Topkapi (pronounced: tope cap ah) Palace was home to 30 Ottoman Sultans over four centuries and held 1,000-4,000 inhabitants, including up to 300 in the harem. It was built between the years of 1460 and 1478 by Mehmet the Conqueror. Shortly after the founding of the Republic of Turkey in 1924 Topkapi Palace was announced as a museum making it the first in the country. The Palace is filled with famous collections, building, and gardens to visit. There is a grand china collection all the way from Japan and China and Jewels that have been amassed over the years. The Pavilion of the Conqueror holds one of the largest cut diamonds in the world, the Topkapi Dagger, and other beautiful artifacts. The Imperial archives contain roughly 300,000 documents that give a glimpse into the history of the Ottoman empire.
The courtyard gardens have typically been filled with tulips which are Turkey’s national flower. There are four consecutive courtyards framed with high walls that remain standing today. The first courtyard was the most public and active of all four, any unarmed individual could enter through the Imperial Gate into the first courtyard. The second courtyard starts with the Gate of Salutation. This section used to house the administrative practices palace life. The former kitchens now hold the porcelain collections and the External Treasury displayed the imperial weapons which belonged to the palace. The palace’s tallest structure, the Tower of Justice, lies within the second courtyard as well. It reminded those participating in the affairs of the palace that the Sultan was seen as omnipresent in their lives. The third and fourth courtyard were much more private and reserved areas. The third is entered through the Gate of Felicity. This courtyard housed the private rooms and apartments of the Sultan and his close family. This secluded area was named the Chamber of Holy relics before Sultan Murad III moved his residence to the harem in the 16th century. The third courtyard holds a host of other important buildings. Finally, the fourth courtyard is filled mostly with flowering gardens and grand pavilions. The landscaping in these gardens and throughout Istanbul today is both beautiful and articulate. This standard of beauty has persisted throughout time within the palace walls over the years and is still upheld on the grounds today.
The Harem is one of the more mysterious portions of the palace. Eunuchs guarded the Harem and enforced gender segregation. It wasn’t until the 16th century that Murad III moved the Sultan’s living quarters to the Harem. Before then it merely housed his family and was divided by gender. The Harem grew over time as space was needed. Due to this there are various architectural designs and structures which over time created a maze-like wonder to explore.
This site is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, meaning it was deemed vital to protect and maintain due to its historical value. The museum welcomes more than 3 million travelers a year. Both foreigners and Turkish citizens travel to visit this famous palace due to the rich historical presence it holds and the beauty it has radiated for centuries.
What Can I See When Visiting Topkapi Palace?
You’ll encounter a variety of experiences ranging from intricate architecture to beautiful gardens. For example, when you visit, you’ll be able to see the Sultanate treasury, Holy Relics and The Tower of Justice. Imperial archives contain roughly 300,000 documents that give a glimpse into the history of the Ottoman empire.
As the government aims to preserve the museum there may be closed off sections at times. Depending on your time of visit you will see most of the site. More details on your exact viewing capabilities can be communicated to you when you book with SilkRoad Moments.
How Long Does it Take to Walk Around Topkapi Palace?
Depending on your style of touring, you could easily spend anywhere between 1 to 3 hours walking around the palace taking in the scenery. The beauty of this type of site is that you are in control of the pace.
Depending on whether or not you have a guided tour or desire to wander the beautiful grounds yourself, time length will vary.
Considering the close time of 4pm, this is a great destination to visit before finding a place to drink chai or go out for dinner while taking in the scenery of one of the most historic cities. Restaurants are available nearby.
What Can I Do with Kids at Topkapi Palace?
You can enjoy exploring history and beautiful architecture alongside your children. There wide-open courtyards and beautiful pavilions your children can explore safely. Turkish culture is also incredibly kind-hearted and accommodating of children, so make sure Istanbul is next on your list to visit!
Is Topkapi Palace Good for Kids and Toddlers?
Yes! Those 12 and under are able to visit the palace for free, those 6 and under are able to visit the harem for free as well. This is a great site to see that is enjoyable for all ages.
What are the Age Restrictions?
None, all are welcome to enjoy!
Where is Topkapi Palace?
It is located in Istanbul between Golden Horn and the Bosporus. The palace sits on a beautiful peninsula that is 700,000 square meters. This is a site convenient to visit when touring near the Hagia Sophia.
How do I get to Topkapi Palace?
Bus lines 28, 46Ç, 66, 74A, 99A, BN1 are the suggested lines to take which stop near Topkapi Palace. It is also easily reached by taxi. .
If you choose to travel with SilkRoad Moments Tourism, we will arrange this transportation for you.
How Much Are Tickets?
Price may vary. Your SilkRoad Moments specialist will discuss and accommodate your inquiries.
Without factoring in a guide, the entrance fee of Topkapi Palace is 200 TL, to visit the harem it is an additional 100 TL per person.
Those 12 and under are able to visit the palace for free, those 6 and under are able to visit the harem for free as well.
Where Can I Get Tickets?
You can purchase tickets directly from the vendors you choose.
If you choose to travel with SilkRoad Moments Tourism, we will arrange these entry fees for you.
Details and Map
Hours of operation are: 10am - 4pm Wednesday – Monday. The palace is closed all day Tuesdays.