The home that almost bankrupted an Empire

Lavish. It’s a word that completely sums up the Dolmabahçe Palace. Built in 19th century, it almost bankrupted Sultan Abdulmecit who commissioned it.

A home fit for a sultan

Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul, on the shores of the Bosphorus, is one of the most glamorous palaces in the world. When it was finished in 1856, the imperial family moved out of medieval Topkapı Palace to live in this spectacular home.

The 3-storey palace has barely changed since it was first occupied. You can still see its original decorations, furniture, silk carpets and curtains. Look out for the world's largest Bohemian crystal chandelier, a gift from Queen Victoria, which sparkles with 750 lamps.

The day the clocks stopped

The supreme ruler Mustafa Kemal Ataturk lived and died in Dolmabahçe Palace. He passed away here on 10th November 1938 at 9:05am. You’ll notice all the clocks in the palace are stopped at this time.

Dolmabahçe Palace is on the itinerary of our Istanbul City Bus Tours. You can hop on or hop off here to explore, or stay put and learn all about it from our fun, informative commentary.

Other interesting facts about Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul

  • The palace has 285 rooms, 44 halls, 68 toilets and 6 Turkish baths
  • Dolmabahçe means ‘filled-in garden’ – where previous sultans had filled in a little cove to create a royal park
  • 14 tonnes of gold leaf were used to gild Dolmabahçe Palace’s ceilings
  • The palace was the home to the last 6 sultans of the Ottoman Empire