Topkapı Palace

Topkapı Palace

The biggest and most beautifull palace in Istanbul



Topkapı Palace locates in either first hill of Istanbul or old settlement in Istanbul. According to Rome Historian Plinius , there was a city called lykus in this remarkable area in 9. century B.C..

Ottoman Empeior Mehmet the second  erected Topkapı Palace in 1478 in Seraglio.TopkapıPalace was either large palace for Ottoman sultans or their family for 380 years or Headquarter of government.

Topkapı Palace consists of flower gardens, courtyards,pavilions, kitchen, rooms. Topkapı Palace had seven gates ( 3 gates for seaside, 4 gates for land side).  Topkapı Palacespreads 700 000 square meters land.

The palace complex is located on the Seraglio Point (Sarayburnu), a promontory overlooking the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara, with a good view of the Bosphorus from many points of the palace.Palace walls which is located  between Sirkeci and Cankurtaran dates back to byzantine empire times. One part of palace garden located in Gulhane park. other part located in Istanbul archaeological museum. except Sepetçiler kasrı,Other Building located nearby golden horn was destroyed by order of sultan for construction of Orient express (Sirkeci) station. after Dolmabahce Palace's construction, Topkapı Palace was used as a building for woman who is retired in 1926 Topkapı palace become museum. 



Before taking step to Main Entrance of Topkapı Palace, you can see Sultan Ahmet Third Fountain which is erected in 1728. Sultan Ahmet Third was poet, calligraphist and musician.One of the inscription of fountain was written by sultan ahmet III own hands.Most of building which was built in Tulip time period in Istanbul was  destroyed  by fire and revolt . Sultan Ahmet III fountain is one of building which dates back tulip time period.  Sultan Ahmet III fountain was constructed by architect Mehmed Agha.  Sultan Ahmet III fountain has four different smal domes in four corner.  Sultan Ahmet III fountain has four taps in four side and four kiosk in four corners. 



"By the Grace of God, and by His approval, the foundations of this auspicious castle were laid, and its parts were solidly joined together to strengthen peace and tranquility. This blessed castle, with the aim of ensuring safety of Allah's support and the consent of the son of Sultan Mehmed, son of Sultan Murad, sultan of the land, and ruler of the seas, the shadow of Allah on the people and demons, God's deputy in the east and west, the hero of water and soil, the conqueror of Constantinople and the father of its conquest, Sultan Mehmed Khan- May Allah make eternal his empire, and exalt his residence above the most lucid stars of the firmament."


After looking fountain, you are going to meet  BAB-I HUMAYUN (IMPERIAL GATE).  Prime minister, minister and ambassador had entered in Topkapı palace by passing BAB-I HUMAYUN (IMPERIAL GATE) which thousands of tourist enter inside palace in the present day.

The Inscription of Gate was written by famous calligraphist Ali bin Yahya Sofi. Above you can read inscription in English.And also you can see two different Ottoman Sultan monogram. these two monogram were added to gate after restorations which were organized by Sultan Abdulaziz and Sultan Mahmut II.  Actually  this gate had two floor  but  the second floor was destroyed by Sultan abdulaziz in 1867.


Topkapı palace has three different door and four courtyard in present day.First courtyard is much diferent than other courtyard. you can see alot of trees instead of buildings.Everyone lived in Ottoman could enter in first courtyard after security control.first courtyard was used as a horse parking area. Cradle procession, mother procession and funeral procession were held in first courtyard. 25000 Janissary had  joined in funeral procession of Sultan mehmet second in first courtyard. there was a building in first courtyard for collecting complaint from citizens.these complaints were presented to sultan can see a lot of plane trees in first courtyard.These trees are symbolized Ottoman family.Ottoman was founded by Osman Gazi. osman gazi had vision during sleeping. According to his vision, plane trees came out from his chest. he ask question about  his vision to fortune teller. Fortune teller told him that his imperial would be as tall as these trees and as old as these trees. 

