Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul

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    The Dolmabahçe Palace
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  • traveloturc's Profile Photo

    Dolmabahce Palace /saray

    by traveloturc Updated Dec 27, 2008

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    Dolmabahce Palace
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    The Dolmabahce Palace, a blend of various European architectural styles, was built between 1843-1856 by Karabet Balyan, the court architect of Sultan Abdulmecid. The three-storied palace built on a symmetrical plan has 285 rooms and 43 halls. There is a 600 m long quay along the sea and two monumental gates, one of them very ornate, on the land side. Well-kept, beautiful gardens surround this seaside palace. In the middle, there is a large ballroom with a ceiling higher than the other sections. The entrance section of the palace was used for the receptions and meetings of the sultan, and the wing behind the ballroom used as the harem section. The palace has survived intact with its original decorations, furniture, and the silk carpets and curtains. It surpasses all other palaces in the world in wealth and magnificence. Rare handmade artifacts from Europe and the Far East'decorate every room in the palace. Brilliant crystal chandeliers, candelabras and fireplaces add to the lavish decor.
    The ballroom is the largest of its kind in the world. A 4.5 ton colossal crystal chandelier hangs from the 36 m high dome. Of the six baths in the palace, the one in the section reserved for men was made of unique and beautifully carved alabaster.
    In the Republican era, Atatürk used to reside in this palace when he visited Istanbul. He died here in 1938 and before his body was taken to Ankara, it was laid in state while the public poured in to pay him their last respects...

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    Dolmabahce Palace

    by HORSCHECK Updated Apr 7, 2013

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    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.

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

    by Donna_in_India Updated Mar 16, 2014

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    Crystal Staircase, Dolmabahce Palace
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    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.

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    The palace of Sultans

    by Aggeliki Written Jan 15, 2005

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    One of the magnificent gates

    Known as Dolmabahce Palace or Dolmabahce Sarayi was built by the son of Mahmut II at 1843. The construction of the palace which covers an area of 250.000 square meters, took about 13 years and finished in 1855. The Dolmabahce Palace is an impressive building facing the sea with very high walls. The main building is surrounded by magnificent gardens. There are nine gates on the inland side, two of which are monumental. On the front facing the sea there are five gates. The palace is decorated with famous baccarat crystals, pictures by famous artists, luxurious furniture, rugs and carpets from the famous carpet manufacturers of the city Hereke.
    Mustafa Kemal Ataturk occupied a room at the palace on his visits to Istanbul and died there in 1938.

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    Dolmabahce Sarayi

    by muratkorman Updated May 4, 2011

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    Crystal chandelier and staircase
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    Dolmabahce Palace was built between 1843 and 1856. This beautiful palace hosted some Sultans as the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1922, apart from 1889-1909 interval in which the Yildiz Palace was used. It is located on European side of Bosphorus between Besiktas and Kabatas. It is decorated with a 4.5 ton weighing crystal chandelier on the main hall. This Bohemian chandelier was given to Ottoman Sultan as a present from Queen Victoria. The staircase on the main hall is also from crystal. Another important part of this palace is the room of Atatürk, founder of Turkish Republic. He spent his last days in this room and died here. There is a clock tower in the main entrance which is also spectacular. Dolmabahçe Palace Museum is open to public on weekdays from 9:00 to 15:00, except Mondays and Thursdays.

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    Dolmabahçe Sarayi

    by H-TownJourneyman Updated Feb 19, 2007

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    Dolmabah��e Palace
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    Located on land that was actually reclaimed from the waters of the Bosphorus, "Dolmabahçe", literally translated, means "filled garden". The palace was designed by Garabet & Nigogayos Balyan, and was constructed from 1842 to 1854. It replaced Topkapi Palace as the official residence of the royal family when Sultan Abdulmecit moved in 2 years later in 1856. Quite a contrast from the older and more traditional Topkapi, Dolmabahçe was built to show off the Sultan's wealth to visiting dignitaires and heads of state, despite the rapidly approaching decline of the Ottoman empire. It more resembles a European palace in style, with it's grandiose size, architecture, and decoration. Within the structure, there are 285 rooms, 42 ballrooms and meeting halls, and the huge Harem area for the wives and children of the Sultans. There are hundreds of classic 19th century paintings, Turkish wooven rugs, and grand French & Czech crystal chandeliers, most designed and/or made specifically for Dolmabahçe. The amazing Crystal Staircase, located in the main meeting area, is comprised of Baccarat crystal posts, brass trim, and mahogany wood handrails. And the incredible chandelier in the main hall weighs over 4 1/2 tons, and remains one of the largest chandeliers in the world. The ornateness of the palace is an amazing sight to see in person. After the demise of the empire following World War I, and the beginning of the Turkish republic, Atatürk frequently stayed at Dolmabahçe when in Istanbul. He died within the palace in 1938. When touring, you can take separate guided tours of the Selamlik area, which is the main part of the palace, as well as the Harem. Both have separate admission fees. There is also a charge for use of cameras, both photo and video. And while on the tours, the tour guides stress heavily to stay on the red carpeted walkways that they have designated, to avoid damage of the flooring and rugs.

