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.
The domes of Topkapı's Harem dominate the Golden Horn.
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 holidays, Ramazan 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 money. More...
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.
Adress: Cankurtaran Mh., 34122 Fatih / Istanbul,
E-mail: [email protected]
—by Tom Brosnahan
|Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia)|