Topkapi Palace Museum

Topkapı Sarayı

A magnificent structure that has witnessed the history of Istanbul, Topkapı Palace was home to Ottoman Sultans who ruled the world for centuries. Today, it serves as a museum that cherishes the memories of those times.

After the conquest of Istanbul by Sultan Mehmed, the Conqueror, in 1453 a new governmental center was needed in Istanbul which became the new capital of the Ottoman Empire. For that purpose, the construction of Topkapı Palace was started in 1460, and the palace was used as residence for sultans from Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, to Sultan Abdulmecid the thirty first sultan, and also as a center of administration, education and art for four centuries.

Serving as a museum since April 3, 1924, the Palace is also renowned as the first museum of the Republic.

Today Topkapı Palace Museum is one of the largest palace museums of the world with 300,000 archive documents, spectacular collections consisting of Ottoman arms and instruments, an invaluable treasure like the Spoonmaker's Diamond and its sacred relics. Sections of Topkapı Palace consist of 4 courtyards and 1 harem. The Palace has been divided into 2 main sections as Birun, its service section, and Enderun, which covers inner organizational structures.

  1. Courtyard 1: (Alay Meydanı/Parade Court): The Parade Court that witnessed the parades of the Sultan covers Hagia Irene, a church from the Eastern Roman Empire, the entrance gate Babüsselam, the Gate of Salutation, a ceremonial entrance gate designed in a blend of Ottoman and Western architecture, and another ceremonial gate, Bab-ı Hümayun, the Imperial Gate which allows passage to Courtyard I. The first Courtyard is known to be the only section of the Palace that was open to public.
  1. Courtyard 2: (Divan Meydanı/Council Square): It is the gate that opens to the administrative buildings of the State. It is also known as the Middle Gate. The Council Square, built as the second courtyard of the Palace, was used as a ceremonial grounds for state governance and representation.
  1. Courtyard 3 (Enderun Courtyard): It covers the inner palace allocated to the Sultan. Aside from the sections allocated to the Sultan, it covers dormitories and structures belonging to the Palace School established during the reign of Sultan Murad II.
  1. Courtyard 4 (Kiosks Garden/: Consisting of kiosks of sultans and terraces, Tulip garden and Sofa-i Hümayun, which is another terrace, Courtyard 4 covers also kiosks build toward the Golden Horn in mid 17thcentury. 

Topkapı palace is established on an area of 700,000 square meters on the Eastern Roman Acropolis situated at the end of the Historical Peninsula between Marmara Sea, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. The structure, which was converted into a museum after the foundation of the Republic, is located in the Cankurtaran Quarter of Fatih district.

Attracting intensive interest from local and foreign tourists, Topkapı Palace was visited by nearly 3 million tourists in 2018. Topkapı Palace is open to visitors every day except Tuesday. During the winter season (October 2- April 1), it can be visited from 9:00 to 16:45, provided that latest entry is at 16:00, and in the summer season (April 1 - October 2) it can be visited from 09:00 to 18:45, provided that latest entry is at 18:00.

Topkapı Palace can be accessed by a short walk when you get off the T1 Kabatas-Bagcilar tram at Gülhane or Sultanahmet stop.

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