A monument to the opulence of the rulers of the Ottoman Empire, with a notable clock tower, gardens and mosque.
The Dolmabahce Palace was long used as a venue for affairs of state in Ottoman times. It also houses the room where Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, known as the 'Father of the Turks', died in 1938.
Commissioned by Sultan Abdulmecid I and begun in 1843, construction of the palace cost the princely sum of the equivalent of 35 tons of gold. It would go on to be the main seat of government for the Empire from 1856 until its dissolution in 1922.
The Royal family migrated here from Topkapi Palace soon after its completion – and the reasons for the attraction are easy to see. The palace contains 285 rooms and over 40 halls, and among its many spectacular features are included a crystal staircase and a Bohemian chandelier with 75 lamps which came as a gift from Queen Victoria. Visitors were received in the Red Room, with its plush Haneke carpets and Hamam (bath).
The clock in the room in which the 'Father of the Turks' died is stopped at his time of death, 9.05am. Kemal Ataturk gained this nickname for masterminding the defence of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, and for defeating the Allies in the Turkish War of Independence. The male quarters where government decisions were taken are on show, as are the rooms of the Haremlik, made up of the royal quarters and the bedroom of Kemal Ataturk.
The clock tower outside is designed in the neo-baroque style, and was constructed in the late 19th century. Through Treasury Gate, you'll find the Dolmabahce Mosque on a square along the waters of the Bosphorus Strait.
Tram is the best method of transport to the Dolmabahce Palace – it's a 10 minute walk along the waterside from the Kabatas tram stop. Open daily, except Monday and Thursday. Cash is the only form of payment accepted.