What Are the Famous Palaces in Turkey?

Turkey is a well-established country with rich cultural and historical structures. It is possible to see a lot of architectural works from the past states or civilizations on the country’s territory, which were built years ago. Among these works are palaces, castles, churches, mosques, city walls, and even a cistern. When we look at the old civilizations, for example, some magnificent structures in Istanbul still have been preserved and restored from the Byzantine Period (15th century) to the present day. In addition, the Ottoman Sultans, who were responsible for administrating these lands until the end of the 19th century, built many castles and palaces in Istanbul to show the magnificence and wealth of their era.

Many magnificent palaces and structures were positioned and used all over Anatolia. Some of these palaces were primary residences, while others were summer residences. The reason for the ostentatious construction outside of Istanbul is that the princes who aimed to ascend to the throne served as sanjak to gain experience in administration in regions such as Amasya, Manisa, and Trabzon. If you are interested in royal luxury and history.

1. Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahce Palace is located in the north of the rapidly growing part of the city of Istanbul and was built between 1843 and 1856 in a neo-baroque style at the Marmara exit of the Bosphorus. The Armenian Balyan Family built Dolmabahce Palace by order of Sultan Abdulmecid. The architect of the Palace is Karabet Balyan, the chief architect of Sultan Abdulmecit.

Before the Sultan had this Palace built, he thought that Topkapi, which was used as a private palace, was old and worn out, so he decided to have a castle built in a different style that would adapt to the new age. In addition, one of the reasons presented for the construction of the Dolmabahce Palace was that he wanted to show the magnificence and wealth of the Ottoman Empire to the whole world again and to surpass many luxurious castles and palaces in Europe.

This Palace’s drawing plan and construction were complicated compared to other palaces and had modern lines for that period. 3 floors, 285 rooms, 43 halls, and 6 Turkish baths, including the basement with a symmetrical design. The pier is 600 meters long and has two beautifully decorated monumental gates that provide access to the Palace’s courtyard. There is a 4.5-ton crystal chandelier hanging from the 36-meter-high ceiling of the grand ballroom.

Dolmabahce Palace was used in two different periods, 1856-1887 and 1902-1922. During the Republican period, this magnificent Palace was transformed into the Presidential Palace. In this way, it became the only work that served the state after the proclamation of the republic.

2. İhlamur Kasri

The historical Ihlamur Kasri is a beautiful mansion placed among the linden trees. The purpose of its construction is a cute imperial resting house plan that will offer a resting area to the upper layer to drink a cup of coffee or, as the word İhlamur tea says, a cup of linden( İhlamur) tea. Sultan Abdulmecit built the mansion between 1849-1855 as a resting mansion, where he hosted some of his guests, including the French poet Lamartine.

Ihlamur Kasri was originally a farm that Sultan Ahmed bought in the 18th century. It started as a place for target practice but soon became a place of entertainment for royalty.  The architect of this particular building is Nikagos Balyan from the Balyan family, the famous imperial architects of the period. Ihlamur Pavilion consists of two buildings; The ceremonial pavilion was reserved for ceremonies, and the Maiyet pavilion was reserved for the Sultan’s Palace or Harem.

3. Malta Kosku

Malta Mansion is a magnificent historical building located in Yildiz Park in the Besiktas district. Although its architect is not known for certain, it is estimated that the Italian architect Fossati was brought to Beylerbeyi Palace by Sultan Abdulaziz in 1866. It was used as a relaxing mansion for Sultans and female Sultans in the middle of the 19th century.  They were fascinated by the well-kept vegetation that Sultan Abdulaziz wanted to be built in this densely forested park.
The mansion, witnessed some tragic events in the last years of Ottoman history, including dramatic moments such as the isolation or exile of young heirs or princes, including Murad V. It is famous for its delicate friezes, gold leaf mirror, and oiled marble fish figurines and ceiling decorations on the marble fountain at the entrance.
Malta Mansion has four gates. Opposite the door facing the sea, there is a large room with a marble pool decorated with a fountain with swan motifs. The windows of the rooms, which are reached by stairs on both sides of the billiard room, are made of yellow, red, blue, and white glass. A staircase leads to the upper floor, directly across from the room with the pool, where there are two rooms decorated with floral motifs. After Abdulhamid was deposed and exiled, the mansion remained empty for more than forty years.

