11 Aralık 2013 Çarşamba

Dolmabahçe Palace Museum

Today all sections and units of Dolmabahce Palace are restored and opened to visit. The Dolmabahce Palace Complex is administered by the National Palaces Trust under the TBMM ( auspices of the Turkish Grand National Assembly ); and it is open to visitors, except Mondays and Thursdays daily between 09:00 - 16:00. It is one of the most imposrtant historic places in Istanbul that must be seen.

Istanbul situated on seven hills and it is a city of palaces as well. Please, do not miss to visit Dolmabahce Palace if you come to İstanbul, the city of palaces. This Palace is one of the most fascinating palaces in the world built in 19th century, Ottoman architecture and it was located in an area of 110 thousand squaremeters. It is located along the European shore of the Bosphorus between the ports of Besiktas and Kabatas. the plan arrangement of Dolmabahce Palace is an adaptation of traditional Turkish house in grandeur scale, constructed with brick internal walls, stone external walls and timber floors. After your visit with the breezes in the halls of the palace, it will be a great pleasure for you to rest at the cafe in the garden and have a cup of coffee with the fascinating Bosphorus scene. If you have a chance to visit Dolmabahce Sarayı in June, you'll get fascinated by the glory of magnolia trees.

Dolmabahce means “Filled up Garden”. Until 17th Century this site was one of the bays in Bosphorus. This bay was a natural harbour. Beginning from the XVII the Ottoman Admirals anchored the naval fleet here and also the traditional maritime ceremonies had taken place in this harbour when the Ottomans conquered Istanbul. In centuries, it had been started to be filled up time to time and became one of the unique gardens of Bosporus called Dolmabahce. The construction of the Palace completed in 13 years and cost five million Ottoman gold pounds ( the equivalent of 35 tons of gold ). Sultan Abdülmecit I, who was the 31st sultan of the Ottoman Empire commisioned the construction of the palace.This marvelous palace displays the power and richness the Sultans had. For the Ottoman treasury this palace was an unnecessary expenditure and because of the external debt, it had became totally empty. This palace had been empty intermittently for 32 years since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
In Dolmabahce Palace the last 6 sultans and Caliph Abdulmecit lived and after him most of the subsequent sultans preferred to live in the smaller palaces that they had built on their own along the Bosphorus. This palace was used also by Ataturk with the declaration of the republic. When Ataturk visited Istanbul, he used Dolmabahce Palace as his residence. On 10th of November 1938 Ataturk passed away in this palace after a long period of sickness and then it was converted in to a museum.

Dolmabahce Palace is a blend of many European architectural styles. It is the most western and the newest of all. Dolmread aesthetical approaches of the dominant European architecture at that time, comprises many characteristics of the Ottoman palace architecture tradition.

It was built between 1843 and 1856 by Karabet Balyan, the best-known member of Armenian architect family, the chief architect of Sultan Abdulmecit. The three-storied palace, including the basement floor, built on a symmetrical plan and there is 45 thousand square meters of usable floor area so it has 285 rooms and 46 halls , 6 Turkish baths, 1427 windows, 68 toilets and carpets covering a floor. The facade of Palace stretches for 600 meters along the European shore of the Bosphorus. It has survived intact with its original decorations, curtains, furniture, silk carpets and everything else. It consisted of sixteen separate sections besides the main structure such as palace stables, mills, glass shop, foundry, pharmacies, kitchens, aviaries, patisserie shop. There are two monumental gates ( The Treasury Gate faces the Clock Tower, and the Regal Gate faces the main roadway one of which is very ornate (the one on the land side) and there is a 600 metre-long quay along the sea. The marbles were brought from the Islands in the Sea of Marmara, The porphyry stones from ancient Pergamon city, the alabaster from Egypt, the furniture was brought from Paris, the crystal materials from Baccarat, the vases from Sevr, the canslesticks from England, the silk carpets from Hereke and Lyon with special order. Almost all of 99 small and 131 large handmade carpets are silk and all they were woven in the royal workshops in Hereke. 4.500 square meters area covered by the carpets. It is said that 40 tons of silver and 14 tons of gold were used for the decoration of the palace.

The interior of the Dolmabahce Palace was decorated with the paintings; and ceiling illustrations were made by French and Italian artists. And also a lot of paintings by famous Russian painter Aiwazowsky enriched the interior decoration of this palace. In the interior decoration, 156 clocks, 58 candlesticks and 280 vases, most of which were placed symmetrically, were used. During the years 1910 – 1912 Dolmabahce Palace received its central heating and electrical systems.

The clock tower and the lodges were added during the reign of Sultan Abdülhamid II (1876 - 1909)

The main palace is an L-shaped building, with a long facade along the Bosphorus that accommodates, from west to east:

• Selamlik ( Men’s administrative section ) or Mabeyn-i Humayun
• Grand Hall / Ceremonial Hall in the Middle or Muayede
• The Harem or Harem-i Humayun

Mabeyn-i Humayun

Mabeyn-i Humayun is where state affairs take place and the most important and also prominent       section in terms of function and splendor. There is very large hall at the entrance, a crystal       staircase and other decorative elements to impress the visitors. A couple of large halls upstairs decorated with crystal chandeliers, Hereke carpets and fireplaces, and a fine imperial Hamam ( Bath ) decorated with Egyptian alabaster are other impressive parts of the Selamlik section. 

