Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul

Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul (must see)

The Ottoman sultans shifted from Topkapi Palace to the newly built Dolmabahce in the 1850s. Designed by the renowned Armenian architect Garabet Balyan, it is the largest and most extravagant of all the palaces on the Bosphorus – especially the Ceremonial Hall with its famous Bohemian crystal chandelier glowing with 750 lamps, gifted by Queen Victoria.

Sultan Abdülmecid and his family clearly wanted a residence comparable to those of his contemporary European monarchs. On this note, it is quite evident that not only were European luxury goods desirable from an aesthetic viewpoint, but also from a symbolic one. The palace not only makes use of European goods but also of European technology to indicate that the Ottoman Empire has not been outdistanced by Europe.

Guided tours are broadly divided into two sections: the public and the private (known as the Selamlik and the Harem, respectively), access to which is given by separate tickets. Interiors are fairly well-preserved and many of the personal belongings of the Sultans and their families on display. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed inside.

Outside, there is a small, but attractive garden around the buildings, with magnificent magnolias, little water-lily ponds, and excellent views over the Bosphorus.

Tip:
Going early is highly encouraged – you'll have entire rooms all to yourself!
The audio guide is a must if you want to get into the cultural benefit of the visit.
Consider taking a rest at the small outdoor cafe in-between visiting the Selamlik and the Harem.
Several good restaurants are nearby on a popular street nearby (Şair Nedim Cd.) that you can walk to in five minutes.

Operation hours:
Tue-Sun: 9am–4pm

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Istanbul. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Dolmabahce Palace on Map

Sight Name: Dolmabahce Palace
Sight Location: Istanbul, Turkey (See walking tours in Istanbul)
Sight Type: Museum/Gallery
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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