Dolmabahce means “filled up garden”, and until 17th century, the area was a bay where naval fleet anchored. In the 18th century, the bay filled and became a unique imperial garden. After Sultan Abdulmecit decided Topkapi couldn’t meet the requirements of new era, construction of Dolmabahce Palace began. It was designed by Ottoman Armenian architects, Karabet and Nikogos Balian. Unlike Topkapi, Dolmabahce Palace reflects European influence, surely blended with Ottoman character. Imperial family moved in in 1856.
– Selamlık, where the sultan greeted diplomats, top officials, and other VIPs. Especially designed luxuriously to impress visitors. Even though two centuries have passed since Dolmabahce Palace finished, it still manages to impress the visitors.
– Harem, the residential apartments of the sultan, his family, and servants
You have to take to take a guided tour to visit. Full tour contains both Selamlık and Harem sections and takes less two than hours. You will see excellent examples of huge hand-vowed carpets, crystal chandeliers, gold covered details. The palace contains 285 rooms in total. Taking photo inside is forbidden recently, so open all your senses so you are not to miss anything.
Founder of Turkish Republic, Ataturk spent his last days in Dolmabahce Palace. You will see his room in Harem section. The clock in the room set 09:05, the time when Ataturk died.
There is a cafe in the court before the main gate, a great place to drink a tea while watching Bosphorus.