The Dolmabahce Palace situated at the European part of Istanbul was built between 1843 and 1856. The bay here was filled up during the reign of Ahmet I and Osman II and land made by filling up was named Dolmabahce (filled up garden). When the Ottoman Sultan Abdulmecid ascended to throne he had demolished the old palace standing there and had the Dolmabahce Palace erected in place of the old palace. The architects of the palace are Garabet Amira Balyan and his son Nikogos Balyan. Topkapi Palace which was the principal seat of the Ottoman Empire was abandoned after this new palace was constructed. If we look at the building from architectural angle we can see that it was built in the eclectic style which was popular in Europe by then. The palace is comprising one big main building and two wings. The building has 285 rooms, 46 salons , 6 turkish baths ve 68 toilet rooms. In the palace which is erected on a land of 110.000 square meters there are three main sections called Selamlik, reception hall and Harem-i Hümayun. Selamlık was used as the place where governmental matters were dealt with, Harem-i Humayun, was the private residence of the Sultan and his family and the reception hall was used by the Sultan for exchanging Bairam greetings with higher rank officials and for some special ceremonies. Another particularity of the reception hall is that it is the most glorious section of the Dolmabahce Palace. The chandelier in the Reception Hall weighing 4, 5 tons , made of fine crystal has been purchased from a firm in England in 1853 where the glass technology was rather developed . Many other glassware and mirrors in the palace are products which were displayed at the London exhibition and which reflected the advanced technology of their time. The Dolmabahce Palace has witnessed many historical events. Foreign eminent statesmen were entertained here. The Austrian Emperor Karl, Empress Eugene King VII Edward of England are some of them.
At our present day all units of the Dolmabahce Palace are restored and are open to visit. There are two “Valuable objects lounges” where the valuable objects of the Palace are displayed, the “Inner Treasury Exhibition Building” where samples from National Palaces Yıldız Porcelain collection are displayed and the Art Gallery where the painting collection of the National Palaces is partially displayed to visitors in form of long term exhibitions. In the lower floor of this gallery the historical corridor where photos of several objects from the palace and bird motives taken from the architectural embellishings of the palace are permanently displayed , the Abdülmecid Efendi library in the Mabeyn Section comprise the main exhibition units.
In the old Furnishing Room which is situated right at the entrance of the palace now the Culture and Promotion Center is located and scientific studies and promotional activities taking place at several National Palaces are guided from here. On the other hand a library comprising mainly publishments from 19th century has been launched here and is at the disposal of researchers.
Sections giving cafeteria services and souvenir sales services have been established in the gardens of the clock tower, the Furnishing Room, Kuşluk, Harem and the room of the crown prince and books containing information about the national palaces , several post cards and exact copies of paintings selected from the National Palaces Paintings collection prepared by the Culture-Promotion Center are sold. On the other hand the Furnishing Room and the gardens have been reserved for national/international receptions. With new arrangements museum units, culture and art events have been organized in the palace. After the proclamation of the Republic Atatürk stayed at the Dolmabahce Palace when he came to İstanbul. The fourth room coming after the furnishing room with an overview to the sea where Atatürk died is preserved as is. The palace is open every day except Monday and Thursday from March to September 09.00-16.00 , October to February : 09.00-15.00.