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  • gilabrand's Profile Photo

    A Study in Royal Excess

    by gilabrand Updated Dec 12, 2006

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    Jewel-encrusted decor
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    In 1853, the Turkish sultan decided it was time to move. I mean how many centuries can you live in the same house? So he bid goodbye to Topkapi, the official residence of the sultans for centuries, and built a fancy new palace at a prime location on the shores of the Bosphorus.

    He filled it with costly carpets, gleaming parquet floors, 4.5 ton crystal chandeliers, marble bathrooms, 14-carat gold dinner plates, gem-encrusted teacups, huge oil paintings, ceiling-high mirrors, polar-bear rugs, elephant-tusk lamps, 193 clocks – in short all the accoutrements of wealth in those days.

    No matter that the citizens of the Ottoman Empire lived in abject poverty. Even royals had to keep up with the Joneses. Dolmabahce boasted the first telephone in Istanbul (installed in 1910) and a central heating system with gold radiators.

    During the day, the Sultan was busy with his administrative and diplomatic duties. Times were a-changing. Turkey’s acceptance as part of Europe was borne out in the interior design of the palace. Whereas Topkapi made do with a small hall for receiving guests, Dolmabahce had a gigantic ambassadorial room.

    While all this pomp and circumstance was going on downstairs, the Sultan’s 18 wives, 33 children and dozens of servant girls were cooped up in the Harem (Arabic for “forbidden”), not allowed to leave the house or be seen by outsiders. They watched the ceremonies through blue-glass windows or lattice grids. At 8-9, the boys were circumcised and sent off to be educated.

    Behind the scenes, the Sultan’s mother kept an eye on the household, and even chose her future daughters-in-law. The Sultan could have 4 wives at a time. If he divorced one, he could replace her with another.

    Fascinating stuff. Buy a combined ticket for the Saray and the Harem (16 YTL) and you will learn this and more. Our guide, Mehmet, was a university-trained researcher. Try to stay close to him and listen to his explanations. The groups can be large and noisy, and Turkish-accented English may take some getting used to.

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  • ani_istanbul's Profile Photo

    Dolmabahce Palace

    by ani_istanbul Written Sep 16, 2004

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    A 19th century Bosphorus palace that is the height of opulent excess and crying evidence of an empire about to crumble...Dont miss the famous clock tower in the entrance.If you are lucky you can view a Mehter playing.You can sit &drink something at the cafe of the Palace.After leaving the palace a nice nice walk is suggested towards Besiktas!(very romantic)

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  • Henrik_rrb's Profile Photo

    Why close so early...?

    by Henrik_rrb Updated Jun 1, 2005

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    Dolmabache Palace

    285 rooms and 43 dinner/party rooms, all of them so luxius it's incredible. Six sultans have lived here, after they moved from the Topkapi Palace in 1856. After that, also the first president of Turkey, Kemal Atatürk, lived here now and then. He died in one of the rooms at 09.05 the 10th november 1938. It's said that all the clocks in the palace still has that time on.
    It says, since I never got the chance to get inside... This fantastic palace, with a chrystal stair, a huge ceremony haul and a huge harem (unfortunately no girls there anymore... ;) ) closes at 16.00 every day (except monday-tuesday when it's totally closed). How on earth is it possible for us who prefers to sleep a bit late in the morning to get there in time then...?

    Well well, that has to be my next mission (to get up early in the morning, that is...).

    The entrance fee is different depending where you come from. For a turkish student the entrance fee is around 1,5 lira. For other turkish citiziens it's around 17 lira, and for foreigners it's 34-35 lira. If you want to see the harem too, make sure to buy the combination ticket (costs extra).

    Remember also that the security around the palace is high, so don't be afraid when the first thing you'll see is the guard with the k-pist in his hand...

    For those of you who comes there late like me I advice to take a look at the other side of the street, against Dolmabache. There are 12-15 huge photos of Kemal Atatürk in different moments of his life.

