I have visited many palaces in my life, but what I have seen here seemed to me the most beautiful one. Even the "Chateau de Versailles" the very famous Palace near Paris , looks like a garden shed to me, compared to this one !
The Dolmabahce Palace is not that old, it was built between 1844 and 1853, and is a three-storied building 284 m / 932 ft long. The 285 rooms, the harem, the 46 lounges (and 6 hammams) are heavily furnished and decorated in rococo style. Marble and alabaster, bronze, gold, silver, Baccarat and Bohemian crystals, silk, porcelain have been used in abundance. 14 tons of gold and 40 tons of silver have been used for the decoration of the palace !
Unfortunately it was not allowed to take any pictures inside the palace, so I had to google to find some on Internet, just to show this unbelievable decoration ! It's almost impossible to describe.
The Palace was the administrative center with the last of Ottoman Sultans residing here. After the foundation of the Turkish Republic by Ataturk he transferred all government functions to Istanbul and also occupied a small room and his office in the Dolmabahce Palace. It became Ataturk's home where he welcomed his foreign guests and made a practical center for national, historical and language congress and for international conferences.
Dolmabahce palace has a great meaning for Turkish people because Ataturk lived in the palace and spent the most serious period of his illness here. He passed away 10 th of November 1938 at 9:05 AM, all the clocks in the palace were stopped at this time. Now only the clock in his room shows this hour. His rather modest flat was one of the appartments located in the ancient "Harem" part, which was very interesting to visit.
The guide told us that when there was still the Sultan, each of his wives had her own appartment with a room for her personal maid. Of course only when she was the mother of a son ! It was the Sultan's mother who selected one of the wives for a night with her son. We went through her appartment where the event took place. Very interesting story ! (Talk about mothers in law) But I suppose the Sultan too had a word to say. We saw some flats, the hammam and even the Sultan's bed, which somebody of our group named "the battle field".
Today the Palace is mostly museum but is still used for official receptions of other countries leaders or Kings or Queens. Even Obama has been here.
The palace in all it's beauty seen from the Bosphorus
My friend Dominique buys her ticket and has to go through security to have her bag checked
Then we had to go through a scanner. I found this very good, at least the risk to be blown up by some crazy guys is kept to a minimum.
The long street along a very well kept park to the Palace entrance.
Of course there was a guardian and the poor guy had to stay still like a statue while we the tourists took advantage to have a picture made with him. He didn't even move an eye ! Of course I did the same as all the others.
Apparently we were not the only once to visit the palace
Before we were allowed to step in we had to cover our shoes with these pink plastic bags. We all looked very elegant ! But at least the beautiful carpets and floors were not damaged.
Outside throught the window I tried to take some pictures. After these three I was told that even from outside I wasn't allowed to photograph the inside !
It's in my nature to do what I am not supposed to do so I managed to take this picture of the famous crystal staircase, by being very discrete, but not enough, because one guardian gave me a suspicious look, and I didn't dare to take other pictures I wanted to keep my camera !
The following photos I googled on Internet
Some other pictures of this shiny crystal staircase.
Just to give you an idea of the furniture and decoration !
The explanation were given by an English speaking Turkish guide. It was very interesting because the people of our group came from all countries over the world. I met two women from Switzerland who had some difficulties to understand everything so I helped a little.
There is not much to comment outside ! It's just so nice to walk around.
The Clock Tower is a very impressive architectural work.
One of the fountains
and Lion statues laying in the grass
From the park, the view over the Bosphorus is stunning !