History of Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahace actually means "the filled garden". The Palace is built on land reclaimed from the Bosphorus, hence it got its name of Dolmabahace. The famous painter Melling visited Istanbul during the reign of Sultan Mahmut II and the wooden palace, which originally stood there, is represented in many of his prints. After Mahmut II, Sultan Abdulmecit came to stay there and he ordered the palace to be rebuilt in a western fashion, giving its present form. He employed the services of the Armenian architect Nikogos Balyan to complete this enormous task, which was completed between 1843 and 1856.

The affluence of the western world brought by Industrial revolution had influenced Abdulmecit to adopt a lavish lifestyle. From that perspective, the Dolmabahce Palace was a true reflection of the times in its splendor and glamour.

Sultan Abdulmecit shifted to the Dolmabahce Palace permanently with his family from the original residence of Turkish monarchy in Topkapi Palace. However, unfortunately, this was also an example of the wasteful expenditure that brought about the gradual decline of the Turkish Empire. Sultan Abdulmecit died at a rather young age of tuberculosis and his successor Abdulaziz was dethroned in 1876 because of his extravagance and despotism. He ultimately was retired to a simple palace at Ortakoy. Later Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic, used a small portion of the palace for his residence, but used it mainly as a center for various congresses.