The Dolmabahce Palace is a magnificent building that was constructed between 1843 and 1856 for Sultan Abdulmecid I. located on the banks of the Bosphorus, it acted as the Ottoman Empires main administrative centre from 1856 until 1922 except for a period between 1889 and 1909 during which time the Yildiz Palace was used. The name Dolmabahce means “Filled Garden” it was given this name because the land where the palace now stands was reclaimed from the sea.
The palace has been constructed over three floors and contains 43 halls, off of which are 285 rooms. The building is set in superbly kept gardens, and boasts a 600 meter frontage overlooking the Bosphorus. With a total area extending to 45,000 square meters, the Dolmabahce Palace is the largest palace in Turkey.
There are two available tours of the palace, the Selamlik tour, which includes the main palace rooms and the ceremonial halls, and the Harem tour which visits the private area of the sultan where his family lived. The Harem tour also includes the bedroom in which Ataturk stayed during the days before his death.
The Selmlik tour starts in the main entrance hall, then through the Secretariat’s room, through other halls and up the Crystal Staircase to the second floor. The staircase gets its name from the balustrade that is made from Baccarat crystal. From here you will enter one of the most important rooms in the palace, the Ambassador Hall which is used to host formal occasions. Then you will pass by the Privy Chamber, the Study Room with its Steinway piano, and the Hamam. It is then you will reach the magnificent 2000 square meter Muyade Hall above which is a 25 meter dome. It is in this room that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s body laid in state after his death on 10th November 1938.
The Harem includes a series of galleries, salons, and hamams, plus a post circumcision resting hall. Also visited are the rooms of the sultans mother, the blue and pink salons, and the bedroom of Sultan Abdul Aziz, which contains a bed specially made to take his 150 Kilogram weight. You can also view a very special place for the Turkish people, the study and bedroom used by Ataturk during his final days.