Dolmabahce means in English “ The filled garden”. Because it is founded upon a reclaimed area by filling up the sea. Until the 17th century the area where Dolmabahce Palace stands today was a small bay on the Bosphorus. From the 17th century the bay was gradually filled in and became one of the imperial parks on the Bosphourus known as Dolmabahce. It is located on the west, European shore of the Bosphorus.
Dolmabahce Palace was built by Sultan Abdulmecit between 1843 and 1856 when the Ottoman Empire was losing its power. This Palace was the first European-style palace in Istanbul. For construction five million Ottoman gold pounds were spent, the equivalent of 35 tons of gold. 14 tons of gold was used only to adorn the interior ceiling. Dolmabahce palace displays the richness and power that the Sultans had. The three-storied palace was built on a symmetrical plan has 285 rooms 6 Turkish Baths, approximately 2.700 windows, 43 halls and the palace has a total floor area of 45.000 square metres,. This palace is decorated throughout Bakara crystals, pictures by famous artists, luxurious furniture, rugs and carpets from the famous carpet manufacturers of the city Hereke. Dolmabahce has the largest collection of Bohemian and Baccarat crystal chandeliers in the world.
It is divided into 2 sections: the official part where the sultan would receive distinguished guests from all over the world and the Harem where the Sultan's wife, mother and concubines lived. The palace has survived intact with its original decorations such as furniture, silk carpets, curtains and everything else.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of Turkish Republic and first president of Turkey, spent his last years in the Dolmabahce Palace as his health deteriorated. He died at 9:05 a.m. on November 10, 1938, in a room that is now part of the museum and open to visit.
Dolmabahce Palace Museum is open to visit on weekdays from 9:00 to 15:00, except Mondays and Thursdays.