court for a memorable experience.

Visit Muayede

Visiting the Muayede Hall is definitely one of the best things to do in Dolmabahce Palace and the most remarkable experience. This is one of the largest and most impressive ceremonial halls in the Palace. This exquisitely decorated grand space was used for important state ceremonies and receptions. While here take your time to admire the magnificent 36-metre-high dome and opulent decorations.

Be amazed at the massive crystal chandelier, exquisite gold leaf details, and rich velvet draperies. As you explore the Muayede Hall, you can marvel at the stunning architectural elements and imagine the grandeur of the events held here. The hall's size and splendour reflect the power and wealth of the Ottoman Empire, making it a highlight of your visit to the Dolmabahce Palace. 

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How much time should I allocate for a visit to Dolmabahce Palace?

A typical guided tour of Dolmabahce Palace takes around 1-2 hours. However, if you want to explore the palace at your own pace and take in all the details, it is recommended to allocate around 3-4 hours for your visit.

What are the main attractions to visit in Dolmabahce palace complex?

Notable attractions include the Crystal Staircase, Main Hall, Harem, and Clock Tower.

Can I take photos inside Dolmabahce Palace?

Photography is allowed inside Dolmabahce Palace, but the use of flash is prohibited. Additionally, there are some areas in the palace where photography is not allowed, so make sure to check with your tour guide.

Are there audio guides available for a visit to Dolmabahce Palace?

Yes, audio guides are available for visitors who wish to explore the palace on their own. The audio guide is available in several languages, including English, and provides detailed information about the palace's history and architecture

Are there any special events or exhibitions that take place at Dolmabahce Palace?

Yes, Dolmabahce Palace hosts several special events and exhibitions throughout the year. These include art exhibitions, cultural festivals, and special tours that provide visitors with a unique experience of the palace. Check the palace's official website for the latest information on upcoming events and exhibitions.

What are the visiting hours for Dolmabahce Palace?

Dolmabahce Palace is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and the last entry is at 3:00 PM. The Palace is closed every Monday, the first day of the Ramadan Feast, the first day of Eid-Al-Adha and New Year’s Day.

Why is Dolmabahce Palace Harem so famous?

The Harem in the Dolmabahce Palace is famous because it was the living quarters of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, his mother, wives, children and concubines. It showcases the luxurious lifestyles of the royal family and it has its own kitchens, schools, gardens and baths. This was the place that truly provided the essence of the history of the Ottoman Empire.

Can visitors go inside Atatürk's room?

Yes, you can visit Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s room when you visit the Dolmabahce Palace. The room has been left exactly the same way it was when he was there and when he passed away there. You can see his personal belongings and the clock that had been stopped at exactly the time when he passed away, that is, 9:05 AM. The room has been preserved the way it was as a tribute to the legendary Turkish leader.

What is the Dolmabahce Mosque?

The Dolmabahçe Palace Mosque was originally known as the Bezm-i Alem Valide Sultan Mosque. It was commissioned by the mother of Sultan Abdulmecid in 1852 and it was completed in 1855. It was built near the Palace and not within the Palace walls and it features a blend of Baroque and Ottoman architectural styles. Admiring the stunning beauty of the Mosque and its intricate works is one of the best things to do in the Dolmabahce Palace. The Mosque also served as the place of worship of the Ottoman court.

Is there any restriction on going inside Dolmabahce Palace?

Yes, there are a few restrictions inside the Dolmabahce Palace. Some of these are dressing modestly and respectfully with knees and shoulders covered when you visit the Dolmabahce Palace. Photography is allowed inside the Palace although the use of tripods is prohibited. However, photography is prohibited in some sections of the Palace and you can cross-check with the staff to confirm. 

What are the top things to do inside the Dolmabahce Palace?

The top things to do in Dolmabahçe Palace are visiting the State Rooms, and marvelling at the beauty of the Medhal Hall. The Medhal Hall is home to the magnificent Baccarat crystal chandelier. Take a look at the breathtaking Crystal Staircase which is also known as the Sufera Hall. Visit the Atatürk's Room to honour the founder of modern Turkey and enjoy a guided tour of the Harem to glimpse the private life of the Ottoman sultans.

Admire the lavish Muayede Hall which was used for state ceremonies and stroll through the palace gardens and take in the stunning views of the Bosphorus. Stop by the Dolmabahçe Mosque to appreciate its Baroque and Neoclassical architecture. 


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