When I first came to Istanbul, my head was spinning, I wanted to see everything at once. If everything did not work out, then I wanted to visit as many sights, objects and interesting places as possible. I had to adjust my desires, and realistically considering my capabilities, regretfully reduce the list. Now I can responsibly declare that my friend and I did the right thing, because it would be impossible to enjoy a contemplative moment if we were inflamed with quantity. That is why, after much thought and hesitation, when visiting the Dolmabahce Palace, they decided to refuse to inspect the inner chambers of the Sultan and the harem.
And it was the right choice, and if fate once again throws us to Istanbul, which I have no doubt, then we will visit the palace again with great pleasure knowingly.
Dolmabahce is the name of a whole area located on the European coast of the Bosphorus between the piers of Besiktas and Kabatash.
Initially, this place was a bay, and to level the coastline, it was gradually covered with earth, planting gardens on it. “Dolmabahce” in Turkish means “filled garden”.
Historians believe that it was on the site of the Dolmabahce region that the ships of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror moored in the middle of the 15th century. By his order, the entire Turkish flotilla was pulled ashore and dragged into the waters of the Golden Horn. Thanks to this, the troops of Mehmed I managed to bypass the legendary chains stretched across the bay and protecting Istanbul from less resourceful opponents.
I won’t go into much detail about whether this is a legend or a real story, but it seems quite plausible to me: all means are good to achieve goals.
At the beginning of the 17th century, in the Dolmabahche region on the shores of the Bosphorus Strait, Sultan Ahmed I ordered the construction of a country wooden palace Besiktas. But something did not work out with the palace – fires often occurred in it, the wooden building somehow quickly fell into disrepair and, as a result, was completely abandoned.
In the first half of the 19th century, when Constantinople was rapidly expanding in different directions, Sultan Abdul-Mejid I remembered the site on the banks of the Bosphorus. For the construction of a new residence, it seemed to the Sultan very convenient: the location from the city center, and the shore of the strait is especially picturesque
Architects were invited: the father and son of Balyana from the family of architects of Armenian origin, famous in those days. The project and construction was led by his father, Karapet Balyan, and in 1842 the construction of a luxurious palace according to European canons, but interspersed with the Turkish national style, was started.
Upon completion of construction in 1853, a magnificent elegant palace appeared before the eyes of the crowned customer, with its magnificence, sophistication and wealth, surpassing the residences of many European rulers.
Sultan Abdulmejid I was pleased with the order, he really liked the lightness and even some playfulness in the combination of styles: elusive baroque and barely nascent rococo!
You can endlessly admire the carefree kaleidoscope of luxury, entertainment and enjoyment of life, expressed in the architecture of this amazing building, the last of the Sultan’s palaces in Istanbul: elegant sculptures and vases, cupids and centaurs.
The entire Sultan’s court, headed by Sultan Abdul-Mejid I, immediately left the Topkala residence and moved to a new palace!
The architectural complex of Dolmabahce itself consists of the palace itself, a mosque and a clock tower.
The construction of the Bezm-i-Alem Valide Sultan Palace Mosque began in 1853 immediately after the completion of the construction of the palace on the orders of the mother of Sultan Abdul Mejid I, Bezmialem Valide Sultan, at a distance of about 50 meters from the main entrance.
Karapet Belyan was also chosen as the architect of the mosque, the style is similar to the palace, the construction was completed in 1855, when Valide Sultan had already died
Closer to the Main Gate (Gate of Khazine Kapysy) to the palace is the Clock Tower, built in neo-baroque style. The tower is decorated with the monogram of Sultan Abdul-Hamid II, applied on both sides of the building. The clock for the tower was custom-made by craftsmen from the French workshop of Jean Paul Garnier.
The eastern gate, as if weightless, airy and openwork, decorated with patterns of stone and metal, is called Romantic. It was to them that the first European guests of the Ottoman Empire moored in the old days.
Currently, they are of great interest to lovers of spectacular photos and it is incredibly difficult to get to them, to the empty ones.
Several more buildings adjoin the palace, and in order to prevent the smells of food from disturbing the residents and guests of the palace and disturbing their peace, the kitchen rooms were located separately. For special and important visitors arriving on ships along the Bosphorus, a palace pier was built.