Dolmabahçe, home of the Sultans

Istanbul is one of those cities with many historical places to visit. After a few months doing nothing touristy around the city, we decided to get to know one of the palaces we still hadn’t explored: Dolmabahçe.

 

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Dolmabahçe facade

 

Some interesting facts

Dolmabahçe was built in a 10 year period under the orders of Sultan Abdulmecit I in 1843. The area where it was built is 1500 square metres and its facade is 600 metres. These dimensions allow the palace to have 285 rooms and 27000 windows but also 6 Turkish baths (hammam); for sure it’s a great palace.

 

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Dolmabahçe Palace from the outside

 

History

The palace was at the same time the official reception place and the family home (harem). Sultan Abdulmecit I was the first one to live there, but after his death, other sultans followed his path Abdulaziz I, Murad V, Abdul Hamid II, Mehmed V y Mehmed VI. With the ending of the caliphate in 1922 sultans stopped governing and in their place Mustafa Kemal Atatürk claimed the Turkish Republic, for a period of time lived in the palace and on November 10th, 1938 at 9:05am died in one of Dolmabahçe’s rooms.

 

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Room where Atatürk died (picture from Istanbul Tours Online)

 

Although after Atatürk’s death some receptions were held at the palace, it was closed as a government building and became the museum that it is today.

The visit

The most important things you need to know before entering is that visiting Selamlik (governmental area) and the Harem (family area) are guided and in groups (price is included in the ticket), the Clock Museum and the Crystal Palace don’t have a guide and you can go by yourself. For the indoor buildings, all of them except the gardens, it is necessary to cover your shoes to protect the carpets.

 

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Crystal Staircase (picture taken by Haqqi Tours)

 

Taking pictures it is forbidden!!! What?? How are we going to show what we saw? Well, we will have to do it somehow.

The palace area combines multiple architectonic styles: from westerners (Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical) to traditional Ottoman style; it is divided, as we said, in for areas: Selamlik, Harem, Clock Museum and Crystal Palace.

 

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Door to what once was a green area

 

Selamlik

This is the grandest area of all as it was the palace shown to international ambassadors that would visit the palace. You will find an area exhibiting objects of the time in different materials (crystal, porcelain and some metals); the imposing crystal staircase from which ambassadors ascend to meet for the first time face to face with the sultan, or an English crystal chandelier that weighs more than 4 tons in the Throne Room and a Turkish bath with natural lighting.

 

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4 and a half tons of crystal chandelier (picture taken from triposo)

 

Harem

The private rooms of the sultan and his family are, in comparison, simpler than the official ones, although this doesn’t mean simple. Here beside the furniture from the caliphate era, you will find the private rooms of the sultan, the queen mother and the sultan’s wives and children; and also 5 of 6 Turkish baths we mentioned before.

 

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Private rooms of the Sultan and family (picture taken by Istanbul Tours Online)

 

Cyrstal Palace

This is the simplest area, you only have to see one room: the glass house with a view of the garden and the peacocks.

 

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Tower Clock

 

We skipped the Clock Museum and wandered around the gardens, looking at the doors open to the Bosphorus, that straight that makes Istanbul a city divided into two continents.

 

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Doors to the Bosphorus

You can see all the pictures and videos of Turkey in the Gallery and other sights of the country in our Turkey section

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4 comments

  1. Me parece precioso como Palacio, increíble la lámpara de cristal al igual que la escalera….
    Magnífico….suerte que ustedes pueden ver los lugares históricos más importantes de una ciudad tan importante como es Estambull.
    Disfrutenlo mientras puedan……

    Like

  2. […] This palace by the Bosphorus has a privileged location. It was home of the last 6 sultans and the first president of the Turkish Republic (Mustafa Kemal Atatürk) and it still holds the furniture of the time. You can’t do a free tour but with the cost of the entrance few it includes a guide. You can look for more information here. […]

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