This morning we went back over to Besiktas to see Dolmabahçe Sarayi or Palace. A blend of Ottoman, Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical styles, it was finished in 1856. Fourteen tons of gold (gold leaf) were used to gild the ceilings. We weren't allowed to take photos inside, but I can tell you that it was amazing!
The gardens of Dolmabahçe are pretty cool, too -- from the roses near the entrance (above) to the amazing magnolia trees (below) which are the largest I've ever seen.
Dolmabahçe actually means "filled-in garden" so the nice landscaping suits the name! I especially liked the swan fountain below.
After our tour of Dolmabahçe, we walked a little ways down the street to Kabatas and bought tickets for a 1.5 hour Bopshorus cruise. Check the next entry!