Topkapi Palace is the place where the Ottoman Empire ruled for centuries. It is also an architectural museum, as it contains outstanding examples of Turkish architecture from various periods. Topkapi Palace, which was not built at once, was started in 1460 and completed in 1478, has the importance of being one of the largest palace-museums in the world, expanded with the additions until the 19th century.
Topkapı Palace, in addition to being the administrative, educational and artistic center of the empire for about 400 years, was also the home of the sultans during the Ottoman Period, when Istanbul was the capital. This palace, where the traces of the nomadic society of the Ottoman Period continued, became the living space of approximately 5 thousand people.
Topkapi Palace, as the only surviving palace in line with the architectural traditions of the Ottoman Empire, is in a very important place that can be called “in the heart of the city” in terms of its location. This palace, which has a very modest architecture, consists of open and closed areas suitable for living freely, according to the settlement traditions of the Turks based on the old tent culture. In other words, gardens and exhibitions are more common in Topkapı Palace.
When entered from Bab-ı Hümayun, which means the gate of the sultanate, the palace consists of 4 courtyards and architectural structures around it.
1. Courtyard: Known as the only part of the palace open to the public, this part was the scene of the sultan’s rites of passage. There are structures such as Hagia Irene Church, Mint, Bakery, Hospital, Wood Warehouse.
2. Courtyard: This part is the Divan Square or, in other words, the Justice Square. It was used as a ceremonial area where the state administration took place and the state was represented. Parliament Building, Justice Tower, Harem, Kitchens are located in this section. In some parts of the kitchens, where 500-600 people worked, perfumes, candles, and in some, medicines were made by the palace doctors. Currently, there is an exhibition of porcelains that the Ottomans received as gifts from various countries while visiting the palace kitchen.
3. Courtyard: In this courtyard, known as the Enderun Courtyard, there are structures such as the Sultan’s Supply Room, the Enderun Treasury, and the Private Room. There is also Ahmet Library (Enderun Library). One of the most beautiful works of the Tulip Era, III. Ahmet Fountain is decorated with patterns and motifs that became characteristic of the period. The Sacred Relics, which were brought to Istanbul after Yavuz Sultan Selim’s Egypt expedition and became an invaluable treasure, whose number increased constantly in the following periods, have been preserved and exhibited in the Has Room in this courtyard for 500 years. Hz. Muhammad’s beard, cardigan, swords, Hz. Many holy relics, such as the staff of Moses and the swords of the prophets David, Ali, Abu Bakr, and Omar, are exhibited to the visitors accompanied by the Qur’an, which is read 24 hours a day.
4. Courtyard: In this part, which is the last courtyard, there are the sultan’s mansions and hanging gardens. In this section, where we can see the view of the Golden Horn, there are the Baghdad and Revan kiosks, which are the most outstanding examples of Ottoman classical pavilion architecture, and the Iftariye Gazebo. Topkapi Palace, which attracts a lot of attention from domestic and foreign tourists, welcomes approximately 3 million tourists throughout the year. Although there are virtual tours of this palace, which are open to visitors every day except Tuesdays, you will want to come and experience its ambiance.