Topkapı Palace Museum

Everyday except Tuesday between 09.00 and 16.00
Tel : (0212) 512 04 80  
The first days of the Ramadan Festival and Feast of Sacrifice between 12.00 and 16.00 Harem Room can be visited with a separate ticket in groups between 09.30 and 15.30

Many written sources state that the construction of Topkapı Palace started around 1459. It  constantly grew and changed just like a living organism. Topkapı Palace is not a building  built and completed  according to a specific plan. Even during the rulership of Sultan Abdülmecid, who ordered the construction of Dolmabahçe Palace, and completely left Topkapı Palace, the Mecidiyeköy Manor House was built. 

Other than the manor houses built for the accommodation of sultans, many other structures such as rooms for palace guards, a very large kitchen for palace residents, bedrooms for palace employees, Kubbealtı, where the council meetings were conducted, the Room of Hırka-i Saadet, where belongings of the prophet and caliphs were kept, Gülhane Hospital, Sultan III. Ahmed Library, the Enderun School, the Treasury, a stable for the horses of the sultan, and the Church of Hagia Irene which was also used as an arsenal were also located in the palace grounds.
Topkapı Palace was left in the middle of the 19th century and lost its function as the center of the state. The palace was turned into a museum in 1924. Weapons belonging to the palace collection are exhibited in the Treasury today. These weapons belong to the period between the 7th and 20th centuries. Horse harnesses of the palace and sultan's carriages are exhibited in the main stable (Hasahır) of the palace. The ceramics, porcelais, glassware, and metal kitchenware used in the  palace can be seen  in the kitchens of the palace. There are belongings of the prophet and some caliphs which are also known as the Sacred Custodies in the Hırka-i Saadet building. The Ottoman treasure is exhibited in the Fatih Manor House. The exhibited items include the Spoonmaker's Diamond, the Topkapı Dagger, and four thrones.  Casual and ceremonial clothes of sultans can be seen in the Seferli Koğuşu (room of warriors and soldiers). Manor houses belonging to the Harem and sultans are other sections that should be seen.

(The Spoonmaker’s Diamond)

The 86 carat Spoonmaker's Diamond is among the most well-known of the first 22 diamonds of the world.  It is said that the 49 brilliants around the diamond were added by Mahmut II

According to one story, a poor man found the stone in the Eğrikapı junkyard in İstanbul in 1699 and exchanged it for three wooden spoons. The name of the diamond comes from this story. The spoonmaker sold this stone to a jeweler for 10 akças (silver coins). When it was  understood that it was a very precious stone, the head jeweler was notified, and then the Grand Vizier Köprülüzade Fazıl Ahmet Paşa, and finally the Sultan. Mehmet IV had the diamond brought to the Imperial Palace with a Hattı Hümayun (a written command) and gave it to the diamond master of the palace. When this stone which was found in the junkyard was processed, a unique diamond of 86 carats was created. The head jeweler was then given the title of Kapıcıbaşı along with a bag of coins.

There are Qurans, manuscript poems and imperial edicts in Topkapı Palace. There are also over 13 thousand miniatures and manuscripts. The miniatures were made in compliance with the Ottoman style and show the influence of the Eastern tradition.

Kitchens and the porcelain collection
The palace kitchens with 20 chimneys are located at the right of the second courtyard. About 2500 of the 12,000 Chinese and Japanese porcelains are exhibited in this section. During the Ottoman period this section was used as a kitchen; over 1000 cooks and their assistants would cook and deliver the dishes designated to various parts of the palace. The exhibition of porcelains today is a chronological one. Choice pieces of the richest collection of the world are exhibited. Some sections of the kitchens have been preserved as they were and other sections have been designated for the porcelain and glassware exhibition. Silverware and European porcelain are exhibited in a separate section. Unique Chinese seledons are exhibited in the room at the right side of the entrance. Blue and white porcelain and multi-colored porcelain end with the Japanese porcelain room. Metal kitchenware, coffee sets and tombacs are exhibited in the Helvahane section.

The weapon collection
The big building near the “Divan-ı Hümayun” (the council of ministers) was the state treasury. The building with eight domes now includes a rich collection where old weapons are displayed in a modern way. Armor and weapons used by sultans as well as weapons used by state officials in various periods are exhibited along with the weapons brought from other countries.
The Justice Tower rises near the Council section, which was designated for the members of the government. Council meetings were  conducted with the participation of viziers and clerks that gathered under the chairmanship of the grand vizier. Sultans would not participate in these meetings but could listen to them through  a window opened on a high point of the harem section and covered with a curtain.

A ceremony in the government location of the state (Babüssaade, the third biggest gate of Topkapı). Sultans would accept festival celebrations in front of the Babüssaade

The sultan sat on the big throne in the Sultanate Room, which was the largest room of the harem, and  watched performances. The sultan's wives, concubines and children sat in the harem. All women outside the family of the sultan were brought to the palace as slaves. They were trained by the head eunuch under strict rules. All of them dreamt of becoming the apple of the eye of the sultan. Brilliant stained glass framed the mystery of the harem.

Sultan’s clothes
The collection of sultan's clothes exhibited at the right side of the courtyard is
unique. The clothes were sewn by hand on special weaving looms and were carefully kept in special chests since the 15th century. There are about 2500 of them. The names of the sultan's clothes in terms of the style of weaving and the type of material used are: Atlas, canfes, çatma, seraser, serenk, selimiye, kemha and gezi. Clothes woven with silk, gold and silver, the silk caret used by the sultan, and special specimens of prayer rugs are also exhibited.

It was a palace tradition that the clothes of the sultan would be carefully folded and kept in sealed chests after he died. This caftan is exhibited in the İçoğlanlar Room

The armor of Sultan Mustafa III, embroidered with gold, diamond and other precious stones.  Second half of the 18th century

The cradle of the sultan is exhibited in the treasury.

The sacred objects preserved and exhibited in Topkapı Palace Hırka-i Saadet Building include swords, holy books, and writing panels belonging to Hz. Mohammed.  There are also some objects from the Kaabe, some building materials and objects that were taken after restoration of the Kaabe, and the locks and keys of the Kaabe. Historians say that Hz. Mohammed had nine swords and  gave the one named zülfikar to Hz. Ali. Another sword was left to him by his father. A letter by the prophet written on leather in twelve lines with the seal of the prophet and  the sakal-ı şerif (the beard of Hz. Mohammed) are kept in embroidered cases and attract the attention of visitors. The Sacred Objects were brought to İstanbul after the conquest of Egypt in 1517 by Yavuz Sultan Selim and some of them were collected from Islamic countries.


0212 512 04 80
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