Dolmabahce Palace
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Dolmabahce Palace History | Timeline, evolution & key events

Dolmabahce Palace is a grandiose and opulent palace located in Istanbul, Turkey. Commissioned by Sultan Abdulmecid I, it was built during the Ottoman reign and served as the main administrative center of the Empire. It houses over 285 intricately adorned rooms with crystal chandeliers and ornate ceilings. The palace also boasts a beautiful garden that offers stunning views of the Bosphorus River. Read on to learn more about the history of Dolmabahce Palace from when it was built in 1856 to today.

Timeline of Dolmabahce Palace history

  • 1843: Sultan Abdulmecid I commissioned the construction of a new palace to replace the older Beylerbeyi Palace.
  • 1846: Construction of the palace began, led by the Ottoman architects Garabet Amira Balyan and his son Nikogos Balyan.
  • 1856: The construction of Dolmabahce Palace was completed and it became the new main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire.
  • 1861: The first international treaty between the Ottoman Empire and European powers was signed in Dolmabahce Palace, known as the Treaty of Paris.
  • 1876: The first Ottoman parliament was opened in Dolmabahce Palace, signaling a new era of constitutional government in the empire.
  • 1909: Sultan Abdulhamid II was deposed and exiled to Istanbul, where he was placed under house arrest in Dolmabahce Palace.
  • 1922: The Ottoman Empire was dissolved and the palace was seized by the new Turkish Republic.
  • 1927: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, moved the presidential residence from Ankara to Dolmabahce Palace.
  • 1984: Dolmabahce Palace was converted into a museum and opened to the public, allowing visitors to explore its rich history and cultural heritage.

Dolmabahce Palace history explained

Construction of Dolmabahce Palace

Construction of Dolmabahce Palace

1846 to 1856

After being commissioned in 1843 by Sultan Abdulmecid, the construction of Dolmabahce Palace started in 1846. It was led by renowned Turkish architects Garabet Amira Balyan and his son Nikogos Balyan. After its completion, Dolmabahce Palace became the royal residence of the Turkish Ottoman Sultans, and its first noble resident was Sultan Abdulmecid. 

Dolmabahce Palace as the New Administrative Centre

New Administrative Centre

1856 to 1922

After Sultan Abdulmecid made Dolmabahce Palace his royal residence, it became the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire, taking over from Topkapi Palace. It remained the royal home until 1922, except for 20 years from 1889 when the seat of power shifted from Dolmabahce Palace to Yildiz Palace. After its completion, Dolmabahce Palace was the home of six Ottoman Sultans and a Caliph. 

Dolmabahce Palace Seized by the Turkish Republic

Seizure by the Turkish Republic

1922 to 1984

After being seized by the Turkish Republic in 1922, the Dolmabahce Palace did not lose its royal stature as the administrative center. With the end of the Ottoman Empire, the palace became the residence of the first Turkish president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Ataturk welcomed foreign visitors and made the Dolmabahce Palace a national, historical, and cultural center for the new Turkish Republic.

Dolmabahce Palace Today

Construction of Dolmabahce Palace

It took 13 years to complete the construction of Dolmabahce Palace, which was carried out from 1843 to 1856. Designed by architects Garabet and Nigogayos Balyan, it is built in the Neoclassical, Baroque, and Ottoman styles of architecture.

The palace's symmetrical layout comprises a central structure flanked by wings on either side. European motifs like columns and domes adorn the exterior, with a grand Baroque-influenced staircase leading to the Ceremonial Hall. The façade of the palace is ornately decorated, and the Ottoman touch is evident in the central dome.

The opulent interiors of Dolmabahce Palace showcase elements like the Crystal Staircase and the Ceremonial Hall's grand chandelier, which was a gift from Queen Victoria of Britain. Its lavish design incorporates intricate patterns, gilded mouldings, and luxurious furnishings, showcasing a harmonious blend of Ottoman and Western influences.

