Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul

4 out of 5 stars 4 Stars - 106 Reviews

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • The Dolmabahçe Palace
    The Dolmabahçe Palace
    by ValbyDK
  • The Dolmabahçe Palace
    The Dolmabahçe Palace
    by ValbyDK
  • Dolmabahçe Palace Clock Tower
    Dolmabahçe Palace Clock Tower
    by ValbyDK
  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo

    Gorgeous or Garish?? You Be The Judge....

    by Donna_in_India Updated Mar 16, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Crystal Staircase, Dolmabahce Palace
    4 more images

    I love really ornate palaces and Dolmabahce (which means filled-in garden) did not disappoint! Sultan Abdul Mecit had the palace built in 1853. With an unlimited budget, architect Balian set out to create a palace greater than any other palace in the world. The result is a mix of architectural styles: Hindu, Turksih, and European. Inside are mirrors, marble, chandeliers, crystal, and silk. At over 45,000 square meters huge, the palace has 285 rooms, 46 lounges and 68 toilets It is beautifully situated on the European shore (1/2 km in length) of the Bosphorus.

    Dolmabahce was built during the decline of the Ottoman Empire, financed largely by foreign loans. After the Turkish Republic was established in 1923, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk kept a room at the palace for use during his visits to Istanbul. He would later die in the palace on November 10, 1938 at 9:05 a.m. and all of the clocks in the palace are stopped at this time.

    You have to visit the palace on a guided tour which is definitely a negative. The tour runs about an hour and fifteen minutes. Even though you only see a small portion of the palace, there is so much to see that you feel really rushed through.

    The Imperial Gate is now the main entrance to the palace. Once through the gate you'll come to the Imperial Garden with the Swan Fountain and have your first view of the palace. The almost plainish exterior belies the opulence inside. Of course, when viewed from out on the Bosphorus, you can really appreciate the size of the palace.

    The tour passes through just over 20 rooms including the Entrance Hall, Secreteriat's Rooms, Mescid & Resting Room, Ambassador's Hall, Rooms of the Crown Prince, Study Room, Passageway to the Harem, and Sultan's Room in the Harem. But the highlights are definitely the Crystal Staircase and the Ceremonial Hall (Muayede Hall).

    The horseshoe-shaped Crystal Staircase leads from the entry gate to the upper levels of the palace. It is so named because it is made from Baccarat crystal and brass. The rail is a highly polished, rich mohogany . Overhead is one of the amazing Baccarat chandeliers.

    The Ceremonial Hall was designed to hold 2,500 people. It sits between the Administrative Mabeyan and the Harem areas and I thought it was the most spectacular room we saw. It is 2000 square meters in size and 36 meters high. The magnificent dome is 25 meters in diameter. A chandelier that is reported to be the heaviest in the world - 4.5 tons with 664 bulbs - hangs from the dome. The hall was used to host all state ceremonies and receptions, and religious celebrations. When he died, Ataturk's body was placed in a casket in the hall and for 3 days, the public came to express their condolences.

    After the tour you can spend time walking the gardens around the palace. Allow about 2 1/2 - 3 hours total for your visit.

    Admission with guided tour is 15 TL

    Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday - Sunday 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (last tour at 4:00 p.m.)
    October - February last tour is at 3:00 p.m.
    The palace is closed on Mondays and Thursdays

    Tours in various languages.

    Photography was permitted at the time of our visit. However, now no photography allowed inside the palace.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • solopes's Profile Photo

    Chandeliers

    by solopes Updated Dec 26, 2013
    Istanbul - Turkey
    2 more images

    For someone living in "glass world", the palace impresses by the artworks produced in the golden days of glass manufacturing.

    All the European giants are present, with pieces so great, so hardly built and mounted, that the palace could work as a display of the best in glass history. Well... maybe with something more from Lalique.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • solopes's Profile Photo

    Dolmabahce Mosque

    by solopes Updated Dec 26, 2013
    Istanbul - Turkey
    1 more image

    Separated from the palace but integrated in the whole, this mosque was built together with the palace, in the 19 Th century.

