Istanbul Topkapı Palace Museum History, Opening Hours, Entrance Fee, Directions
Topkapı Palace is the best Ottoman Palace reflecting the origins of Seljuk Turks in Central Asia. It was commissioned by Mehmed the Conqueror in 1460 and Ottoman sultans and royal family lived there until 1856.
A reflection of classical Ottoman architecture, Topkapı Palace fell out of favor in the 19th century because it was not considered suitable for state protocols and ceremonies. During the reign of Sultan Abdülmecid, Dolmabahçe Palace, built on western style, started to be used so Topkapı Palace became “Old Palace” but it was not completely abandoned.
When the Ottoman Empire was stretched to three continents and reached its widest borders, strong monarchs like Suleiman the Magnificent was accommodating in this humble palace. The Palace consists of four large gardens and a structure immersed with nature. A visit to the palace takes 3 hours on average.
Istanbul Topkapi Palace Museum
Step By Step Topkapi Palace Museum Travel Guide
Topkapi Palace contains four courtyards. Ticket is not required to get into the first courtyard. Ticket offices located at the end of the 1st courtyard. (On the right side) You may find an excellent description of the courtyards of Topkapı Palace from the first to the fourth.
Hagia Irene Church, Topkapi Palace Museum Shop, Ticket Offices
Description: When you enter the First Courtyard from the monumental gate, the first thing that attracts the eye is the magnificent Bosphorus view. But don’t be hasty. You will see even more beautiful sceneries within the palace. On the left side, there is a nice restaurant called Karakol Restaurant. (Old Police Building). Just next to it majestic Hagia Irene Church, built at the same time as Hagia Sophia by Emperor Justinian. First Courtyard provides a nice walking path covered with trees and flowers. When you approach the second monumental gate, you will see ticket kiosks on your right. With the spring coming, lines get longer and longer. Therefore you may think of getting fast track istanbul museum pass or hire a private tour guide for priority access.
Note: A passage to Istanbul Archeological Museum is to the west of this courtyard
Imperial Council, Clock Collection, Weaponry Section, Palace Kitchens.
Description: After you pass through toll gate and security point, you may look at the miniature models of the palace to understand the real size of the Topkapı Palace. The first model shows the complete palace complex and the second one shows the inner courtyards, the core of the palace. Behind the models on the east side of the courtyard, you may see huge chimneys. These are the kitchens capable of feeding 3000 people a day. You may see inside video about Ottoman palace kitchen and distinguished Chinese porcelain collection.
The most distinctive place at the second courtyard is Tower of Justice and Imperial Council below it. The most important decisions about the empire stretching to three continents were taken here. In the grand vizier room, there is elegant hand-made clock collection. The red brick room includes a weapon selection with collection from many centuries. The entrance to Harem of Topkapı Palace is in this courtyard, just at the center of the western wing, next to the council. If you enter Harem here, you may get out at the fourth courtyard.
Topkapi Palace Imperial Council
Audience Hall, Outfit Collection, Treasury, Sacred Relics.
Description: The beautiful gate that can be seen while passing to third courtyard through the second one is the Gate of Felicity. At the entrance of the third courtyard is the Audience Hall where the sultan accepted the guests. Outfit selection and treasury ward can be seen on the western wing of the courtyard. There are four treasury rooms. However due to restorations, it is seldom that four of them are open. Spoonmaker’s Diamond (Kaşıkçı Elması) and Topkapı Dagger (Topkapı Hançeri) are the most famous and valued items, which can be seen in Treasury IV room.
You may see Prophet Moses’ staff, Prophet David’s sword, hand of John the Baptist, mantle of Prophet Muhammad in the Sacred Relics room.
Topkapi Palace Treasury Renowned Topkapi Dagger
Mecidiye Kiosk, Wooden Sofa Kiosk, Baghdad and Revan Kiosks, Summer Kiosk
Description: On the eastern wing of the courtyard, there is an incredible Bosphorus and Istanbul view in front of Mecidiye Kiosk. At the center of the yard, there is a wooden kiosk called Sofa Kiosk and a large garden. Sports competitions were held between palace dwellers in this garden. In the western wing of the courtyard, there is a magnificent Golden Horn view and Baghdad Kiosk, Revan Kiosk and Summer Kiosk (Circumcision Room) can be seen here as well.
Topkapi Palace Konyali Restaurant – View Of Bosphorus
Tip for tour palace visit: A visit to Topkapı Palace might be a bit tiring. Therefore it is recommended to visit the palace in the morning, even at the time of opening at 09:00. In this way, you will not be stuck in the lines at the entrance of the palace and treasury and you will be able to enjoy the calming atmosphere with your fresh energy.
Museum is open every day except Tuesday.
Topkapi Palace Visiting Or Opening Hours
Winter Season: 26 October – 15 April
Museum, Harem and Hagia Irene can be visited between 09:00 and 16:45
Attention: Ticket kiosks closes at 16:00
Summer Season: 15 April – 26 October
Museum, Harem and Hagia Irene can be visited between 09:00 and 18:45
Attention: Ticket kiosks closes at 18:00
Maps of each courtyards can be seen from this link:
Topkapı Palace Entrance Fee 2017
Topkapi Palace ticket for a regular visit costs 40 Turkish Lira. Harem visit requires another ticket which is 25 Turkish Lira. You may consider buying a museum card as well.
Consider Booking A Tour Guide For Topkapı Palace Visit
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