Dolmabahce Palace Istanbul
Residents of Dolmabahce Palace

It is very well known that the Ottoman era was a time filled with lavish lifestyles and luxurious structures. As the former capital of Ottoman Empire, Istanbul is home to many glorious palaces and they enrich the cultural heritage of the city. But not all the palace buildings have reached to modern day, some of them have burned down and some of them have falling into ruin.

Sultans with their families and their close relatives, servants and guards were living in palaces. But palace was never used as only the Sultan’s residence; it was also the center of the state. Council meetings were held and government was administered in palaces.

Ottoman palace had 3 main divisions; the family quarters (harem), outer (Birun) and inner (Enderun) palace. 

Kitchen was one of the most interesting sections of the palace. The Ottoman palaces had 2 main kitchens; the Matbah-i Humayun which was only used for the preparation for the sultan himself and the Matbah-I Amire which was used for the preparation for anyone eating within the palace. Each section of the kitchen had head chefs and each head chefs had 60 chefs and 200 assistants in his service. In addition to all these workers there were also many people with specific charges such as sweets, yoghurt, chicken etc. There were also many kalfas who were responsible for food services, sweeping, laundry etc. In Ottoman palaces two meals were eaten, first was in late morning, and second one was in evening meal. Wives were also referred to as kalfas.