Nestled along the shores of the Bosphorus, Dolmabahçe Palace is an unmissable gem of Istanbul’s rich history. This awe-inspiring palace symbolizes Turkey’s transition from traditional Ottoman rule to a modern nation-state.
The Magnificent Architecture of Dolmabahce Palace
The Dolmabahce Palace spans an impressive 45,000 square meters, featuring 46 halls, 285 rooms, 6 hammams, and 68 toilets. The palace complex also houses two museums, the Dolmabahçe Mosque, and a clock tower.
Designed by the renowned Ottoman-Armenian architect Garabet Balyan, the palace’s unique architecture blends elements from Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical styles with traditional Ottoman aesthetics. This eclectic fusion has resulted in a stunning, 600-meter-long building that never ceases to amaze.
Skip the Line Tickets and Guided Tours of Dolmabahce Palace
Read also: How to Get All from Topkapi Palace: An Ottoman Treasure Museum
What to See in Dolmabahce Palace
Exploring the Palace Grounds
Upon arriving at Dolmabahçe Palace, visitors are greeted by two ornate gates that lead into the beautifully landscaped palace gardens. The lush greenery and carefully designed spaces offer a tranquil retreat from the bustling city outside. The palace itself is divided into three main areas: the Selamlık (public administrative section), the Harem (private living quarters of the Sultan and his family), and the Ceremonial Hall (reserved for significant state ceremonies).
Exploring the Selamlık Section
The Selamlık Hall is a must-see part of the palace, boasting cut glass and mirror masterpieces, crystal chandeliers, the magnificent Hereke carpet, dazzling crystal stairs, the Sufera Hall, the Red Room, and the Zülvecheyn Hall.
As you wander through the Medhal Hall, take note of the room of Ataturk and observe how all the palace clocks are set at 09:05 am, marking the approximate time of his passing. Continue your tour to discover the legendary Crystal Staircase and the European antiquities, lavish furniture, and beautiful paintings that adorn the palace.
In the Clerk’s Hall, marvel at the precious porcelain vases, valuable paintings, and French-style furniture. Don’t miss the Ceremonial Hall, the setting for state ceremonies, balls, and celebrations, and home to the world’s largest chandelier, weighing an astonishing 4.5 tons.
The Süfera Hall, also known as the Ambassadors’ Hall, is another glamorous space where ambassadors were received and entertained. The intensive Western-style décor in this area adds a touch of European elegance to the palace’s charm.
The Enigmatic Harem Section
The Harem section, the private residential area of the sultan and the royal family, is a separate part of Dolmabahce Palace that requires an additional ticket. Here, you’ll find the chambers of the Sultan’s Mother, concubines, wives, and favorites.
The Harem is also the location of Ataturk’s room, where the founding father of modern Turkey spent his last days. The palace clocks all display 09:05, the time of his passing, in tribute to his memory.
The Captivating Ceremonial Hall Section
The Ceremonial Hall is home to the palace’s most magnificent chandeliers and crystal candelabras. Don’t miss the ceiling of the Sultan’s Chamber in the Harem and the breathtaking décor of the Ceremonial Hall.
The lush gardens of Dolmabahce Palace offer a serene respite from the bustling city. These meticulously maintained green spaces, adorned with beautiful flowers, trees, and fountains, provide a perfect setting for a leisurely stroll or a moment of reflection. The gardens also offer stunning views of the Bosphorus, making them a great spot for capturing memorable photographs.
National Palaces Painting Museum
Housed within the Dolmabahce Palace complex, the National Palaces Painting Museum showcases an impressive collection of artworks. The museum features paintings by renowned Turkish and international artists from the 19th and 20th centuries. As you wander through the halls of the museum, admire the beautiful pieces that depict scenes from the Ottoman Empire, as well as portraits of sultans and other prominent figures.
The Clock Museum, also located within the palace grounds, boasts a unique collection of timepieces, including clocks and pocket watches from the Ottoman Empire and Europe. Many of these exquisite pieces feature intricate designs and fine craftsmanship, reflecting the importance of timekeeping during the Ottoman era. Don’t miss the opportunity to see this fascinating collection while visiting Dolmabahce Palace.
Dolmabahce Palace has three main gates: the Imperial Gate (Saltanat Kapısı), the Treasury Gate (Hazine Kapısı), and the Harem Gate (Harem Kapısı). Each gate is adorned with elaborate decorations and beautiful stonework, showcasing the grandeur of the palace. The Imperial Gate, in particular, is an impressive sight, with its large, gilded doors and intricate carvings.
Situated on the palace grounds, the Dolmabahce Mosque is a beautiful example of Ottoman architecture. Designed by architect Garabet Balyan, the mosque features a blend of Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical styles. The mosque’s interior is adorned with stunning calligraphy, colorful tiles, and ornate decorations, making it a must-visit for those interested in the rich history of Islamic art and architecture.
Dolmabahce Clock Tower
Standing tall near the entrance of Dolmabahce Palace, the Dolmabahce Clock Tower is a striking example of late Ottoman architecture. Completed in 1895, the tower’s neo-Baroque design and impressive height of 27 meters make it a prominent landmark in the area. Be sure to take a moment to admire this elegant structure during your visit to the palace.
Dolmabahce Palace Facts
- Dolmabahce Palace covers an area of 45,000 square meters and consists of 46 halls, 285 rooms, 6 hammams, and 68 toilets.
- The palace was the seat of Ottoman sultans from 1856 until the end of the empire in 1922.
