Topkapı Palace, which was built after the conquest of Istanbul, has been used as residences and administrative center of the state for more than four centuries. Topkapı, where the Ottoman sultans resided and where the most important decisions were made, has undergone many changes over time. Visiting this building, which tells us a lot about Ottoman architecture, can help to get to know the Ottoman Empire even more. After the monarchic structure of the Ottoman State ended in 1922, Topkapı Palace was also transformed. It was converted into a museum on April 3, 1924 by the decision of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
History of Topkapı Palace
The palace, called Saray-ı Cedid-i Amire, started after 1465 and ended in 1478. Fatih Sultan Mehmed brought masters from various countries for the construction of Topkapı. Although there is not much information about the architects who worked in the palace, the name of an architect named Atik Sinan is frequently mentioned. Topkapı Palace did not reach its present form immediately. Topkapı Palace is in an order that adopts the courtyard system. There is a hierarchical order such as public sections and sections open to sultan The most comprehensive renovation and expansion in Topkapı Palace was made during the 1st Suleyman period.
- Towards the end of the 16th century, the palace almost reached its present form.
- It is the continuation of the classical period in 17th century art and architecture. However, there was not much change in the construction area in the 17th century. There has not been much change in Topkapı Palace, either.
- Some additions were made in the 18th century reflecting the baroque style. These marks can be easily seen in the harem at the beginning.
- It is the time when the 19th century Topkapı Palace began to be abandoned by the dynasty. Towards the end of the century, steps were taken to transform it into a museum of western standards.
- Republic of Turkey’s first museum was opened on April 3, 1924.
Parts of Topkapı Palace
- First courtyard (Alay Square)
It is the section where the external service structures called Birun are located. The palace is also the largest courtyard. This courtyard was used for various ceremonies. It was the janissaries, servants and their waiting area. It is also called “procession square”. At the entrance of this courtyard, there is a door called Bab-ı Hümayun.
- Second Courtyard
It is the area between Babusselam and Babussade. Babusselam is the middle door. It is the second entrance after the Babı Humayun.
- Third Courtyard
The Enderun Courtyard of the palace, that is, the 3rd Courtyard, starts from Babussade. It is also called Enderun courtyard, as it is a courtyard where the service organization in the palace works. Enderun is the place where the sultan and those who were trained to be a statesman to serve in his service were educated.
- Fourth Courtyard
The fourth courtyard, where the mansions at the back of the palace are located, is also known as the “sofa”. In this courtyard, the Revan Mansion and the Hirka-i Saadet Office are facing each other on the high embankment, surrounded by a marble railing and covered with white marble.
The word harem, derived from the word harim, refers to both all women of a dwelling and a separate section in which they live. It is a multi-storey and stepped structure isolated from other parts of the palace with high walls.
How to get to Topkapı Palace?
Topkapı Palace Museum is located at Cankurtaran, Fatih, Istanbul. Close to other landmarks of the city such as the Grand Bazaar, the Blue Mosque.
- Transfer to Aksaray by metro and then from Yusufpaşa station
You can get off at Sultanahmet stop. You can reach Topkapı Palace by passing in front of Hagia Sophia Museum and Hürrem Sultan Bath.
- You can use Marmaray.
- You can use the tram line.
You can easily reach from Sultanahmet Station by following the museum signs. Also, if you get off at Gulhane stop, walk towards the entrance of Gulhane Park. It is possible to find it by following the signs again.
Notes on the Topkapı Palace Museum
- It should be noted that the museum is closed on Tuesdays.
- It is closed until noon on the first day of religious holidays.
- Baby carriages are not allowed to enter the museum section.
- It is forbidden to take photographs in the sections that contain works, in order to prevent the works from being affected by the flashes of the cameras.
- For the Harem section, 42 TL entrance ticket is required, excluding the museum entrance fee.
- Hagia Eirene Museum can be visited between 09:00 and 17:00. Ticket price is 36 TL. Ticket sale ends at 16:00.
- Topkapı Palace Museum entrance fees are for 2019.