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Topkapi Palace

it served as the main residence and administrative headquarters of the Ottoman sultans
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Popular Price
$ 850
Price Range
$ 750
~ 950

MMonday
09:00 AM - 17:30
TTuesday
Closed
WWednesday
09:00 AM - 17:30
FFriday
09:00 AM - 17:30
SSaturday
09:00 AM - 17:30
SSunday
09:00 AM - 17:30

Topkapi Palace is at the tip point of the Historical Peninsula; in a location where the Bosporus, Golden Horn and the Marmara Sea meet. Main entrance of the place is Bab-i Humayun, behind Hagia Sophia. It was a large complex where sultans were living with their family and staff as well as the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire.

First structures of Topkapi Palace were made by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror (1451-1481). The palace was expanded by constructing many new parts in later periods. It is a Classical Turkish Palace with courtyards opening to each other by big doors and structures surrounding them.

(a) Divan, (b) Harem,
(c) İftariye Pavilion, (d) Baghdad Pavilion,
(e) Library of Ahmet III, (f) Palace Kitchens,
(g) Treasury,”

Topkapi Palace protected the identity of the administrative center till the 19th century, and after the completion of Dolmabahce Palace it was abandoned and became the residential area of retired staff. After the proclamation of the Republic, it was converted into a museum by the orders of Atatürk in April 3, 1924.

Topkapi Palace consists of four courtyards. First Courtyard (Alay Meydani) is entered from Bab-i Humayun. The first notable structure in the First Courtyard is the Byzantine church of Hagia Irene on the left when entered which was used as an armory for a period of time. Istanbul Archeology Museum is located at the west side of the courtyard.

Gate of Salutation in Topkapi Palace (Bab-üs Selam)

Second Courtyard (Divan Square) is entered from Gate of Salutation (Bab-üs Selam). Official sections of the palace start from here.Doors opening from the riwaqs at the right wing of the courtyard go to the kitchen section of the palace. In these sections,hosting porcelain collections belonging to 13th and 19th centuries,also exhibits several examples of Chinese and Japanese ceramic art.

Tower of Justice draws attention in the left of the courtyard.Under the tower, there is Kubbealti with widely fringed, golden gilded decorations. Here is the meeting place of the Imperial Council (Divan-i Humayun), the highest decision making body.

In Imperial Treasury (also called Outer Treasury) next to Kubbealti, which is covered with double row of domes, taxes were kept. Today, approximately 400 arms and armories from time between 7th and 20th century are exhibited.

The Gate of Felicity (Bab-üs Saadet) at the end of the second courtyard, which was carried by elegant pillars, is the entrance to the Third Courtyard. Visitors who want to visit the Harem can enter Harem from ticket offices next to Kubbealti and enter the Third Courtyard from the gate of Kuşhane after the tour of this section is finished.

The Audience Chamber, where sultan meets foreign ambassadors and high rank officials, is located across the door which leads to the Third Courtyard (Inner Palace / Enderun Meydant). The Library of Ahmed III (Enderun Library) which is an 18th century structure is behind the Audience Chamber. Enderun which is also in this courtyard is a palace school educating civil and military administrators.

The Dormitory of the Expeditionary Force (Seferli Koğuşu) houses the Imperial Wardrobe Collection with a valuable collection of about 2500 garments, the majority precious kaftans of the Sultans at the right-wing of the Third Courtyard. One of the most important structures is the Imperial Treasury also known as The Conqueror’s Pavilion (Fatih Köşkü) which is next to the Dormitory of the Expeditionary Force. Precious treasures of the palace are exhibited in this structure which consisted of four rooms. The most eye-catching jewel in the third room is the Spoon maker’s Diamondy,set in silver and surrounded in two ranks with 49 cut diamonds,and the Topkapi Dagger which is ornamented with three large emeralds, topped by a golden watch with an emerald lid.

The Spoon maker’ s Diamond

Marble road going to the left wing of the courtyard the west of the Library of Ahmed II leads to the Imperial Portraits Collection.At the end of the Imperial Portraits Collection, the painting of Sultan Selim III (1789-1807) in an enthronement or bairam drew by Constantine Kapidağlı is worth seeing.

There are Mosque of the Ağas (Ağalar Camii) used as a library on the south, and the Chamber of the Sacred Relics (Kutsal Emanetler Dairesi) on the north of the Imperial Portraits Collection.This section is made by Selim I (the Stern) for the purpose of preserving the sacred relics from Egypt Expedition in 1517. Various items belonging to Prophet Muhammad constitutes an important exhibition group.

Foot prints of Hz Muhammet in the Sacred Relics Section

The Grand Kiosk in the Forth Courtyard serves as a restaurant today. The Terrace Mosque (Sofa Mosque) is on the right of the courtyard. In the terrace which is entered by the stairs in the west of the courtyard; Baghdad Pavilion, the Yerevan Kiosk, the Circumcision Room is places that can be seen.

