Saturday, September 2, 2017

DOLMABAHÇE PALACE MUSEUM

Dolmabahçe, Beşiktaş - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°02'21.2"N 29°00'02.3"E / 41.039225, 29.000650



PHOTOGRAPHS ALBUM

The infill area linked up imperial groves in Beşiktaş and Kabataş, the Hasbahçe and Karaabalı groves. These were gradually enhanced by pavilions and royal lodges and the whole shoreline remained among the most favoured imperial estates for centuries. Some royal pavilions and lodges are known to have existed around the by before it became infilled, one of the earliest among them being the Kaptan Paşa Yalısı, later renamed the Cağalıoğlu Yalısı.

This was used by Sultan Beyazıt II (1481-1512). Sources for the reign of Sultan Süleyman I refer to the area as a favorite imperial resort, the gardens and groves of which were famous (notably the Karaabalı Mehmet Baba groves). During the reign of Sultan Selim II (1566-1574) the only structure there was a royal lodge and pool built by that sultan.

Sultan Ahmet I (1603-1617) is known to have constructed a pavilion although it is uncertain how long that building remained intact. A considerable amount of construction took place during the reign of Sultan Mehmet IV (1648-1687), with the resulting complex being known as the Beşiktaş Shore Palace. One building of particular renown dating from this period (now no longer extant) was the Çinili Pavilion "Çinili Köşk" (dated 1678-1680).

The existing palace buildings were extended and restored during the reign of Sultan Ahmet III (1703-1730). The pavilions and garden enclosure of Dolmabahçe, which were reputedly in ruins in 1719, were restored and incorporated into the Beşiktaş Palace complex at that time, when the imperial estates were enclosed by high walls. The entire complex and its grounds were renamed the Imperial Palace of Beşiktaş - Beşiktaş Saray-ı Hümayünu.

Subsequently, during the reign of Sultan Mahmut I, a series of pavilions known as the Bayıldım Köşks were built on the slopes above the Dolmabahçe estates (dating to 1748). A mausoleum from the same period which now stands within the grounds of Dolmabahçe Palace, containing the sarcophagi of the wives and daughters of Sultan Mahmut I, indicates that the shore palace was inhabited at this time.

The Beşiktaş Palace was inhabited over the second half of the 18th century, when various additions were made to the structure and continuous restoration took place during the reigns of Sultan Osman III (1754-1757), Sultan Abdülhamid I (1774- 1789) and finally Sultan Selim III (1789- 1807). By the turn of the century, royal buildings stretched along the shore from Beşiktaş to Defterdar Burnu, beginning with the Saray-ı Hümayün at Beşiktaş and extending to the Hatice Sultan Palace at Defterdar Burnu.

The European shores of the Bosphorus had become the most sought after of sites for the dwellings of the Sultan and his retinue. Accounts of restorations made during the reign of Sultan Selim III to the Beşiktaş Palace refer to various pavilions and lodges by name, so that we know there existed at that time a Kasr-ı Cedid, the Valide Sultan Dairesi, the Kasr-ı Hümayün-ı Tacidari and the Sahilhane-i Hümayün among others.

Sultan Mahmut II (1808-1839) ordered the thorough restoration of the palace on his accession, to be carried out by the Imperial Architect "Baş Mimar" Hafız Mehmed Emin Efendi. The restoration was begun in 1809. On its completion, Sultan Mahmut II began to reside in the new palace as well as Topkapı. During the reign of his son Sultan Abdülmecid (1839-1861), some of the pavilions belonging to the Beşiktaş Palace were demolished to make way for a new palace complex.

The imperial command to begin the new palace building was issued by Sultan Abdülmecid once a sizeable site had been cleared, in 1842-1843. The main building was the first part of the palace to be completed, as the inscription medallion bearing the sultan's seal and the date 1847 (H. 1263) within the pendentive over the main portal informs us. A carved seal with the same date is to be found on the façade of the same building, which houses the public section of the palace-the Mabeyn-i Hümayün.

Similar seals and dates scattered throughout the complex give clear indication of the chronology of the palace's construction, successive dates fix the Imperial Gate "Saltanat Kapısı" as being finished earliest (in 1854/H. 1270) followed by the Dowager Sultan Gate "Valide Kapısı" in 1855 (H.1271) and the Treasury Gate "Hazine Kapısı" between 1855-1856 (H.1272). These dates show that the walls and gates of the palace were completed later than the main structure.

Certainly it appears that the palace itself was completed gradually, stage by stage, and the construction as a whole seems to have lasted from 1842-1856. The French writer Theophile Gautier relates how he was shown around the palace by one of the architects of the building, Garabet Balyan in 1853, when the interior was still being decorated. He also mentions that he was first shown a number of old buildings before they were pulled down.

