Topkapi Palace Istanbul

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The topkapi palace istanbul is as a museum. Important highlights in this palace are; the harem, treasury, kitchens, and many more.

Topkapi Palace Istanbul

Topkapi Palace is the biggest museum in Istanbul. Topkapi palace is located just behind the Hagia Sophia in the Sultanahmet region in Istanbul. The main aim to use of the palace was the house for the Sultan; today, the topkapi palace is as a museum. Important highlights in this palace are; the harem, treasury, kitchens, and many more.

What time does Topkapi Palace istanbul open?

Palace is open every day except for Tuesdays.
It is open 09:00-18:00 (The last entry is at 17:00)

What is Topkapi Palace location?

Palace location is in the Sultanahmet area. The historical part of Istanbul is convenient to excess with public transportation.
From Old City Area Sultanahmet: The palace is just 5 minutes walk.From old city. If your Hotel is located in sultanahmet very easy to walk to the Placa.
From Taksim Area: Get on the funicular from the Taksim Square to Kabatas tram stop. From Kabatas get on the T1 tram to Sultanahmet station. From the tram station to the palace is just 5 minutes walk.

How long time does it take to visit Topkapi Palace and which time is the best?

You can visit the palace in 1 hour time, if you go on your own. Guided tours are typically around 2-3 hours. There are lots of exhibition sections in the palace. In the majority of the rooms taking pictures or loud speaking is forbidden. It may be busy depending on the time of the day. The best time to visit Topkapi palace would be early morning. Around 9-10 am would be a quieter time in the place.

History of Topkapi Palace.

After conquering the istanbul in 1453, Sultan Mehmed the 2nd ordered a house for himself. As this house would be hosting the royal ottoman family. The construction of house began in the 1460s and was over by 1478. It was just the core of the palace in the early period. Every Ottoman Sultan that lived in the palace, later on, ordered a new extension in this building.

For this reason, construction continued up until the last Sultan that lived in this Palace. The last Sultan who lived in this palace is Abdulmecit the 1st. During his turn, he gave an order for a new palace.

The name of the new palace was Dolmabahce Palace. After the new palace was constructed in 1856, the royal family moved to Dolmabahce Palace. Topkapi Palace was still functional up until the collapse of the empire.

The royal family always used the palace for ceremonies. With the declaration of the Turkish Republic, the status of the palace changed to a museum.

General Info about the Museum

How to Enter to the Topkapi palace?

There are two entrances to this Palace. The main entrance is behind the Hagia Sophia near the beautiful 17th-century fountain of Sultan Ahmet the 3rd. The second entrance is lower on the hill near the Gulhane tram station.

The second entrance is also the entrance to the Archaeological Museums of Istanbul which is in the garden of Palace. From both of the entries, you can proceed to museum ticket offices.

The second gate of the palace is where the museum starts. To be able to pass the second gate, you will need the entrance ticket. At both of the entry gates, there is a security check. Before using the tickets, there is a final security check and you enter the museum. In the second garden of the palace, there are several exhibition sections.

After the entry, if you turn right, you will see the Ottoman Empire’s map and the model of the palace. You can admire the sheer size of 400.000 square meters with this model. If you continue to the left from here, you will see the Imperial Council section. Until the 19th century, the ministers of the Sultan hold their councils here.

At the top of the Council section, there is the Justice Tower of the palace. The highest tower in the museum is this tower here. Symbolizing the Sultan’s justice, this is one of the rare places of the palace, which is visible from the outside. Mothers of the Sultans would be watching their son’s coronation from this tower.

Next to the Council section, there is the outer treasury. Today this building is using as an exhibition hall for costumes and weapons. Opposite Divan and Treasury, there are the kitchens of the palace. Once hosting nearly 2000 people, it is one of the most significant sections of the building. Today the biggest Chinese porcelain collection outside of China in the world is in this palace kitchens.

Once you pass the 3rd garden of the palace, the first thing that you would see is the audience section of the palace. This was the place where the Sultan would be meeting with the heads of the other countries. The Sultan’s place would be meeting with the members of the Council section was again the Audience section. You can see one of the Ottoman Sultans’ thrones and beautiful silk curtains decorated the room today.

After this room, you can see the 2 highlights of the palace. One is the religious relics room. The second one is the Imperial Treasury. In the religious relics room, you would see the beard of Prophet Mohammed, the arm of St. John The Baptist, and many more. Most of these items are coming from Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, and Egypt.

As every Ottoman Sultan was also the Caliph of Islam, these objects were showing the spiritual power of the sultan. This is one of the rooms of the palace where taking pictures is not possible.

Opposite the room of religious relics is the Imperial Treasury. The Treasury has 4 rooms and the rule about taking pictures is the same as the room of holy relics. The treasury highlights are Spoon-makers Diamond, Topkapi Dagger, the gold throne of The Ottoman Sultan, and many more. Once you finished the 3rd garden, you can proceed to the final section of the palace.

The 4th garden was a private area of The Sultan. There are 2 beautiful kiosks here named after the conquests of two important cities. Yerevan and Baghdad. This section has a beautiful view of the Golden Horn Bay. But the best place to take pictures would be the other side. Opposite the kiosks, there is one of the most beautiful views of the city from the Bosphorus.

There is also a cafeteria where you can have some drinks. The restrooms are also available in the restaurant.

Harem Section of the Palace

Harem is a different museum within the Topkapi Palace. It has a separate entrance fee and a ticket booth. Harem means prohibited, private, or secret. This was the section where the Sultan lived with the family members. Other men outside the royal family were not able to go into this section.

Only one group of men would be entering here. As this was a section for the private life of the Sultan, there is no records about this section.

What we know about Harem comes from other records. The kitchen tells us a lot about the Harem. We know how many women should be in the Harem from the records of the kitchen.

According to 16th-century records, there are 200 women in the Harem. This section includes private rooms of the Sultans, Queen Mothers, concubines, and many more.

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