Hg2 : The Hedonist

Dolmabahçe Palace

The clearest proof of the Europeanisation of the Ottoman court came when Sultan Abdülmecit (1839–62) abandoned his ancestral home of the Topkapi – finding it a little too medieval for his sophisticated Francophile tastes – and built the massive, baroque Italianate palace on the Bosphorus, nearer the modern action of Beyolu. It took 11 years to build and was finished just before the outbreak of the Crimean War, in time for Abdülmecit to receive the European emissaries of his allies in its vast throne room. The superbly self-important ornate, baroque and rococo style speaks of a building designed to impress through sheer visual attrition, hoping that the onlooker’s quality-control mechanism will cease to function in the face of all those embellishments. Significantly for the palace’s status in the national psyche, Atatürk died in a big walnut bed in a room on the second floor in 1938, today covered by a Turkish flag bedspread. Modern Turkey’s founding father also liked to dive into the Bosphorus and bob around in his rowboat from the palace’s private jetty. Compulsorily guided tours in various languages depart from the main palace doors. 

Dolmabahe Caddesi,
+90 212 236 9000
Opening Times
9am-4pm. Closed Thursdays.
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