At the Dolmabahçe Palace you can tour the magnificent rooms where Ottoman affairs of state were once discussed and deliberated, stroll through the gardens and see the room where “The Father of the Turks” passed away.
Dolmabahçe Palace was the main seat of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1922 and commissioned by the Sultan Abdülmecid I. Building started in 1843 and it cost the equivalent of 35 tons of gold to complete. The royal family left the medieval Topkapi Palace behind to live in Dolmabahçe’s even more opulent quarters.
The size of the Dolmabahçe Palace, with its 285 rooms and more than 40 halls, is impressive. Don’t miss the crystal staircase and huge Bohemian chandelier with 750 bulbs, a gift from Queen Victoria. See the Red Room, with Hereke carpets, where guests were received by the sultan and admire the Hamam (bath).
It was at the Dolmabahçe Palace that the first president of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, passed away in 1938. He died in his bedroom at 9.05 a.m.,and the clock in that room is still fixed at that particular time. His seat of government was in the capital Ankara, but he used the palace as his residence whenever he was visiting Istanbul.
On the compulsory museum tour, you will enter stately rooms throughout the palace. In the male quarters, see the magnificent rooms that were once the scene of important state decisions. Then move on to the Haremlik, the area where Atatürk’s bedroom and the royal family’s private quarters used to be.
Head to the late 19th-century clock tower outside of the palace to admire its neo-baroque style. Walk through Treasury Gate at the front of the tower to get to a square along the waterfront of the Bosphorus Strait to visit the Dolmabahçe Mosque.
The palace is open every day except for Monday and Thursday. Note that the ticket office will only accept cash.The best way to reach Dolmabahçe Palace is by tram. From the Kabatas tram stop, the palace is 10-minute walk away along the waterfront.