    Used by the sultan, it has some rich ornaments, including Baroque elements.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • solopes's Profile Photo

    Harem

    by solopes Updated Dec 26, 2013
    Istanbul - Turkey
    2 more images

    It was a small disappointment, the visit of harem. In Topkapi, this is the most harmonious and beautiful area, and I was expecting the same - no way.

    The area visited by the sultan still keeps some beauty and richness, but the remaining area is poor and somewhat neglected compared with the males part of the palace.

    Sultan's mother has a distinctive treatment but far from the official opulence.

    I think that the visit should be done in opposite order, starting by the harem and reserving the official area to the end.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • solopes's Profile Photo

    Ceremony Hall

    by solopes Updated Dec 26, 2013
    Istanbul - Turkey
    4 more images

    The biggest and most luxurious room (if it is possible to say so, in the male's part of the palace) is the ceremonial room, prepared to receive 2500 people.

    The heaviest chandelier in the world came from England, a gift from queen Victoria. The hall keeps being used in big official ceremonies.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • solopes's Profile Photo

    Outstanding opulence

    by solopes Updated Dec 26, 2013
    Istanbul - Turkey
    4 more images

    Built in the middle of the 19Th century, this palace marks the beginning of the approach of ottoman culture to western patterns. Several styles (Baroque, Neo-classic, Rococo) merge to Ottoman, to produce a Palace expected to impress. And it does.

    I will reserve several tips for details.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • ValbyDK's Profile Photo

    The Dolmabahçe Palace

    by ValbyDK Written Jun 9, 2013
    The Dolmabah��e Palace
    2 more images

    The Dolmabahçe Palace was built by Sultan Abdül Mecid I between the years 1843 and 1856, and was during the Ottoman Empire home to six Sultans. In 1924, Atatürk - the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey - took over the Dolmabahçe Palace and used it as a residence until he passed away in 1938.

    The palace became a museum in 1984 and is now open for public – but only on a guided tour. The palace consists of three main parts - the Mabeyn-i Hümâyûn (the State Apartments), the Muayede Salonu (the ceremonial hall), and the Harem-i Hümâyûn (the residential apartments of the Sultans family) – all with numerous rooms which are beautifully decorated with crystal, mahogany, and gold leaf... And filled with many interesting details like the world's largest Bohemian crystal chandelier... Absolute amazing and the Dolmabahçe Palace is a must in Istanbul!

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo

    Dolmabahce Palace

    by HORSCHECK Updated Apr 7, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Dolmabahce Palace
    1 more image

    The Dolmabahce Palace was built in the middle of the 19th century to replace the Topkapi Palace as the administrative seat of the Ottoman Empire.

    The building complex shows a mix of European architectural styles from Baroque and Rococo to Neoclassical.

    Part of the Dolmabahce Palace is the 27 metres tall Clock Tower, which was erected in the late 19th century.

    I didn’t visit the inside of the Dolmabahce Palace, but came across the plalace one evening when it was illuminated and I also saw it from the Bosphorus side on a boat trip.

    Directions:
    The Dolmabahce Palace is located in the Besiktas district on the European coast of the Bosphorus stait. The nearest tram and funicular stop is Kabatas.

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Trains
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • mikey_e's Profile Photo

    Dolmabahçe Clock Tower

    by mikey_e Written Dec 8, 2012
    Dolmabah��e Clock Tower

    The Dolmabahçe Clock Tower was built in the 1890s, nearly fifty years after the Palace was constructed. Nevertheless, it was planned and executed by an architect from the same Balyan family of architects that was responsible for the design of the Palace, and retains the same predominance of Baroque and Imperial styles. Its use of dark stone and sharp, perpendicular lines betrays the strong European influences that shaped the architectural style. Similarly, the Clock Tower is covered with embellishments, which are far from uncommon on traditional Ottoman architecture, but these accents are clearly modeled on European patterns of vegetable and abstract designs, rather than Islamic models. The initial clock was French in origin, and was updated with electronic components in the 1970s.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • mikey_e's Profile Photo

