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The Marmara Suadiye

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The Marmara Esma Sultan

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The Marmara Park Avenue

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Dolmabahce Palace

From The Marmara Sisli
10 Min
50 min
The Walls of the Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahçe Palace, Turkey's largest palace, is a captivating fusion of Neoclassical grandeur and Ottoman art. Situated on the picturesque coast of Istanbul, along the Bosphorus strait, it served as the heart of Ottoman politics and imperial life from its construction in 1956 until the decline of the Ottoman Empire in 1922. 

Dolmabahçe Palace, commissioned by Abdülmecid I, the 31st sultan of the Ottoman Empire, aimed to rival the opulence and elegance of European palaces of its time. The existing Topkapı Palace, which had served as the residence of the imperial court for four centuries, lacked modern amenities. Derived from Turkish words, "dolma" meaning "filled" and "bahçe" meaning "garden," the palace derived its name from its location on the former grounds of an imperial garden dating back to the era of Ahmet I. 

Unlike Topkapı Palace, which harmonized with the surrounding natural scenery and consisted of a collection of buildings and pavilions, Dolmabahçe Palace was constructed as a monolithic structure, positioned with its main entrance turned away from the Bosphorus. The palace as a whole exudes opulence and lavishness, featuring a remarkable total of 285 rooms, 44 halls, and even facilities such as bathrooms and traditional Turkish hammams. Incorporating elements of Rococo, Neoclassical, and Baroque styles alongside Ottoman traditions, it showcases a captivating blend of architectural influences. 


History of Dolmabahçe Palace 

Dolmabahçe Palace incurred a staggering expense of approximately 1.9 billion USD in today's currency for Sultan Abdülmecid, ultimately contributing to the financial downfall of the Ottoman Empire. In many respects, it marked the initial steps towards the empire's decline and ultimate demise. 

Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the newly formed Turkish republic utilized Dolmabahçe Palace as its base in Istanbul. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the visionary leader and founder of modern Turkey, spent his summers at the palace and hosted foreign dignitaries there. Tragically, it was within the palace's walls that Atatürk passed away in 1938, leaving behind a significant legacy. 

Inside Dolmabahçe Palace 

Upon entering the awe-inspiring front gate, aptly named the Gate of the Sultan, you will be greeted by meticulously landscaped gardens before reaching the magnificent palace. Once inside, you will discover distinct sections, including the Selamlık, exclusively designated for men; the Harem; and the Veliaht Dairesi, the residence of the Crown Prince. 

Within the Selamlık, you will discover lavishly adorned reception halls and offices that once accommodated Ottoman officials and palace administrators. This section also encompasses cozy salons that have now been transformed into exhibition halls, showcasing a splendid array of Ottoman art and artifacts from the palace collection. 

Within the Harem, the sultan's personal chambers were situated, along with the living quarters of the numerous concubines. Presently, the Harem is adorned and furnished to recreate the ambiance of its former inhabitants. Notably, Atatürk's room in the palace was situated within the Harem, featuring a clock perpetually set at 9:05am, the time of his passing. 

The Veliaht Dairesi is a distinct section within the palace, and presently serves as the National Palaces Painting Museum. This museum showcases approximately 200 artworks from the 1800s, encompassing Turkish as well as international pieces of art. 

How to Visit 

Dolmabahçe Palace, with its magnificent beauty, stands as a significant historical landmark in Istanbul, symbolizing the transition from the fading Ottoman Empire to the emergence of the Republic of Turkey. It serves as a vivid testament to the transformative era in Turkish history. 

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