Dolmabahçe Palace Museum
Dolmabahçe Palace was both private residence of the Sultan and the main administration center of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 until 1924. The palace derives its name from its location, it was a former pier filled with land, thus called Dolmabahçe meaning ‘filled up garden‘.
It was built by the order of Sultan Abdülmecid, between 1843- 1856. The architect was the Nigoğayos Balyan, member of Balyan family who were the principle architects for the Ottoman Sultanate for several generations, in the 19th century.
Six sultans ruled from this palace and it also hosted the last Ottoman Caliph Abdülmecid Efendi until the caliphate was removed and all the royal family were obliged to leave the country.
The palace is a mono block building. It has usable floor area of 45.000 square meters, 285 rooms, 44 reception rooms and 6 hamams (Turkish baths).
The palace consists of three parts:
1- Imperial Mabeyn (State apartments): the quarter where the administrative affairs of the state took place
2- Muayede Salon (Ceremonial Hall): the hall where all the ceremonies took place in the palace.
3- Imperial Harem: the private quarter of the Sultan and his family. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk used the palace for his studies in Istanbul between 1927 and 1938 and died in this palace.
The room is open for visits. 4.5 tones crystal chandelier which was a gift of Queen Victoria to Sultan Abdülaziz, the crystal staircase leading to the Ambassador’s Hall, Atatürk’s Room, Sultan’s alabaster Turkish bath, Caliph’s room are the highlights of the palace.
The palace was partially open to protocol and visits between 1926 and 1984. It has been opened to visit as a ‘museum-palace‘ from 1984.