Last Updated on April 10, 2021
Dolmabahce Palace Museum is a magnificent one situated in an outstanding place situated on the banks of Bosphorus in Besiktas. It was the residence of the last six Ottoman Sultans, and Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. The white marble Dolmabahce palace has a basic European baroque style architecture with oriental texture.
Dolmabahce Palace Facts
Dolmabahce Palace is a glorious one in Istanbul and take thousands of visitors each day. So what lies behind it?
- Built between the years of 1843-1856 by Sultan Abdulmecit.
- Covers an area of 45,000 sqm, houses 285 rooms, 46 halls, 4,454 sqm of carpets, six Turkish Bath (hamam) and 68 bathrooms.
- Once a residence of the last six Ottoman Sultans, and Ataturk, the first president and founder of Turkish republic, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, before the fall of the Ottoman empire.
- Glass and crystal are the main features of the palace that attracts its visitors.
- Decorated with marble staircases, Sevres vases, Lyon silk, giant crystal chandeliers, Baccarat crystals and British candelabras, and lush carpets.
- 52 crystal, 30 bronze chandeliers, 142 ceiling hangers, and 60 crystal candelabras.
- Houses more than 50,000 objects in the hundreds of rooms.
- It was the first palace in Istanbul having coffee tables.
History of Dolmabahce Palace
Dolmabahce Palace was built by Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecid (1839-1861) on an area of 110,000 square meters between the years 1843 and 1856. Its construction on the edge of the Bosphorus was accepted as an indication that the Ottomans broke the traditional connection with the past. You know they used to rule the empire from the Topkapi Palace and on the Historical Peninsula.
Dolmabahce Palace was home to a total of six sultans and the last Ottoman Caliph Abdülmecid Efendi from 1856 when the Caliphate was abolished.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic, used the palace for his studies in Istanbul between the years 1927-1938 and passed away here on November 10, 1938. That’s why the palace has an important and unique place in Turkish people’s hearts.
The palace was partially open to protocol and visit between 1926-1984, and finally was opened to for visits as a Museum after 1984.
What to See at Dolmabahce Palace
Dolmabahce Palace, unlike Topkapi Palace, was built as a single large building, several pavilions and a large garden around this large building. It was surrounded by high walls on the land side. There are two main and seven secondary gates, and the seaside side has five ports.
The gardens and the gates of Dolmabahce Palace are very attractive. The gates represent the finest examples of metal crafting and really exciting.
The palace houses more than 50,000 objects along its hundreds of rooms. The interior of the palace reflects the grandeur of the epoch, and designed like the luxurious European palaces. The giant crystal stairs and chandeliers, large oil paintings and armchairs are very attractive. The precious watches of the palace will take your interest.
Sections of the Palace
The palace consists of three sections.
- Mabeyn-i Hümayun (Selamlik), where the administrative works of the state were carried out.
- The Ceremonial Hall where the Sultan and his family continue their private lives.
- The Harem-i Humayun, which is used for the State Ceremonies.
The Selamlik Hall houses the mastery in cut glass and mirrors with its crystal chandeliers, as well as the magnificent Hereke carpet, dazzling crystal stairs to the upper floor, also called the sultanate ladder, the Sufera Hall where the ambassadors were hosted, the Red Room and the Zülvecheyn Hall on the upper floor.
While you stroll through the Medhal Hall, you’ll see the room of Ataturk, and see how all the clocks in the palace were set at 09:05 am, which is the approximate time that he passed away. When you continue touring, you’ll see the legendary Crystal Staircase along its red carpets.
The Ceremonial Hall houses the greatest chandeliers and crystal candelabras of the Palace. The ceiling of the Sultan’s Chamber in the Harem and the stunning decoration of the Ceremonial Hall will mesmerize you for sure.
This is a must see located in Glass Kiosk section of the Palace. The Gaveau piano here is made of crystal, as well as its chair, which is a very unique example of the glass art.
The Harem is under the same roof with the Dolmabahce Palace and constitutes about two-thirds of the it, while it was an independent section in Topkapi Palace.
