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Why the
Dolmabahce Palace
in Istanbul is special

The main rooms of the building (completed in 1856) are lavishly decorated. The Sultan spared no expense - gold, silver, and fine crystal were freely used.

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Dolmabahce Palace

Ceremonial Hall

The room is imposing and impressive. The focal point is the 4.5-ton crystal chandelier (gift of Queen Victoria) that dramatically hangs from the tall dome.

Crystal Staircase

Its striking balustrade is made of Baccarat crystal.


The Sultan's family resided in the harem's sumptuous living quarters.

Dolmabahce Palace
tips and insights

Why it was built

One reason is the Sultan was desperately trying to convince the world that his Ottoman Empire was modernizing and not crumbling. The more practical reason was to replace the getting-cramped-and-dated Topkapi Palace as the governmental seat.


Dolmabahce Palace is decidedly more European than Ottoman. It's also rather eclectic (French Baroque, Neoclassical, Ottomanesque, and more).

Touring the rooms

They can be seen only by the guided tour conducted by palace staffers.


Dolmabahce translates "filled-in garden". It's built on land that was reclaimed from a bay for use as a garden.

Location in Turkey

More turkey tips and insights

In Istanbul

Basilica Cistern
Blue Mosque
Dolmabahce Palace
Grand Bazaar
Hagia Sophia
Topkapi Palace

In other Turkey areas

Ephesus Ruins
Mount Ararat
Nemrut Dagi
Pergamon Acropolis
Ruins of Troy

Home page

Turkey Wonders - Top 10 rankings


Dolmabahce Palace photo by Yellow Book - CC BY 2.0


Turkish Culture and Tourist Office


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