Dolmabahçe Palace

The Ottoman Empire rather lost its vision and direction after the 17th century, the beginning of its decline. By the end of the 18th century, the Ottoman sultan and his statesmen tried to catch up with the modern world and imported foreign teachers for their princes’ education. As a result, a new Ottoman generation grew up with new ideas as well as new architecture. Art Nouveau, Baroque, and Neo-Classic architectural style monuments can be found in the city to reflect this period.

In this same period, the Ottoman imperial architects were from the Armenian ‘Balyan’ dynasty, the imperial architects for five generations after Mimar Sinan in the 16th century. It’s this dynasty that designed the Ottoman art of European-style palaces, mosques, and houses.

Two members of this family, Garabet and Nikogos Balyan, built Dolmabahce Palace, which even today is still a very distinct art concept with its mesmerizing details and items used. Constructed in the 19th century, its architecture reflects the modern face of the Ottoman Empire with an Ottoman Baroque and Rococo style. Baccarat and Bohemian Crystal chandeliers, Limoges porcelain fireplaces, Hereke carpets… The crystal staircases are one of the most attractive parts of the palace, together with the ballroom and the Great Chandelier. The sultan’s alabaster Turkish bath is another stunning piece with its delicate decoration.

Dolmabahçe Palace was the first European style palace built during the Ottoman Empire.