Updated: Apr 7, 2020
“I have blogged in the past, extensively about Iran and it's blinding beauty till my blog derailed from discussing beauty to not so "beautiful politics", which resulted in the shut down of my beloved blog and very many other beloved things along with it....I did my well practiced ritual of "RIP" and moved on... but this time I am trying to blog about "Istanbul".
It’s Istanbul, after all, with its old grand bazaar, over 3,000 mosques scattered around like little gems, history dripping, culture-filled neighborhoods, rugs squeezed and rolled to schlep back home, yummm baklava to devour, the requisite "Hammam" that is a must try, and of course – that magnificent Bosphorus. In nutshell: there is just way too much to squeeze in, there is always something new to see that will have your jaw drop to the floor. And while you will be locating that jaw on the floor, your eyes will get captivated by Oh! those so beautiful so blue tiles.....So, yes! It is plain beauty, from top to the bottom.
With Sooo much to see and to do in Istanbul, and what that Sooo much is? please feel free to use your best friend "Google", I will just start with what captivates me the most in the dazzling madness of Istanbul.
And that is "Dolmabahche Palace" (pronounced " dul-ma-ba-chay"), meaning full of gardens, facing the legendary Bosphorus river, the largest palace in Turkey with 285 rooms, with tons of marvels scattered around and extensively decorated with gold and crystal.
For 40 Lira, you can see both, the state quarters and the harem (private chambers).It is strictly separated structurally in a southern wing (Mabeyn-i Hümâyûn, or Selamlık, the quarters reserved for the men) which contains the public representation rooms, and a northern wing (Harem-i Hümâyûn, the Harem) serving as the private residential area for the Sultan and his family. The two functional areas are separated by the big Ceremonial Hall.
It is a beautiful masterpiece of architecture, accuracy and a stark reminder of Ottoman's glorious dynasty.
The first thing you notice about the palace is how ornate it is ~ every surface is elaborately carved, gilded or embellished to within an inch of its life, as befitting, I suppose the home of six sultans and the first president of the republic, Kamal Atta Turk.
As soon as you walk in the palace, you bump in the world’s largest Bohemian crystal chandelier (a present from Queen Victoria) and the stunning Crystal Staircase in the shape of a double horseshoe with banisters made of Baccarat crystals followed by many glittering state halls and receptions.
The construction cost was five million Ottoman gold lira, or 35 tonnes of gold, the equivalent of $1.7 billion in today's values, this is some massive amount of wealth that went in the construction of the beauty that got Ottoman's bankrupted in 1875.
The 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.
Looking at those halls, those neatly woven carpets with the best of available silk threads, velvet sofas and divans, majestic furniture pieces, it is very hard not to think that there is nothing as constant as change.
Once a buzzing hub of Ottomans, where fate of many worldly matters were sealed, perhaps exceptionally important decisions were made, world was ruled to a certain degree and a soul could not step inside without going through all the protocols, alas, has been reduced to a place of mere "historical significance" and "esthetic pleasure"....sigh.....wait!...am I sounding too melancholy? ...Ok! I have to step back, I can easily get overly, terribly sad and borderline depress over "Ottomans losing the Caliphate".
And that can lead to another disastrous, not so popular, political rant of mine which means blogging suicide. So I will put that matter to sleep and let you enjoy some of the images I took while I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity of daydreaming "Live", about living there for ever and ever.
Clock tower of Dolmabahce Palace
Sultan's hammam decorated with Egyptian alabaster
Clock tower main door