What is the Dolmabahçe Palace Harem?

The Dolmabahçe Palace Harem was the private area where the Sultan, his mother, his wives, children, concubines, and other close relatives lived. Located within Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul, this part of the palace was exclusively for the Sultan’s use and was constantly guarded.

The rooms in the harem were exquisitely decorated with glass, crystals, and gold. They also offered spectacular views of the palace gardens and the waters of the Bosphorus Strait. The harem was renowned for its luxurious design and private setting.

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Quick Facts About Dolmabahçe Palace Harem

Official Name: Dolmabahçe Palace Harem

Address: Dolmabahçe Palace, Vişnezade Mahallesi, Dolmabahçe Caddesi, Beşiktaş, Istanbul, Turkey

Date of Opening: 7 June 1856

Visiting Hours: Open from Tuesday to Sunday, 9 AM to 4 PM

Architects: The Harem was designed by Garabet Balyan, Nigogayos Balyan, and William James Smith, who are renowned for their contributions to architecture.

Architectural Style: The Dolmabahçe Palace Harem showcases a mix of Ottoman, Baroque, and Rococo styles, making it a unique example of 19th-century architecture


Why Visit the Dolmabahçe Palace Harem?

Historical Importance: The Dolmabahçe Palace Harem served as the private home for the Sultan and his family, playing a central role in the leadership of the Ottoman Empire. Kemal Mustafa Ataturk, the first President of Turkey, also resided and passed away here.

Beautiful Design: The harem’s design, like the rest of Dolmabahçe Palace, blends Rococo, Baroque, and Ottoman styles, showcasing impressive architecture. Each room is richly decorated, reflecting the opulent lifestyle of the Sultans.

Fancy Decorations: Decorations within the harem include gold trim, crystal pieces, and special glass from Baccarat. The floors feature luxurious Hereke rugs made from silk, cotton, and wool, adding to the grandeur of the space.

Great Views: The harem boasts stunning views of the Bosphorus Strait and the palace gardens, enhancing its allure and grandiosity.

Highlights of Dolmabahçe Palace Harem

Pink Hall: This key room, where the Sultan’s mother hosted her visitors, is adorned with gold and crystals, including a grand chandelier. It later served as a room for President Kemal Ataturk.

Blue Hall: Also known as the Imperial Hall, this space on the top floor has excellent views of the water and was used for significant ceremonies.

Ataturk’s Room: The room where Kemal Mustafa Ataturk, the first President of Turkey, spent his final years. The clocks here are stopped at 9:05, the time of his death.

Harem Gardens: These serene gardens feature a variety of plants, trees, and flowers, along with fountains, statues, and a terrace by the water, providing breathtaking views.

History of Dolmabahçe Palace Harem

In the 1800s, the Dolmabahçe Palace Harem symbolized the Ottoman Empire’s adoption of European styles. It was the first time the harem — the private quarters for the Sultan’s family — was integrated into the main palace structure, marking a significant architectural and cultural shift.

Architecture & Design of Dolmabahçe Palace Harem

The design of the Dolmabahçe Palace Harem, like the rest of the palace, incorporates elaborate Baroque and Rococo elements along with traditional Ottoman designs. This unique blend has created a distinctive style characterized by ornate pillars, hallways, and rooms adorned with gold, crystal, and European and Asian glass.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dolmabahçe Palace Harem

The Dolmabahçe Palace Harem was the secluded living area for the Sultan and his family, deeply integrated into the main palace structure and marked by opulent design and strict privacy.

Yes, the Dolmabahçe Palace includes a harem, which was a significant part of the palace, comprising private living quarters for the Sultan’s family.

The Harem section of the Dolmabahçe Palace includes over 285 rooms, used for various purposes from living quarters to ceremonial spaces.

Tickets for the Dolmabahçe Palace Harem can be purchased online or at the palace ticket office. These tickets typically include access to other parts of the palace as well.

Yes, a general admission ticket to Dolmabahçe Palace usually includes access to the harem unless specified otherwise.

The Harem was designed by architects Garabet Balyan and Nigogayos Balyan, prominent figures in the Ottoman architectural community.

Construction of the Dolmabahçe Palace, including the harem, started in 1843 and was completed in 1856.

Inside the harem, you can find luxurious furnishings, elaborate decor, and extensive private quarters, reflecting the lavish lifestyle of the Ottoman royalty.

Visitors can tour the harem to view its historical architecture, lavish decorations, and gain insights into the private lives of the Ottoman Sultans.

The harem is open to visitors from Tuesday to Sunday, 9:00 to 16:00.

It is located within the Dolmabahçe Palace grounds along the European shore of the Bosphorus in Istanbul.

Yes, the palace has been adapted to be accessible to wheelchair users, although some areas might be less accessible due to the historical nature of the building.