This palace is significant because it is the last artefact that survived from the Ottoman Era. In former times, the site of the palace was an inlet in the sea. The site of Dolmabahce was originally a bay on the Bosphorus. From the 17th century on, the inlet was filled up with land, and gardens and mansions were built on it. This is, in fact, what the palace’s name stems from Dolma bahce literally means ‘filled up garden’.
Symbol of the end of the Ottoman Empire
The palace is a symbol of the end of the Ottoman Empire. Mahmut II, who was in danger of being murdered, and therefore wanted to escape from the Palace, had a palace built in Beşiktaş and moved into it. Consequently, Abdülmecit ordered the destruction of the palace and the pertaining mansions. Instead, he ordered the Armenian architect Garabet Baylan to build the Dolmabahce Palace as we know it today. After its completion, the Sultan moved from the Topkapi Palace into the new palace.
Cost 35 tonnes of gold
The construction cost five million Ottoman mecidiye gold coins, 35 tonnes of gold, the equivalent of ca. $1.5 billion in today's values. The palace has a total surface of 250,000 m2. The muayede has a surface of 2,000 m2, and is one of the largest dome-covered rooms in the world. With its 56 columns, domes 36 m high, and 4.5 tons in weight, and the famous candelier, it is a magnificent room for ceremonies.
The world's largest Bohemian crystal chandelier
Whereas the Topkapı has exquisite examples of tiles and Ottoman carving, the Dolmabahçe palace is extensively decorated with gold and crystal. Fourteen tonnes of gold were used to gild the ceilings. The world's largest Bohemian crystal chandelier is in the Ceremonial Hall. The chandelier, a gift from Oueen of England, has 750 lamps and weighs 4.5 tonnes. Dolmabahçe has the largest collection of Bohemian and Baccrat crystal chandeliers in the world.
Home of last sultans
Dolmabahce Palace was home to six sultans, when it was first inhabited, up until the abolition of the Caliphate in 1924. A law that went into effect on March 3, 1924 transferred the ownership of the palace to the national heritage of the new Turkish Republic. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey, used the palace as a presidential residence during the summers. Atatürk died also here on November 10, 1938.
|Address||Visnezade Mh., 34357 Besiktas/Istanbul|
|Tel||0 (212) 236 90 00|
|Fax||0 (212) 259 32 92|
|Entrance fee||Selamlik (Official part) 30 TL. Harem (Privy Chambers) 20 TL. Common Ticket for both 40 TL.|
|Fast Facts||Dolmabahce Palace is closed on Mondays and Thursdays.|
|Visiting hours||Palace is open between 09:00-16:00. Museum of Palace Collections is open for visiting between 09:00-17:00. Factories are open between 09:00-18:00 hours on week days and they are closed at weekends.|