The Sultan’s New House
In the early 19th century, Sultan Mahmud II (1808-1839) enjoyed living in a large wooden palace in the “filled garden” (dolma bahçe) of a small valley on the shores of the Bosphorus.
Mahmut’s son Sultan Abdülmecid (1839-1861), perhaps influenced by his father’s preference and by pleasant youthful years at Dolmabahçe decided to live here permanently. He commissioned the imperial architects of the Balyanfamily to tear down the old wooden structure and build a huge, sumptuous new palace on the spot.
It didn’t matter to the sultan that he really didn’t have the money to do this. He was the sultan, after all.
The palace has a façade nearly a quarter mile (400 meters) long, 285 rooms and 43 large salons. The floors are covered in half a hectare (over an acre) of silk and wool Hereke carpets. The Bohemian crystal chandelier in the Throne Room, the world’s largest, weighs 4-1/2 tons (4000 kilos) and has 750 lights.
Not bad for a guy who had trouble paying his mortgage….