The Marmara Bodrum


The Marmara Antalya


The Marmara Taksim

Istanbul / Taksim

The Marmara Pera

Istanbul / Pera

The Marmara Şişli

Istanbul / Sisli

The Marmara Suadiye

Istanbul / Suadiye

The Marmara Esma Sultan

Istanbul / Esma Sultan

The Marmara Park Avenue

NY / Park Avenue

Topkapi Palace

From The Marmara Taksim
20 Min
50 min
Address Cankurtaran, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul
Phone (0212) 512 04 80


10 AM to 4 PM

Exterior of the Topkapi Palace, tower inside of the trees is visible

The extraordinarily opulent Topkapı Palace is home to some of the most fascinating history of the Ottoman Empire. As the main royal residence between its completion in the 1460s to the construction of the Dolmabahçe Palace in the mid-19th century, it has borne witness to some of the most colorful and questionable figures of the Empire. 

The palace was named ‘Topkapı’ in the 1800s, meaning ‘cannon gate.’ Before that, it was simply known as the New Palace. It was commissioned by Mehmed the Conqueror in 1459, soon after he took over Constantinople. The palace has four exquisite, private courtyards, a Harem, pavilions, lush gardens, and more; though renovations and expansions have been made since the 1460s, Mehmed’s original layout was preserved through the years.   

The lavish lifestyles of 400 years of Ottoman sultans come to life in the extravagant Topkapı Palace, which has been a museum since 1924. On display within the palace is the Imperial Harem, once home to as many as 300 concubines; the Treasury, in which the iconic 86 carat Spoonmaker’s Diamond is exhibited, along with other sparkling jewels from the height of the Empire. Ottoman art and calligraphy also finds a place in the museum’s collection, as do elaborate royal outfits and more.  

Inside of the Topkapi Palace

History & Architecture of Topkapı Palace 

Built overlooking the Golden Horn, the waterway that runs through Istanbul, Topkapı Palace was meant to both accent the natural landscape and create an important foothold in the city. Construction began in 1459, and was completed either in 1465 or a little later; the palace was unique in its asymmetric design, which cascaded down to the water.  

The palace is made up of a complex of buildings, connected by courtyards and passages; most buildings are just one or two stories. Its chambers and pavilions are decked out with tiles and Rococo decorations. The palace is organized into four courts, each of which was used for its own special purpose: the first court — also the largest — was the entrance to the palace; the second court was used for official business; the third housed the Sultan’s private quarters, as well as the harem; the fourth, which for a while was considered part of the third, is an even more private inner sanctum.  

The Imperial Harem 

At the heart of Topkapı Palace’s most private sections was the Imperial Harem, home to foreign concubines enslaved by the Ottomans. The Harem was essentially the family quarters; it was highly private and ruled by tradition. There are some 300 rooms within the Harem, all finely decorated and home to magnificent murals.  

A separate ticket is required to visit the Imperial Harem of Topkapı Palace, but it is well worth the price. 

The Treasury 

Step into the Imperial Treasury to witness the splendor and wealth of the Ottoman Empire. Rubies, emeralds, diamonds, pearls and more are on display in these rooms, once a reception area for the palace. The treasury is housed in the Conqueror’s Pavilion, one of the oldest buildings left in the palace; some of the treasures within include the Topkapı dagger, a jade bowl gifted by Czar Nicholas II of Russia, multiple thrones, armor, and much more.  

How to Visit 

The wealth of jewels Topkapı Palace has to offer does not stop there — there are libraries, countless chambers, elaborate royal apartments, impressive gates, and verdant gardens. It is a must-visit destination in Istanbul, home to over four centuries of Ottoman wealth and power. You can book tickets here.

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