Topkapi palace or as it’s in Turkish – Topkapi Sarayi is large palace and fortress in Istanbul, Turkey. It was residence of the Ottomans sultans for about 4 centuries. As the Ottoman Empire was ruling over the whole Minor Asia and big part of Europe for many years in that palace many precious relics have been preserved from the time. Some of the most valuable items are the Prophet Muhammed’s cloak and sword.
Nowadays the place is one of the most popular tourist attractions. You are not only able to enjoy the ancient spirit of the area but also see many interesting things in the museum. Since 1985 the palace is part of the UNESCO world heritage. It’s actually considered as the “best example of ensembles palace from Ottoman period”. Many words could be said about the importance in the past and now of the Topkapi palace but they won’t be enough.
The building of this palace started in 1459 as a wish of Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Constantinople. The complex consists of 4 courtyards and many other smaller buildings. There were times when in this place lived more than 4000 people. During the Ottoman period the Topkapi palace was consistently expanding. However it experience two major difficulties- an earthquake in 1509 and a fire in 1665. Both of these happenings required a lot of renovations as the place was seriously damaged. The palace by itself is a small town. In its territory there are hospitals, mosques, bakeries and mints.
The significance of Topkapi palace decreased since the beginning of 17th century. By that time many of the sultans prefer the other palaces on the Bosporus as the empire was somehow protected by the sudden attack.
If you are planning to visit this exceptional place keep in mind that it requires a lot of time. Each of the four courtyards is very interesting and demanding time, even only the main buildings to be seen. If you have only a little time then make sure that you see the Imperial Gate, The Imperial Mint, Church of Hagia Eirene, Gate of Salutation, the palace kitchens, Imperial Divan, Tower of Justice, Imperial Council hall, former Imperial Treasury, The Gate of Felicity, Audience Chamber, Library of Sultan and the Conqueror’s Pavilion. All of those buildings excite both from inside and outside. There are perfect examples of the Ottoman period and Muslim culture.