Topkapı Palace is the largest palace in Istanbul and a place of rich history and culture, the palace was the primary residence of Ottoman sultans for over 400 years. Apart from being a royal residence the Topkapı Palace was also a popular setting for state occasions.
The Topkapı Palace has since found a new life as a museum and is one of Istanbul’s biggest tourist attractions. The Topkapı Palace is made up of many smaller buildings that are split into four main courtyards.
A lot of the Topkapı Palace is now open to the public but certain areas are still shut off from view, but don’t worry there’s still plenty to see. So without further ado let’s take a look at what there is to see at the Topkapı Palace.
Exploring the Wonders of the Palace
The Ottoman sultans amassed quite the collection of treasures during their time at the Topkapı Palace, and thankfully a large bulk of their collection is now on display. You’ll find a wide variety of treasures some that where commissions from master craftsmen or political gifts and some are trophies from the Ottoman empires successful military campaigns.
Ceramics and Glassware – Are displayed in the palaces kitchens amongst the vast collection you’ll find some truly breath-taking examples of Japanese and Chinese porcelain and sculpture. In fact the Topkapı Palace’s collection of Chinese porcelain is the second largest collection in the whole world only being beat by China itself.
Part of the old kitchen as also been historically preserved so it looks exactly like it would of all those years ago. You’ll also find displays of the ancient kitchen instruments including the large cooking cauldrons that would have been used at the palace.
Weapons and Armour – The weapons and armour displays and sure to make children think twice before declaring a trip to a museum boring. You’ll find displays of ancient suits of armour and a selection of Ottoman chainmail and weaponry including ornately embellished swords, bows and shields.
The Treasury – Perhaps the easiest items to appreciate in the vast collection housed at Topkapı Palace. You’ll find beautiful examples of craftsmanship all adorned with precious gems of one kind or another. These aren’t simple items of Jewelry either, you’ll find many unusual pieces you’re unlikely to find anywhere else in the world.
This includes a full sized diamond encrusted suit of chainmail and the famous Topkapı dagger. You’ll also get to see other prized relics as you journey through the four halls the treasures are housed in, including a display of ancient bones that are said to be from the hand of St John the Baptist.
Manuscripts and Miniatures – The items housed at the Topkapı Palace aren’t simply antiques or pretty things to look at they also give us valuable windows into the past. The vast collection of manuscripts and miniatures is perhaps the best representation of this.
Only a tiny fraction of the palace’s vast collection is on display but you’ll see beautiful examples of ancient art work and fine examples of calligraphy, poetry and texts of the Koran.
The Harem – No trip to the Topkapı Palace could be complete without visiting the Harem. The Harem (which means forbidden in Arabic) was the residence of sultan’s wives, concubines and children.
You’ll find wondrous examples of Ottoman architecture in the Harem including The Tower of Justice which offers beautiful views of the Topkapı Palace’s roof tops and beyond. The Imperial Hall is another beautiful room in the Harem which includes one of the sultan’s thrones.
I’ve only touched on the vast collections housed at the Topkapı Palace and its wondrous architecture, I’d be writing for days just describing one these collections alone, so you know what you have to do if you want to find out more about the wondrous treasures housed at the Topkapı Palace. That’s right make sure you make time to visit it will most certainly be a highlight of your holiday.