Forbidden Pleasures

Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul by Vic Briggs

About this image: Dolmabahce Palace on the European shores of the Bosphorus strait. One of Istanbul’s architectural treasures, it is too, the dream of a sultan that bankrupted an empire.

Abdülmecid I – the sultan in question – either delighted in architectural eclecticism or could not decide on a favourite style for his new property venture. Twined with traditional Ottoman architecture, there is a sprinkle of Baroque to quell the nostalgia for 16th century Italian charm; Rococo for a touch of Versailles-style French playfulness; and Neoclassical, because all architectural roads lead to Athens. Apparently.

Every boy likes his accessories and when you wear a crown, spending thirty-five tons of gold on a new toy could hardly be deemed excessive. Nothing says “I’m the Ottoman Empire’s 31st sultan” better than a 45,000 square metre monoblock palace with gold-leaf gilded ceilings to match luxuries and styles that the 19th century could only begin to imagine.

And here’s where the magic happens…

The harem was less of a surprise given the location of this otherwise very European palace, but crystal staircases?


Daily Prompt: You Sexy Thing

9 thoughts on “Forbidden Pleasures

  1. Without architecture there would be no remembrance. I can’t remember what architect stated that now, but they aren’t my words.

    • I am not certain who those words belong to either. It is a beautiful way to think of architecture. It is one of the things I enjoy most about new places, although at times my reaction is mixed, especially when it comes to architectural visions that were brought into being at the expense of the many and for the benefit of the very few. While I appreciate their beauty, it can be difficult to switch off the voice of socio-historical awareness.
      Thank you for your comment.

      • I completely agree with you. There are many buildings, structures, and signs throughout history that were built off pillaging an entire population for almost no reason. It’s sad to say, but it happened in every major empire including in America today.

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