The Dolmabahce Palace was built in the years 1843-1856 during the reign of Sultan Abdulmecid employing a blend of various European architectural styles. The contractor was Karabet Balyan who was the chief court architect. The palace was one of the first of several palaces built by the sultants in the last century of the empire. Dolmabahce Palace tour is a chance to see many rare handmade artifacts from Europe and elsewhere in every room in the palace. Of these brilliant crystal chandeliers, candelabras and fireplaces add to the lavish decor of the palace. The visitors are informed that they can't tour the palace on their own but guides are provided for visitors in groups.
Touring the palace is done for administrative and the harem quarters separately so let the ticket office know of your plans. If you wish to take your cameras or video devices with you in you need to get tickets for that as well.
The palace has survived intact with its original decorations, furniture, and the silk carpets and curtains. It surpasses all other palaces in the world in wealth and magnificence.
The walls and the ceilings are covered with paintings by the famous artists of the age and decorations made using tons of gold. All the furnishings in the important rooms and halls are in different shades of the same color. The ornate wooden floors have different designs in each room, and they are covered with the famous silk and wool carpets of Hereke, some of the finest examples of Turkish art.
Of the six baths in the palace, the one in the section reserved for men was made of unique and beautifully carved alabaster.
The upper galleries of the ballroom were reserved for orchestras and the diplomatic corps. Long hallways lead to the harem, where the bedrooms of the sultan and the quarters of his mother, other ladies of the court and the servants were located.
An annex in the north was reserved for the crown prince. The entrance to this building is from Be?ikta? and it now serves as the Museum of Fine Arts.
In the Republican era, Atatürk used to reside in this palace when he visited Istanbul. He died here in 1938 and before his body was taken to Ankara, it was laid in state while the public poured in to pay him their last respects.