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Istanbul Atatürk Airport and Sabiha Gökçen Airport Hotel Transfers Service
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Until the 17th century the area where Dolmabahçe Palace stands today was a small bay on the Bosphorus, claimed by some to be where the Argonauts anchored during their quest for the Golden Fleece, and where in 1453 Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror had his fleet hauled ashore and across the hills to be refloated in the Golden Horn.

This natural harbour provided anchorage for the Ottoman fleet and for traditional naval ceremonies. From the 17th century the bay was gradually filled in and became one of the imperial parks on the Bosphourus known as Dolmabahçe, literally meaning “filled garden”.

A series of imperial kösks (mansions) and kasirs (pavilions) were built here, eventually growing into a palace complex known as Besiktas Waterfront Palace.

Besiktas Waterfront Palace was demolished in 1843 by Sultan Abdülmecid (1839-1861) on the grounds that it was made of wood and incovenient, and construction of Dolmabahçe Palace commenced in its place.

Construction of the new palace and its periphery walls was completed in 1856. Dolmabahçe Palace had a total area of over 110.000 square metres and consisted of sixteen separate sections apart from the palace proper. These included stables, a flour mill, pharmacy, kitchens, aviary, glass manufactory and foundry. Sultan Abdülhamid II (1876-1909) added a clock tower and the Veliahd Dairesi (apartments for the heir apparent), and the Hareket Kösks in the gardens behind.

The main palace was built by the leading Ottoman architects of the era, Karabet and Nikogos Balyan, and consists of three parts: the Imperial Mabeyn (State Apartments), Muayede Salon (Ceremonial Hall) and the Imperial Harem, where the sultan and his family led their private lives. The Ceremonial Hall placed centrally between the other two sections is where the sultan received statesman and dignitaries on state occasions and religious festivals.

The palace consists of two main storeys and a basement. The conspicuous western style of decoration tends to overshadow the decidedly Ottoman interpretation evident most of all in the interpretation evident most of all in the interior plan. This follows the traditional layout and relations between private rooms and central galleries of the Turkish house, implemented here on a large scale. The outer walls are made of stone, the interior walls are made of stone, the interior walls of brick, and the floors of wood. Modern technology in the form of electricity and a central heating system was introduced in 1910-12. The palace has a total floor area of 45.000 square metres, with 285 small rooms, 46 reception rooms and galleries, 6 hamams (Turkish baths) and 68 lavatories. The finely made parquet floors are laid with 4454 square metres of carpets, the earliest made at the palace carpet weaving mill and those of later date at the mill in Hereke.

The Mabeyn where the sultan conducted affairs of state is the most important section in terms of function and splendour. The entrance hall known as the Medhal Salon, the Crystal Staircase, and the Süfera Salon where foreign ambassadors were entertained prior to audience with the sultan in the Red Room are all decorated and furnished in a style reflecting the historical magnificence of the empire.


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