Dolmabahce Palace and Sadberk Hanm Museum, lunch on the Bosphorus

Istanbul Travel Blog

 › entry 7 of 37 › view all entries
Imperial gate of the palace

Today we started with a short drive to the shore of the Bosphorus, on the European side near the hotel was the site of the last Sultan Palace called Dolmabahce Palace. Built in 1856 while the Ottoman was in decline, but you wouldn't know from looking at it. Outside the Imperial Gate, we happened upon the changing of the guards. The gate was only used by the Sultans and his ministers, but now is the main entrance for everyday people touring the palace. Then we walked through the garden, past the beautiful Swan Fountain.

beautiful chandeliers in the Dolmabahce palace
The land where the garden stands was reclaimed from the Bosphorus, giving the name “Dolmabahce”, which means “Filled-in-garden”. I didn't know it at the time, but there were two guided tour of the palace, one going through the portion of the palace reserved for men, and the other visited the Harem.


We had to put plastic shoe slippers on when we enter, since we would be walking on carpet the whole time. The palace was of course impressive, the most memorable being the beautiful crystal chandeliers throughout the palace, includin the supposed heaviest in the world in the grand ceremonial hall, which was designed to hold 2500 people. Its dome was high, the room was truly grand. The dome was painted in a 3-dimensional way to look like it was in relief, very beautiful. This was the last room on the tour.

the mirrored fireplace, one of many
Along the way, the crystal staircase was also breathtaking, the double horseshoe shape, Baccrat crystal and brass banisters and mahogany railing and red carpet. Even though it was under some restoration, workers were there when we walked by, it was still one of the most impressive features of the palace in my mind. Mirrored fireplaces were found throughout the palace, they were very unique too, small mirrors were placed like a panel above the fireplaces.


I might have missed hearing it from our local guide since I often linger or wander to take photos, but I regret not having taking any photos of clocks in the palace. The father of Turkey republic Ataturk died in this palace at 9:05am on Nov 10, 1938, and all the clocks have permanently been set to this time!


We then boarded the bus and headed further up the Bosphorus strait to visit a private museum called the Sadbeck Hanim Museum.

staircase ceiling in the Dolmabahce palace
It was owned by a prominent Turkish family (Koc) and has two wings, One housed the treasures and collections from the grandmother, clothings, jewelry, display of ethnic events such as the bridal Henna ritual (similar to what is done in India) boy's circumcision bed where boys between the ages 7-10 went through the procedure to leave boyhood. Lots of money purses were hung on the curtains of this elaborate bed to “distract” the boy. The clothings were quite fascinating and beautiful. The other wing of the museum housed archeological finds from the area ddating back to 5th millenium BC!


We then boarded the bus again to head to the restaurant for lunch. It's right on the Bosphorus waterfront and we watched numerous ships passing by while we had our lunch. After lunch we went back to the hotel along the waterfront of the Bosphorus, passing many parks and beaches where people were swimming or just enjoying themselves in the park.

the grand ceremonial hall in the Dolmabahce palace


After returning to the hotel, I thought I would walk to the Galata Tower, the most recognizable feature on the Golden Horn, 60m tall. Except I went in the wrong direction, and after backtracking I ran out ot time before having to get back to dinner. I did go through some interesting areas with lots of restaurant, cafes spilling onto the side streets which I thought I would expore on the 2nd part of my trip since I would be staying at a hotel nearby.


Dinner was at the hotel top floor, with great view of the city and Bosphorus, and the Bosphorus Bridge. After the sun set, the bridge had colorful lights and went through cycles of color from red to purple to blue, etc. We could also see the three landmarks Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, they would get lit up but the lights never seemed to stay on so they would disappear from view. But it was very pleasant to be viewing the city lights in the night breeze.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Imperial gate of the palace
Imperial gate of the palace
beautiful chandeliers in the Dolma…
beautiful chandeliers in the Dolm…
the mirrored fireplace, one of many
the mirrored fireplace, one of many
staircase ceiling in the Dolmabahc…
staircase ceiling in the Dolmabah…
the grand ceremonial hall in the D…
the grand ceremonial hall in the …
dome of grand ceremonial room in t…
dome of grand ceremonial room in …
grand ceremonial room in the Dolma…
grand ceremonial room in the Dolm…
grand ceremonial room in the Dolma…
grand ceremonial room in the Dolm…
another view outside the hotel win…
another view outside the hotel wi…
palace gate to Dolmabahce palace
palace gate to Dolmabahce palace
lion and cubs statue in the palace…
lion and cubs statue in the palac…
view from inside the palace gate u…
view from inside the palace gate …
We had to put on little pink slipp…
We had to put on little pink slip…
where we were!
where we were!
display of laces at the private mu…
display of laces at the private m…
view along the Bosphorus strait an…
view along the Bosphorus strait a…
as we passed the bridge, looking b…
as we passed the bridge, looking …
and we passed the outside of the p…
and we passed the outside of the …
dusk view from the hotel room, tow…
dusk view from the hotel room, to…
part of our dinner!
part of our dinner!
Istanbul
photo by: Memo