Sunday, September 3, 2017


Dolmabahçe, Beşiktaş - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°02'22.3"N 29°00'07.0"E / 41.039528, 29.001944


Situated between the Administrative section (Mabeyn) and the Harem, this hall is the most magnificent hall in the entire palace. The Muayede (Ceremonial) Hall used to host all state ceremonies, and receptions, especially those held for religious holidays. During the Ramadan and Sacrificial religious feasts, the ceremonial throne would be brought from the treasury of the Topkapi Palace and placed against the far wall of the hall.

Following the holiday morning prayer, Sultan would rest for a while in a chamber located on the right of the throne. While he was resting, the state officials would enter the room and assume the places they had been assigned. Before the officials holiday greeting ceremony would begin, Sultan would first accept the well wishes of the princes, and the assembled guests.

The ambassadors would gather in the balcony located just the opposite of the throne, while the other guests would take their places in the left balcony. The palace orchestra would be assembled in the right balcony. The Harem women would gather in front of the windows of the seaside passageway to watch the ceremony. This gorgeous ceremonial hall witnessed many important receptions.

On ceremonial occasions the gold throne would be carried here from Topkapı Palace, and seated here the sultan would exchange congratulations on  religious festivals with hundreds of statesmen and other official guests. On such traditional occasions foreign ambassadors and guests would sit in one of the upper galleries, another being reserved for the palace orchestra.

It was here that Sultan Abdülmecid hosted a reception for Marshall Pelissier, a commander in the Crimean War, and for Hungarian Emperor, Franz Joseph. After Sultan Abdülaziz, Sultan Murad V broke with long tradition and had his coronation ceremony performed in this hall rather than in Topkapı Palace (May 30, 1876). The opening meeting of the first Ottoman parliament, an event that was considered to be a turning point in the history of the Ottoman Empire, was also held in this hall (March 19, 1877).

The Muayede Hall encompasses approximately 2000 square meters. It is 36 meters high and the dome has a diameter of 25 meters. There are 56 columns in the hall. The Hereke carpet on the floor is 124 square meters, and is of embossed, European design. The Palace’s largest, heaviest, and the most magnificent chandelier hangs in this hall. Manufactured in England in 1853, the chandelier holds 664 bulbs, and weighs 4,5 tons.

Originally the chandelier was powered with city gas, but it was modified and converted to electricity in 1912. A room leads off from each of the four corners of the hall. The two rooms facing the land have domed ceiling.

Six stoke pits under the floor provide the heating. Upper galleries were used by foreign ambassadors who invited to the religious ceremonies but also by the orchestra at special occasions. During the winter period, the Ceremonial hall was heated with the hot air blown from the heating system at the bottom of 56 tall columns (central heating system blowing warm air from the foot of the columns providing comfortable temperature even in coldest days); it took them about 3 days to heat the hall properly before any ceremony.

During the first years of the Republic, Muayede hall was also used to host various state receptions. It was in this hall that, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk made his first speech to the people of Istanbul as the president of the Republic. The text of his speech was placed in this hall. Ataturk also opened the “History Exhibition” in this hall, an exhibition that was organized in connection with the Second Turkish History Congress.

Following the death of Ataturk, the founder of Turkish Republic, on November 10, 1938, his body was placed in this hall in a casket and remained here for some time for public to visit to express their condolences.

Ceremonial Hall is located in the centre of main building and is twice-high of the buildings reciding on both sides. This hall was being used for ceremonies. With its architectural static structure and decorations this building is an awe-inspiring building. Ceremonial Hall is covered with domes from the inside, and with a roof from the outside. It is remarkable from other halls with its height and design.

Sultan Abdülhamit II (1876 – 1909 ) declared the The Basic Law of the Ottoman Empire (The First Constitutional Era) in this hall with a magnificent ceremony. On that night the buildings in the city got decorated and torchlight prorcessions were arranged. The public cheered over infront of Dolmabahce Palace and the estate of Midhat Pasha, the architecture of the Basic Law, and infront of other embassies. Also Sultan Abdülhamit II greeted the people from the window of The Glass Villa which is also located in Dolmabahçe Palace. 44 days later, on 5 February 1877 Midhat Pasha got exiled from the docks of the palace to Europe.

Ceremonial Hall witnessed two more historical moments after the declaration of the rebublic. First one happened when Mustafa Kemal Pasha who left Istanbul on 16 May 1919 as a military personal, returned to Istanbul as the president of the republic on 1927. 8 years later Istanbul rejoined with Ataturk in these halls. The second one happened on 10 November 1938. Ataturk’s funeral prayer took place in the very same hall. On November 16, his body laid in state for the people to visit him one last time, and kept in the Ceremonial Hall for 3 more days.


Undoubtedly one of the most important halls in the Palace, the Sufera hall was used to host formal receptions, meetings and to receive Ambassadors. After the foundation of the Republic, this hall witnessed several historical events of which the most important ones were related with conducting the preliminary works on cultural reforms under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

The lavish decoration of the hall befits its function as flaunting the Empire’s magnificence to foreign guests. The ceiling is decorated with gilded plaster moldings, while the fireplaces, at each of the four corners are framed with European porcelain tiles. The crystal pediments of the fireplaces are encircled with carved frames.

The piano bears the monogram of Sultan of Sultan Abdülmecid. The furniture is reminiscent of Rococo style. The floor is covered with 88 square meter carpet, woven in Tebriz, Iran. The silver clock, represented to Sultan Abdülhamid II by Abbas Hilmi Pasha, the Khedive (viceroy) of Egypt, as a sign of his loyalty, has four functions; showing the time, calendar, barometer, and thermometer.

The clock bears the signature of its Austrian artist, Wilhelm Kirsch, and an inscription dedicated to Sultan. The inscription reads “May your every minute be an hour, and your every hour a hundred years”. Among the other interesting pieces of the palace collection found in this hall is a pair of bearskins, a gift of Russian Czar Nicholas II.


This room was reserved and used as the waiting room for ambassadors or other important guests who were about to be received by the Sultan. Paintings on the walls are rare examples of Ayvazovski. The gilded mirrored console standing at the entry bears the monogram of Sultan Abdülmecid. An interesting feature of the guest room is that its decor has been further enlivened with trompe l’oile murals of tulle-like draperies.


On the land side of the Ambassadorial hall is the Reception room, which is consists of two sections; at the immediate entrance we come across the last waiting room, where ambassadors, foreign diplomats, and official guests of Sultan used to wait for their official reception. There are two paintings on the walls of this room; one depicting the Turkish-Greek war of 1897, by German artist, Theodor Rocholl, and the other, by Italian artist, Fausto Zonaro. There is also a mosaic style painting, depicting the ruins of ancient Rome.

Next to the Last waiting room is the so called “Red Room” or the “Ambassador’s Reception Room” where ambassadors and foreign diplomats were officially received by the Sultan. The gilded and cassette ceiling, tulle-like trompe l’oile, Louis XVI seating group, and gilded single piece cornices all combine and reflect the opulence of the Ottoman Empire. On the walls there are three Ayvazovski paintings; “Sailboat at sea”, “Stormy sea”, and “the landscape”.


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