Dolmabahçe Palace

Dolmabahçe Palace
Dolmabahçe Palace is a late example of Ottoman architecture. Dolmabahçe Palace is a european-style palace built at the edge of the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey. Versailles it's not, but it has some interesting rooms, beautiful chandeliers, a crystal staircase and lots of trompe-l'œil painting to mimic stonework and woodwork. It was built between 1843 and 1855 and officially inaugurated in 1856.

The design contains eclectic elements from the Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical styles, blended with traditional Ottoman architecture to create a new synthesis. The palace layout and décor reflect the increasing influence of European styles and standards on Ottoman culture and art during the Tanzimat period. Functionally, on the other hand, it retains elements of traditional Ottoman palace life, and also features of traditional Turkish homes. It is the largest palace in Turkey, considering that the area of the monoblock building occupies 45,000 m². Previously, the Sultan and his family had lived at the Topkapi Palace, but as Topkapi was lacking in up-to-date luxury and style, Abdülmecid decided to build the Dolmabahçe Palace near the site of the former Besiktas Palace on the Bosporus, which was demolished. Whereas the Topkapi has exquisite examples of Iznik tiles and Ottoman carving, the Dolmabahçe palace contains much gold and crystal.

The Dolmabahçe Palace was ordered by the Empire's 31st Sultan, Abdülmecid I. Hacı Said Ağa was responsible for the construction works, while the project was realised by architects Garabet Balyan, his son Nigoğayos Balyan, and Evanis Kalfa. The construction cost five million Ottoman mecidiye gold coins, 35 tonnes of gold, the equivalent of $1,481,424,175 in today's (2013) values. Fourteen tonnes of gold in the form of gold leaf were used to gild the ceilings of the 45,000 square metre monoblock palace, which stands on an area of 110,000 m².

With some interruptions, in remained the seat of the Ottoman empire until its formal end in 1922. It is built in a historicist style typical for 19th-century European palaces, although some oriental stylistic elements are present as well. The main facade of the palace extends 600 meters on the European shore of the Bosporus.

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