The Topkapi Palace is without doubt one of the most iconic buildings in Istanbul, Turkey. It’s identified for its opulent structure and its in depth gardens. On this weblog publish, we’ll take a more in-depth take a look at the historical past of the palace and its place in trendy Turkish tradition.
It’s one of the crucial necessary historic buildings in Turkey, and it’s stuffed with fascinating tales and exquisite artwork. The palace was constructed by the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II within the fifteenth century, and it served as the principle residence of the sultans for nearly 400 years.
At this time, it’s a museum that homes an unbelievable assortment of artwork and artifacts from the Ottoman interval. Visiting Topkapi Palace is an effective way to be taught concerning the historical past of Turkey and get a style of the opulent way of life of the Ottoman sultans.
Is Topkapi Palace value visiting? Sure! Topkapi Palace is certainly value visiting!
And remember to purchase your tickets prematurely so that you don’t should queue up (ebook a skip the road with information and audio information app here).
The palace is without doubt one of the hottest vacationer locations in Istanbul. It’s one of the crucial visited museums in Turkey, and it’s additionally a well-liked spot for weddings and different particular occasions. The palace is big, so enable loads of time to discover all of the completely different rooms and galleries. It’s additionally identified for its harem, its in depth gardens, and its lavish structure.
In the event you’re planning a visit to Istanbul, remember to add the Topkapi Palace to your itinerary!
What to anticipate when visiting the Topkapi Palace
Sultans, courtiers, concubines and eunuchs
The Palace is the topic of extra fascinating tales than most museums on the earth. The lustful sultans, formidable courtiers, stunning concubines and crafty eunuchs who lived and labored right here between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries present a charming glimpse into their lives. Mehmet the Conqueror constructed the primary stage of this palace shortly after he conquered Constantinople in 1453.
Subsequent sultans continued to reside on this luxurious surroundings till they moved to ostentatious European-style palaces on the shores of Bosphorus.
Earlier than you enter by means of Imperial Gate, check out ornate construction located in cobbled sq. simply outdoors. There you will note an attractive rococo type fountain.
The First Court docket
As you enter the First Court docket, also called the Court docket of the Janissaries or the Parade Court docket, you’ll see the Byzantine church of Hagia Eirene in your left.
The Second Court docket
The Center Gate results in the palace’s Second Court docket, which was used for the enterprise of working the empire. In Ottoman occasions, solely the sultan and the valide sultan (mom of the sultan) had been allowed by means of the Center Gate on horseback. Everybody else, together with the grand vizier, needed to dismount.
The Second Court docket has an attractive park-like setting. In contrast to typical European palaces, which characteristic one massive constructing with outlying gardens, Topkapı is a sequence of pavilions, kitchens, barracks, viewers chambers and sleeping quarters constructed round a central enclosure.
As you enter the palace on the fitting, you’ll discover the nice kitchens, which embody a devoted house for confectioneries. That is additionally the place you’ll discover a small portion of Topkapı’s huge assortment of Chinese language celadon porcelain. The celadon was useful to the sultans not just for its magnificence, however as a result of it was stated to alter colour if it got here involved with poisoned meals.
On the left facet of the Second Court docket, you’ll see the ornate Imperial Council Chamber. That is the place the council met to debate issues of state. Typically, the sultan would listen in on these conversations by listening by means of the grille within the wall.
The Harem in Topkapi Palace
The Harem is situated beneath the Tower of Justice on the western facet of the Second Court docket. In the event you’re all in favour of visiting, you’ll want to purchase a ticket (this ticket features a go to to the Harem).
As in style perception would have it, the Harem was a spot the place the sultan might interact in debauchery at will. In additional prosaic actuality, these had been the imperial household quarters, and each element of Harem life was ruled by custom, obligation and ceremony. The phrase ‘harem’ actually means ‘forbidden’ or ‘personal’.
The sultan might have as much as 300 concubines within the Harem, though there have been normally fewer than this. The women who entered the Harem could be schooled in Islam and Turkish tradition and language, in addition to the humanities of make-up, costume, comportment, music, studying, writing, embroidery and dancing. Islamic legislation allowed the sultan to have 4 reputable wives, who obtained the title of kadın (spouse).
