Dolmabahce Palace


This area was originally the bay, where the navy anchored in the early periods; when the Ottomans conquered Istanbul. Between the years 1611-1614, this bay was filled in and a timber building with a large garden called "the Besiktas Palace" was built by the order of Sultan Ahmet I. The land of the Besiktas Palace, which had become completely useless due to a fire, was chosen as the site for the new palace by Sultan Abdulmecit I, since it was by the seaside and closer to the city centre.

Dolmabahçe Palace was the first European-style palace in Istanbul and was built by Sultan Abdülmecid between 1842 and 1853, at a cost of five million Ottoman gold pounds, the equivalent of 35 tons of gold. Fourteen tons of gold leaf was used to adorn the ceilings of the palace. At the centre of the hall, the world's largest Bohemian crystal chandelier can be found; it was a gift from Queen Victoria. The chandelier has 750 lamps and weighs 4.5 tons. Dolmabahçe has the largest collection of Bohemian and Baccarat crystal chandeliers in the world, and one of the great staircases has bannisters of Baccarat crystal, brass and mahogany, all in the shape of a horseshoe. Another notable feature is the 150-year-old bearskin, a gift from the Tsar of Russia.

The first president of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk spent his last years in this palace, before passing away in 1938. This room is now part of the museum.

Other major historical landmarks in Istanbul include Topkapi Palace, Rumeli Fortress and Suleymaniye Mosque

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