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Published: April 10th 2016
We decided not to go to the Princes' Islands today, partly because we got a late start, partly because of the State Department warning about docks, and partly because of the weekend crowds...
Instead, we walked, and walked and walked....down to the water from our apartment, along the Bosphorus, up the hill to the Museum of Innocence, back down to the Museum of Modern Art, along the water the Dolmabahce Palace, up hill again (and down and up more times than I can count) to get back home!
Our first stop was the amazing Museum of Innocence, a creation of the Nobel prize winning Turkish writer, Orhan Pamuk. He used his prize money to painstakingly create the Museum described in the book of the same name. I've been reading the book, but sadly didn't finish it before going.
Next was the Museum of Modern Art, but we ended up skipping it since it wasn't included in our museum pass. We moved on to the Dolmabahçe Palace
, first having to push through crowds at the docks (a place to avoid due to terror threats), then through crowds and many police in front of the new soccer stadium, which we
found out later was being officially opened by the President himself that afternoon.... (http://www.dailysabah.com/football/2016/04/10/black-eagles-back-in-their-nest)
Once in the serene grounds of the Palace, we waited for our tour to begin, sitting on bench along the Bosphorus, watching the incredibly varied and numerous ships and boats pass. The Dolmabahce Palace was built by the Ottomans between the years 1843 and 1856 to replace the Oriental style Topkapi Palace, and to impress the pants off visiting dignitaries. The construction emptied the state coffers and marked the end of the Sultan's reign. The royal family was exiled in 1922. The building now belongs to the Parliament and state functions are held there.
"The design contains eclectic
elements from the Baroque
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. 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 in the form of gold leaf
were used to gild the ceilings.<sup id="cite_ref-5" class="reference" style="line-height: 1; unicode-bidi: isolate; white-space: nowrap; font-size: 11.2px; color: font-family:
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
"From the very beginning, the palace's equipment implemented the highest technical standards.Gas lighting
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." Wikipedia
We were not allowed to take photos inside, so here's a link if you're interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolmabah%!C(MISSING)3%!A(MISSING)7e_Palace
The summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation will be held in Istanbul on April 14 and 15. and there will be a reception at Dolmabahçe Palace. Workers were feverishly touching up gold paint, varnishing window frames, sandblasting the exterior, and much more while we were there.
After the Palace tour, we ate a
delightful lunch in a seaside cafe, within the Palace grounds, and watched the pre-soccer game shenanigans from a safe distance. We decided to walk home avoiding the crowds by the boat docks, and ended up in back alleys, dead-ends, by consulate back doors, and next to Taksim Square, and on Istiklal Street, both places we were trying to avoid!
We leave tomorrow afternoon on a flight for Athens, where we board our six day cruise to Venice. Internet is costly on the ship, so there may be no posts until Venice on the 18th...
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