One of the most sumptuous buildings in Istanbul, Dolmabahçe Palace is situated in the most picturesque part of the Bosphorus. The palace was built in 1842 to replace an earlier wooden construction. Although it was built in the mid-nineteenth century, it still protects its prepossessing appearance, and it is one of the symbolic structures in Istanbul.
Dolmabahçe is the largest palace in Turkey with an area of 45.000 m2. Stones such as Egyptian alabaster, Marmara marble, and porphyry from Pergamum were used for its decoration. Dolmabahçe Palace was built by the Armenian architect Garabet Amira Balyan and his son Nigogos Balyan, in a mix of European architectural styles. The palace includes 285 rooms, 44 halls, and 68 toilets inside, and a total number of 202 oil paintings are displayed at the palace.
Dolmabahçe Palace is located in the coastal area of Beşiktaş, where shipping activities used to take place as one of the bays of the Bosphorus. This bay has been a natural harbor where ships took shelter since ancient times, and it attracted rulers during the Byzantine period and royal palaces were built in this region. The place where Dolmabahçe Palace is located was a bay where the Ottoman Chief Admiral would house his navy ships 400 years ago. In those days, naval ceremonies were performed in the bay. However, the bay started to turn into a swamp over time. In the 17th century, after the bay was filled, it was named ''Hasbahçe''. After that, Hasbahçe was used as a royal garden of the sultan and the dynasty. After a time, it was started to be called ''Beşiktaş Coastal Palace''. Then, in 1842, Dolmabahçe Palace was built.
Abdulmecid I and the brother of Abdulmecid, Abdulaziz lived there, and they also used it for formal occasions, but neither of them lived at Dolmabahçe for that long. The building became Atatürk's Presidential Palace after the republic was declared. During that time of the republic, Atatürk stayed at the palace when he was in Istanbul. Also, this palace is where Atatürk died, unfortunately. It is one of the reasons why Dolmabahçe Palace has so much importance for the Turkish nation. Ismet Inonu used this palace for his Istanbul visits also.