Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul
|The magnificent Dolmabahce Palace|
What do you feel about paying exorbiant amounts as entrance fees? Well it pinches me like anything! In India, the maximum you pay for entering the Taj Mahal as a foreigner is 250 INR. That makes about 3 euros. I think thats a pretty meagre amount for visiting one of the wonders of the world. We were shocked for the first time when we were in Bangkok. The entry fee to the Royal Grand Palace is 800 Baht and that is around 1600 INR! What a hefty price to visit this place! The entry to the KL Tower and the ticket to the skybridge of Petronas Twin Tower was much less than that in Malaysia. I am not considering amusement parks or activity centres here; just pondering on how much is too much to visit a monument. Maybe belonging to a country where the entry to world heritage sites like Qutab Minar, Red Fort is just ten bucks, hesitance in paying huge bucks is innate.
In Athens, we took a single entry ticket that covered all hot spots. It was around 22 euro per person ie around 1800 INR. The situation was similar in Istanbul too. Though the Turkish Lira is one third of Euro, the prices were almost similar. And no monument had free entrance except the Blue Mosque. After a super adventurous trip to the Princes Islands, we had planned to explore the city. We started walking from the Kabatas port. We were headed towards the Dolmabahce Palace.
|Postcard like streets of Istanbul|
The city of Istanbul is incredibly beautiful. I mean it was a stark contrast from the postcard sceneries of white walls and blue doors of Greece but this place was itself like a photo frame! There were flowers everywhere..I mean if so many flowers in July end then what would be the situation in spring. I stopped at almost every flower bed to take pictures. We crossed the Shangri La hotel whose name was very sweet...'The Bhosphorous Shangri La'. Finally we reached the Dolmabahce Palace.
|In front of the Bosphorous Shangri La|
Dolmabahce Palace is one of the most glamorous palaces in the whole world. Built in the 19 th century, it is the largest palace of Turkey. It was the administrative centre of the Ottoman empire and the home of the last Sultans who earlier lived in the Topkapi Palace. Dolme means fill in while Bahce means Garden in Turkish. In all the palace meant ‘the Filled in garden’.
|Flower Flower everywhere|
The interiors of the palace closes at half past five. It was half past six. The long daylight had duped us into thinking that it was afternoon. Anyways, what to do now..it was our last night in this city.
We explored the palace as much a possible from the outside. One thing I noticed about the Turkish people was that they were very friendly. Since I had landed here, pretty females had been taking pictures with me. Here too I made friends with three females. They admired my skirt and we had a short fun conversation. They were not very fluent in English.
In the end we were very happy. We saved a lot of bucks as we could not enter the palace. Time was precious for us in this very tight trip and not entering the palace saved us a lot of time too! It was a win win situation!
|The Sulaiman Mosque in the dusk...|
Skirt: From Rajasthan
Purse: Shopper's Stop