While walking in first courtyard of Topkapı palace, you can see hagia irine (divine peace in greek) at the left hand side. after that,  you can see Main Minting House. there was a hospital in byzantine age before Main Minting House.After minting house , there is a way leads to Gulhane forest and Istanbul archaeological museum. At the right hand side, you can see storage for keeping wood, museum shop, ticket ofiice and executioner fountain.


Wooden church called Divine Peace was constructed by Constantine the great in 330.Building where we see today was rebuilt by Justinian the great in 532 after Nika revolt which was held in Ancient Hipodrome. Hagia irine was repaired in 740 after big earthquake. 3000 people were killed in hagia irine because of theologic disaggrement between Orthodoxy and ArianizmAfter conquering Istanbul, haiga irine was used as a arsenal for maintaining and reparing guns and rifles. Hagia irine became military museum in 19th century.Hagia irine was never converted into mosque in Ottoman Times. Today Hagia irine is closed for visiting. Art Activities especially opera are held  inside Hagia irine.  


Bab-us gate is second gate of Topkapı palace.This gate is entrance of topkapı museum. Bab-us gate  locates between first courtyard and second courtyard.Bab-us gate has two octagonal shaped tower. there are employer's rooms inside gate. this room was used by executioner to execute stateman of palace.




After passing security control of second gate, we arrive to the second  courtyard of topkapı palace. First of all,  you should turn right  and you can see two different model of Topkapı palace and  Ottoman different time period land map.after map, you can see royal family  horse carriages. At the right handside you can see kitchen of palace. kitchen has  three different gates kiler-i amire, Has mutfak, Helvahane. Unfortunately it is closed for visiting.when it was open, visitor had chance to see potteries which was produced  by Mink family who was royal family of china.Three hundred workers was working in kitchen in ottoman times.

In the middle of second courtyard , you can see a lot of cypresses. one of  cypresses tree is so populer in palace.Fig tree comes out from root of cypress.near the trees  you can see roof of byzantine cistern which date back 6. century.

At the right hand side of second courtyard of palace you can visit  stable of  Palace , Harem , justice tower and Outer treasury room.

Imperial Council (Justice tower ) is the most outstanding building in second courtyard.It is also one of the silhouette of Istanbul. It has conic shaped tower. Thıs tower is higher than all building in palace. Grand vizier and Viziers came together for issue related to govertment after passing Divan street and morning praying in haghia sophia. This meeting was held in four days in a week. Ottoman Sultan didn't join this meeting. but they watched and listened them when he was behind special windows (kafes-i müşebbek). this building was used as a supreme court in rest day of week.

you can visit other two rooms nearby Imperial Council. one of them is clocks section. you can see clocks which were produced in England ,French and Turkey. Another room is Outer treasure rooms which was constructed by suleiman the magnicifent .Ulufe (salary paid trimonthly to certain soldiers and officers ) was distributed. you can see armour section inside Outer treasure.


Bab-us sade locate between enderun (inner ) and birun (outer).it was built by at the time of Sultan mehmet second. Landscape paintings were added in front facade of Bab-us sade gate in sixteenth century.Vassals hold esteem to Ottoman Sultans when Sultan sit down his throne which was on carpet unrolling ground of Bab-us sade in religious holiday and other important days. Ambassador was waiting infront of this gate before entering audince hall.there is hole on the ground in front of gate for Caliph emblem . Caliph emblem was taken to second gates during war.  Caliph emblem  stayed in second gates until Ottoman Army arrived to istanbul.Rebels were held in front of  this gate in weak time period in Ottoman Empire.


The school was in third courtyard for educating Children. Endrun Educational system  was  started to implement by Sultan Mehmet second. Christian children were gathered  by lala who was teacher in ottoman times. they changed their religion. they became muslim. these students were educated very well and intensely. According to their education and competence, they were assigned  as a minister (Vezir).

After passing Bab-us sade gate,  first of all you are going to see Audince room or Throne room.most part of room was built by Sultan Selim first. It was renovated by Sultan ahmet III. and Sultan Mahmut II. .Sadrazam (Prime minister )  presented issue spoken in Imperial Council to Sultan  in Audince Room. Sultan accepted ambassadors  in Audince room. Ambassadors presented  their gifts to Sultan in this room.Today you can see huge throne and  Pearl, diamond and Ruby decoreted throne's coat inside room. 

