Dolmabahce Palace is a magnificent palace built in the last years of the Ottoman Empire. You can find brief information about the history and architecture of the palace in this article. Dolmabahce Palace ticket price & opening hours are also noted.
Before the article, I would like to give you a tip for fast entry to the palace. There are long lines at the ticket offices of the palace during the spring and summer months. In order not to waste time here, you can buy skip-the-line tickets online from this link and take advantage of fast track. Participants of this tour meet with their guide at the gate and enter as a group with a guide.
History of The Dolmabahce Palace
The history of Dolmabahce Palace goes back 170 years. However, before Dolmabahce, which represents the late period of Ottoman architecture, it would be appropriate to talk about how the Ottoman palace architecture in Istanbul evolved. Thus, we understand why the Dolmabahce Palace, equipped with European architecture, was built.
After Sultan Mehmed II captured Istanbul, he built a palace in Beyazit. This palace was in the place where Istanbul University is today. It was a palace built right in the heart of the Byzantine capital Constantinople (Istanbul Old City).
1. Construction of the Topkapi Palace
After a while, it was decided to build another palace on the first hill of Istanbul. The first hill was the most beautiful of the seven hills of the Historic Peninsula and this did not go unnoticed by Sultan Mehmed II. Thus, the construction of the Topkapi Palace, which had a magnificent view over Istanbul, started.
When Topkapi Palace was built, it was named “New Palace”. While the first palace built in Beyazit began to be called as the “Old Palace”. It had become a place where the disgraced palace members were sent, and you can see that it is called the “Palace of the Tears” in some sources.
This order continued like this for many years. Topkapi Palace was the most important palace of the Ottoman Empire and state affairs were conducted from here. Topkapi Palace was the heart of the empire and the symbol of authority from the 1470s until the 1850s.
2. Westernization in the Ottoman Empire
Then, westernization began in the Ottoman Empire. The changing world order in the 19th century had also affected the Ottomans. Especially the development of trade and the increase in diplomatic relations caused the innovations in Europe to reach Istanbul immediately. The westernization trend affected not only the Ottomans but also Russia. The French culture that marked that period was seen in both empires.
During this period, the most distinguished diplomats, soldiers and architects of the Ottoman Empire spoke French. Children of prominent families were educated in Paris. Thus, Neo-Classical and Baroque, which were the dominant architectural styles of Europe at that time, started to show themselves in Istanbul.
3. The Rise of Pera (Beyoglu)
In the Byzantine and Ottoman periods, the Historical Peninsula came to mind when Istanbul was mentioned. However, the rise of Pera began in the 1800s. With the opening of the Embassy buildings one after another and the construction of luxury hotels such as the Pera Palace, Pera had become a center of attraction.
International trade accelerated with the establishment of Banks Street in Karakoy neighborhood. Seeing the economic opportunities in Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Europeans flocked to Istanbul. The non-Muslim population of Istanbul also played an active role in trade and served as a bridge between Westerners and the Ottomans.
4. Construction of the Dolmabahce Palace
In such an environment, Topkapi Palace started to fall out of the new order. Not only in terms of location, but also structurally, it was not well suited to expectations. Sultan Abdulmecid built a luxurious hall called the Mecidiye Pavillion inside the Topkapi Palace. However, when this was not enough, he ordered the construction of the Dolmabahce Palace.
With the construction of the Dolmabahce Palace, the Ottoman throne was leaving the Historical Peninsula, where it had been for centuries, and crossed to the opposite shore. However, despite moving to the new palace, Topkapi Palace was never neglected. It was regularly visited and traditional ceremonies were held on religious days.
Dolmabahce Palace Architecture
Dolmabahce Palace architecture is a blend of European architecture and classical Ottoman architecture. The architects of the Dolmabahce Palace were Garabet Balyan and his son Nigoğos Balyan, who were educated in France.
At this point, it is necessary to mention a little about the royal architects in Ottoman history. The most famous chief architect of the Ottoman Empire was undoubtedly Mimar Sinan. Mimar Sinan marked the “Classical Period” architecture of the Ottoman Empire with the numerous palaces and mosques he built.
