Before going to Dolmabahçe, my local tour guide said that this Palace is the most beautiful palace he ever seen. So I really looked forward to enter and see with my own eyes how beautiful the Palace is. The Palace is one of the most historical place in Turkey since it was the residence of 6 Sultans and Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey. He passed away in this palace and then it was converted in to a museum.
Dolmabahçe is built during the reign of Abdülmecid I. It took 13 years to build this Palace, from 1843 to 1856. Dolmabahçe means “Filled up Garden”, because it was built on the bay-site of the natural harbor, filled up time to time, eventually became a unique gardens of Bosphorus. Similar as the Topkapi Palace, Bosphorus lies just behind the Dolmabahçe.
There are regulations that need to be followed to enter the museum. Visitors could not enter freely, but with guided tours. Not only that, we have to wear a shower-cap-plastic-like shoes cover and strictly NO PHOTOGRAPHS are allowed to be taken inside and it is forbidden to touch the displays.
Being the largest palace in Turkey, the interior is built on a symmetrical plan with paintings on the ceilings. The Palace is divided into 3 sections:
- Selamlik ( Men’s administrative section or Mabeyn-i Humayun)
- Grand Hall / Ceremonial Hall, the highest and the large and magnificent square hall where the largest Bohemian crystal chandelier, weighing around 4.5 tons and a Hereke carpet in the size about 120m², are placed.
- The Harem (Harem-i Humayun), the private section of Sultan and his family. Any man, except for Sultan himself, are prohibited to enter. Since that the wives and Queen Mother stayed in the Harem section, the interior are pinkish and more feminine compared to the other two section.
I was lucky to be able to see because usually Harem section is closed and I was able to see almost all part of the palace.
Well, after exploring the Palace, indeed, it is one of the most beautiful palaces in the world. It is so unfortunate that I could not take picture of the interior and post it here. But, now you have a reason to see it with your own eyes right? ;^)