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ISTANBUL
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Topkapi Palace, (Topkapı Sarayı)

Topkapi Palace is definitely the best looking palace in Turkey. Home for the Ottoman Sultans, is now a perfect place to be a Museum to reflect the glory of Ottoman Empire, Sultans and their way of living. The Museum is open between 9:00 am- 7:00 pm everyday except for Tuesdays. Tickets are  purchased in the gateway to the Second Court. The tickets cost 20,- TL (approx. to 13 USD or 9 EURO) per person for 2011 season. The Harem section needs a separate admission fee and costs another 15,- TL. There is a discounted fee for the students. The Harem Section can be visited with a separate ticket in the ticket office near the Harem entrance. The tours to Harem are operated every half hour from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm.

Topkapi palace has now an audio guide system which can be rented on the entrance for a cost of 15,- TL. The audio guide system is much like a big mobile phone. All important items on the palace was identified with numbers and if you dial the code number of the item or place, you can get a full description of it. Currently the system is available on following languages, English, Germain, French, Spanish and Italian.

When Sultan Mehmed II captured Constantinople in 1453, he found the palaces of the Byzantine Emperors in such ruins as to be uninhabitable. He chose a large area on the broad peak of the Third Hill as the site of his first imperial residence. He constructed a great complex of buildings and gardens here and they came to be known as "Eski Saray" which means "The Old Palace". A few years later, he decided to have his palace on the N side of the First Hill which had been the acropolis of the ancient Byzantium. He constructed a massive wall surrounding the area along the Sea of Marmara to the Golden Horn. This took place during the period 1459-65 after the Sultan left the former palace to women of his father's harem. The Harem in Topkapi Palace in its present state dates back to the reign of Murat III(1574-95), Mehmed IV(1648-87) and Osman III(1754-57).

Topkapi Palace was more than just the private residence of the Sultan and his court. It was the seat of the supreme executive and judiciary council, the Divan and the training school, the Palace School. In the First Courtyard, there were a hospital, bakery, arsenal, a state mint, a part of the treasury and the Outer Service. It was open to public. The Second Courtyard was open to people who had business with the council. The Third Courtyard was reserved to the Sultan's household and palace children. The Fourth Courtyard was exclusively reserved for the Sultan's use.

Topkapi Palace continued to be the principal residence for four centuries until in 1853, Sultan Abdul Mecid I moved into the new palace of Dolmabahce on the Bosphorus. The old palace was used as house for the women of the departed sultans and their servants until the Harem was officially disbanded in 1909. In 1924, Topkapi Palace was converted to a museum with the order of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The final step was the opening of the Harem to the public in 1960.

 
Books from "Amazon" about Topkapi palace:

Topkapi Palace Inside and Out

Picture Gallery for Topkapi Palace ( @ Ozars & wowturkey.com)
 

 

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