Sultan Abdülmecid remained in the palace a very short time before his death. He was succeeded by Sultan Abdülaziz (1866-1876) who also resided in Dolmabahçe until his deposition and the succession of Sultan Murat V (1876). The sultanate of the latter was extremely short, ending in his deposition three months later and the succession of Sultan Abdülhamid II (1876-1909). The latter sultan remained in Dolmabahçe only one month before moving to Yıldız Palace for greater security.

He remained there until his deposition. In 1909, Sultan Mehmet V came to the throne, and moved back into Dolmabahçe after having it renovated by one of the leading architects of the day, Vedat Tek. On the date of Sultan Mehmet V in 1918, his successor Sultan Mehmet VI (Vahdettin) (1918-1922) remained in Dolmabahçe for a certain time before moving to Yıldız Palace.

The main palace was built by the leading Ottoman architects of the era, Karabet and Nikoğos Balyan, and consists of three parts: the Imperial Mabeyn (State Apartments), Muayede Salon (Ceremonial Hall) and the Imperial Harem, where the sultan and his family led their private lives. The Ceremonial Hall placed centrally between the other two sections is where the sultan received statesman and dignitaries on state occasions and religious festivals.

The palace consists of two main storeys and a basement. The conspicuous western style of decoration tends to overshadow the decidedly Ottoman interpretation evident most of all in the interpretation evident most of all in the interior plan. This follows the traditional layout and relations between private rooms and central galleries of the Turkish house, implemented here on a large scale.

The outer walls are made of stone, the interior walls are made of stone, the interior walls of brick, and the floors of wood. Modern technology in the form of electricity and a central heating system was introduced in 1910-12. The palace has a total floor area of 45.000 square metres, with 285 small rooms, 46 reception rooms and galleries, 6 hamams (Turkish baths) and 68 lavatories. The finely made parquet floors are laid with 4454 square metres of carpets, the earliest made at the palace carpet weaving mill and those of later date at the mill in Hereke.

Various small summer palaces and wooden pavilions were built here during the 18th and 19th centuries ultimately forming a palace complex named Beşiktaş Waterfront Palace. The area of 110,000 m2 is confined by Bosphorus on the east side, while a steep precipice bounds it on the west side, such that after the building of the new 45,000 m2 monoblock Dolmabahçe Palace a relatively limited space has remained for a garden complex which would normally surround such a palace. 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.

ARCHITECTURE AND INTERIOR DESING

The style of the palace has, in fact, been variously interpreted by different sources of the period. It was the product of eclecticism. The plan bears both Occidental and Turkish features, while the ornamentation both inside and out reveals Baroque, Rococo and Empire features which have been skillfully amalgamated in one building by the Ottoman architects. Many notable artists and architects in both the Ottoman and European traditions worked on the structure and decoration of the palace.

According to the available information, the construction of Dolmabahçe Palace was entrusted to Altunizade İsmail Zühtü Pasha, the Head Architect of the day. While Head Architect İsmail Zühtü Pasha was serving as Bina Emini (Official in charge of construction), from the skilled Imperial Kalfa’s Garabet Balyan, his son Nikoğos Balyan and some other Imperial Kalfas were appointed to carry out the construction of the palace.

The main building of the palace is divided into three sections, the administrative-Mabeyn-i Hümayün, the Ceremonial Hall-Muayede-i Hümayün, and the private apartments of the sultan and his family the Harem-i Hümayün. The centrally placed grand hall, which rose through the two main stories of the palace, was flanked on either side by two wings set parallel to the shoreline, the first being the administrative, the second the private wing. The Harem occupies a considerable amount of the site, finally extending inland at right-angles to the shore.

The palace is actually three storeys throughout if we include the lower service floor and the gallery flanking the upper storey of the Muayede Salon. The Harem, which extends perpendicularly to the shore, is four storeys. The general plan is, in fact, identical to that of the typical Turkish dwelling, with a central public area -the sofa- flanked by rooms leading off to each side.

It has simply been carried out on an extremely grand scale. However, each section of the palace has been independently designed around the same principle, the concept of individual areas in western fashion being integrated with the features of a typical Turkish architectural plan. The three main functional areas of the palace are collected under one roof in a most unusual arrangement for Turkish architecture.

The palace contains a total of 285 rooms, 43 halls, 6 terraces and 6 hamams (Turkish baths) over a total area of 14.595 m2. The façades are pierced by 1427 windows and there are 25 doors to the palace, each with a different function, giving access from the shore and gardens. The building is based on a foundation of timber posts embedded into the infill, overlaid with a timber grid infilled with a layer of rough cement "Horasan Harcı" 1 m - 1.20 m deep.