4. Ciragan Palace

Ciragan Palace is one of the essential Ottoman architectural works, and today it is used for hotels and special events, you can have a historical experience by staying here. The construction of this historical Palace began in the 19th century. It was built as a palace with many rooms, as every dynasty member wanted to live together at that time. Sultan Abdulaziz passed away a few years after he had this Palace built.
The name Ciragan, after which the mansion is named, comes from the Persian word “cerag,” which means torch. The area where the Palace is located was called Ceragan because of the famous Ottoman parties held with torches in the tulip gardens. Built during the reign of Abdulmecit, the Palace was designed by the Armenian architect Serkis Balyan. The building was constructed using financial loans to restructure Istanbul’s water system and construct a new railway.
Sultan’s Suite, the most outstanding room in the Palace, is ranked 14th in CNN’s ‘The 15 most expensive hotels in the world and is listed as the most luxurious accommodation facility in Istanbul. Kempinski Hotels operate the place now.

5. Kucuksu Kasri

Kucuksu Kasri is a magnificent resting mansion located at a point formerly known as the Sweet Waters of Asia due to its natural beauty. The mansion was built to show the magnificence of the Ottoman Empire to all of Europe. An important feature of this palace is that this is the first pavilion not paid for by the sultan who holds the throne, but grand vizier. At the same time, another interesting piece of information about this mansion is that it is the place that hosted many distinguished guests such as the Prince of Wales VII Edward.
The interior of the mansion was designed by French stage designer Charles Sechan, who also includes the Vienna State Opera. The building is decorated in European-style architecture. It features elegant fireplaces made of Italian marble, fine wood parquet floors, European furniture, crystal chandeliers and Sultan Monogram mirrors, Hereke carpets, and many paintings.

6. Maslak Kasri

Maslak Pavilion is a historical ottoman palace located on an area of 170 hectares on Buyukdere Street, at the intersection of Istinye and Tarabya intersections, in the Maslak district of Istanbul, from which it takes its name. Maslak Pavilion was originally built as a hunting lodge and resting place for the Sultans. The mansion is a combination of several mansions built during the reign of Sultan Abdulaziz (1861-1876). Kiosks that have survived until today; Kasr-i Humayun (imperial mansion), Mabeyn-i Humayun (imperial palace), Limonluk (lemon mansion), Cadır and Pashas (generals). Sultan II in the monarch’s mansion. Abdulhamit’s place only has a bedroom and a study place in it. This complex place was reopened as a museum in 1986.

7. Aynalikavak Kasri

Aynalikavak Kasri is also known as Aynalikavak Palace, as it used to be a part of the shipyard palace (also known as the Shipyard Palace). Aynalikavak Kasri is located in the Haskoy district of the Golden Horn. Although the region was initially filled with agricultural lands during the Byzantine period and forests where the sultans built wooden lodges to rest during the Ottoman period, the area gained importance after the construction of the shipyards and in the 18th-19th century. Aynalikavak Kasri and several mansions were built over the centuries, and the total complex was called the Shipyard Palaces by the people.
When we look around the Palace, the land front has two floors, and the seafront has three feet. The mansion has a divan room and a lounge (in Turkish, Supply Room) decorated with Sultan’s tugras, many calligraphy, and beautiful windows and mirrors. You may be surprised to see Turkish musical instruments arranged according to Selim’s musical interests on display. Poems are engraved on the windows in the private room.
Aynalıkavak opened visitors as a museum in 1985; after the restoration, it was reopened at the end of 2010.

8. Topkapi Palace

Sultan II. Mehmed, also known as Fatih Sultan Mehmet, had Topkapi Palace built on the place used as an acropolis during the Byzantine period after he conquered Istanbul and then Constantinople. This would make Topkapi Palace the first Palace of all Ottoman palaces in Istanbul. This Palace draws attention with its architectural style that is different from the leading Western and Eastern period types.
Topkapi, unlike the Palaces on the Anatolian side, is a single monumental European building, a more organic complex of gardens and a complex on the Golden Horn, not at the tip of the peninsula. Topkapi Palace served as the residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years until Abdulmecid constructed the Dolmabahce Palace.  It is a Palace that was later converted into a museum. The most exciting exhibition halls of the Palace include the following; Islamic holy relics, Sultan’s clothes, divan, Harem, Chinese porcelain in the kitchens, and various mansions such as Baghdad, Revan, Sofa, and Mecidiye. There are towing and equipment facilities for the palace grounds, which have breathtaking views of the city.

