Address: Dolmabahçe Caddesi Beşiktaş
Phone: (0212) 236 9000
Web Site: www.millisaraylar.gov.tr
Working Hours: Wednesday - Sunday: 09:00 - 16:00
Closed on Monday and Tuesday
Located on the Bosphorus waterfront in Besiktas, this magnificent palace was completed in 1856 and served as the Ottoman Empire’s administrative center, and the residence of the Sultans, for most of the last years of the Empire.
It was built by leading Ottoman-Armenian architects Garabet Balyan, and his son, Nikogos Balyan, when Sultan Abdulmecid I decided that he needed a more European, state-of-the-art residence to replace Topkapi Palace. Construction of this massive structure took 13 years.
Dolmabahce Palace takes up 45,000 square meters (the grounds take up 110,000 square meters), and features 285 rooms, nearly four dozen halls and galleries, and six hamams (Turkish baths), as well as stables, a flour mill, a pharmacy, kitchens, a glass factory, an aviary, and a foundry. There is also a 600 meter long quay built for all the visitors who arrived by boat. The design of the palace shows Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical influences.
Visitors are only allowed to view the interior of the palace on guided tours, so you will have to wait for a specific slot. Of particular interest are the Selamlik (administrative section), the Harem (living quarters for the Sultan’s family), and the palace’s magnificent crystal staircase, which is built of Baccarat crystal, brass, and mahogany, and is in the shape of a double horseshoe. Other noteworthy areas are the opulent study room, the alabaster baths, and the throne room. The façade of the palace can also be viewed fleetingly when taking a ferry on the Bosphorus.http://www.theguideistanbul.com/spots/view/867/dolmabahce-sarayi-dolmabahce-palace/