Topkapi Palace

Topkapı Sarayı

Topkapi Palace was the primary residence of the Ottoman sultans for approximately 400 years. They reigned, managed internal and external affairs and shaped the future of their country and certain individuals here. From the 15th to the mid-19th century Topkapi Palace (translated Cannon Gate) was the scene for the history of the Ottoman Empire made by the brave, cruel, ambitious viziers, numerous court people and beautiful sultanas. Currently you have the unique opportunity to visit the most interesting places ever: palace Harem, the storage of fabulous wealth – the Imperial Treasury, Pavilion of Holy Relics that houses the cloak of Muhammad and his swords. Numerous galleries and halls of the palace together with various exhibitions attract crowds of tourists. Fans of the Turkish soap opera the Magnificent Century will have a chance to see the real interiors in which their favorite characters lived. By the way it was Roxelana who insisted that Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent moved the Harem to Topkapi Palace. Suleiman was the one who undertook the most substantial reconstruction of the palace since the 15th century.

Topkapi Palace is the kind of a chronicle of the Empire – 25 Ottoman sultans had been ruling the country from this palace over a period of four centuries. At its peak, the palace was home to as many as 4,000 people. The palace complex consists of four main courtyards and many smaller buildings which are separated by the gates with symbolic names. History of the palace started after the conqueror of Byzantine Constantinople when Mehmed II made an order to build a new palace. Works started approximately in 1459. The oldest surviving building of Topaki Palace is the Conqueror’s Pavilion which was originally beyond the walls of the palace. Its current name "Topkapi" the palace acquired only in the 19th century.

Until 1856 when sultan Abdülmecid I moved the royal residence to Dolmabahçe Palace, various structures were still built and added to Topkapi Palace which eventually united various cultures and styles. Following the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, Topkapi Palace was transformed by a government decree into a museum of the imperial era. It is interesting to note that the number of exhibits demonstrated to public reaches 65,000 pieces which is only one tenth part of the entire collection of the museum.

Address: Topkapı Sarayı Müzesi, Sultanahmet, Fatih
Opening hours: Mon, Wed-Sun 26 Oct – 15 Apr 9 am – 4.45 pm, 15 Apr – 26 Oct 9 am – 6.45 pm, Tue closed
How to reach: Gülhane (TR1)
Coordinates: 41.011722, 28.983529