Dolmabahce Palace Museum Istanbul: what to see, tickets, tips

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Dolmabahce Palace is one of the most impressive and spectacular palaces in Besiktas, located on the shores of the Bosphorus. With a rich history and stunning architecture, it served as the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1922. The palace is known for its beautiful gardens, stunning interiors, and grand exterior, making it a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Istanbul. You can find out necessary visiting information on Dolmabahce Palace Museum, one of the best palaces in Istanbul with our useful guide with what to see, tickets, hours, fees.

Fast Facts about Dolmabahce Palace

  • The palace was built in the mid-19th century by Sultan Abdulmecid I as a replacement for the Topkapi Palace, which was considered too old-fashioned for the modernizing Ottoman Empire.
  • The palace’s name, “Dolmabahce,” means “filled garden” in Turkish and refers to the gardens that surround the palace.
  • The palace has a total of 285 rooms, 46 halls, and six baths.
  • The palace’s most impressive feature is the Crystal Staircase, made of Baccarat crystal and brass, which leads up to the ceremonial hall.
  • The palace also contains a collection of Bohemian and Baccarat crystal chandeliers, the largest of which weighs 4.5 tonnes and is located in the Ceremonial Hall.
  • Dolmabahce Palace was the site of many important events in Turkish history, including the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 which ended the Turkish War of Independence and established the modern Turkish Republic.
  • Today, Dolmabahce Palace is open to visitors as a museum showcasing the opulence and grandeur of the Ottoman Empire.

Quick history of Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahce Palace is one of the most famous landmarks in Istanbul, and a must-visit for anyone interested in the history and architecture of the Ottoman Empire. The palace was built in the mid-19th century during the reign of Sultan Abdülmecid I, who wanted to create a grand new palace to replace the Topkapi Palace. Construction began in 1843 and was completed in 1856, at a cost of four million Ottoman gold coins.

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The palace was designed by architects Garabet Balyan and his son Nikogos Balyan, who were among the most famous architects of the Ottoman Empire. The design combines elements of traditional Ottoman architecture with European neoclassical and baroque styles. The palace covers an area of 45,000 square meters and has 285 rooms, 46 halls, and six Turkish baths.

gate leading to bosporus strait from dolmabahce palace complex.

Dolmabahce Palace was the main residence of the Ottoman sultans from 1856 until the fall of the empire in 1922. It was also used by the first president of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, as his residence during his visits to Istanbul. Today, the palace is open to the public as a museum, and visitors can tour the stunning interiors, which are adorned with crystal chandeliers, silk carpets, and priceless works of art.

The palace is also famous for its gardens, which are among the most beautiful in Istanbul. The gardens cover an area of 110,000 square meters and feature a variety of trees, plants, and flowers, as well as fountains, statues, and ornamental pools.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, used the palace as his presidential house and spent his final days there before his death on November 10, 1938.

What to expect from your visit?

Exterior

The exterior of Dolmabahce Palace is a magnificent display of Ottoman architecture and design. One of the most notable features is the palace’s grand façade, which spans 600 meters along the Bosphorus strait. The palace is surrounded by lush gardens and is home to several fountains, statues, and other decorative elements.

Visitors to the palace can also explore the Clock Tower, which was built in 1890 and stands 27 meters tall. The tower houses a clock mechanism that was manufactured in England and is still operational today.

Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul, Turkey

Another highlight of the palace’s exterior is the Ceremonial Plaza, which is a large open space in front of the main entrance. This area was used for various official ceremonies during the Ottoman era and is still used for state events today.

Interior

The palace’s interior reflects the grandeur of the era and is created in the style of opulent European palaces. The entire palace structure is breathtaking. Over 50,000 artifacts are housed in the palace’s hundreds of chambers. And it was also home to six sultans and their families.

Inside the palace, visitors can marvel at the opulent decoration and lavish furnishings of the various rooms and halls. You can admire the stunning crystal chandeliers, luxurious carpets, and intricate tile work inside the palace. The most notable rooms in the palace include the Crystal Staircase, the Ceremonial Hall, and the Baccarat Room, which features one of the largest crystal chandeliers in the world.

The palace also houses a collection of paintings, furniture, and other decorative arts, including a collection of clocks from around the world.

The palace has two main sections: the Selamlik (the official part of the palace) and the Haremlik (the private apartments).


Tour Booking Advice



The Selamlik section includes the grand Ceremonial Hall, also known as the Throne Room, which boasts a stunning crystal chandelier and gilded walls and ceiling. The Crystal Staircase is another highlight, featuring a breathtaking Baccarat crystal banister.

Other notable rooms in the Selamlik include the Medhal Hall, where foreign dignitaries were received, and the Blue Room, which was used for council meetings. The Imperial Bedchamber is also a must-see, featuring a four-poster bed with a canopy and a magnificent ceiling painted with gold leaf.

In the Haremlik section, visitors can explore the private quarters of the sultan and his family. The main attraction here is the lavish Turkish bath, complete with marble walls, domed ceilings, and intricate tilework. The sultan’s mother’s quarters are also of interest, with their ornate furnishings and décor.

Visiting Dolmabahce Palace Tips

  • The Directorate of National Palaces now manages Dolmabahçe Palace. Before visiting, please verify the current opening and closing hours; it is open from Tuesday through Sunday at 9 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m.; the palace is closed on Mondays.
  • You should buy a ticket for Dolmabahce Palace visit. You can buy ticket from the ticket window at the 1st courtyard of the palace, or buy it online.
  • To avoid long lines and ensure availability, it’s a good idea to purchase your tickets online before your visit. There are also guided tours with fast track entry.
  • Consider booking a guided tour to get the most out of your visit. Guides can provide a wealth of information and insights that you might not get on your own. Just make sure the guides be authorized and have their badges.
  • You should expect at least 2 hours to visit the palace. We recommend you visit Dolmabahce Palace before noon before the crowds begin to form.
  • Photography is allowed in certain areas of the palace, but be sure to check the signs and follow any rules. Flash photography is not allowed.
  • You should be aware with pickpockets and keep your wallet safe. This is common in all world’s top tourist destinations. Also stay away from any people pretending to be a guide.

Hours and Fees

Dolmabahce Palace is open every day between 09:00-18:30, except Mondays. The palace is closed for visit on Mondays.

Ticket Options

Please cross check hours and admissions from millisaraylar.gov.tr

Top-Rated Dolmabahce Palace Tickets & Guided Tours

You can feel free to book one of these top selling fast track entry tickets and guided tours for Dolmabahce Palace Museum. They all have excellent traveler ratings. If you change your mind, you can also make free cancellation with a FULL REFUND up to 24 hours in advance.

Getting to Dolmabahce Palace Tips

Dolmabahce Palace is located in Besiktas district. See on google map.

For those coming from Sultanahmet , Eminonu, Galata, or Karakoy areas, can take the Kabatas-Bagcilar T1 tram line passing through Kabatas, and get off at Kabatas stop (the last stop). Dolmabahce Palace is right next to the tram station, about 300 meters.

For those on the Asian side of Istanbul, can take the ferry to Besiktas, and than walk about 10 minutes to the Dolmabahce Palace.

Contact

Address: Visnezade, Dolmabahçe Cd., Besiktas, Istanbul
Tel
: +90 212 236 90 00
Webmillisaraylar.gov.tr

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