Travels in Turkey: Dolmabahce Palace

Travels in Turkey BadgeLinda Stewart

The last stop on our Turkey travels was Istanbul where we spent five days.  The Dolmabahce Palace was quite different from anything we had seen in Turkey.   The palace is named for the area on which the garden is now established but was once the bay in which the Ottoman fleet were anchored.  The gardens are magnificent even in the rain.Turkey Sony Mem Stick 128MB 732Constructed in the mid-19th century, the palace cost $1.5 billion – in today’s money – and built over a period of thirteen years.  The expense bankrupted Turkey which became known as the ‘sick man of Europe’, a somewhat ignominious handle for a country once so wealthy.

Turkey Sony Mem Stick 128MB 734 Even from a distance the intricate carving on the outside walls and gates of the palace are an incredible testament to the craftsmanship of days gone by.Dolmabahce Palace

With 285 rooms, 46 halls, 6 baths, and 68 toilets it would have been home to as many people as a small town.  The sultan’s favourite wives and concubines were housed in the Harem which was away from the main quarters and the entrance of the palace.  Visitors to the harem used a small hidden entrance.

Dolmabahce_Palace_ced

Mircea Ostoia via Wikimedia Commons

The chandelier suspended from the ceiling of the Congregation Hall was a gift from Queen Victoria.  It weighs in at 4.5 tonnes, has 750 lamps – that’s a lot of light th sparkle off all that gold.  Most of the palace has been decorated with gold and crystal and when the lamps are lit the bling-factor is overwhelming.

The palace was interesting and certainly opened our eyes to the other side of life in Turkey during the era of Ottoman rule.  I preferred the ruins … just saying.

Posted as part of the April 2015, A – Z Blogging Challenge.

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