There are three rows of timbers throughout the grid over which the buildings were constructed. The walls of the palace are stone with brick infill-frame and faced with ashlar. They support a roof of timber surfaced with lead. Over the Muayede Salon, the timber sloping roof acts as a most unusual outer membrane for the dome covering the hall, while the crystal staircase in the Mabeyn-i Hümayün is vaulted over with a glass roof. The interior structure-walls, ceilings etc. are wood.

Various kinds of coarse sandstone were used on the façades along-side stone from Marseille and Trieste. Marble too, is employed, generally local marble from the Marmara. In the sultan's bath Egyptian alabaster covers the walls and floors. The structural timbers are mainly pine and oak, together with some African and Indian woods. Purplish glass was used for the windows to protect the decoration and furnishings of the palace. This is said to prevent ultraviolet rays from passing through the glass.

ADJACENT BUILDINGS

A number of further residential buildings are located near the palace including the palace of the Crown Prince (Veliaht Dairesi), the quarters of the gentlemen-in-waiting (Musahiban Dairesi), the dormitories of the servants (Agavat Dairesi, Bendegan Dairesi) and of the guards (Baltacılar Dairesi), the quarters of the Chief Eunuch (Kızlarağası Dairesi). Further buildings include imperial kitchens (Matbah-i Amire), stables, an aviary (Kuşluk), a plant nursery (Fidelik), a flour mill, a greenhouse (Sera), Dolmabahçe Clock Tower, Dolmabahçe Mosque, a Hereke carpet workshop (Hereke dökümhanesi), a glass manufactory, a foundry, a pharmacy etc.

A baroque style mosque designed by Garabet Balyan was built near the palace in 1853 - 1855. It was commissioned by queen mother Bezm-i Âlem Valide Sultan. Since 1948 the building housed the Naval Museum, but the museum was moved to another location in 1960 after the coup d'état of May, 27th. In 1967 the mosque was returned for worship.

A clock tower (Dolmabahçe Saat Kulesi) was erected in front of the Treasury Gate on a square along the European waterfront of Bosphorus next to the mosque. The tower was ordered by sultan Abdülhamid II and designed by the court architect Sarkis Balyan between 1890 and 1895. Its clock was manufactured by the French clockmaker house of Jean-Paul Garnier, and installed by the court clock master Johann Mayer.

A number of further residential buildings are located near the palace including the palace of the Crown Prince (Veliaht Dairesi), the quarters of the gentlemen-in-waiting (Musahiban Dairesi), the dormitories of the servants (Agavat Dairesi, Bendegan Dairesi) and of the guards (Baltacilar Dairesi), the quarters of the Chief Eunuch (Kizlaragasi Dairesi). Further buildings include imperial kitchens (Matbah-i Amire), stables, an aviary (Kuşluk), a plant nursery (Fidelik), a flour mill, a greenhouse (Sera), a Hereke carpet workshop (Hereke dökümhanesi), a glass manufactory, a foundry, a pharmacy etc.

A baroque style mosque designed by Garabet Balyan was built near the palace in 1853—1855. It was commissioned by queen mother Bezm-i Âlem Valide Sultan. Since 1948 the building housed the Naval Museum, but the museum was moved to another location in 1960 after the coup d'état of May, 27th. In 1967 the mosque was returned for worship.

A clock tower (Dolmabahçe Saat Kulesi) was erected in front of the Treasury Gate on a square along the European waterfront of Bosphorus next to the mosque. The tower was ordered by sultan Abdülhamid II and designed by the court architect Sarkis Balyan between 1890 and 1895. Its clock was manufactured by the French clockmaker house of Jean-Paul Garnier, and installed by the court clock master Johann Mayer.

DECORATION

The striking decorations one may see throughout the palace both on the exterior and the interior are a blend of western styles of various periods. On the façades we see cartouches, rosettes, medallions, oyster shells, wreaths and garlands, vases and "C" and "S" shaped scrolls in Baroque, Rococo and Empire styles merged into one composition, giving the whole façade an eclectic appearance.

Ottoman art was no stranger to these styles, and individual buildings exist as proof of their adoption as separate styles over the years in Istanbul, but Dolmabahçe is the first building in which they were amalgamated to such effect. A similar eclecticism can be seen on the interior of the palace. Motifs from the façade recur on the interior walls and ceilings, but interspersed with cartouches containing trompe d'oeil paintings, still lives, animal figures and landscapes.

These are mainly painted on plaster and plaster of Paris, sometimes on wood, canvas, lead and glass. Some of the ceilings are cassetted, each cassette bearing different decorations. Gold leaf and gilt is used throughout the interior, particularly on the casetted ceilings. Plaster mouldings are also an important feature of the interior. Trompe d'oeil is used on a grandscale on some walls and ceilings to considerable effect, creating false architectural spaces in several areas of the palace.

The traditional motifs of Ottoman polychrome tracery were augmented from the mid-18th century onwards by Baroque and Rococo devices, which were increasingly used along side landscape painting both in Dolmabahçe and in a number of buildings contemporary to it in the Ottoman capital.

