Dolmabahce Palace known as “the Versailles of Istanbul” is an impressive European-style residence that was the centre of the Ottoman Empire for the last 60 years of its existence.
Dolmabahce Palace (Dolmabahçe Sarayi) situated on the shores of the Bosphorus Strait near Taksim, with its glorious façade facing out onto the river. Built between 1843 and 1856, it superceded Topkapi Palace as the primary residence and administrative centre of the Ottoman Empire. Outside, soldiers were engaged in a changing of the guard.
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. Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, spent his last days here. Visitors are shown his deathbed in the Harem where all the clocks in the palace remain permanently stopped at 9:05 am, the hour of his death on November 10, 1938.
The palace has survived intact with its original decorations, furniture, and the silk carpets and curtains. It surpasses all other palaces in the world in wealth and magnificence.