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“beautiful palace - long wait”
Review of Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahce Palace
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Dolmabahce Palace Tour in Istanbul
Ranked #10 of 1,042 things to do in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: This palace was built in the mid 1800s to replace an earlier structure that was made of wood. The new palace incorporated sixteen separate buildings with stables, a flour mill and a clock tower among them.
Alexandria Va.
Level Contributor
30 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“beautiful palace - long wait”
Reviewed 25 May 2012

We went on a Saturday which may make the wait longer. They control the number of people waiting for tours at the line location and this further slows it up [we got there at 11:30 and didn't get in until 1:30.] The grounds outside of the palace and the views over the Bosphorous are lovely and free.

Visited May 2012
Thank sandyshore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Level Contributor
93 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“A baroque experience”
Reviewed 24 May 2012

Dolmabahce Palace is a conveniently short walk along the waterfront from the tram terminus. Unless you arrive very early, be prepared to queue. They only let in the number of people (20-30) who can be shown round by one guide. Tours are in English or Turkish, so there are 2 queues.The good news is that because you are shown round by the palace's own tour guides, this is one building that is thankfully free from ticket touts offering to help you jump the queue. The building has a special place in the hearts of Turks as it was here that Kemal Atatürk, the first president of the Turkish Republic, died in 1938. So not surprisingly Turkish visitors tend to be given preference.The building is huge and ornate. It was built as a replacement for Topkapi Palace by a 19th century sultan, who was determined to prove that the Ottoman Empire still had life in it; unfortunately to complete the building the vast sums borrowed sank the Ottoman economy into deeper gloom. However, you wouldn't guess this from the building which is over the top baroque from the entrance gate throughout all the suites of rooms, both public and private. When you are aware that the interior was designed by the architect responsible for the Paris Opera, it all makes sense. Whether it was in their public or private lives the Sultan and his family must have felt that they were living on a stage set. If you like baroque, then this is the place for you.The tour lasts about 40 min but the palace is so large that you are whisked fairly quickly from room to room. The guides speak excellent English and are delightfully polite; they are happy to answer questions but in groups of this size, it is almost impossible to go into anything in any detail. The fittings and furnishings are amazingly lavish and ornate. I would have liked to spend longer looking at the artwork in the corridors, but I needed to keep up with the group! The main areas that you will be shown are the huge public reception rooms and throne room, the Sultan's private apartment, which are almost as big, and Ataturk's suite of rooms.The palace gardens along the shore of the Bosphorus are attractive and well tended and a good spot to take photographs which you are not allowed to do inside.Our guide book said that there was a cafe/restaurant with views out over the Bosphorus, but the signs led us to a small cafe near the exit where you could take your drinks round a small fountain and fishpond. So don't expect a repeat of the facilities at Topkapi Palace.

Visited May 2012
1 Thank Mylespetheter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ath, Belgium
Level Contributor
116 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Beautiful piece of architecture - foreign citizen pay double entry price !”
Reviewed 20 May 2012

Dolmabahçe palace is a marvelous piece of architecture - the garden and buildings are just fantastic.
I went there with some friends (one of them Turkisch citizen).
At the entrance we needed to pay the ticket :
1. Turkisch citizens pay only 20 TL
2. Foreign citizens pay 40 TL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What the [--] : Is this 2012 ????
I consider this as a great discrimination and I want to report this !!!

OK I paid the ticket and could wonder the inside of this palace but the way they sell tickets is just acceptable .

Visited May 2012
Thank Christophe L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Quintessential Extravagance”
Reviewed 17 May 2012

I'd like to start this review by addressing some complaints of other reviewers. Most importantly, expect a long line to get a ticket. You will likely wait 1-2 hours so get there early, around 9-9:30 (tram stop is very close). And yes, you will be forced to enter the palace on a tour (less than 2 hours), without exception. This however, is not a burden at all and completely understandable. They don't want people wandering around the huge palace, taking pictures (no photos allowed once inside) and possibly damaging the furniture, and thereby ruining the site for everyone else. I was more than happy to follow the very knowledgeable tour guide who was more than happy to answer your individual questions. If you do go, expect a highly extravagant palace. It was built during the decline of the Ottoman Empire (mid 1800s) in an attempt to dispel the rumors that the Empire was in decline and going broke. Also, it was built to replace Topkapi palace as the home of the Sultans. That is why the entire design is so extravagant. There is a beautiful staircase in the entrance hall and the posts holding up the handrail are made of crystal. Also, at the end of the tour is a giant, 9,000 pound chandelier. If seeing such things will sadden you, do not go and perhaps do not visit a palace in general. However, if you are able to appreciate it for what it is, then I highly recommend going. The gate is also very impressive, as is the clock tower nearby. Also, you may want to go to the port of Eminonu and take a 1.5 hour ferry in order to see the palace from the water. I did not enter the harm (additional fee) because I read that it is not that impressive. If you would like to see a harem, I highly recommend the one at Topkapi Palace.

Visited April 2012
1 Thank vlad t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
33 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“The last stand of the Ottoman's.”
Reviewed 15 May 2012

This is a great trip out of the hustle and bustle of old Istanbul. It's easy to get here by tram followed by a bit of a walk. The palace itself is immaculate to every last detail. Once you get into the last reception room, don't forget to look up. The painting on the ceiling is a splendor. I loved that this was a guided tour and although your not allowed to take pictures, you can download spectacular professional ones on their website.

Visited April 2012
Thank Postrelatina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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