9. Ishak Pasha Palace

Ishak Pasha Palace is a unique Palace that dates back to the Ottoman period, the construction of which was started in 1685 by the Bey of Beyazit, Colak Abdi Pasha. Ishak Pasha Palace is not a palace but a work resembling a complex. It served as the second administrative campus of the Ottoman Empire after the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul and became the most famous of the palaces built in recent years.
The construction was continued by Ishak Pasha, who was the descendant of Abdi Pasha, who would give its name to the Palace, which was built by a hereditary family of Pasha from the Cildirogullari family of the Jaqeli dynasty. He became Cıldır Pasha between 1790-1791. The Palace is weakly defended against the eastern hills, as it was built in an era when forts were no longer private, firearms were developed, and were in abundance. The main gate is its weakest point in this respect. The structure of the main entrance has neat stonework and carving, not unlike those seen in palaces built in Istanbul and elsewhere in Anatolia.

10. Beylerbeyi Palace

Beylerbeyi, a 19th-century palace, literally means Lord of lords, and the name is apt, considering the Beylerbeyi Palace is undoubtedly one of many beautiful palaces in Istanbul. Beylerbeyi Palace is on the Anatolian side, next to the Bosphorus. Although the Palace’s construction began during Sultan Mahmud’s reign, Sultan Abdulaziz brought the Beylerbeyi Palace to its present glory. Demolished the original building and rebuilt it due to the fire. Beylerbeyi Palace became a place hosting many foreigners during the Ottoman period, such as Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph and German Emperor II. It was used as a state guesthouse that hosted people like Wilhelm and Montenegrin Prince Nikola.

Beylerbeyi was built on two main floors and a basement with a kitchen and warehouses and was divided into two parts; Selamlık (men’s section) and Harem. There are 3 entrances, 6 staterooms, and 26 small rooms.
An exciting piece of information about this Palace is that Ataturk, the founder and first president of the Turkish state, loved to host guests at Beylerbeyi Palace even in the early period of modern Turkey, because of the elaborate and contemporary architecture, from its magnificent gardens to its detailed, ornate ceilings.

11. Adile Sultan Palace

Sultan Abulmecit had this summer mansion built-in in 1856 as a gift for his beloved sister, Sultan Adile. It was designed as a 19th-century palace, the construction of which was started by the architect Sarkis Balyan and inspired by western architecture. Adile Sultan, the sister of Abdulmecit, is a female sultan who makes contemporary breakthroughs for women and is especially interested in the education of orphan girls. After her husband’s death, she moved from the palace and donated it to the state to be used as a girls’ high school.
It was used as a school until 1986 for the purpose it donated, but after a fire disaster, it was converted into a museum and event space. Located on the Asian coast, in the middle of the Bosphorus, Adile Sultan Palace is one of the venues used for prestigious events with its unique historical ambiance and unique Bosphorus view.

Should Palace Tours Be Added to Turkey Holidays?

If you visit Turkey, we think you should experience its cultural, historical, and modern atmosphere from a single source. Let’s not forget that the Ottoman Empire was the leading architectural, political, economic, and military administration of the period; you should experience this vast historical culture by visiting magnificent architectural structures and experiencing the period when the buildings were built. Turkey with a lot of historical places as well as holiday spots, take the attention of everyone around the world.

Is It Free to Visit Turkish Palaces?

Some Turkish palaces are free to visit some are not. For instance palaces like Dolmabahce Palace, Topkapi Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, and Ishak Pasa Palace entrance fees charged. The free palaces are Ciragan Palace, Adile Sultan Palace, and many more. Though with the MuseumPass, Turkish MüzeKart, can be bought from muze.gov which the T.C. Ministry of Culture and Tourism provides for the palaces and many more cultural visits in the city of Turkey.  The prices go from $3 up to 16$.

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