Istanbul’s Topaki Palace *Video*

This was my second visit to Topaki Palace – but that that’s a good thing – ‘cause there’s a lot to see!

The palace, at one time home to more than 4,000 people, is a complex of more than 600,000 sq. meters (~2 million sq. feet) comprising 4 main courtyards and surrounding buildings.

The Palace was built in the mid-15th century and was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for nearly 400 years. Topaki means “Cannon Gate Palace,” but the gate from which it was named no longer exists.

The palace became a museum at the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1921. Not only can you tour the palace grounds, but you can also view the collection of Ottoman treasures, including jewelry, weapons, and art.


Here’s a brief intro video:

Can’t see the video? Then click on this link: Erin at Topaki Palace

Palace Highlights

The purpose of Topaki Palace was to provide seclusion for the Sultan and his family. To promote a restful environment there was a policy of complete silence in the inner courtyards and elaborate grilled windows and secret passageways to ensure ultimate discretion.

Here’re some of the place I liked best at the palace:

Imperial Harem: Home to the Sultan’s mother and his wives and concubines, the harem contained more than 400 rooms and was part of the Sultan’s private residence.

Courtyard of the Eunuchs: This is a narrow corridor that leads directly to the Harem. The eunuchs, under the supervision of the Chief Harem Eunuch, had the all-important job of guarding the Harem.

Apartments of the Queen Mother: This is the largest and most important section of the Harem. It contains a music room, dining room, reception area, bedroom, and a small room for prayer. The concubines live in apartments directly below the Queen Mother.

•  Imperial Hall: This is the main reception area where the Sultan received his guests. It includes the Imperial Sofa, the Hall of Diversions, which is the largest dome in the palace, and the Sultan’s Throne. It also has a secret passage (hidden behind a mirror) to allow the Sultan to access his mother’s apartments and his hammam.

Circumcision Room: This room (as you would expect) is dedicated to the circumcision of young princes. It’s situated with a view over the Bosphorus and is actually a really lovely room with windows on all sides and stained glass.

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This entry was posted on Monday, October 1st, 2012 and is filed under Europe.

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