The grandiose Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul

In any other city in the world, the Dolmabahce Palace would be the great jewel of its heritage. However, in a city as monumental as Istanbul, this great construction full of treasures, riches and stories is sometimes not visited. And it’s a great shame, as it is a real find.

Location of the Palace of dolmabahce

But, although there are many tourists who do not enter the hundreds of palatial rooms or walk through the beautiful gardens of Dolmabahce, there are few who do not see it during one of the most demanded tourist attractions in Istanbul: a cruise on the Bosphorus.

Dolmabahce Palace-Gelia

And it is that the Dolmabahce Palace is located on the shores of the Bosphorus, on its European shore. And to recognize it, it is enough to compare its size with the rest of the riverside constructions, since we are talking about the largest palace built in the Turkish capital. Although, before it was raised, there was water here, since the land where a large part of it sits was reclaimed from the sea during the 18th century, hence its name (dolma is to fill, and bahce is garden)

The exterior of the palace

Specifically, the palace was built between 1842 and 1853 by order of Sultan Abdulmecid. He moved his court here from the incredible Topkapi Palace, as this way he could count on greater comforts, more in keeping with his time. But at the same time, he wanted to build a palace that was less Eastern and more European in appearance, to impress the courts of the Continent.

Dolmabahce Palace – Evren Kalinbacak

For that reason, the style of the Dolmabahce Palace can be classified as neo-baroque, with a clear inspiration in the Palace of Versailles. Although, there is a great mix of influences with elements that are also reminiscent of the Renaissance or Neoclassicism. Without forgetting that all this is passed through the sieve of Turkish tastes and the very long tradition of Ottoman art.

The history and present of Dolmabahce

As well, that was the official residence of the Turkish sultans from 1853 to 1922, when it changed to a new form of government with the first president of modern Turkey, Ataturk. Although this politician kept it as his official residence for his stays in Istanbul, since the capital of the country was Ankara.

Dolmabahce Palace – Sailorr

And not only that, but he took refuge here already being sick and it was where he died. The rooms he occupied were left as they are, and even the clocks are stopped at the time he died, 9:05. Some rooms that for the Turks are a highlight during the guided tours of the palace, which it is now converted into a large museum.


“If the world were one state, Istanbul would be its capital.”

– Napoleon Bonaparte –

The guided tour of Dolmabahce

The first thing we recommend is getting up a little early. Dolmabahce is not the most visited monument in Istanbul, but there are always people, so to avoid long queues, it is best to get up early and hire the guided tours. It’s the only way to get in. Of course, there are only a few in Spanish.

Dolmabahce Palace – D.Bond

Once you join a group you can now enjoy the great riches of the palace, some of them from gifts from European monarchsLike the large Bohemian crystal chandelier in the Great Hall that was a gift from Queen Victoria. This large lamp is proof that we are in a very European palace.

Besides, there are other very outstanding points such as the glass balustrade of the Crystal Staircasea paragon of delicacy and pageantry in keeping with the luxury of these rooms, where elements very typical of Turkish decorative traditions such as the fine and enormous rugs are not lacking.

By the way, when you enter you will see that you have to put on some paper leggings like the ones in a hospitaland the whole route is on carpets and rugs.

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