Dolmabahce Palace

This beautiful Ottoman Palace, magnificently situated at the European side of the Bosphorus strait, was built by the son of Mahmut II, Sultan Abdulmecit 1839-1861, who ascended the throne at the age 16. His decision to have a new fashionable residence similar to European palaces started the construction of the Dolmabahce Palace in 1843. After the demolition of the former palace in wood, the work for the new palace started under architects Garabet and NikogosBalyan, members of the famous Balyan family which gave nine reputed architect to the Ottoman Empire for nearly a century. Serving under the six sultans, they were responsible for the westernization of the city’s architecture. The construction of the palace which covers an area of 250.000 square meters, took about 13 years and finished in 1855. Abdulmecit, the first occupant of the palace, lived there 15 years. Since some of the Sultans didn’t show too much interest to Dolmabahce palace, it stayed empty most of its time. Dolmabahce Palace consisted of the sultans wing, the festival greeting hall(also known as the throne hall) and the harem. To impress foreign ambassadors they were received through the entrance hall which was decorated with vases from Sevres and Yildiz and led up stairs with railings made of crystal glass from Venice. Crystal and silver candle holders, crystal chandeliers, curtains of silk from Hereke, gilded cornices and silk carpets, rooms decorated with paintings of the Russian artist Aiwazowsky gave everyone the impression that one was in the residency of a wealthy emperor. The baroque clock tower and the DolmabahceMosque, commissioned by the mother of Abdulmecit I and built by SarkisBalyan in 1853, complete the Dolmabahce Palace complex. Dolmabahce was the favorite palace of Abdulmecit and Mehmet Resat who reigned during the first World War. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, died in this palace on the 10th of November, 1938.