Topkapi Dagger

Topkapi Palace Istanbul, Turkey.
Harem, the Sultan’ s Sofa

HAREM

It extends along the western wing of the palace, starting from Kubbealti in the Second Courtyard and continues till the back of the Chamber of Hirka-i Saadet in the Third Courtyard. It is a complex settlement of hundreds of rooms with one or two floors around small courtyards. Harem was a place where no one else could enter other than the Ottoman dynasty and its staff. It consists of approximately 400 rooms, 9 baths, 2 mosques, a hospital, a laundry room, swimming pools and dormitories.

Fruit Room of Ahmet III in the Harem.

First section entered from the Gate of Carts (Arabalar Kapisi) was allocated to Black Eunuchs originating from Africa who were guarding the gates of Harem. After passing this section, the main gate of the Harem (Cümle Kapisi) which is connected to three main sections is reached. The door to the left opens to Concubines Courtyard; the door to the middle opens to Courtyard of the Queen Mother; and,the door to the left opens to the Golden Road and Interval (Mabeyn)Courtyard (Flats of the Sultan and Princes).

Concubines providing all the internal services from almost every race lived in the Concubines section. Concubines were taken to the palace at ages from 10 to 16, their numbers changed from 250 to 1000 according to the era, and they were thought Turkish, reading-writing, religion rules, literature, music and handicrafts. The majority of them were assigned to laundry, pantry and dining works. Some examples of spouses of sultans who were once concubines are Roxelane (Russian), Safiye Sultan (Venetian),Kösem Sultan (Rum or Bosniaks) and Hatice Turhan Sultan (Russian).

Apartment of the Queen Mother located in the Courtyard of the Queen Mother is the biggest and most important place after the places belonging to sultans. The Queen Mother, mother of the sultan, had a respectable place in Harem. Most senior staff of Harem would take command from her.The mother of the deceased,or sultans without a throne moved their place to new Queen Mother and moved to the Old Palace.

Mabeyn Section where sultan and princes lived and reached by the Golden Road has an open side different than the other courtyards.

In Harem, there are structures reflecting the classical Ottoman delight with architectural features and decorative styles. In the Imperial Hall (Hünkâr Sofrası), the largest venue of the Harem, meetings, Bairam greetings, ceremonies, various entertainments and ceremonies were performed. The Privy Chamber of Murat III,Double Bath, Privy Chamber of Ahmed I, Privy Chamber of Ahmed III also known as the Fruit Room for the flower and fruit baskets on the wall, Twin Kiosk are the circles forming the life in Harem.

Visiting Information:

Location

Topkapı Palace Museum complex located on the Sarayburnu (Seraglio Point), which overlooks both the Marmara Sea and the Bosphorus Straight at historical peninsula (Fatih District) of İstanbul.

How to get Topkapı Palace

Public transportation system T1 (Tram 1) is the most convenient way to get Sultanahmet area, which only takes 5 minutes walk from Sultanahmet and Gulhane tram station to Topkapı Palace. The distance from Gulhane tram station to museum only 600 meters whereas from Sultanahmet tram station is 700 meters which this direction leads to imperial gate and following first courtyard of Topkapı Palace.

The Imperial gate (Bab-ı Hümayun) which is first exterior gate and security scanners and military guard area opens to first courtyard. First courtyard (Avlu) contains several monuments and historical places. First structure on the left is Konyali 1897 Lokantasi (Restaurant), which offers royal Ottoman cuisine with panoramic views of the Marmara sea and a unique Ottoman palace sherbet. Second on the row is Hagia Irene Museum known also as Saint Irene, one of the few churches that has not been converted into a mosque in the Ottoman area. Last building is Darphane (Darphane-i Âmire), former imperial mint and was the place of production of all the gold and silver Ottoman coins.

Facilities & Services & Tips

  • Disabled access is possible but wheelchairs are not available and cobblestone-covered hills might cause problems for handicapped travelers.
  • There is no parking facility in the palace place.
  • Photography is not allowed inside the museum halls.
  • Tickets for children below the age of 6 are free.
  • Entrance is FREE of charge for disabled visitors and one companion who is a first degree relative.
  • Audio guides or personal guides are recommended to bring out sophisticated details of the palace.
  • Imperial gate security check queues can be long, You can enter the first courtyard from Archaelogy Museum just up steep way via Gülhane Park.

Best things to discover in Topkapı Palace

Topkapı Palace Museum have large collections of porcelain, robes, weapons, Ottoman miniatures, Islamic calligraphic manuscripts as well as other Ottoman treasures and jewellery. Visit the Palace Treasury that holds a fascinating collection of the world’s most famous and spectacular jewels including the famous Topkapı Dagger. This dagger was the subject of the famous film Topkapı.

Entrance Fee: Combined tickets
Topkapı Palace + Harem + Hagia Irene= 950 ₺
Topkapı Palace + Hagia Irene= 750 ₺
State: Open

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GPS
Cankurtaran Mah. Babı Hümayun Cad. No:1 34122 Sultanahmet/Fatih/İstanbul

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