Beylerbeyi Palace was built by the Sultan Abdulaziz between 1861 and 1865 as a summer residence on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus. The palace served as a venue for entertaining foreign heads of state. Guests included the future Edward VIII of England, Napoleon III's wife Eugenie, and Russia's Grand Duke Nicholas. It also served as the final residence of the last Ottoman Sultan. Today the palace is open to the public as a museum.
The palace is another striking example of Ottoman palatial architecture. The design is similar to Dolmabahçe palace, though it is more restrained -- restrained being a relative term of course. Perhaps the most spectacular room is the Reception Hall, which features an indoor pool and fountain. The furnishings are lovely too, with Bohemian crystal chandeliers and authentic Chinese vases. You'll definitely want to take some time to soak it all in. All told there are 26 rooms and six sitting rooms.
The best way to get to Beylerbeyi Palace is by ferry. It's in the shadow of the Bosphorus Bridge, built in 1978. The surrounding Beylerbeyi neighborhood is pleasant, with a quaint seaside atmosphere. Grab a bite in one of the nearby cafes or restaurants. Beylerbeyi Palace is a little off the beaten trail. Consequently, the crowds are much smaller than at some of the city's other great palaces. Plan to spend a couple hours here.
Location: Beylerbeyi, Üsküdar
Telephone: +90 0216 321 9320
Opening Times: Open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday through Sunday.
Admission: Admission charge.