The Marmara Bodrum


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The Marmara Taksim

Istanbul / Taksim

The Marmara Pera

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The Marmara Şişli

Istanbul / Sisli

The Marmara Suadiye

Istanbul / Suadiye

The Marmara Esma Sultan

Istanbul / Esma Sultan

The Marmara Park Avenue

NY / Park Avenue

Dolmabahce Palace

From The Marmara Taksim
10 Min
20 min
Exterior of the Dolmabahce Palace

Neoclassical grandeur meets Ottoman art in Dolmabahçe Palace, the largest palace in Turkey. Located on the Bosphorus strait on the coast of Istanbul, Dolmabahçe was the center of Ottoman politics and imperial life between its completion in 1956 until the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1922. 

Built by Abdülmecid I, the 31st sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Dolmabahçe was meant to compare with the luxury and style of contemporary European palaces. Topkapı Palace, which had been the home of the imperial court for four hundred years, was lacking in modern comforts. The Turkish word dolma means ‘filled’ and bahçe means ‘garden,’ the palace was so named because the site upon which it was built was initially an imperial garden, since the time of Ahmet I.  

In contrast to Topkapı, which embraced the natural landscape and was essentially a complex of buildings and pavilions, Dolmabahçe Palace was built as a mono-block, with its main gate facing away from the Bosphorus. The entire palace is opulent and extravagant, boasting 285 rooms and 44 halls, in addition to bathrooms and hammam, or Turkish baths. It was a combination of Rococo, Neoclassical, and Baroque styles, in addition to Ottoman tradition.  


History of Dolmabahçe Palace 

Dolmabahçe Palace cost Sultan Abdülmecid the modern day equivalent of 1.9 billion USD, and it contributed to the eventual bankruptcy of the Ottoman Empire. It was, in some ways, the beginning of the end.  

After the fall of the Empire, the fledgling Turkish republic used Dolmabahçe as an Istanbul base. Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, spent his summers and welcomed foreign visitors from the palace, eventually dying there in 1938. 

Inside Dolmabahçe Palace 

Once you pass through the stunningly ornate front gate, known as the Gate of the Sultan, you will be welcomed by curated gardens and then the palace itself. Inside, there’s the Selamlık, the portion of the palace reserved for men; the Harem; and the Veliaht Dairesi, the apartments of the Crown Prince.  

The Selamlık houses exquisitely decorated reception halls and offices used by Ottoman officials and administrators of the palace. In the area are intimate salons and now-exhibition halls hung with Ottoman art and items from the palace collection.  

The Harem, meanwhile, was also where the sultan’s private quarters were located. It was where the sultan’s many concubines resided; nowadays, it is decorated as if they still lived there. Atatürk’s room in the palace was within the Harem, and the clock within it is always set to 9:05am, the time at which he died.  

The Veliaht Dairesi is set apart from the rest of the palace, and it is currently the site of the National Palaces Painting Museum, which holds about 200 pieces of Turkish and international art from the 1800s.  

How to Visit 

The resplendent Dolmabahçe Palace is one of the most important historical sites in Istanbul; a living reminder of the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of the Republic of Turkey. 

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