Dolmabahce Palace is an impressive European-style residence that was the centre of the Ottoman Empire for the last 60 years of its existence. Visit Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul and discover the lavish former home of Turkey’s old rulers.
The history of Dolmabahce Palace
While many of Istanbul’s attractions are located in the old city of Sultanahmet, Dolmabahce Palace is situated on the shores of the Bosphorous Strait near Taksim, with its glorious façade facing out onto the river. Built between 1843 and 1856, it superseded Topkapi Palace as the main residence and administrative centre of the Ottoman Empire.
Between its opening and the end of the empire, Dolmabahce Palace was home to six sultans. Following the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1922, the palace was transferred to state hands and became the residence of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey’s first president and the founder of its modern nation.
Dolmabahce Palace boasts 285 rooms and a glass chandelier weighing four and a half tonnes. Today, it is open to visitors, who can visit the Selamlik and Haremlik sections. A highlight of the Selamlik is its grand entrance hall, complete with a crystal staircase. The main attraction in the Haremlik is the room in which Ataturk passed away in 1938.
Exploring Istanbul’s many palaces
Istanbul is teeming with historic palaces and royal buildings for travellers to explore. Visit Topkapi Palace in Sultanahmet to see the first residence of Ottoman rulers in Istanbul. Yildiz Palace showcases the opulence in which the sultans once lived, and Beylerbeyi Palace is one of the most fascinating attractions on Istanbul’s Asian side.