"Topkapi Palace - Sublime Beauty (1)" Topkapi Palace Tip by mightywease

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul: 277 reviews and 656 photos

  Topkapi Palace
by mightywease
  • Topkapi Palace - Istanbul
      Topkapi Palace
    by mightywease
  • Topkapi Palace - Imperial Council Chamber - Istanbul
      Topkapi Palace - Imperial Council Chamber
    by mightywease
  • Topkapi Palace - Armoury Exhibits - Istanbul
      Topkapi Palace - Armoury Exhibits
    by mightywease

The Topkapi Palace is, I think, one of the highlights of a visit to Istanbul. Built between 1459 and 1465 it is a series of pavilions and kiosks placed in four large courtyards and surrounded by beautiful gardens.

Within the palace there are a number of different areas/exhibitions including the Harem, Treasury, Kitchens, Armoury and the Pavilion of the Holy Mantle and you really need to devote a good two or three hours to explore everything. There are hand held commentary guides available for an extra cost, we didn?t take advantage of these but I?ve heard they are very informative.

I?d suggest starting a tour of the palace with the Harem (see separate tip) partly because tickets are limited so it is best to book into a tour straight away but also because it allows a ?private? view of the day to day workings of the palace as opposed to the more public and ceremonial areas in the first two courtyards. Then start to explore the courtyards and pavilions. In the second courtyard, near to the entrance to the Harem, is the wonderfully decorated Imperial Council Chamber with beautiful calligraphy, tiling and wall paintings. In the Imperial Council Chamber is the Divan (indeed Divan is the name often given to this chamber) upon which the Grand Vizier would sit and preside over meetings while, nearby on the wall, is a metal grille through which the Sultan himself would watch, seeing but not really seen. Also in the second courtyard are the old kitchens with their huge doomed roofs and distinctive chimneys, the kitchens now contain a collection of porcelain, silver, ceramics and celadon ? the latter prized because it supposedly neutralised any poison in food. A useful tool for a Sultan fearing he may be overthrown. Also, in the old State Treasury, is a collection of arms and armour including some fearsome looking swords ? some of which belonged to individual Sultans - huge muskets, maces and a particularly fierce looking shield with spikes on it.

continued in tip below

Address: Babihumayan caddesi
Directions: Nearest Tram Stop: Sultanahmet
Phone: 0202 512 04 80
Website: http://topkapisarayi.gov.tr/en

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Nov 4, 2006
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