Woke up LATE today, blackout shades to blame. I'm going to keep it brief because I'd like to get a decent nights sleep.
We went to the Dolmabahçe Palace today. I was put in charge of looking up visiting hours and how much it cost to enter. At max I saw it would be 40 TL per person, they gave two different tour options both unclear of what they actually included, "privy closet"? After the short walk down the street from the hotel, through the oddly placed metal detector and x-Ray machine, we stood in line to purchase our tickets. 6 for half the tour please and we are told cash only.. But wait no where online explained this, and they were very clear only 3.000 visitors a day, no where in the box office stated this, I felt a sense of I let the group down. G was quick to spot an ATM so half of us stood back in the now doubled line while the other half withdrew cash for tickets.
Through the main gates my jaw dropped. I said, "HOLY" many times today. Imagine arriving in a horse drawn carriage and having a hand to hold as I stepped out to walk into my palace, oh wait the women are only allowed in one room of the main house, RUDE! So up the stairs, plastic booties on to preserve the history, and we were forced to climb through the window to enter. Maybe that's the way they make late Americans enter because I saw others enter through the main doors. First stop on the tour and we see the 3rd largest chandelier, again jaw dropped. Down some halls around the corner and holy stair case and you say this is only the 2nd largest chandelier. I couldn't wait to see the largest, and yes they saved it for last. The suspense was killing me! I focused on the little things, in such a massive home I appreciated the porcelain on the fire places (4 in one room and I'd still guess it got cold in there) and the porcelain door knobs. Both reminded me of my grandmothers China and a fun DIY project. In one of the great rooms as the guide was explaining the meetings that took place I felt like I was in a movie. The point where the actor(s) are in present day and the historical events are greyed out and moving around them. I had a very clear vision of what it was like. So back to the long halls and still rooms in which we could not enter we finally hit the mother load. All 10,000 English crystals of her and 660 bulbs. The chandelier of all chandeliers, she was beautiful. The only thing that could distract me from her was when our guide said a sultan's body was laid to rest for 3 days on the table directly behind me, no thank you! The conclusion of this tour dumped us out river side facing Asia, can you imagine the property value of this place, river view and across the way another continent, impressive for guests I'd imagine.
Sorry there are no photos of the amazing chandelier, no photo policy was strictly enforced and there were consequences (witnessed confiscated cameras and phones).