166-year-old chandeliers being restored at Dolmabahçe Palace

The 166-year-old crystal chandeliers in the harem (serai) section of Istanbul’s Ottoman-era Dolmabahçe Palace undergo periodic restoration. The maintenance and restoration of the lights, which are part of the collections of the Presidency of the National Palaces and of dazzling elegance, are carried out by the team of experts in chandeliers from the Directorate of the National Palaces.

The chandeliers, which give the halls of the palace a special atmosphere and impressive images, illuminate the history and transform the palaces and pavilions into museums of lighting.

A chandelier at Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul, Turkey, September 2, 2022. (AA Photo)

Güller Karahüseyin, head of the Department of Museums and Promotion of National Palaces, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the four crystal chandeliers in the Blue Hall of Dolmabahçe Palace were produced by British F & C. Osler.

Stressing that the chandeliers, which are among the most successful examples of the art of glass carving, continue to function, Karahüseyin said: “There is a reason these chandeliers have survived for 166 years. They are very well maintained. As the Directorate of National Palaces, we have workshops that repair and maintain all kinds of artifacts in the palaces. Our chandelier workshop includes six experts. Thanks to their efforts, the chandeliers continue to function.

Experts work on chandeliers at Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul, Türkiye, September 2, 2022. (AA Photo)

Experts work on chandeliers at Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul, Türkiye, September 2, 2022. (AA Photo)

Drawing attention to the fact that the spectacular luminaries have survived to this day since the reign of Sultan Abdülmecid, Karahüseyin said: “The innovations of the most famous manufacturers of the time and the latest technologies have been installed in the past in Dolmabahçe Palace. During the reigns of Sultan Abdülmecid, Sultan Abdülaziz, Sultan Abdülhamid and Sultan Reşat, the current collection of the palace consisted of pieces purchased or donated to the palace.”

Chandeliers are known to have been designed for use with candles in the late 1800s and later adapted to electricity. Although the maintenance of the chandeliers is carried out in the places where they are located, any problem with their electrical components will also be solved during the restoration work at Dolmabahçe Palace.

Experts work on chandeliers at Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul, Türkiye, September 2, 2022. (AA Photo)

Experts work on chandeliers at Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul, Türkiye, September 2, 2022. (AA Photo)

Built in the 19th century, Dolmabahçe Palace was at the time one of the most glamorous palaces in the world and the administrative center of the late Ottoman Empire. While it was once the residence of the sultans during the final years of the Ottoman Empire, the palace was also used as a presidential residence by the founder of Türkiye, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, after the proclamation of the Turkish republic in 1923.

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William M. Lee