Library of Sultan Ahmet III  ,located right behind Audience room and in the middle of third courtyard,  was constructed in 1719. Stained-glass and mother of pearl  inlaid shelfs are worthwhile  to see. 

And also  you can see Sultan's costumes called kaftan, Sultan's throne, Topkapı dagger, Spoonmaker diomand, holly relics ( Prohpet Moses's rod. Prophet David's sword,Prophet Abraham's bowl, Sain john the baptist's arm bone, Prophet Muhammed's foot print, sword, arrow, bow,beard hair, seal, caliph's swords and portrait of Sultans in enderun courtyard's rooms. Take a photo and video  are forbidden in these rooms.



after arriving in fourth courtyard , first of all, you ganno see sofular mosque which was built by Sultan Mahmut second for armourer. Mecidiye pavilion  was constructed by 

 Sultan Abdulmecit in 1840. Today mecidiye pavilion is used as a restaurant called Konyalı. when you are in Konyalı restaurant  you can see most beautifull view of Istanbul. On the left hand side you can see tulip garden where  parties were held in Sultan Ahmet III times. In the middle of garden , you can see baptism marble pool.hekimbasu tower  was used by doctor  to creat medicine and paste.

after moving up stair where is near the tulip garden, you arrive  left side of  fourth courtyard. enjoy beautifull view of golden horn like sultan Ibrahim. Because this place was used by sultan Ibrahim to breaking fast in ramadan month. you can see Sultan Ibrahim's alcove. and also  you have  chance to too see furniture, carpets,beautifull tiles inside Revan pavilion,Bagdat Pavilion and circumsion room.

Entrance fee : 60 Turkish Liras 

Harem Entrance fee : 35 Turkish Liras

closed on Tuesday


Topkapı Palace Museum 

Topkapı Palace was second palace for Ottoman imperial in İstanbul. Topkapı Palace was used by 24 Ottoman Sultans for living and ruling Ottoman imperial since 1853. Topkapı Palace covered an area of 700.000 square meters. But today a part of Topkapı palace was destroyed during construction Oreint Express Station by order of Sultan Abdülaziz. Topkapı Palace was constructed as a eastern style palace . Therefore, Topkapı Palace has three gates and three courtyards , such as Chinese Forbidden City Palace.

what to see in Topkapı Palace 

  1. Sultan Ahmet Third Public Fountain 
  2. (First door) Imperial Door : Free entrance 
  3. First Courtyard ( Alay Meydanı, Procession square)
  4. Police Office (Today used as a restourant)
  5. Hagia İrine Church  (entrance fees 35 Turkish per person)
  6. Imperial Mintage house
  7. Executioner Fountain
  8. (Second Door)  Greeting Door ( main entrance of Topkapı Palace museum entrance fee: 60 Turkish liras per person )
  9. Model of Topkapı palace
  10. Second Courtyard ( Divan Meydanı )
  11. Imperial Stable
  12. Justice Tower
  13. Imperial Council
  14. Armour exhibitions
  15. Imperial Palace and Famous Chinese Porcelian collection
  16. Third Gate ( gate of felicity)
  17. Harem entrance ( extra ticket 35 Turkish liras per person is  required  )
  18. Security Guard dormitory
  19. Black Eunuch Dormitory
  20. Concubine dormitory
  21. Queen Mother private rooms
  22. Imperial Hall
  23. The Privy Chamber of Sultan Murat Third
  24. Golden road
  25. white Eunuchs Dormitory
  26. Chamber of petitions
  27. Sultan Costume Exhibitions
  28. Imperial Treasure Exhibitions
  29. Sultan Portrait
  30. Chamber of Holy Relics
  31. Library of Sultan Ahmet Third
  32. Mecidiye kiosk (today used as a restourant)
  33. Revan and Baghad Kiosk
  34. Bower of Fast Break
  35. Circumsision Room


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