DOLMABAHCE PALACE | The Palace on the Bosphorous (Dolmabahce Sarayi)
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Dolmabahce Sarayi, the Palace on the Bosphorous
 
 

Dolmabahce Sarayi, the Palace on the Bosphorous

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Sultan Abdulmecid I commissioned Armenian architect Garabet Balyan to design Dolmabahce Sarayi, or Dolmabahce Palace. From its dedication in 1856 through the reign of Ataturk, which ended in 1938, this exquisite example of the blending of European and Ottoman designs displayed the wealth and power of its owners to visiting officials.

Construction of the elaborate palace's two hundred eighty-five rooms, six baths, forty-six halls, six galleries, and four grand salons, began in 1846 and lasted nine years. Because the land on which it was built was a shallow bay reclaimed from the Bosphorous nearly three hundred years earlier, it was named Dolmabahce, meaning "filled garden".

The stunning and intricate decoration of Dolmabahce Palace was designed by S├ęchan, famous for directing the interior design of the Paris Opera. The crystal fireplaces, hundreds of paintings, vases, and candelabras were imported from all over Europe, despite the Turkish layout of the halls and living quarters.

The neo-baroque palace consists of several sections. Official business and religious ceremonies were conducted in the enormous ceremonial hall. A sea gate allowed visitors to arrive at Dolmabahce Sarayi by water. Magnificent gardens sprawl behind the palace but the amazing facade greets you from the Bosphorous. To one side, the administrative section holds four halls on two floors, with rooms for entertainment, study, and prayer, as well as the sultan's imperial bath suite.
 

 
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The harem section, where the reigning sultan's mother, wives, and concubines lived, lies opposite the administrative wing. Of its ten halls, the Blue Hall on the second floor was the main meeting place for these women. Gardens surround both wing of the palace. The Palace of the Crown Prince lies just east of the harem wing, separated from Dolmabahce Sarayi by a wall and fence.

Ataturk, Turkey's founder and first president, lived at the palace near the end of his life. The room at Dolmabahce containing his death bed can be visited along with the rest of the museum.

Time stands still in Dolmabahce Sarayi, where one hundred and ninety-three clocks have been stopped at the time that Ataturk died on November 10, 1938.

Soldiers at Dolmabahce Palace are famous for standing at attention, without moving a muscle, for the hours they remain on duty.

The original furnishing, draperies, and decorations remain guided tours allow long-past rulers to impress their visitors still.
 

 
   
 

 

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