Topkapi Palace is the place where Ottoman Sultans lived from 15th to 19th century. Topkapi Palace is a must-see in Istanbul for travelers interested in history and architecture. Topkapi Palace, one of the oldest palaces in the world, attracts the attention of its visitors with its magnificent architectural structure and priceless collection.
Topkapı Palace History
After the conquest of Istanbul, Topkapi Palace was built in 1460 by the order of Fatih Sultan Mehmet and completed in 1478. With the addition of additional sections over time, it became a giant complex for the sultans to reign over 400 years. In 1853 he moved to Dolmabahçe Palace and left the official palace. After the proclamation of the Republic, it started to be used as a museum on the order of Atatürk on April 3, 1924 and became the first museum of the Republic.
General Information About Topkapi Palace
The Topkapi Palace was built on an area of 700,000 square meters on the Eastern Roman settlement in Sarayburnu, on the tip of the Istanbul peninsula, between the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. The palace, which is entered through the Saltanat Gate, consists of 4 nested courtyards. Today, the palace spans over 300,000 square meters and there are large gardens and squares around it.
Within the gardens surrounding the palace, a large number of buildings were built, especially the Çinili Pavilion, Sepetçiler Pavilion and the İncili Pavilion.
Topkapı Palace, which is considered one of the richest museums in the world, has many historical and cultural monuments from porcelains, portraits and special belongings of sultans from various parts of the world, kitchen utensils to state treasury.
Topkapı Palace Sections
Topkapi Palace consists of 4 courtyards. The First Courtyard, which is entered without ticket, is entered through the main gate called Bab-ı Humayun. In the first courtyard, there were palace ovens, mints, guard regiments, wood depots and vegetable gardens. Çinili Pavilion, Archeology Museum and Hagia Eirene Church are also located here.
The second gate, which can be called the main entrance of the Topkapı Palace Museum, is known as the Second Courtyard, which is entered from Bab-üs Selam. Divan-ı Hümayun and Divan-ı Hümayun Treasure, where divan meetings are held, take place in this courtyard which has been the scene of many official ceremonies throughout history. Behind the Divan building is the Justice Tower, which symbolizes the sultan’s justice.
The third courtyard of the palace entered through the gate of Babüssaade is also known as Enderun. The Has Room and the Office of the Holy Relics, one of the most interesting parts of the palace, are located here. The Fourth Courtyard, which consists of the Tulip Garden and Sofa-i Hümayun, has two pavilions built in honor of the conquests of Baghdad and Revan, and the Mecidiye Pavilion and Sofa Pavilion.
Harem, which is the private part of the house where the mother of the Sultan, her sisters, other members of the family, and concubines and harem lords serving the extended family, is undoubtedly the most interesting section. You can also visit the Harem section, where you can buy tickets, to visit the Valide Sofrası, Hünkar Sofrası and the places where the Harem masters and concubines remain.
Topkapi Palace is situated in the Sultanahmet neighborhood of Fatih district, along the Sultanahmet Sqaure, just very close to the famous Hagia Sophia Museum.
How to Get There?
Topkapi Palace, which is close to important historical buildings such as Hagia Sophia Museum, Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar, is very easy to reach.
Public Transportation: If you want to go to the museum by using tram (Kabataş-Bağcılar), you have to get off at Sultanahmet stop. You can easily reach the museum by following the signs in front of the Hagia Sophia Museum.
If you want to go to the museum by using Marmaray, you can get off at Sirkeci Station, exit from the Cağaloğlu-Vilayet in front of the Governor’s Office and reach the museum by using the signs.
You can reach Beyazit Square by taking public buses from many points of Istanbul and you can walk to the museum in 15 minutes by tram direction.
Private Vehicle: You can easily reach the museum by making use of the signs of Topkapi Palace, which will turn towards Sirkeci station from Eminonu-Halic direction.
Topkapi Palace Ticket Options and Prices
There are several options:
- Buy directly at the ticket window on location.
- Buy Topkapi Palace only guided tours.
- Buy Topkapi Palace included combo tickets.
- Buy one of Topkapi Palace included Istanbul discount passes.
Topkapi Palace is a giant complex and you’ll need about at least 1,5 to 2 hours to have a complete tour.
We recommend you to book the Topkapi Palace tickets for 09:30 and 15:30, as it will be less crowded and you can make the most of the Topkapi Palace even better.
General Admission Tickets
Topkapi Palace entrance fee on your own is 72 TL (about €11,25). This is the ticket window on location option. You need to pay extra 42 TL (about €6,50) for the Harem section.
The general admission tickets will let you enter the museum and explore on your own. You should know that there is very little explanation of the architecture by signs, plates, etc.
If you just want to have quick look inside without need of understand the history behind, and waiting in the queue is not a problem, this is the ticket for you.
The skip the line access tickets with a guide (see below) seems to be about €6,75 expensive.
You should consider on your own would it worth to pay that amount to save yourself from 1 to 2 hours waiting in the line, and have a guide. We guess it would!