Dolmabahce Palace was the first European-style palace on the European coast Istanbul and was built by Sultan Abdulmecid between 1842 and 1853,in Besiktas, at a cost of five million Ottoman gold pounds, the equivalent of 35 tons of gold. 14 tons of gold was used only to adorn the interior ceiling of the palace. The world's largest Bohemian crystal chandelier, a gift from Queen Victoria, is at the center hall. The chandelier has 750 lamps and weighs 4.5 tons. Dolmabahce has the largest collection of Bohemian and Baccarat crystal chandeliers in the world, and one of the great staircases has bannisters of Baccarat crystal.
Dolmabahce was originally a bay in the Bosphorus which was filled gradually during the 18th centuryÂ to become an imperial garden, much appreciated by the Ottoman sultans (and from here comes the name, dolma meaning 'filled' and bahce 'garden'). Various summer palaces were built here during the 18th and 19th centuries. The palace that stands here today was built between 1842 and 1853 during the reign of SultanAbdulmecid, on the site of the old coastal palace of Besiktas, by the Armenian-Turkish architects Garabet Amira Balyan and his son Nigogayos Balyan. The Sultans moved here since the old Topkapi Palace lacked the modern luxuries that the Dolmabahce could provide.Bosphorus and it has a great view of Marmara Sea and Asian Side of Istanbul.The palace is composed of three parts; the Mabeyn-i Humâyun (or Selamlik; the quarters reserved for the men), Muayede Salonu (the ceremonial halls) and the Harem-i Humâyun (the Harem; i.e. the apartments of the family of the Sultan). The palace has an area of 45,000 m2 (11.2 acres), and contains 285 rooms, 46 halls, 6 baths (hamam) and 68 toilets. The famous Crystal Staircase has the shape of a double horseshoe and is built of Baccarat crystal, brass and mahogany. The palace includes a large number of Hereke palace carpets made by Hereke Imperial Factory. Also featured are 150-year-old bearskin rugs originally presented to the Sultan as a gift by the Tsar of Russia.
The palace is managed by Milli Saraylar Daire Baskanligi (Directorate of National Palaces) bound to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Dolmabahce Palace Museum is open to public on weekdays from 9:00 to 15:00, except Mondays and Thursdays.
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