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    DOLMABAHCE PALACE

    by balhannah Updated Jan 31, 2011

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    The Palace Guard
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    IF YOU WANT TO SEE A PALACE FULL OF OPULENCE, THEN COME HERE!
    The people in my Tour group were in awe of this beautiful Palace, I think we all walked around with mouths and eyes open wide!

    Until the 17th century this area where Dolmabahce Palace stands today was a natural harbour providing anchorage for the Ottoman fleet and for traditional naval ceremonies.
    From the 17th century the bay was gradually filled in and became one of the imperial parks on the Bosphourus known as Dolmabahce, meaning “FILLED GARDEN"
    A series of imperial Mansions and Pavillions were built here, eventually growing into a palace complex known as Besiktas Waterfront Palace. This Palace was demolished in 1843, and Dolmabahce Palace was built in its place.

    The new Palace was built by an American Architect so that it resembled a European style. It was completed in 1856. LUXURIOUS it is, has 46 reception rooms & galleries, an extreme amount of gold and crystal, (even a crystal staircase) and a 41/2 ton chandelier, just to name a few of the extravagances.
    It was this extravagance that helped end the empire with the last Emporer fleeing to exile in 1922.

    The main features are its gates, Waterfront facade, Ceremonial Hall, Harem, State Rooms, Ataturk rooms, Crystal staircase, Sultan's bathrooms, Clock Tower and Gardens.
    It is just beautiful, and probably my favorite destination in Istanbul.

    As from June 1st, 2009 entry has changed...............

    YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED CAMERA'S OR VIDEO CAMERAS INSIDE THE PALACE - NO PHOTOGRAPHY OF ANY KIND INSIDE. (There are guards and cameras everywhere watching you!)
    You are ALLOWED photography in the Palace grounds

    LOCATION.... On Dolmabahce Caddesi. The Tram takes you to Kabatas (tram terminal) then its on a 5min walk to the Palace

    ADMISSION IN 2009 was 20t/l

    OPENING HOURS 9 - 4pm daily CLOSED .......Mondays & Thursdays

    TOURS....You can only visit inside the Palace with a tour, and these depart regularly every 15mins. They have English & other nationality tours. My guide was very good and informative.
    Other parts of the Palace you can visit without a guide.
    ESTIMATED TIME HERE....Probably about 21/2 - 3 hours.

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  • traveloturc's Profile Photo

    Dolmabahce Palace /saray

    by traveloturc Written Jan 7, 2007

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    Dolmabahce Palace
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    The word "Dolmabahce" means "The filled garden". Because the Dolmabahce Palace is founded upon a reclaimed area by filling up the sea. It's a beautiful 19th C palace right by the Bosphorus, on the waterfront. It's in baroque and rococo style and very French. Many people think that it is a small model of the palace of Versailles in Paris, France. It can be visited with a tour guide of the palace as a group. Open everyday from 9:30-17:00 except Mon and Thu.
    The first thing to see is the beautiful French style gardens.The palace was constructed between 1842-1853 by one of the Ottoman Sultans, Sultan Abdulmecid. The architect was a famous Armenian architect, Nikogos Balyan. The palace reflects the European and more "modern" side of the Ottoman Empire. The Sultans moved to Dolmabahce Palace after its construction was finished and never went back to Topkapi Palace which hosted them nearly 4 centuries.
    A huge entrance hall with beautiful French Baccarat crystal chandelliers. The palace altogether is decorated with French Baccarat and Czech Bohemian crystal chandelliers.This part is the official part (Selamlik) of the Palace that was only open to the men. The women and the children lived in a different part called "the Harem". The Sultan's bedrooms were also in the Harem Part. The founder of Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk died in this palace in 1938 of sirosis disease. There are many portraits in the palace by famous artists, like Aivazosvky of Russia. It's a very ornate palace with its 285 rooms, 43 large halls and 6 Turkish baths. The large old carpets on the floor are Hereke Carpets which were exclusively woven for the palaces. Some rooms have a great parquet floor with three different woods inlaid into each other by using no nails. Many of the palace fabrics and the curtains were also coming from Hereke, a small town 50 miles,70 kms. to the east of Istanbul. The palace fabrics today were replaced by new ones which are very similar to the original ones.

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    The Dolmabahçe Palace

    by mvtouring Written Oct 9, 2009

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    The beautiful Dolmabahçe Palace is located at the European side of the Bosporus and it served as the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1853 to 1922, apart from a twenty-year interval (1889-1909) in which the Yýldýz Palace was used.