Whereas the Topkapı has exquisite examples of Iznik tiles and Ottoman carving, the Dolmabahçe palace is extensively decorated with gold and crystal. Fourteen tonnes of gold were used to gild the ceilings. The world's largest Bohemian crystal chandelier is in the Ceremonial Hall. The chandelier was assumed to be a gift from Queen Victoria, however in 2006 the receipt was found showing it was paid for in full. It has 750 lamps and weighs 4.5 tonnes. Dolmabahçe has the largest collection of Bohemian and Baccarat crystal chandeliers in the world. The famous Crystal Staircase has the shape of a double horseshoe and is built of Baccarat crystal, brass and mahogany.

Expensive stones such as Marmara (Proconnesian) marble, Egyptian alabaster (calcite, also known as onyx-marble), and Porphyry from Pergamon were used for the decoration. The palace includes a large number of Hereke palace carpets made by the Hereke Imperial Factory. Also featured are 150-year-old bearskin rugs originally presented to the Sultan as a gift by Tsar Nicholas I.

ORNAMENTS AND FURNISHING

We know that the designer of the Paris Opera, Sechan was involved in the ornamentation and furnishing of Dolmabahçe. In fact, there is evidence that he was responsible for the decoration of a group of rooms including the sultan's suite. Documents concerning payment to the artist indicate the terms under which he was paid and also tell us that he received an imperial award, a fourth degree Mecidiye order from Abdülmecid. We also learn from Theophile Gautier that Sechan's furniture workshop in Turgot was making furniture in the Louise XIV style on order for one hall in the palace.

Much of the palace is covered with parquet flooring, some of which is very intricate. The more basic parquet is of dark and light oak arranged in cruciform interlace, creating square floor panels, while the more elaborate flooring employs walnut, balsam, lime wood and other woods in intricate geometrical interlace patterns with foliate motifs. The doors, of mahogany and walnut are also decorated with marquetry. Furniture throughout the palace is largely of various European styles.

Some furniture were made by order for the palace while it was under construction, while other pieces were gifts from other European countries, and Far Eastern countries such as China, India and Egypt. The collection was enlarged by pieces that had been bought or taken as a present after the palace's construction. Hence one may see artefacts and furniture of several different styles and origins in one room, while Turkish traditional seating-floor cushions-may also be seen.

LIGHTING AND HEATING

From the very beginning, the palace's equipment implemented the highest technical standards. Gas lighting and water-closets were imported from Great Britain, whereas the palaces in continental Europe were still lacking these features at that time. Later, electricity, a central heating system and an elevator were installed.

When the palace was first built, it was illuminated by gaslight, which was piped, imported especially for the palace from Great Britain, from a specially constructed gas works which stood on the site of the present Dolmabahçe Stadium (İnönü Stadium). Up to 1873 - the gas works was run by the Imperial Treasury "Hazine-i Hassa İdaresi", after which it was taken over by a French gas company and subsequently by the Istanbul Municipality.

During the reign of Sultan Abdülmecid, steps were taken to introduce public gas lighting throughout the city, under the sultan's direction. Later, the chandeliers and light fitments in the palace were converted to electricity. This system remains in the palace today. Various different methods of heating were used throughout the palace over the years. Many halls and rooms have fireplaces, which was the main source of heating, while some rooms were heated by porcelain stoves and braziers.

The grand hall of the palace was, however, heated by an underground system by which hot air was filtered from the cellar below the hall through grills at the base of pillars in the hall, providing a mean temperature of 18-200. Later, during the reign of Sultan Mehmed V (Reşad) central heating was installed throughout the palace.

GARDENS



PHOTOGRAPHS ALBUM

The palace has beautiful gardens around. As an extent of the front garden, seaside garden enxtends parallel to the palace with its beautiful ornaments. The others are closed and private gardens. With their high walls and having pools inside, Veliaht (heir apparent) House, Harem (Seraglio) and Kuşluk Gardens are inner gardens (in the upper right corner).

Today, the palace is managed by Milli Saraylar Daire Başkanlığı (Directorate of National Palaces) responsible to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. The only way to see the interior of Dolmabahçe is with a guided tour.

There are cafes in the grounds near the Clock Tower, the courtyard of the Mefruşat Dairesi, the Aviary, and the Veliahd Dairesi. Items available in the souvenir shops here include books about the National Palaces, postcards, and reproductions of selected paintings from the art collection. The Ceremonial Hall and gardens are available for private receptions. Special exhibition areas have now been established, and numerous cultural and art events are held in the palace.

LOCATION SATELLITE MAP



WEB SITE : National Palaces Administration

MORE INFO & CONTACT
E-Mail : millisaraylar@tbmm.gov.tr
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