The people who contributed to the “Modern Period” architecture of the Ottoman Empire were members of the Balyan Family. Dolmabahce, Ciragan and Beylerbeyi palaces that decorate the shores of the Bosphorus were built by them. Dolmabahce Mosque and Ortakoy Mosque were also built by members of this family.
It is recommended that you take a Bosphorus cruise tour in Istanbul to see the Dolmabahce Palace in its most beautiful form. Because the side of the palace facing the Bosphorus is adorned with a beautiful masonry and allows you to take great photos.
Dolmabahce Palace Interior
The interior of Dolmabahce Palace was decorated in a European style. The palace was decorated with various furniture imported from France and chandeliers imported from Britain. In addition, Italian decoration masters decorated the walls.
The most striking local production in the decoration of Dolmabahce Palace was Turkish carpets. Hereke Carpets, one of the most complex types of Turkish rugs, were specially produced for this palace. 170 years old carpets cover all the floors in the palace.
Dolmabahce Palace Ticket Price 2021
Dolmabahce Palace ticket price is 90 Turkish Lira as of 2021. The standard ticket includes the palace’s offices and reception rooms. If you want to see the Harem section, you have to pay an extra fee of 60 TL.
There is an additional section inside the complex which is called Museum of Palace Collections. You need to pay 30 Turkish Lira additional price to visit that section where the paintings are displayed. If you buy tickets for all sections such as Offices & Reception Rooms, Harem and Museum of Palace Collections, you can benefit from combined ticket discount.
Is Istanbul Museum Pass Valid For the Palace?
No, Istanbul Museum Pass is not valid for Dolmabahce Palace. Istanbul Museum Card is valid at museums affiliated to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Istanbul. However, since some museums are operated by different government institutions, they are not entered with a museum card.
Dolmabahce Palace Guided Tour Ticket
There are long lines at the entrance of the palace during the spring, summer and autumn seasons. However, you can take advantage of the fast track by purchasing your online tickets for Dolmabahce Palace in advance.
Dolmabahce Palace guided tour tickets are slightly more expensive than standard tickets. However, it gives you fast track advantage. You can buy skip the line tickets for Dolmabahce Palace from this link.
Those who buy tickets for the palace in advance meet with their guides at the gate and enter the palace as a group. Thus, they do not wait at the ticket office. Then, audio guides are distributed and the palace is toured with digital narration.
Dolmabahce Palace Opening Hours 2021
The opening hours for Dolmabahce Palace are between 9 am and 5:30 pm. The sales at the ticket offices end at 4:30 pm, one hour before the closing. Please also note that Dolmabahce Palace is closed to visit on Mondays.
Depending on Covid-19 measures, there may be changes in the entrance hours of the museums in Istanbul. Before going to the museum, I recommend you to visit the official website of the palace and review the latest situation.
How to Get to Dolmabahce Palace?
It is very easy to get to Dolmabahce Palace from Taksim or Sultanahmet, which are tourist centers. It takes only 20-25 minutes to get to the palace from Sultanahmet by tram + walking. It takes even less time from Taksim Square.
If you are coming from Sultanahmet (Istanbul Old City), the tram (T1) is the best means of transportation to reach Dolmabahce Palace. If you take the tram from Sultanahmet Tram Station to Kabatas direction, you can get off at the last stop and go to the palace. It will take only 10 minutes to walk from Kabatas, the last stop, to Dolmabahce Palace.
If you are coming from Taksim Square, you need to take the funicular (F1) to get to seaside. This is just one stop vehicle to reach from Taksim Square to Kabatas area. Once you get to Kabatas it’s pretty easy to find the palace.
The Dolmabahce Palace is located between the Beyoglu and Besiktas districts. It’s very centrally located. You can easily recognise the location of the Palace by the Besiktas Soccer Team’s Vodafone Arena Stadium. They are located next to each other.
Dolmabahce Palace Ticket Price 2021 by Serhat Engul