The Dolmabahce Palace is the great European palace of the city of Istanbul, and its presence there responds to a historical and artistic moment concrete, assuming a quite unique architecture within the architectural context of this great city with such important and orientalizing monuments as the Byzantine temple of Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque or the great residence of the Ottoman Empire that was the Topkapi Palace.
Dolmabahce Palace from the Bosphorus
In fact, Dolmabahce Palace was built between 1842 and 1853 by order of Sultan Abdulmecid to be the new official residence of the sultanate, replacing Topkapi Palace. It was a way to modernize the facilities and bring the comforts of the mid-19th century into the palace.
That was an objective of this construction carried out by the architect of Armenian originKarabet Balyanand his sonNigogos Balyan,modernize the royal residence. But there was also a political interest, and that is why these forms of European air inspired by the Palace of Versailles.
In this way, the Dolmabahce Palace was to be the largest palace in the city, with a facade that reaches a length of 600 meters and an area of about 15,000 square meters. But in addition to being gigantic, no expense was spared tothat its architecture was truly impressive and could compete with that of other European courts.
Hence, architecturally speaking, we are facing a grandiose construction in the neo-baroque style, albeit mixed with notes typical of the Renaissance forms and even from Neoclassicism. In other words, a building was also being built in Istanbul with that current of neos that evoked the styles of the past, with the exception that in Istanbul the construction traditions were more linked to other formulas of Byzantine and Ottoman origin, which obviously in some way they are also evident in the architecture and ornamentation of Dolmabahce.
But the goal was to compete and impress the European courts, and it was certainly achieved not only with the architecture, but also with the decorative elements inside the palace, where there are spaces as visually powerful as the Crystal Staircase, where its balustrade is all vitreous. And even those same European monarchs contributed to the decorative richness of Dolmabahce Palace, as Queen Victoria of England presented the Sultan with a huge Bohemian crystal chandelier that occupies much of of the Throne Room.
In short, this Palace became the royal residence of the Ottoman sultanate from 1853 to 1922, when modern Turkey emerged, ruled by Ataturk. A politician who moved the capital from Turkey to Ankara, but kept Dolmabahce as hisofficial residence for your stays in the city. In fact, he passed away in this palace, and the rooms where he died have been kept intact ever since as part of the currentDolmabahce Museum