Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul, Turkiye

Official website = http://goo.gl/CKi3hB
Location = http://goo.gl/maps/CDmvj
Opening hours = 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, closed on Mondays and Thursdays

The daily visitor quota in Dolmabahçe Palace was limited to 3.000 people. The ticket office closed at 4:00 PM but might be earlier when already exceeded the daily ticket quota.

Entrance fee for adult: Palace only = 30 TL, Harem only = 20TL, Palace and Harem (combined) = 40 TL. Free of charge for young kids until 6 years old, student (older kids like Alif) paid 5 TL.

Refer to the official website, Dolmabahçe Palace was built by Sultan Abdulmecid (1839-1861), the 31st Ottoman Sultan. The palace, whose construction commenced on June 13th, 1843, was brought into use on June 7th, 1856, upon completion of surrounding walls. It served as the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1922, apart from a 22-years interval (1887-1909) in which Yıldız Palace was used.

The palace mainly consists of three parts, named as the Imperial Mabeyn (State Apartments), Muayede Salon (Ceremonial Hall) and the Imperial Harem. It has a usable floor area of 45,000 square meters, 285 rooms, 44 reception rooms and 6 hamams.

The Imperial Mabeyn was allocated for administrative affairs of the state, Imperial Harem was allocated for private lives of the sultan and his family and the Muayede Salon, placed between these two sections, was allocated for exchanging of bayram greetings of sultan with dignitary statesmen and for some important state ceremonies.

Dolmabahçe Palace hosted 6 sultans:
– Sultan Abdülmecid I (1839–1861)
– Sultan Abdülaziz (1961-1876)
– Sultan Murad V (93 days in 1876)
– Sultan Abdülhamid II (1876-1909)
– Sultan Mehmed V Reshad (1909-1918)
– Sultan Mehmed VI (1918-1922)

The Turkish Grand National Assembly abolished the sultanate on November 1, 1922. Sultan Mehmed VI was expelled from Istanbul, aboard the British warship Malaya and went into exile in Malta. He later lived on the Italian Riviera, died in Sanremo, Italy, on May 16, 1926. He was buried at the Tekkiye Mosque of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in Damascus.

Sultan Abdülmecid II was the last Sunni Caliph of Islam from the Ottoman Sultanate, nominally the 37th Head of the Ottoman Imperial House from 1922 to 1924. He was elected as Caliph by the Turkish National Assembly at Ankara following the deposition of his cousin, Sultan Mehmed VI, when the sultanate was abolished. He established himself in Istanbul since November 24, 1922. Sultan Abdülmecid II didn’t reign long, he was deposed and expelled from Turkey together with his family on March 3, 1924. Sultan Abdul Mejid II died at his house in the Boulevard Suchet, Paris XVIe, France, on August 23, 1944 (coincided with the Liberation of Paris from Nazi occupation). He was buried in Medina, Saudi Arabia.

After abolition of the caliphate in 1924, the palace was used as Presidency office between 1927-1949.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkish Republic, used Dolmabahçe Palace for his studies at İstanbul between 1927-1938. He spent the last days of his medical treatment in the palace as his health deteriorated. Atatürk passed away at 9:05 AM on November 10, 1938, in a bedroom that was now part of the museum. All the clocks in the palace were stopped and set to 9:05 after his death. Although this had changed and clocks were set to different times around the palace, the clock in the room where he died was still pointing to 9:05 AM.

The Palace was partially open to protocol and visits between 1926-1984, then opened to visit as a “museum-palace” from 1984.

On that sunny Sunday morning (December 22, 2013) Alif and I reached the palace at 11:00 AM by Tram T1 from Sultanahmet to Kabatas then walked 5 minutes from the tramway final stop.


Rules for visitors: All tours inside the palace and harem were guided (scheduled to start every 20-30 minutes). It lasted around 45 minutes for the palace, 30 minutes for the harem. Photography or video recording was strictly not allowed. Visitors were only allowed to walk individually outside the building to enjoy and take pictures of the gardens and fountains.

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Then I met Nanang, http://pbase.com/nshidayat, an Indonesian globetrotter who’s been in 33 countries within last 3 years. He and I were in Australia (2011), later at Bali and Jakarta (2012), within same period but didn’t crossed our ways until we met there at Istanbul.

Before left, I took below pics of Dolmabahce Clock Tower (http://english.istanbul.gov.tr/Default.aspx?pid=13308) and Dolmabahce Mosque (http://english.istanbul.com/explore-istanbul/must-see/churches-synagogues/dolmabahce-mosque).

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