Turkey is a country that has the privilege of uniting the eastern and western civilizations. The Bosphorus River separates the two civilizations and this is the place where Dolmabahçe Palace was constructed. It is a symbolism of Turkey’s liberal and modern frame of mind. Turkey’s real estate industry has benefited a lot from the cultural and tourist aspect of Dolmabahçe Palace.
The Ottoman Empire’s history is filled with the examples of Sultans who have built lavish and extravagant castles and palaces for their comfort and luxury. When Sultan Abdul Mecid grew tired of his classical Topkapi palace that was lacking the contemporary and modern luxury, style and delicacy as that of monarchs in Europe were having in their palaces, he decided to build a new palace that connects the Europe with the east. The palace was built in his era during the years 1843 to 1856. It served as a center of administration and residence for the 6 sultans and 1 caliph.
The site chosen for the construction was the European Bay of Bosphorus River in Istanbul. The palace is enriched with imperial gardens loaded with wooden kiosks and pavilions. The architecture was designed and completed by several architects from Turkey and Europe.
The palace is located on the European bay of the Bosphorus in the province of Besiktas in Istanbul. The palace comes under the Directorate of National Palaces and you can only go for a visit if you are going along with a guided tour. You cannot take photographs in there since it is strictly prohibited.
As it is the result of eclecticism, the palace redefines the real state Istanbul trend by featuring both Occidental and Turkish architecture. The exterior and interior reflect the Baroque and Rococo features that are masterfully crafted and placed in the decoration of the palace. Zuhtu Pasha was the head of construction while Garabet Balyan and his son were the ones who actually carried out the construction and architecture of the palace.
The cost of construction:
With such comfort and luxury, there comes a very high price as well. The Ottoman Empire ravishingly spent 5 million Ottoman Gold lira and 35 tons of gold for the construction of this palace. The money was taken from the taxes and borrowed as well. It placed a huge debt on the empire and finally led to its financial collapse. It could have cost 1.5 billion dollars in today’s time.
The main purpose of visiting this palace is its history and architecture along with the various other monuments present alongside it. They include Dolmabahçe Mosque, Dolmabahçe Clock tower, The Istanbul naval museum and Palace collection museum that have all the monuments and collections of the Sultans, Caliphs and Ataturk’s belongings.
Facts about Dolmabahçe Palace:
Here is a small list of facts that are the major tourist attractions.
· The palace has 285 rooms, 68 toilets, 44 halls and 6 traditional Turkish baths.
· The 4.5-ton chandelier was gifted by Queen Victoria and it has 750 bulbs in it.
· The palace is decorated with 131 handmade silk carpets that came from Hereke.
· Being called a place filled with gardens, the palace was a home to Kemal Ataturk until his death in 1939.
· The palace is decorated with most precious stones and 202 oil paintings from famous painters.
Effects on Turkey’s real estate:
The palace has affected the real state since houses for sale in Turkey are terribly expensive especially in this area. But you won’t regret buying as you can have a view of the palace every day.
How to visit Dolmabahçe Palace?
The palace is open on every day of the week except Monday and Thursday. The timings are 9 am to 4 pm. You can visit it easily by using a tram, bus or railway for transport. Foreign visitors prefer to stay in the hotels of the Sultan Ahmet Square which is quite close to Kabatas, the place which is at 10 minutes walking distance away from the palace. You can take a tram to go there. Similarly, if you are residing in Taksim square or Besiktas, you can catch any bus that is leading to the palace.
The palace is a must visit if you are going on a tour to Turkey ever in your life.