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                                                      Dolmabahaçe Palace and the Bosporus

Dolmabahçe Palace     






Dolmabahçe  Palace, situated along the western shore of the Bosporus, north of Beyoğlu, was built in the 19th century by Sultan Abdülmecit I.  The Palace reflects the influence of European architecture and was the residence of the last of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire; it was also the residence of Ataturk, the Father of modern Turkey, who died here in 1938. 

The Dolmabahçe Palace contains over 300 rooms (including numerous lavish reception rooms).  The Palace is an extraordinarily interesting collection of architectural styles and interior design.   When it is illuminated at night, the Palace is a spectacular view from a boat on the Bosporus. 

Just to the south is the Dolmabahçe mosque. 

Further along this shore are good quality restaurants, serving excellent shish kebab accompanied by lavash - a soft, thin flatbread that is usually baked on the premises and served warm.  Good food and a scenic view of the Bosporus, what could be better?

The Palace is closed Mondays and Thursdays. See this website from the government of Istanbul for more details.

The Dolmabahace Palace is beautiful from the outside and stunning on the inside

The Dolmabahaçe Palace from the Bosporus.


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One of the many beautiful chandeliers at the Dolmabahace Place

The Crystal Staircase at the Dolmabahace Palace

The Bosporus   Top of Page






One of the best ways to spend a sunny afternoon in Istanbul is to take one of the tourist boats that ply the Bosporus. The fee is reasonable and the sight are excellent.  

The Bosporus is a narrow strait that separates East (Asia) from West (Europe) and connects the Black Sea to the northwest with the Sea of Mamara (Mamara Denizi) to the southwest and eventually the Mediterranean Sea.  Approximately 20 miles long, the Bosporus is extremely narrow and fast flowing.   It is a major shipping canal for oil and other goods from the Black Sea area.

Most cruises proceed up the Bosporus (north) to the spectacularly situated fortress Rumeli Hisari (the European Castle).  The fortress was built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452 and was part of the sultan's plan to isolate Constantinople before he invaded the city.  

The construction of Rumeli Hisari, was completed in less than five months and the massive undertaking was another example of the organized approach that the Ottomans' took towards warfare.

Rumeli Hisari sits on the European side of the Bosporus, across  from a smaller fortress on the Asian shore named Anadolu Hisari (the Anatolian Castle) that was built by Mehmet's Grandfather Bayezit in 1395. 

Once cannons were installed in Rumeli, the Ottomans began calling it "Bogaz Kezan," the "throat cutter", as shipping and access to Constantinople from the Black Sea were controlled by these two opposing fortresses. Mehmet's troops captured Constantinople in 1453 and the city was renamed Istanbul.

The tour boat guides are informative and will provide the details on the Bosporus (Bogazici) Bridge, the Cirigan Palace, Ortakoy mosque and the palatial homes that line the banks of the Bosporus north of the city.

On your return to port, you will see the Galata Tower. Often confused with the Byzantine-era Galata Tower that was part of the entrance fortifications to the Golden Horn.  The present tower was constructed in the 14th century by traders from Genoa.  Today, the top floors (accessible via elevator) feature great views of the city, as well as a restaurant and a nightclub. 

In the fourteenth century, the area of Galata, north of the Golden Horn,  was a fortified trading post of merchants from Genoa.  Across the harbor, within the confines of the, then, walled city of Constantinople, was the Venetian Quarter, as traders from Italy benefitted from commerce both with the Byzantines and, then, the Ottomans.

The Ortakoy mosque on the shores of the Bosporus in Istanbul

The Ortakoy Mosque near the Bosporus Bridge


Idyllic scene along the eastern shore of the Bosporus

The Eastern Shore of the Bosporus north of the Bosporus Bridge

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The fortress Rumeli Hisari viewed from the Bosporus

The fortress Rumeli Hisari



More Istanbul

Istanbul Overview
The Topkapi Palace
Grand Mosques
Hagia Sofia
The Bazaars
Yerebatan Cistern
Dolmabahce Palace
The Bosporus

Best Places to Visit in Turkey


The Galata Tower The Galata Tower dates from the 14th century and offers fine views of the city.  It is now occupied by a restaurant/nightclub.



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