Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul,Turkey...

July 10, 2012
Greece/Turkey Trip

Julide gave us our instructions for the day and got us headed in the right direction-- we walked toward the Dolmabahce Palace; she then proceeded on her way to give a tour for the cruise ship tourists.

We had an early start for our morning… up at 6:00 a.m. dressed, ferry ride, and now here at the Palace by 8:00 a.m.  Julide told us to be in line by 8:30, because the line gets long fast and can be a 2-hour wait in the sun.  We found ourselves second in line behind a mature couple from California, (I'm thinking we must be considered a mature couple now as well--haa) we had a nice visit until the Palace opened at 9:00 a.m. 
After purchasing our ticket, we made our way through the ornate gate
and onto the palace grounds.  This was our first view of the
Dolmabahce Palace... and it was grand!
The palace was built between 1843-1856.  The construction cost five million Ottoman mecidiye gold coins, which is the equivalent of 35 tons of gold!  It was built on the Bosphorus Strait and contains a lot of gold and many crystals.  It is the largest palace in Turkey.  The palace sits on 11.2 acres and contains 285 rooms, 46 halls, 6 baths and 68 toilets; having three main areas (1) Selamlik-  the quarters reserved for the men; (2) Harem- the residential apartments for the family of the Sultan; and (3) the Ceremonial Hall.
I found this picture on the web that was taken from the air
and it gives you a better perspective of it's massive size.
And even here, you can not see everything!
The gate to the Treasury was just to the left as we entered the palace grounds.
The couple in the photo is the one we visited with from California,
I had not paid any attention or noticed them when taking this picture.
Detail at the top of the Treasury Gate
This was to our right -- another gate for entry to/from the water.
I cannot describe in words how beautiful the palace was.  All of the surrounding grounds were well-tended and so picturesque.  It was truly beautiful!  First thing, we took a full-guided tour of the Palace.  Photos inside were not allowed; so I will take the liberty to share a couple photos from the web with you in a bit, of a few things inside the Palace.
But first, before entering the Palace we had the
opportunity to wear these lovely footies over our shoes
to protect their woven mats, rugs, and wood flooring
throughout the Palace... I don't blame them.
After the tour, I took a quick picture with the guard... and of course, Dennis
had to discuss what kind of gun.  While the guard spoke very little English,
they did communicate so that DT learned it was MP-5 sub machine gun.
And imagine, this guy did not ask "why" three times; in-fact, not even once!
Clock Tower in front of the Palace
was constructed between 1890-1895
As we Left the Dolmabahce Palace, we noted the time on this beautiful Clock Tower that stands in front of the palace.   We stayed almost four hours touring the palace and grounds. The landscaping was beautiful and I was amazed at how many of the same flowers they have growing in Turkey as I do at home.  Not that my gardens look anything like the palace grounds, but the variety of plants-- many were the same.

Here is a picture of the world's largest Bohemian crystal chandelier that hangs in the Ceremonial Hall.
This shows some of the Ceremonial Hall and it's grandeur.
The chandelier was a gift from Queen Victoria; it has 750 lambs and weighs 4.5 tons (9,000 lbs)!  There are several other Bohemian crystal chandeliers throughout the palace and the collection is the largest in the world.  The palace also exhibits one of the greatest staircases of Baccarat crystal.
This is the best photo I have come across of the crystal banisters!
The chandelier was not lit up while we were there, but we can all have a
glimpse of the magnificent elegance it held.
While the chandelier and staircase were not the only thing to see in the palace, this gives you an idea of why we might have spent almost four hours touring.  We viewed the Harem apartments as well; and of course, they did not have the same elegance, but the facility and grounds as a whole was massive and most interesting to think that people really lived like this.

Our day will continue with a ferry ride to one of the Princes' Islands where we will meet up with  Julide's boyfriend, Tolga.

To be continued...

1 comment:

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