Construction commenced in 1842 on the orders of Sultan Abdülmecid, and was completed in 1853, becoming the new home of the Ottoman royal family. The several buildings of the palace faced the waterway, spreading along its shore for 600 metres.
Although at first sight the architecture looks overwhelmingly western in style, the palace complied with traditional Eastern palaces by its division into Harem or private apartments, and Selamlık, public apartments. In all Dolmabahçe Palace has 43 reception rooms and 285 smaller rooms. Visitors are first struck by the meticulous attention to detail, whether in the inlay work, marble carving, or crystal balusters of the staircase, and the landscapes and decoration on walls and ceilings, painted in oils by French and Italian artists. In the Salon of the Ambassadors overlooking the sea you can see two easel paintings by Ayvazovski entitled Morning and Evening respectively. This famous Russian painter was a master at portraying light and the sea, and looking at these paintings we can see how he brings these two elements together in passionate embrace.