    Dolmabahçe was built between 1843 and 1856 by Armenian architect Garabet Balyan and commissioned by Sultan Abdülmecid I, the 31st Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. The palace design and décor reflects the increasing influence of European cultural standards on Ottoman culture. Neo-Classic, Baroque, Rococo and Ottoman styles all blend together into glittering opulence and grandeur. The 45,000 square metre palace cost a mere five million Ottoman gold pounds, the equivalent of 35 tonnes of gold— 14 tonnes of which went into the decoration alone.

    Previously, the Sultan and his family lived at Topkapý Sarayý, but as Topkapý was lacking in contemporary luxury and style, Abdülmecid decided to build Dolmabahçe. Topkapý has exquisite examples of Iznik tiles and Ottoman carving, compared to Dolmabahçe, which has lots of gold and crystal.

    The only way to see the inside of Dolmabahçe is with a guided tour, but be sure that you get there early as they only allow a certain amount of visitors per day. The tour last approx 1 hour and if you want to see the harem as well, you have to pay for that too and that is also done per guided tour which also last approx 1 hour.

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    Main Entrance and Secretariat Halls

    by nicolaitan Updated Apr 12, 2009

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    The interior of the Dolmabahce Palace is visited as part of a group of about 35 led by a provided guide and given in English and Turkish. The recitations are in hushed and reverent tones delivered without great enthusiasm. With the ambient noise associated with other groups in the same room, hearing the delivery is very difficult if one is not in the front two or three rows. And the groups are moved quickly - stopping for a photo op guarantees missing a lot of the presentation. Often the visitor simply stands in awe of the sumptuous overdecoration without knowing exactly what it represents or even which room one is in.

    The citizens of late Ottoman Period Turkey had few luxuries, but Abdulmecid spared no expense in his opulent palace. Each of the reception halls and surrounding offices are filled with crystal, gold leaf, Hereke carpets, porcelain vases, paintings, and fine classic furniture. Magnificent chandeliers are the hallmark feature of these rooms.

    The Main Entrance Room used to assemble the tour groups was also the room used by visitors to the sultan and features an English chandelier with sixty little arms and lots of Hereke silk fabrics and rugs in royal red (images 1,3,4). The adjacent Secretariat Room (image 2) is famed for its paintings, especially the largest painting in the palace -- a painting of the Surre Procession (1887) by Stefano Ussi depicting the annual procession of the Sultan to Mecca (image 5) carrying a surre ( money sack ) with financial resources used to maintain holy sites.

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    The Layout

    by nicolaitan Updated Apr 12, 2009

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    Gardens and Royal Gate
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    What the Dolmabahce Palace lacks in subtlety it makes up for in size. The overall palace complex covers over 11 acres with the main palace containing 285 rooms, 44 halls, 6 baths, and 68 toilets. It is an L-shaped building of 3 stories with the lowest half underground. The great ceremonial hall is twice as high as the remainder and located centrally.

    The images illustrate the palace from west to east. It is too large to fit in one picture even from the hill to the north overlooking the palace. From the garden at the west (image 1), the administrative section of the palace is the first part entered (image 2) and contains 4 large halls used to receive and entertain foreign officials with the famed double horseshoe crystal staircase located in the middle. Studies, libraries, smaller reception room, and prayer rooms surround these larger rooms which are among the most lavishly decorated, meant to impress visitors with the wealth and power of the sultan.

    Image 3 is the tallest portion of the palace, the great ceremonial hall, which opens to the Bosphorus. Further east (image 4) are the harem and private quarters of the sultan's families, maids, and other functionaries, extending into the short limb of the L where the favored concubines were housed. The harem is not included on the guided tour of the palace, unfortunately, so that the private quarters of the sultan are not visited.

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    Ceremonial Hall

    by nicolaitan Updated Apr 18, 2009

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    The highest, largest, and most magnificent room in the palace is the muayede or ceremonial hall used for the most important religious and state functions presided over by the sultan. Over 2000 sq yards in size, with a 36 yd high ceiling supported by 56 columns, the centerpiece is a 4.5 ton crystal chandelier gifted by Queen Victoria. Until recently this was the largest chandelier in the world, with the largest now in Jordan. The floor is covered by a hugh Hereke carpet. The walls are pushed out to create narrow aisles. All the domes are exquisitely painted and decorated.

    Of note, the current exit from the palace for tourists is to the waterside quay, which was the preferred entrance in Ottoman times. For the special events, the sultan's golden throne was carried from the Topkapi palace even when the palace was otherwise not used.
    Much is made of the heating system, heated air supplied through vents at the bases of the massive columns. Since hot air rises, it took up to 3 days to completely heat the hall.

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