The Topkapi Palace in Istanbul might be a museum that you will see featured in many quality Egypt and Turkey tours, but for approximately 400 years, it was home to the Ottoman sultans.
If the truth be known, Turkey probably has more historical attractions than any other country on earth. In fact, Istanbul alone has enough attractions to keep the average tourist busy throughout their stay in the country. In truth however, most sightseeing tourists spend a few days or weeks visiting and exploring some of the most iconic Turkey tourist attractions in Istanbul, and then they make a dash for Cappadocia. However, very few do so without first visiting Topkapi Palace in Istanbul.
A Brief History Of Topkapi Palace in Istanbul
The Topkapi Palace in Istanbul is today an extremely popular museum, but its past is just as fascinating as any other historical tourist attraction in Turkey. For approximately 400 years, Topkapi served as a residence to the various sultans that ruled at the time.
It’s worth remembering that this was no ordinary palace. Unlike many palaces around the world, Topkapi Palace in Istanbul wasn’t only home to the ruling sultan and his family. Topkapi at one point had around 4,000 people living on the premises. It even had its own mosque and its very own hospital. It also had its own mint, and even it own bakery.
Sultan Mehmed II who led the invasion of Constantinople ordered the palace to be built, and construction was duly started in 1459, and the palace was called the “New Palace”. Later, during the 19th century, it was renamed Topkapi Palace, but this was only after major repairs were carried out following a major earthquake in 1509 and a destructive fire in 1665.
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Topkapi Palace Loses Its Appeal
By the end of the 17th century, Topkapi Palace in Istanbul had all but lost its appeal, at least to the sultans. This also marked the end of further expansions, bearing in mind that the palace as it stands today, took centuries to complete. The entire palace was never built to a fixed plan. Instead, the original palace was expanded many times over, which is why a visitor will notice such a variety in designs and architectural styles.
Despite the grandeur of Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, sultans and various other royalty began to favor an area on the Bosporus coast, and before long, new palaces were being built in the area. In 1856, the royal court, under the orders of Sultan Abdul Mecid, was officially moved to the much newer Dolmabace Palace.
What Awaits Those Who Visit The Palace
Topkapi Palace in Istanbul is immensely popular among tourists, so visitors can expect to see the grounds awash with people strolling about taking photos and etc. It is however worth remembering that not all of the palace buildings are open to the public, but in truth, it makes no difference because so many of them are of little to no importance all.
There are literally hundreds of rooms, outbuildings, and so on, and if all of them were open, it would take you several days to see everything. Also, if the entire palace was opened to the public, it would prove to be a monstrous task for those who are responsible for its security.
The most important and most interesting parts of the palace are all open, and some of the rooms are home to priceless historical artifacts, including the actual cloak and sword of Mohammed. One could spend days looking at the various collections and displays, and still not see everything.
Unlike other museums however, Topkapi Palace in Istanbul would still continue to attract just as many visitors even if all the relics and artifacts were removed. The reasons for this being, the buildings themselves, are all museums in their own special way. The architecture and attention to detail is something which must be seen in order to be believed.
No trip to Turkey is complete without a visit to Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, and the good news is you can arrange your tour of a lifetime right now simply by visiting our Egypt and Turkey tours. We’ve been taking people to Turkey and other Middle Eastern countries for more than 50 years already, and we’ve never had an unhappy customer yet.