Monday, September 3, 2012

Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul, Turkey

Dolmabahce Palace is a splendid palace situated on the Bosphorus Strait coastline, in the Besiktas district of Istanbul, Turkey. It was once the main centre of the Ottoman Empire in Turkey (1856 – 1922). The Dolmabahce Palace was commissioned by Sultan Abdulmecid I (the 31st Sultan of the Empire), and was constructed by Ottoman court architects between 1843 and 1856. It was the main residence of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the first President of Turkey, where he lived with his adopted children.

The construction of the Dolmabahce Palace in Turkey cost five million Ottoman gold coins, which equals about 35 tonnes of gold. In fact, gold is extensively used in the decoration of the palace, which includes the palace’s gold-leaf gilded ceilings. Crystal is another recurring theme. Tourists and visitors can view the expensive interiors of this Turkish palace only on guided tours, and are not permitted to roam around freely.

The Dolmabahce Palace near Istanbul is spread over an area of 110,000 square metres, with the palace itself occupying 45,000 square metres. It is the largest palace in Turkey. The palace has diverse design elements from the Rococo, Baroque and Neo-Classical architectural styles; while blending traditional features from Ottoman palace life and Turkish homes. It consists of 285 rooms, 46 halls, 6 baths or hamams, and 68 toilets.

Some of the exquisite features of the Dolmabahce Palace in Turkey are:
  • Crystal Chandeliers: The Dolmabahce Palace has the world’s largest collection of Bohemian and Baccarat crystal chandeliers. In fact, it also has the largest Bohemian crystal chandelier in the world. Hanging from the ceiling in the central hall above the carpeted crystal staircase, this crystal chandelier was a gift from Britain’s Queen Victoria. It has 750 lamps, and weighs an astounding 4.5 tonnes.
  • Imperial Garden: It is from this beautiful garden that the palace gets its name. The word ‘Dolmabahce’ comes from the Turkish words ‘dolma’ meaning filled, and ‘bahce’ meaning garden. This garden was actually a part of the stunning blue Bosporus bay, which was gradually reclaimed or ‘filled-in’.
  • Crystal Staircase: The Dolmabahce Palace has an ornate crystal staircase shaped like a double-horseshoe. This staircase is constructed out of Baccarat crystal, mahogany wood, and brass. The palace also has other luxurious features like red Hereke carpets, upholstery and drapes; and 150-year-old bearskin rugs from Russia.
  • Paintings: Some of the paintings at the Dolmabahce Palace near Istanbul are the Surre Procession by Stefano Ussi, the Paris Municipal Theatre Fire by Rudolph Ernst, and the Dutch Village Girl by Delandre.
The Dolmabahce Palace is open to tourists from 9.00am to 3.00pm on all days, except Mondays and Thursdays. Backpacks and large purses need to be checked-in at a baggage counter, and stringent metal-detector security checks are performed.

Read about other beautiful palaces:

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