Topkapı Palace

Topkapi Palace, once the splendor of the Ottoman Empire is transformed now into a series of exhibition rooms to show travelers articles of the splendid past in buildings could not be overshadowed by anything else.

It was built in the tip of the old town peninsula in 15th century after the conquest of Constantinople and had more ornamented additions in following centuries. It was structured as the series of the gates and courtyards that follow one after the other. You go further; you see more and more special part of the palace.

The first gate is called the Imperial Gate (Bab-ı Humayun). The first courtyard is for army functions and the Mint of the empire is here too. The Byzantine church of Saint Irene that served once as patriarchal church is to serve today as a concert hall. The second gate is called the Gate of Salutation (Bab-us Selam) because Sultan saluted his soldiers on this gate. The second courtyard is for the administrative functions. The Divan (or the Council of the Empire) is here and next to it is the Treasury of the Empire that is weapon exhibition room today. Across the Divan, there is the Kitchen of the palace. Once they cooked for 6000 people. Today it is the exhibition room for old kitchen utensils, cauldrons, silverware and china mainly from China and some from Japan. The third Gate is called the Gate of Felicity (Bab-us Saade). The third courtyard was a school for public administration and students were thought to be very lucky to study there. Because they would became generals and governors of the empire after the graduation.

The rooms that students studied or stayed are exhibition rooms today: Treasury, costumes, portraits of the sultans and holy relic galleries...

In the middle of the third courtyard, there is the library as well. There are some pavilions after the third courtyard through some passageways. Bagdat and Revan pavilions built to commemorate the victory over the Persians to regain Baghdat and Erivan. Circumcision pavilion is to circumcise princes. Mecidiye pavilion was built in the reign of Sultan Abdul Mecit in 19th century just before he gave up this palace all together to move to the new palace: Dolmabahce.

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