- The world’s largest chandelier, weighing 4.5 tons, is housed in the palace’s Ceremonial Hall.
Dolmabahce and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
Dolmabahce Palace holds a special place in Turkish history as the residence of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, during his final days. Ataturk passed away in a bedroom in the Harem section of the palace on November 10, 1938. In honor of his memory, all clocks in the palace are set to 09:05, the approximate time of his passing.
You can buy tickets in a kiosk on site, get it online or use Istanbul E-Pass.
Opening and Closing Hours
- Closed on Mondays
- Opening Hour: 09:00
- Closing Hour: 18:00
- Opening Hour of Ticket Offices: 09:00
- Closing Hour of Ticket Offices: 17:30
- Last Closing Hour: 18:00
Selamlık + Harem + Painting Museum Ticket (Valid for a week)
- Ticket Price for Domestic Visitors: 110 TL
- Ticket Price for Foreign Visitors: 450 TL
[Combine Ticket I] National Palaces Full Pass
Includes Dolmabahçe Palace, Palace Kiosk and Pavilions of Asian Side, and Palace Kiosk and Pavilions of European Side (except Topkapi Palace and Küçüksu Pavilion Picnic Area).
- Ticket Price for Domestic Visitors: 150 TL
- Ticket Price for Foreign Visitors: 600 TL
[Combine Ticket II] Dolmabahçe Palace + Palace Kiosk and Pavilions of the European Side
- Ticket Price for Domestic Visitors: 130 TL
- Ticket Price for Foreign Visitors: 520 TL
[Combine Ticket III] Palace Kiosk and Pavilions of Asian Side Combined Ticket
Excludes Küçüksu Pavilion Picnic Area.
- Ticket Price for Domestic Visitors: 130 TL
- Ticket Price for Foreign Visitors: 520 TL
Enjoy Free Entry and Guided Tour with Istanbul E-Pass
Explore the stunning Dolmabahce Palace with a free guided tour, included in your Istanbul E-pass. The E-pass is an all-in-one digital pass granting access to over 50 top attractions throughout the city, offering both convenience and savings. Make the most of your visit to Istanbul, and don’t miss out on the chance to marvel at the intricate grounds and architecture of the Dolmabahce Palace using your E-pass.
How to Get to Dolmabahce Palace
Dolmabahce Palace is located in the Besiktas district, along the banks of the Bosphorus. The most practical way to reach the palace is by taking the Bagcilar-Kabatas tram (T1 line).
The closest tram stop is Kabatas, which is also the last stop on the line. From Kabatas, Dolmabahce Palace is just a 5-minute walk away.
If you’re staying in Taksim, take the funicular to Kabatas from Taksim Square, or the funicular to Karakoy from Tunel Square, and then hop on the tram to Kabatas.
For those staying in Besiktas hotels, the palace is easily accessible on foot.
What to Visit Near Dolmabahçe Palace
While Dolmabahçe Palace is a remarkable destination on its own, Istanbul offers countless other attractions nearby that you can explore to enrich your experience. Here are some must-visit spots close to Dolmabahçe Palace that you should consider adding to your itinerary:
1. Ortaköy Mosque
Located just a short distance from Dolmabahçe Palace, along the shores of the Bosphorus, is the picturesque Ortaköy Mosque. This 19th-century mosque is known for its neo-Baroque architecture, making it one of Istanbul’s most iconic landmarks. With its stunning location by the water, Ortaköy Mosque is not only a place of worship but also a popular photography spot. Read more…
2. Beşiktaş Market
To get a taste of local life and culture, head over to the bustling Beşiktaş Market. This lively outdoor market offers an array of fresh produce, spices, street food, and more. It’s an ideal spot to sample traditional Turkish cuisine and shop for unique souvenirs.
3. Yıldız Park
For a pleasant escape from the city’s hustle and bustle, visit Yıldız Park, a large public park situated between Beşiktaş and Ortaköy. The park features beautiful gardens, walking paths, and picnic areas, making it an ideal place to relax and enjoy nature. Within the park, you’ll also find Yıldız Palace, another former residence of the Ottoman Sultans.
4. Naval Museum
If you’re interested in maritime history, don’t miss the Naval Museum, located near the Bosphorus in Beşiktaş. The museum showcases a collection of artifacts related to the Ottoman Empire’s naval history, including ship models, weapons, and navigation equipment. It offers a fascinating insight into the role of the Ottoman navy in shaping the region’s history. Read more…
5. Bosphorus Cruise
To truly appreciate the beauty of Istanbul and its unique location straddling two continents, consider taking a Bosphorus cruise. A variety of cruises are available, offering different itineraries and durations. As you sail along the Bosphorus, you’ll witness breathtaking views of the city’s skyline, its historical landmarks, and the stunning waterfront mansions known as yalıs. Read more…
Explore the Best of Besiktas with Guided Tours
Entrance Fee: 450 – 600 TL
⌛Opening Hours: from 9 am to 6 pm
Location: Vişnezade, Dolmabahçe Cd., 34357 Beşiktaş/İstanbul
1. What is the Dolmabahce Palace pronunciation?
Dolmabahce Palace is pronounced as “Dol-ma-bah-che.”
2. How does Dolmabahce Palace compare to Topkapi Palace?
While both palaces are rich in history and architectural beauty, Dolmabahce Palace is known for its opulence, European influences, and a seamless blend of styles, whereas Topkapi Palace is more traditional and representative of the classic Ottoman era.
3. Is there a Dolmabahce Palace official website?
Yes, the official website for Dolmabahce Palace can be found here.
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