Topkapı Sarayı (Palace) Museum

Last Updated on July 14, 2022

Home of the Ottoman sultans for nearly 400 years, Topkapı Sarayı ("Palace of the Cannon Gate"—map) was the seraglio, the heart of the vast Ottoman Empire, ruled by the monarch who lived in Topkapı's hundreds of rooms with hundreds of concubines, children, and white and black servants.

Because Topkapı is No. 2 on everyone's list of Istanbul sights(Hagia Sophia is No. 1), get there when it opens and go straight to the Harem. Maybe you'll be able to beat some of the millions of other visitors...)

Topkapı Palace is open every day except Tuesday from 09:00 am till 18:45 (6:45 pm) in summer ( April 1 - October 1) , 10:00am till 16:00 (4 pm) in winter ( October 1 - April 1). It is also closed in the morning on the first day of the two biggest Islamic holidaysRamazan Bayramı and Kurban Bayramı. Admission to the palace costs TL 100.

Ticket machines are located in Sultanahmet Square and near the Topkapı ticket offices.

Consider buying an Istanbul Museum Pass for your visit to Topkapı (even though the pass is not valid for the Harem and the Hagia Irene church). If you plan to visit Hagia Sophia and several of the other included museums (such as the Mosaic Museum or Chora Church), it'll save you time and moneyMore...

You can wander through the Harem on your own, as you choose; but only a certain number of visitors are allowed at one time, so go there first to avoid waiting.

After wandering through the Harem you can stroll the palace's spacious grounds and four courtyards at your leisure. The Hagia Irene church (Aya İrini) is is located in the First Courtyard.

Don't miss the Treasury in the 3rd courtyard, with its incredible gems, gold, and works of art.

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey
Topkapı Palace as seen from the Bosphorus.

(For a bittersweet romantic scene that actually happened at Topkapı, see my Bright Sun, Strong Tea excerpt entitled "Tears at Topkapı.")

Just down the hill to the west of the palace are the Istanbul Archeological Museums, and beyond them is shady Gülhane Park, a fine place for a stroll or a soothing glass of tea.

When you're done at Topkapı, head for Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia), right next door, and the Blue Mosque, next door to Ayasofya on the Byzantine Hippodrome.

Adress: Cankurtaran Mh., 34122 Fatih / Istanbul,

Phone: +902125120480

E-mail: [email protected]

—by Tom Brosnahan

Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia)

Archeological Museums

Istanbul Museum Pass

Gülhane Parkı


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