Built in the 15th century by Sultan Mehmed II, Topkapi Palace in Istanbul was the center of power of the Ottoman Empire and its cultural and administrative capital. Literally translated as “Cannon Gate Palace”, it was called the New Palace until the 19th century. With beautiful paintings, prized ornaments, plush courtyards, a lavish harem, and more, it embodies the country's royal glory. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, the palace is now a museum that houses the grandest knowledge bank and memoirs of Ottoman glory. With a wealth of history behind it, the beauty of the palace-turned-museum is unlike anything ever seen before.
Originally built in the elegant Ottoman style of architecture, Topkapi Palace seamlessly blends various styles across its sprawling complex, including the Baroque style in the 18th and 19th centuries. Its lavish exteriors and interiors are heavily influenced by Ottoman, Persian, Islamic, and European designs, characterized by ornate and graceful domes, pointed arches, intricate marble and tilework, and elegant courtyards.
Noteworthy structures include the Imperial Council Chamber, exhibiting exquisite Iznik tiles, and the Harem, a labyrinth of opulent chambers. The Second Gate, completed during Suleyman I's reign, stands as a testament to Ottoman grandeur. The sprawling complex embodies the beauty of symmetry and the sophistication of Ottoman aesthetics.
Housing some of the most coveted possessions of the Ottomans, the Imperial Treasury of Topkapi Palace has artworks, jewelry, arms, weapons, and more. One can see the armor of Mustafa III, an emerald-clad gold dagger called the Topkapi Dagger, and the most astounding Spoonmaker’s Diamond among many other prized collections.
Weapons from the Ottoman Empire dating as far back as the 7th century can be seen in the palace. These include not just the ones made by the Ottomans but also the ones they brought back from foreign lands. Swords from the Umayyad and Abbasid eras, Persian suits of armor, and helmets are among the more than 400 weapons preserved here.
A large portion of the porcelain artifacts present at Topkapi Palace is from Europe. Porcelain items were often used as gifts among the royal clans and ranked officers. Having been huge patrons of porcelains from Chinese dynasties, very soon, the patronage changed in favor of European porcelains. You can see 5,000 such pieces at Topkapi Palace.
Having in its possession more than 20,000 manuscripts, the Topkapi Palace Library is a bank of rich history pertaining to the region. It contains some of the rarest books of history and literature, including fine examples of calligraphy, thousands of copies of the Quran, and much more.
The largest of the royal courtyards at Topkapi Palace is the first courtyard. With structures like the Imperial Mint and the Byzantine church Hagia Irene, this courtyard is an area of rich interest. The ‘Gate of Salutation’ leads from the first to the second courtyard and showcases some of the best influences of Byzantine architecture.
The Second Courtyard is among the most significant ones at Topkapi Palace. The Imperial Treasury, Imperial Council, and the Gate of Felicity are located here, exuding the grandeur of the Ottoman lifestyle and their legacy. One can also see the high walls of the palace kitchen, which is a structure of great significance.
The inner Third Courtyard was a little more privy with Agas who were taught different arts living in the area. It has the audience chamber which was the place where the king sat on a highly placed throne to address his audience. It is home to many libraries, mosques of the Agas, and miniature galleries among other beauties of the courtyard.
With more than 400 rooms, the Topkapi Palace harem has some of the most private areas of the royal residence. It houses the courtyard of the Queen Mother, the luxurious baths of the King and the Queen Mother, and the privy chambers of many princes. It is one of the most intricate and architecturally exquisite parts of the palace.
A. Topkapi Palace is a museum in the city of Istanbul, which was once the royal seat of the Ottoman Sultans.
A. Yes, Topkapi Palace is open for visits. You will have to buy a ticket to enter the palace and you can only explore the harem section with a tour guide.
A. Yes, you will need to buy tickets to enter Topkapi Palace. You can buy your Topkapi Palace tickets online.
A. You can easily book your Topkapi Palace tickets online.
A. Topkapi Palace is significant for the rich archival information and relics from Istanbul's medieval age. It served as the primary residence of the Ottoman rulers and the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire for nearly 400 years. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A. As one of the biggest palaces in the world, Topkapi Palace is the most visited museum in Turkey. It has an architecturally beautiful structure and is home to rare relics and key information on Turkey’s medieval history and culture.
A. Topkapi Palace was first built in the year 1465.
A. Topkapi Palace is located in the Fatih district of Istanbul, Turkey.
A. Topkapi Palace is open every day from 9 AM to 6 PM for the public, except on Tuesdays. Get detailed Topkapi Palace Timings.
A. Topkapi Palace is home to many important relics and ornaments and houses many examples of beautiful Ottoman and Byzantine architecture. You can visit the Imperial Treasury, Imperial Council, harem, mosques, and beautiful gardens and pavilions inside Topkapi Palace.
A. Yes, there is wheelchair access available at Topkapi Palace. However, some areas of the palace are not accessible by wheelchair. You will also have to bring your own wheelchair to the venue.
A. We recommend that you set aside at least 2 to 3 hours to tour Topkapi Palace.