Dolmabahce Palace (Dolmabahce Sarayi)
Designed to echo the contemporary style of luxurious European palaces, Dolmabahce Palace was the idea of Sultan Abdulmecid I. The last six sultans of the Ottoman Empire and the first president of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, all lived in the palace. Today it’s preserved as an extravagant museum, with the gilded details of the early 20th century still visible.
Tours are required to visit the palace, and many Istanbul half- and full-day sightseeing excursions combine Dolmabahce Palace with Topkapi Palace or a Bosphorus cruise.
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Things to Know Before You Go
Dolmabahce Palace is ideal for architecture and history buffs.
You can visit the palace only with a guided group tour.
In order to protect the carpets, the palace provides plastic covers for your shoes.
Dolmabahce Palace is a must-see for architecture and history buffs.
How to Get There
Dolmabahce Palace is on Istanbul’s European side of the Bosphorus, walking distance from the Kabatas tram and bus stops, and ferry terminal. It’s also a short walk from the Besiktas bus stops and ferry ports. Taxis are another convenient option.
When to Get There
Dolmabahce Palace is open from 9am to 4pm Tuesday through Sunday. A few major national and religious Turkish holidays affect opening times; check before visiting. Make sure to arrive with enough time to begin the palace’s required group guided tour, which usually takes about 45 minutes.
Art in the Palace
Be sure to take time to admire the large collection of oil paintings that hang on the walls of Dolmabahce Palace. Toward the end of the Ottoman Empire, European-style portraiture become more popular, and sultans would often commission portraits by artists for the residence. There is an annex to the palace that contains much of the oil painting collection.
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