Selamlik (Administrative Section) of Dolmabahce Palace
The rooms on the seaward side were for the most important of officials and the inland side had offices for the members of parliament; the Grand Vizier had a room next to the entrance on the seaward side. Meetings were held in the Reception Room here in 1928 by Ataturk to create a new Latin alphabet to replace the Arabic one used to write Ottoman Turkish.
There was once a room near the entrance on the landward side that was used to store gifts that were sent to Mecca every year during the Haj (Pilgrimage) from the sultan / caliph. As it would take too long for the caliph to travel and perform the Haj himself he instead sent a camel train in his place laden with gold which was called “The Surre Procession”. There is a huge painting vividly portraying this that was painted by the Italian artist Stefano Ussi (1822-1901) and hangs in one of the clerk’s rooms; it is the largest canvas in the palace’s vast art collection.
The tour takes you past rooms used by the secretariat and into the Entrance Hall that the sultan would utilise on short trips where doors would open onto the back garden should he want to leave by carriage and the front garden should he leave by boat.
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