Topkapi Palace Istanbul

Everything You Need to About Topkapi Palace Istanbul

History is built into the fabric of Istanbul. Ottoman, Byzantine, and Roman history have permeated all parts of the Turkish capital, from its skyline to its streets. There is architectural evidence seen everywhere you go in Istanbul, and one such piece of evidence is Topkapi Palace Istanbul, located North East of the Hagia Sophia Mosque. Topkapi Palace Istanbul is a prime exponent of Ottoman architecture. Many exclusive collections are on display at Topkapi Palace Istanbul. The fascinating history of the palace is why it attracts thousands of tourists every year. Here you can find Ottoman Army arms, beautiful fabrics, jewels, and art. In addition, Topkapi Palace Istanbul kitchen has an incredible array of Chinese and Japanese porcelain.

History Of Topkapi Palace Istanbul

Topkapi Palace Istanbul
  • The construction of Topkapi Palace began in 1460.
  • The palace was significantly expanded between 1520 and 1560, during the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent, who wanted his residence to reflect the power of the rapidly expanding Ottoman Empire.
  • Sultan Selim II tasked Mimar Sinan with rebuilding the damaged parts of the palace after a large fire destroyed the kitchens in 1574. The palace had taken on its current form by the end of the 16th century. 
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Topkapi Palace Facts

  • The construction of Topkapi Palace Istanbul began in 1465 C.E.
  • Topkapi Palace Istanbul occupies a land area of 700,000 square meters.
  • Mehmed II, Alaüddin, Davud Ağa, Mimar Sinan, and Sarkis Balyan designed Topkapi Palace Istanbul.
  • Topkapi Palace Istanbul is named after Topkapusu Sâhil Sarâyı, another palace that was destroyed in a fire.
  • The resort named World Of Wonders Resorts & Hotels Topkapı Palace in Antalya is a reconstruction of some parts of Topkapi Palace Istanbul.
  • The architectural style of Topkapi Palace Istanbul is an amalgamation of Ottoman and Baroque.

Topkapi Palace Istanbul Architecture

Topkapi Palace Istanbul Architecture
  • Garden, hasbahçe, harem, four courtyards, and three main doors make up Topkapi Palace Istanbul.
  • Mimar Sinan designed just one part of Topkapi Palace Istanbul. Mehmed II, Alaüddin, Davud Ağa, Mimar Sinan, and Sarkis Balyan were among those who helped construct the palace.
  • The palace's architecture was influenced by Edirne Palace, designed on the Tunica River by Sultan Murad II.
  • The palace's surviving buildings are primarily low, with some constructions, particularly in the harem, are not always clear in their intent.

Topkapi Palace Highlights

Topkapi Palace Istanbul Harem

Istanbul Harem

During the reign of Murat III (1574-95), the first of the Harem's 300-odd rooms were built. The harem was the sultan's family's living quarters, and it was strictly separated by gender. Murad III had apartments constructed there in the 16th century, and it became the sultan's residence as well. The harem was constantly redesigned and expanded to meet the demands. Under the Tower of Justice, on the western side of the Second Court, is the gateway to the Harem.

Topkapi Palace Istanbul Gate

Gate of Felicity

The Gate Of Felicity was constructed in the 15th century and was later decorated in 1774 in the rococo style. The partly painted ceiling is gold-leafed and has decorative elements like a golden ball hanging from the middle. The sides are also beautified with minutiae paintings and other decorative elements. It is the entrance into the Third Courtyard or the Inner Court as it includes the private and residential areas of the Topkapi Palace.

Topkapi Palace Istanbul Garden

Imperial Gardens

According to records, the palace had several gardens in which buildings were built, many of which still survive.  Inspired by the Persian paradise garden, they had geometric pools with garden pavilions. The outer palace gardens still surround the whole complex, from the first to the fourth courtyard, with the sea-facing area being known as the Fifth Place. Of the three pavilions of Mehmed II, only Tiled Kiosk survived. The Basketmaker’s Kiosk, a splendid pavilion built along the shore for the viewing pleasure of the Sultan, still remains. The old Imperial Rose Garden and the Gulhane Park are located next to the First Courtyard, with the park being open to the public.

Topkapi Palace Istanbul Courtyard


The Topkapi Palace complex includes four huge courtyards, each serving a different function. The First door and the first courtyard had the church, hunker imam, the surgeon, hospitals, and bakers. The Second Gate and the Second Courtyard had the stables, while Divan-i Hümayun is where state issues were discussed. The Treasury Room with the collection of watches and weapons is right behind the Divan-i Hümayun. Celebrations, events, and weddings were held in front of the Third Gate and the Third Courtyard. The Fourth Courtyard has several points of interest like the Summer Room, Revan Pavilion, Mecidiye Mansion, and Baghdad Pavilion.

Topkapi Palace Istanbul Imperial Treasury

Imperial Treasury

The items in the Imperial Treasury are works of art and have a lot of spiritual and historical importance. The sultans would consider the items to be extremely valuable. They considered the treasury a memento of the royal family and paid special attention to enriching their collection. The items were kept with care and were organized in chests and cupboards, which were only to be opened under the sultan’s supervision in the treasury. Sultan Abdülmecid broke the tradition and brought a few items from the treasury for display. The tradition is still continued, which is why those items, along with the ones belonging to the Ottoman sultans, are now on display in the palace’s Imperial Treasury section.

Topkapi Palace Istanbul Armory

Arms and Weapons

The Ottoman army’s weapons were stored in armories called cebehâne once they were manufactured in workshops. This cebehâne also had the provision of weaponry maintenance and repairs. After the conquest of Constantinople, the Church of Hagia Eirene was converted into the cebehâne in the Topkapi Palace’s First Courtyard. In 1846, the Church of Hagia Eirene was transformed to form the first museum to store the Collection of Ancient Weapons and the Collection of Antiquities. The present-day Topkapi museum has a collection covering over 1,300 years as it consists of over 52,000 weapons from different parts of the world.

All Your Questions Answered About The Topkapi Palace

Q. Is Topkapi Palace Istanbul open post-Covid?

A. Yes, Topkapi Palace Istanbul is open post-Covid.

Q. Is it worth visiting the Topkapi Palace Istanbul?

A. Yes, Topkapi Palace Istanbul showcases some of the most significant works of art of the Ottoman and Byzantine eras, making it a site worth visiting.

Q. Who built the Topkapi Palace?

A. Mehmet the Conqueror began construction on the first stage of Topkapi Palace Istanbul in 1459. Later, the expansion work continued over centuries .

Q. When was the expansion work done?

A. The palace was significantly expanded between 1520 and 1560, during the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent, who wanted his residence to reflect the power of the rapidly expanding Ottoman Empire.

Q. What can I do at Topkapi Palace Istanbul?

A. At Topkapi Palace Istanbul, you will be able to see Ottoman Army arms, beautiful fabrics, jewels, an incredible array of Chinese and Japanese porcelain, personal relics of the Prophet Muhammad, Moses' staff, and David's sword, to name a few.

Q. What is the Topkapi Palace Istanbul Harem?

A. The Topkapi Palace Istanbul Harem was the sultan's family's living quarters, and it also became the sultan's residence in the 16th century. According to popular opinion, the Harem was a place where the Sultan could indulge in unrestricted depravity.

Q. Where is the Topkapi Palace located?

A. The Topkapi Palace is located on the Seraglio Point, overlooking the Golden Horn in Istanbul, Turkey.