The sultan’s chief spouse, the valide sultan, owned massive landed estates and managed them by means of black eunuch servants. She might give orders on to the grand vizier, and her affect on the sultan, his wives and concubines, and issues of state was typically profound.
The Harem complicated has six flooring, however solely one in every of these is open to guests. To get there, you’ll have to undergo the Carriage Gate. Subsequent to the gate is the Dormitory of the Corps of the Palace Guards, a fantastically restored two-storey constructing with beautiful Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-century İznik tiles. Shut by is the Corridor with the Fountain, lined with beautiful tiles that includes botanical motifs and inscriptions from the Koran.
Then there may be the Courtyard of the Black Eunuchs, additionally decked out with stunning Kütahya tiles and for those who look to the left behind the marble colonnade, you’ll see the Black Eunuch’s Dormitories.
The reception room previous the Courtyard of the Valide Sultan is fantastically adorned with a big hearth and Kütahya tiles from the Seventeenth century. This was the place the princes, valide sultan, and senior concubines waited earlier than being obtained by the sultan within the magnificent Imperial Corridor.
Close by is the magnificent Privy Chamber of Murat III, one of the crucial splendid rooms within the palace. This room dates again to 1578 and virtually all of its ornament is authentic. The three-tiered marble fountain has been restored and it was initially designed to make it troublesome for individuals to listen in on conversations held by the sultan. The gilded canopied seating areas are from the late eighteenth century. The adjoining eating room partitions are lined with wood panels which have photos of flowers and fruits painted them in lacquer colours.
The 2 of essentially the most stunning rooms within the Harem are the Twin Kiosk/Flats of the Crown Prince. Pay attention to the painted canvas dome within the first room and the high-quality İznik tile panels above the fireside within the second. The stained glass can be noteworthy. Previous these rooms is the Courtyard of the Favourites. Over the sting of the courtyard (actually a terrace), you’ll see a big empty pool. Overlooking the courtyard are the tiny home windows of the numerous small darkish rooms comprising the kafes (cage) the place brothers or sons of the sultan had been imprisoned. Adjoining it’s the tiled Harem Mosque with its baroque mihrab, which factors to Mecca.
See additionally: Where to Experience a Traditional Hammam in Istanbul
The Third Court docket
The Third Court docket is the sultan’s personal area, which could be accessed by means of the Gate of Felicity. It was staffed and guarded by white eunuchs. Essential officers and overseas ambassadors had been dropped at the Viewers Chamber to conduct the excessive enterprise of state. The sultan, seated on an enormous divan, inspected the ambassadors’ items and choices as they had been handed by means of the doorway on the left.
The Dormitory of the Expeditionary Power, situated on the japanese fringe of the Third Court docket, homes the palace’s wealthy assortment of imperial robes, kaftans and uniforms labored in silver and gold thread.
The Sacred Safekeeping Rooms are situated on the opposite facet of the Third Court docket. These ornately adorned rooms comprise many relics of the Prophet, and had been solely opened annually for the imperial household to pay their respects throughout Ramazan. The Dormitory of the Privy Chamber is subsequent to the sacred Safekeeping Rooms and comprises an exhibit of portraits of 36 sultans.
In the event you’re in search of an unbelievable assortment of gold, silver, ruby, emerald, jade, pearl and diamond objects, the Topkapı Treasury is the place for you. A number of the highlights embody the jewel-encrusted Sword of Süleyman the Magnificent and the extraordinary Throne of Ahmed I (aka Arife Throne) and which was designed by the identical architect who additionally created the Blue Mosque. There are a lot of extra huge emeralds, diamond and dozens of smaller stunning stones.
The Fourth Court docket
The Fourth Court docket on the palace is house to a number of pleasure pavilions, together with the Mecidiye Kiosk. Beneath the Mecidiye Kiosk is the Konyalı restaurant, which has a beautiful terrace with nice views. However you’ll discover higher meals for higher worth elsewhere.
There’s additionally a Tulip Backyard with stairs main as much as a Marble Terrace. This platform hosts an ornamental pool and three pavilions.
In the event you look intently, you’ll see İznik tiles on the partitions and a painted ceiling with mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell inlay—really stunning craftsmanship.
In the event you’re in search of one other prime attraction to go to, take a look at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.