At the entrance, Medhal Salon welcomes the visitors, Crystal Stairs provides the connection with the upper floor, and Sufera (ambassadors) Salon is the guest room where the ambassadors were entertained and Red Room is where they were admitted by the sultan and it is all decorated and furnished to emphasize the historical splendor of the Empire.

In the upper floor, the Zulvecheyn (two planed) Hall allows a crossing to the Sultan’s private living quarters in the Mabeyn-i Humayun section. In this quarter, apart from bath there are study rooms and halls.
Selamlik is entered through a formal garden to the west. It has a highly symmetrical and formalized plan consisting of four major halls on two floors, linked by a monumental staircase at the center. The ambassadorial hall and all small rooms around it were used for the reception and entertainment of foreign guests and functionaries; they are some of the most spectacularly decorated rooms in Dolmabahce Palace. Both of the halls open into the crystal staircase, a double-story staircase hall with a glass roof that is named after the crystal pillars of its balustrade. Located on the other side of the staircase are two identical oval halls on two different floors. The lower hall has a garden entrance and called the Men's Mounting Chamber (Selamlik Binek Salonu). Directly above it is the "Hall Facing Two Sides" (Zulvecheyn Salon), a meeting space named after its two facing the back gardens to the north and the Bosphorus to the south. Prayer rooms, study rooms and library used by the Sultan are accessed from this hall, as well as the imperial bath complex, which is lit from above.


The Muayede which is situated between Harem and Mabeyn-i Humayun, is the highest and the most  magnificent section of Dolmabahce Palace as a large square hall of monumental proportions, over 2.000 square meters of area and 36 meters high ceiling and also this hall is distinguished from other part of the Palace with 56 columns.

It is decorated with a 4,5 tons of crystal chandelier which was sent by Queen Victoria and a huge Hereke carpet. Important state and religious ceremonies were held in this Grand Hall which entered primarily from the Bosphorus side where a sea gate has been placed to allow guests to arrive by water. Women weren't allowed in these ceremonies so they watched ceremonies from the windows of a long corridor connecting the Selamlik with the Harem, passing just above the Ceremonial Hall.

Upper galleries were used by foreign ambassadors who invited to the religious ceremonies but also by the orchestra at special occasions. During the winter period, the Ceremonial hall was heated with the hot air blown from the heating system at the bottom of 56 tall columns (central heating system blowing warm air from the foot of the columns providing comfortable temperature even in coldest days); it took them about 3 days to heat the hall properly before any ceremony. The golden throne used to be brought in to the hall and Sultan received notables and diplomatic corps on this throne during the traditional holy days celebrations.
The galleries had been allotted to diplomatic staff, female and male guests and to the Palace orchestra.

 Harem-i Humayun

Harem-i Humayun is the private section of Sultan and his family and it was connected to the Selamlik section by a long corridor which was guarded all the time to make sure that nobody passes. Despite of being influenced by Western architecture and being built by taking European palaces as an example, in Dolmabahce, the Harem was designed as a separate section, although not rigid as it used to be in terms of space arrangements and functional relations.

Harem-i Humayun is a private living space integrated to the whole under the same roof so it is not a building separated from the Palace.

Harem was strictly prohibited by any man to go in, except the sultan himself of course and the eunuch servants. The Harem section is formed by several halls, rooms and baths.

There were rooms for official wives, suites of the sultan, quarter of the Queen mother (Valide Sultan), favorites (Gozde) and concubines (Cariye), and some education rooms for the young children of the sultan.
The capacious halls lightened by the reflections of Bosporus. Among the most interesting and impressive features of Harem there are Blue and Pink Halls, the apartment of Valide Sultan (Mother Sultan), the rooms of Sultans Abdulmedjid, Abdulaziz and also Resad, matrons rooms, concubines section, Great Ataturk's study and bedroom and many valuable artifacts such as rugs and kilims, furniture, chandeliers, inscriptions, vases, oil paintings etc. Rooms and three baths of Harem-i Humayun section arranged informally around ten large halls, five on each floor.

The four halls facing the Bosphorus have distinct and elaborate decorative schemes. The Blue Hall was the main meeting space in the harem and nearby it there is the smaller Pink Hall, both rooms opened out to the harem portico.

On the east of the harem section The Palace of the Crown Prince is located. It is a separate structure and they are separated by a wall but it appears as an extension of the main palace when viewed from the water.

 Clock Tower 
Dolmabahce Clock Tower is a clock tower situated outside Dolmabahce Palace. The tower was constructed by the famous Armenian architect Sarkis Balyan between 1890 and 1895 with the order of Ottoman sultan Abdul Hamid II (1842-1918).

The clock tower was added to Dolmabahce Palace. In front of the clock tower, Treasury Gate stands on a square along the European waterfront of Bosphorus next to Dolmabahce Mosque.

Designed in Ottoman neo-baroque style, the four-sided, four-story tower stands at a height of 27 m. Its clock was manufactured by the renowned French clockmaker house of Jean-Paul Garnier, and installed by the court clock master Johann Mayer. In 1979, the original mechanical clock was converted partly to an electrical one. On two opposite sides of the tower, the tughra of Sultan Abdul Hamid II is put on.

Open: daily from 09.00 – 16.00
Closed: Monday, Thursday, January 1st and the first days of religious holiday

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