Official name: Dolmabahçe Palace Harem
Address: Dolmabahce Palace, Vişnezade Mahallesi, Dolmabahçe Caddesi, Beşiktaş, Istanbul, Turkey
Date of opening: 7 June 1856
Timings: Tuesdays to Sundays, 9 AM – 4 PM
Architect: Garabet Baliyan, Nigogoyas Baliyan, and William James Smith
Architectural style: Ottoman, Baroque and Rococo
Number of visitors per year: 1.5 million visitors annually
The Pink Hall was an important room in the Harem as it was where the Valide Sultan (Sultan's Mother) met her guests. This formal and opulent room faces the Bosphorus and is lavishly decorated with gold, crystal, and a beautiful crystal chandelier that adds grace and elegance. The room was later also used by President Kemal Ataturk.
The Blue Hall, previously known as the Imperial Hall, was where important religious ceremonies were celebrated. Located on the top floor of the harem with lavish decorations and beautiful views of the Bosphorus, it symbolized the influence of its occupants in the Ottoman Empire. The Valide Sultan or the Sultan’s queens entertained the wives of visiting foreign dignitaries in this room.
Kemal Mustafa Ataturk, the first President of Turkey, spent his last years in a room in the Dolmabahce Palace harem. His room is the simplest and most austere room in the palace. He lived in what is now known as Room 71 from 1927 until his death on 10 November 1938. The clocks in this room always show 9.05 AM, commemorating the time of his death.
Interspersed with fountains and beautiful statues, the gardens surrounding the Dolmabahce Palace harem are an oasis of tranquillity. They have a natural landscape with many trees, shrubs, and plants as well as beautiful flowerbeds and fountains. The gardens also feature a stunning waterfront terrace, a clock tower, and a birdhouse, and provide beautiful views of the Bosphorus and Istanbul’s skyline.
The Bird Garden has a variety of birds including peacocks, pheasants, and swans. Located in the north of the palace, between the Harem and the Selamlik (administrative section of the Palace), this garden is very peaceful and has lots of trees including linden, magnolia, and chestnut with a round pool at the centre, making it an ideal home for the birds. Visitors can walk around the garden and watch these birds in their natural habitat.
The architecture of Dolmabahce Palace harem, like the rest of the palace, is a mixture of the ornate Baroque and Rococo styles blended with the Ottoman style in such a way that it created a style of its own. The harem features intricate pillars, hallways, and apartments that were lavishly decorated with gold, crystal, and glass sourced from all over Europe and Asia.
Unlike other traditional Ottoman palaces, the Dolmabahce Palace has the harem section integrated with the main building, making it the only one to do so. Extensively decorated with gold and crystal, the harem is the personification of royal opulence.
The Dolmabahce Palace harem housed the historical residential quarters of the Sultan, the Queen Mother, his queens, children, concubines, and other favourites. This section covers two-thirds of the entire palace building.
You can visit the Dolmabahce Palace harem by buying Dolmabahce Palace tickets online.
Yes, access to the harem is included in the Dolmabahce Palace tickets.
Renowned architects Garabet Baliyan and Nigogayos Baliyan designed the Dolmabahce Palace harem as part of the palace complex.
The Dolmabahce Palace harem was constructed as part of the palace building from 1843 to 1856.
The Dolmabahce Palace harem makes up two-thirds of the entire palace building. The private apartments of the Sultan, Valide Sultan (Sultan’s Mother), his wife and children, favourites, and concubines were found in this section of the palace. Some of the interesting rooms include the Pink Room, Blue Room, and Ataturk’s Room.
Visiting the Dolmabahce Palace harem is a great way to understand the lifestyle of the Ottoman Sultans and how their family structure functioned. The lavishly decorated rooms are eye-catching and steeped in history. The decorations and views from this side of the palace are a must-see.
The timings of the Dolmabahce Palace harem is similar to that of the Dolmabahce Palace. It is open from 9 AM to 4 PM from Tuesdays to Sundays. It is closed on Mondays.
The Dolmabahce Palace harem is located inside Dolmabahce Palace building.
Yes, wheelchair users can access the Dolmabahce Palace harem.