Dolmabahçe Palace (Turkish: Dolmabahçe Sarayı) located in the Beşiktaş district of Istanbul, Turkey, on the European coast of the Strait of Istanbul, served as the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1887 and from 1909 to 1922 (Yıldız Palace was used in the interim period).
Dolmabahçe Palace Design and layout
Dolmabahçe is the largest palace in Turkey. It has an area of 45,000 m2 (11.1 acres), and contains 285 rooms, 46 halls, 6 baths (hamam) and 68 toilets.
The design contains eclectic elements from the Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical styles, blended with traditional Ottoman architecture to create a new synthesis. The palace layout and décor reflect the increasing influence of European styles and standards on Ottoman culture and art during the Tanzimat period. The exterior, in particular the view from the Bosporus, shows a classical European two-wing arrangement which is divided by a big avant-corps with two side avant-corps.
Functionally, on the other hand, the palace retains elements of traditional Ottoman palace life, and also features of traditional Turkish homes. It is strictly separated structurally in a southern wing (Mabeyn-i Hümâyûn, or Selamlık, the quarters reserved for the men) which contains the public representation rooms, and a northern wing (Harem-i Hümâyûn, the Harem) serving as the private residential area for the Sultan and his family. The two functional areas are separated by the big Ceremonial Hall (Muayede Salonu) with a floor area of 2,000 m2 (22,000 sq ft) and a 36 m (118 ft) high dome. Since the harem had to be completely isolated from the outside world, the main entrance for the visitors is located on the narrow southern side. There, the representation rooms are arranged for receptions of visitors and of foreign diplomats. The harem area includes eight interconnected apartments for the wives of the sultan, for his favourites and concubines, and for his mother, each with its own bathroom.