Notes on the Geography of Turkey (Istanbul): Topkapi and Dolmabahce: Photo 19
In 1815, Sultan Mahmut II abandoned Topkapi for Dolmabahce, on the shore of the Bosphorus but across the Golden Horn. Mehmet was a modernizer: it was he who banned the wearing of turbans and ordered the wearing of the fez (which Ataturk would ban a century later). The present Dolmabahce Palace was begun 30 or 40 years later, during the reign of Abdul Macet, who hired an Armenian architect named Garabed Balian. The Balians--father, sons, others--dominated the buildings of their time, but Dolmabahce didn't stay in favor long and was superceded by others, including the Yildiz palace, where the long-ruling Abdul Hamid II resided after becoming sultan in 1876. Could Dolmabahce have been too pretentious even for a sultan?
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