    Atatürk's Death Bed

    by mikey_e Written Dec 5, 2012
    Gate to the Palace
    3 more images

    Dolmabahçe Palace was built in the 1840s and 1850s for Sultan Abdül Mecid I, who tired of residing in Topkapi Palace and decided to move to another palace on the shores of the Bosphorus. Dolmabahçe, being constructed in the 19th century after the heyday of the Ottoman state and its architecture, is much more clearly influenced by European styles than its predecessors. It is largely in the Baroque style, and is as much defined by right angles and rational, even divisions as the earlier Ottoman structures are characterized by curves and extravagances. The Palace does still incorporate aspects of traditional Ottoman architecture, but these influences are much more prevalent in the organization of the house and the manner in which it still accommodated a traditional Turkish, rather than Western, lifestyle. It was furnished with Western chandeliers and furniture, but still had a rich collection of Turkish rugs. The Palace was used by the royal family as its official residence until the proclamation of the Republic in 1923, when it became the Presidential Summer Palace and a residence for Turkey’s first President, Kemal Atatürk. It was here that he died in 1923. It is now a museum that is open to the public.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • solopes's Profile Photo

    Next Time

    by solopes Updated Sep 25, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Istanbul - Turkey
    1 more image

    We didn't visit Dolmabahce palace - three days in Istanbul gives only time to start. But the vision we had from the river made us feel sorrow, for being forced to skip it. Next time it will be a priority.

    Forget this tip - in my second trip to Istanbul I DID visit Dolmabahce, and there are several new tips in my pages.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Dolmabache Palace

    by tivolilady Written Jul 6, 2012

    Went there on a sunny Sunday. Probably the worst day you could ever choose, because it's the day all the Turks are off work. The queue was so loooong and there was no shade. As a foreigner you have to pay twice as much as the Turks (that was 40 TR LIRA) and we were not allowed to strawl in the palace on our own, but was rushed through the rooms with a very busy guide. But it was beautiful and I'm sure we just got there on a wrong day.

    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • Raimix's Profile Photo

    Dolmabahce palace

    by Raimix Updated Feb 7, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    3 more images

    The palace was built in 1856 to suit needs of Ottoman sultans, so after constructing it sultan moved here leaving old Topkapi palace in Sultanahmet area.

    The palace in as a symbol of 19th century Ottoman Empire, as it is huge one (having 285 rooms) and already mixed with European style. The palace was used as a main palace of sultans in 1924, when capital was moved to Ankara. Anyway, president Kemal Atatrk loved to spend time here, also he died at this place in 1938, in 09:05, so every clock inside is stopped for that time.

    I haven’t visited museum of this palace, but for next visit is a must :) As I was more interested in Oriental style things, I have chosen Topkapi palace. Palace is at its best look – from Bosporus waters.

    The entrance fee at the moment is 30 liras, but if you want t see harem, it is even more.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Extravagant

    by Dinaelghitany Updated Sep 11, 2011

    You will awe at this palace, you will not believe that a person lived like this. The most gorgeous palace ever with the most shockingly grand hall at the end, a truly beautiful experience. Tickets are for 15TL for the selamlik, which is the main palace, and 20 TL for both palaces including the harem which is where the ladies and kids lived. I would recommend only the selamlik.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • hebaemam's Profile Photo

    Amazing, golden ages

    by hebaemam Updated May 19, 2011

    the castle is amazing, i walked with a full open eyes trying to imagine the king who used to live is such huggggge palace. the pictures, the furniture, the souveniers from the worlds greatest kings of that time..... this place is a must.
    it costs less 40 dollars and there is extra for the camera and i paied for it for sure.

    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Istanbul

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

92 travelers online now

Comments

Hotels Near Dolmabahce Palace
3.5 out of 5 stars
292 Opinions
0.4 miles away
Show Prices
4.0 out of 5 stars
84 Opinions
0.4 miles away
Show Prices
4.5 out of 5 stars
248 Opinions
0.5 miles away
Show Prices

View all Istanbul hotels