Wednesday, 29 November 2017
For our 4th day in Istanbul, we went to visit Dolmabahçe Palace. Since the palace is located on the opposite side of the Galata Bridge, we had to take the tram to Kabatas, and from there, walk to Dolmabahçe . As you can see from the map above, it’s just a short walk, less than 10 minutes.
I find the tram in Istanbul to be modern and easy to use. However, it’s really packed with people. I can imagine the transport authorities must be happy to see such high ridership!
The palace was built in 1856CE by the 31st Ottoman Sultan, Abdülmecid I, as he felt the existing Topkapi Palace was medieval and lack style compared to European palaces. The new palace was extremely expensive (5 million Ottoman gold lira or equivalent $1.5 billion ). They had to borrow extensively from European banks. Due to the enormous financial burden, the empire defaulted on their loan in 1875 and was labelled the “sick man of Europe” by European powers.
The interior of the palace was very lavish. It’s no wonder it almost bankrupted the empire. I was slightly disappointed that visitors are not allowed to take photos inside the building.
We had lunch at the cafe outside the palace. It had a great view of the Bosphorus.
Since we were at this side of the Galata Bridge, we decided to visit Taksim Square. From the Kabatas Station, we took the furnicular to Taksim Square. It was just a short 10 min ride. Taksim Square is a wide open space which connects directly to shopping avenues in Istanbul.
We visited the Republic Monument, completed in 1928 to commemorate the formation of the Turkish Republic (1923).
From Taksim Square, we walked down Istiklal Avenue. It is a famous shopping district in Istanbul. There were lots of shops and other malls, and packed with people (on a Wednesday afternoon!).
We walked all the way down to Kabatas station, and then took the tram back to the hotel.