Described by some as a miniature Dolmabahce Palace but without the crowds, the Beylerbeyi Sarayı (Beylerbeyi Palace) was commissioned by Sultan Abdülaziz to act as an imperial summer residence. With 24 rooms, 6 halls, and a hamam, it would have been quite the summer home and was also used to entertain visiting dignitaries.
Main entrance of Beylerbeyi Sarayi, Istanbul (Beylerbeyi Palace)
The opulence of the white marble exterior (designed by architects Hagop Balyan and Sarkis Balyan and completed in 1865) is matched by the lavish interior, which features French clocks, Bohemian crystal chandeliers, and porcelain vases.
The downstairs hall, which features a large marble pool, is used to cool off during balmy summer months.
A nautical theme represented in paintings hung throughout the palace that reflects the sultan’s interest in maritime pursuits.
The elaborate twisting central staircase is another impressive sight.
Lion statue by the main entrance of Beylerbeyi Palace, Istanbul
Some of the furniture, such as the dining chairs in the harem and selamlik, were carved by Sultan Abdülhamit II during the six years he was imprisoned here until he died in 1918.
After her stay in 1869, Empress Eugénie was so impressed with what she saw when she stayed here in 1869, that she had the windows copied in the Tuileries Palace in Paris.
Ottoman banner and flag at Beylerbeyi Palace Museum, Istanbul
There are several pavilions and a charming garden café, where you can enjoy refreshments after your visit. The area is also a popular spot for locals to come for a Beylerbeyi kahvalti (Beylerbeyi breakfast), so find a Bosphorus-facing spot, and enjoy a lazy morning. If it’s more like lunchtime, then there are also a number of good fish restaurants in the area.
There are several good accommodation options nearby, including A’jia, Sumahan On The Water, Bosphorus Palace Hotel, and Beylerbeyi Palace Hotel.
It is open Tuesday-Wednesday and Friday-Sunday between 9 am - 6 pm. The Beylerbeyi Palace Museum price for admission is 60 TL per person.