Interiors of Dolmabahce Palace

Interiors of the Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahce Palace today

With its gorgeous neoclassical exterior and grandiose size, the Dolmabahce Palace is now a popular tourist attraction and museum that offers visitors a glimpse into the lavish lifestyle of the Ottoman sultans. Be it the gorgeous crystal chandelier or its beautiful staircase, the Palace will fascinate you with its opulence and grandeur. It is home to several artifacts as old as the Ottoman Empire. The Dolmabahce Palace has undergone extensive restoration work over the years to preserve its grandeur and beauty, and it is now open to the public for tours.




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Dolmabahce Palace Skip-the-Line Tickets with Audio Guide
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Guided Tour of Dolmabahce Palace & Harem with Skip-the-Line Tickets
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Combo: Dolmabahce Palace Guided Tour + Bosphorus Cruise Tickets
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Combo: Dolmabahce Palace + Hagia Sophia + Basilica Cistern Guided Tour
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Combo: Hagia Sophia Guided Tour with Optional Topkapi Palace or Basilica Cistern Skip-the-Line Tickets
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Frequently asked questions about Dolmabahce Palace history

How old is Dolmabahce Palace?

Dolmabahce Palace dates back to the mid-19th century, during Ottoman rule in Turkey, making it more than 160 years old. 

How many years did it take to build Dolmabahce Palace?

It took more than 10 years to complete the construction of Dolmabahce Palace. It was commissioned by Sultan Abdulmecid in 1843 and its construction was completed in 1856. 

Who designed Dolmabahce Palace?

Dolmabahce Palace was commissioned by Sultan Abdulmecid I. It was designed by a team of Ottoman architects led by Garabet Amira Balyan and his son Nikogos Balyan, who were renowned architects of their time. 

What is the historical significance of Dolmabahce Palace?

Dolmabahce Palace features a combination of Ottoman and European architectural styles, including Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical elements. The Palace was the residence of the Ottoman sultans and the center of the Ottoman Empire's administration from 1856 until the empire's collapse in 1922.

Why should you visit Dolmabahce Palace?

With its stunning architecture and beautiful gardens, Dolmabahce Palace promises you an experience like no other! It takes you on a journey of how the Ottoman Sultans lived their lives and enjoyed their wealth. If you want to learn about the history of the Ottomans and Turks, Dolmabahce Palace is a must-visit. 

Where is Dolmabahce Palace located?

Dolmabahce Palace is located at Vişnezade Mahallesi Dolmabahçe Caddesi, Beşiktaş, Istanbul. It was constructed on the European shores of the Bosphorus Strait and faces the Asian side of Istanbul and Turkey.

What is Dolmabahce Palace famous for?

Dolmabahce Palace is a significant historical landmark in Istanbul, Turkey. It was built in the mid-19th century during the Ottoman Empire's decline and was intended to showcase the empire's wealth and power. It was the official residence of the Ottoman Sultans from 1856. 

What is the architectural style of Dolmabahce Palace?

Dolmabahce Palace was designed by Garabet Amira Balyan and his son Nikogos Balyan, who were renowned architects of their time. They incorporated Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical elements into their style and combined European and Ottoman structures to construct the Dolmabahce Palace. 

What are some interesting facts about Dolmabahce Palace?

The cost of building Dolmabahce Palace was approximately five million Ottoman gold coins, which was an enormous amount of money during the 1800s. The palace is also home to the world’s largest crystal chandelier, which weighs a massive 4.5 tons.

How much does it cost to visit Dolmabahce Palace?

Dolmabahce Palace tickets start from €29 if you book online. Depending on the tickets you purchase, you can enjoy skip-the-line access, guided tours, and audio tours, which make your experience more informative. 

Are there guided tours explaining the history of Dolmabahce Palace?

Yes, you can learn all about Dolmabahce Palace history with Dolmabahce Palace guided tours. You can also opt for audio-guided skip-the-line tickets, where you can stroll around the palace with a pre-recorded audio snippet elaborating on the Palace’s history.

Is Dolmabahce Palace worth visiting?

Yes, Dolmabahce Palace is home to the world’s largest crystal chandelier and has an interesting collection of Ottoman artifacts. It served as the official seat of power and the residence of the Sultans until the Ottoman Empire collapsed in 1922. It is a must-visit attraction for history nerds, art lovers, and architecture enthusiasts.