Hacı Said Ağa was responsible for the construction works, while the project was realised by architects Garabet Balyan, his son Nigoğayos Balyan and Evanis Kalfa.
The Dolmabahçe Palace was home to six sultans from 1856, when it was first inhabited, up until the abolition of the Caliphate in 1924: The last royal to live here was Caliph Abdülmecid Efendi. A law that went into effect on March 3, 1924 transferred the ownership of the palace to the national heritage of the new Turkish Republic. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey, used the palace as a presidential residence during the summers and enacted some of his most important works here. Atatürk spent the last days of his medical treatment in this palace, where he died on November 10, 1938.
The world's largest Bohemian crystal chandelier is in the center hall. The chandelier, a gift from Queen Victoria, has 750 lamps and weighs 4.5 tonnes. Dolmabahçe has the largest collection of Bohemian and Baccarat crystal chandeliers in the world, and one of the great staircases has bannisters of Baccarat crystal.
The site of Dolmabahçe was originally a bay on the Bosporus which was reclaimed gradually during the 18th century to become an imperial garden, much appreciated by the Ottoman sultans; it is from this garden that the name Dolmabahçe (Filled Garden) comes from, dolma meaning "filled" and bahçe meaning "garden." Various summer palaces were built here during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." -- Lao Tzu
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