In the Harem section, there are several halls, apartments allocated to the Sultan and Valide Sultan (mother of the Sultan), and apartments where the spouses of the Sultans, their princes until a certain age and their daughters until the age of marriage, as well as the rooms of other duty women, working, resting and living rooms.
Visiting Hours & Admissions
Open every day except Mondays between 09:00 and 16:30.
Closed on Mondays.
Hours of Ticket Sale
The ticket counters can be closed earlier due to the exceed of the daily ticket quota.
* 90 TL at ticket window on location (except Harem section)
* Harem section ticket is 60 TL
* Guided tour regular price is about €21
Please double check hours and admissions from millisaraylar.gov.tr
Dolmabahce Palace Ticket Options and Prices
There are several options:
- Buy directly at the ticket window on location.
- Buy Dolmabahce Palace only guided tours.
- Buy Dolmabahce Palace included combo tickets.
Dolmabahce Palace is a huge complex with lots to see and you’ll need about at least 2 to 3 hours to have a complete tour.
General Admission Tickets
Dolmabahce Palace entrance fee on your own is 90 TL (about €9,95). This is the ticket window on location option. You need to pay extra 60 TL (about €6,80) for the Harem section.
The general admission tickets will let you enter the palace and explore on your own. You should know that there is very little explanation of the architecture by signs, plates, etc.
If you just want to have quick look inside without need of understand the history behind, and waiting in the queue is not a problem, this is the ticket for you. Also note that Dolmabahce Palace has a daily ticket quota. You can be late.
The skip the line access tickets with a guide (see below) seems to be about €9 expensive.
You should consider on your own would it worth to pay that amount to save yourself from about 1 hour waiting in the line, avoid ticket quotas, and have a guide. We guess it would!
This is the best option we recommend especially for first time visitors. And we always recommend opting for an extended English guided tour offered exclusively by several historian guides of Istanbul.
When you book you’ll get an email confirmation with meeting details (in front of the Clock Tower of the Palace) and there your name being checked from the official guide’s list with your confirmation number.
See below the recommended Dolmabahce Palace guided tours with fast track entry.
Dolmabahce Palace VIP Tickets with Audio App
This is offered by Istanbul Welcome Card and we highly recommend.
The ticket includes:
Skip the line access to Dolmabahce Palace, entrance fee, guiding service by official licensed guide, Audio App in 10 languages, stay inside as long as you want
How it Works:
- Book online and you’ll will receive a confirmation with the meeting point
- You’ll just show the confirmation to your Istanbul Welcome Card guide
- Your Istanbul Welcome Card will be waiting for you in front of the Clock Tower after the security check. The security check can take some time, so please come a bit early. Your guide will give the tickets, do the highlights tour and hand you out the audio guides. The museum officials will ask for an ID as a deposit for the audio guide, you will get your ID when you return the audio guides at the exit.
Ticket price: €21
Notice: Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount. Just click the red button below and make sure you see the discounted price on the official page.
Alternative Tours & Buying Channels
Here we only suggest the proven ways and top rated ones with travelers’ comments. You can feel free to book one of the below top selling tours.
Free cancellation up to 24 hours before activity starts
Istanbul Museum Pass
Dolmabahce Palace is included in the Istanbul Museum Pass. You can buy Museum Pass to visit this museum. Note that Museum Pass is only worth it if you want to visit more than five Istanbul museums. Read more and book from our Istanbul Museum Pass page.
How to Get to Dolmabahce Palace?
Dolmabahce Palace is situated in the Besiktas district, on the banks of Bosphorus. See the location map.
The most practical way to get to Besiktas and Dolmabahce Palace is via Bagcilar-Kabatas tram (T1 line).
- The closest tram stop is Kabatas. This is the last stop.
- Dolmabahce Palace is within 5 minutes walking distance from the tram.
- From Taksim, take the funicular to Kabatas (from taksim Square) or funicular to Karakoy (from Tunel square) and than take the tram to Kabatas.
- If you stay at the Besiktas hotels, than you easily walk to the Palace.
Check our Sultanahmet page to see how to get to Besiktas in details.
Address: Visnezade, Dolmabahçe Cd., Besiktas, Istanbul
Tel: +90 212 236 90 00