Topkapi Palace Facts

Topkapi Palace is not just a tourist attraction, but a significant historical landmark that takes visitors back to the era of the Ottoman Empire. The palace was built in 1459 by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror and served as the residence for the Sultan and his concubines in the 15th and 16th centuries. Today, it is a museum showcasing the grandeur and beauty of the Ottoman Empire. The Imperial Harem is one of the most popular attractions in Topkapi Palace, with tourists flocking to see the luxurious quarters of the Sultan's concubines. The treasury of the sultans is another must-see destination, where visitors can view the famous Spoonmaker's diamond and Topkapi dagger.

But beyond these popular spots, Topkapi Palace also houses many other lesser-known treasures. The armor, clothing, and manuscripts dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries are a testament to the flamboyant lifestyles of the sultans of the Ottoman empire. The palace's architecture is also a wonder to behold, with intricate details and designs that reflect the grandeur of the empire. In recognition of its historical significance and beauty, Topkapi Palace has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A visit to this vibrant and picturesque palace is a must for anyone visiting Istanbul, offering a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the Ottoman Empire.

Facts about Topkapı Palace

Topkapi Palace facts
It’s Located in an Elevated area of the Fatih District of Istanbul

Topkapi Palace is situated on an elevated land in the Fatih district of Istanbul, overlooking the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara. This strategic location made it easy for the Ottoman rulers to control and defend the city. The palace is spread over an area of 70,000 square meters and consists of several buildings, courtyards, gardens, and fountains. The palace's unique location not only provides a breathtaking view of the city but also makes it easily accessible to visitors via various modes of transportation, including tram, bus, and metro.

Read More: History of Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace facts
The Romans already built a Structure in this Location

The location where Topkapi Palace now stands has a rich history dating back to the Byzantine and Roman eras. In the 5th century, a Byzantine acropolis was built on this elevated site for military purposes, and later in the 4th century, the Romans constructed a castle to protect the city and overlook the Bosphorus Strait. Byzantium was renamed Constantinople in 330 A.D. and was made the capital of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine the Great. The Theodosian Walls of Constantinople, built in the early 5th century, protected the Fatih District. The remains of these earlier structures were later used as the foundation for Topkapi Palace, which was built on this strategic location. Recently, a Roman gallery was discovered underneath the palace's First Courtyard, further attesting to the site's historical significance.

Read More: Topkapi Palace Interior

Facts about Topkapi Palace
The Construction of the Palace Dates back to the 15th Century

The construction of Topkapi Palace can be traced back to the 15th century, specifically to the year 1459, when it was built by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, also known as Mehmed the Conqueror. It was initially constructed as a royal residence for the sultans of the Ottoman Empire, serving as the political and administrative center of the empire for over 400 years. Today, Topkapi Palace is recognized as one of the most significant historical and cultural landmarks in Istanbul, attracting thousands of visitors every year who come to marvel at its impressive architecture, art, and rich history.

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Topkapi Palace facts
There is a Byzantine Church within the Topkapi Palace that has Remained Unconsecrated

The Topkapi Palace houses a Byzantine church that has remained unconsecrated. It is believed to have been built during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century. The church features impressive frescoes and mosaics that depict religious scenes and figures. Despite its historical and cultural significance, the church was never officially consecrated, and it has not been used for religious services. Today, it serves as a museum within the palace complex, allowing visitors to admire the stunning artwork and architecture of the Byzantine era.

Facts about Topkapi Palace
The palace Featured the Largest Kitchen in the Ottoman Empire

The Topkapi Palace was an immense structure that required a large kitchen to serve food for the royal family and their guests. The palace kitchen featured an impressive 20 chimneys and was staffed by approximately 800 people who were able to prepare meals for up to 4,000 people at a time. This made it the largest kitchen in the entire Ottoman Empire. The Sultan who lived in the palace also had a fascination for Chinese porcelain, as demonstrated by the collection of 10,700 pieces of Chinese porcelain on display in the former kitchen of the palace, which is considered one of the most captivating collections in the world.

Read More:  Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace Combo

Topakapi Palace Facts
The Imperial Harem is a Huge Structure with over 400 Rooms

The Topkapi Palace was not only home to the Sultan but also to his extensive Imperial Harem. The Topkapi Palace Harem was a vast section of the palace reserved for the wives and mistresses of the Sultan and their relatives. The original Harem consisted of over 400 rooms and was completed in the late 16th century. Over time, the Harem continued to expand with the addition of multiple courtyards, making it a massive Islamic structure. The Harem was not only a residence but also a center of political activity and intrigue within the palace.

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Topakapi Palace Facts
One Could Argue that the most Impressive room in the Palace is the Reception Hall.

The reception hall of the Topkapi Palace is considered by many to be the most impressive room in the entire palace. This magnificent room, also known as the Imperial Hall or the Throne Room, was used for important events such as imperial receptions and ceremonies. Its grandeur is unparalleled, with intricately decorated walls and ceilings, gilded columns, and an impressive collection of antique objects. The reception hall is also home to the famous Topkapi Dagger and other impressive ceremonial objects. It is truly a sight to behold and a testament to the opulence of the Ottoman Empire.

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Facts about Topkapi Palace
The Palace was Turned into a Museum in the Year 1924

Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the founding of the Turkish Republic, the Topkapi Palace was turned into a museum in 1924. This decision was made by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey, to preserve the cultural heritage of the palace and make it accessible to the public. Today, the museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts including Ottoman clothing, weapons, manuscripts, and jewelry. The Topkapi Palace Museum has become one of the most visited tourist destinations in Turkey, attracting millions of visitors every year.

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Facts of Topkapi Palace
The Palace didn’t get its Current Name until the 18th Century

The Topkapi Palace has undergone multiple name changes throughout its history. Originally referred to as the "Saray-i Cedid-i Amire," which means "Imperial New Palace," it was built to distinguish it from the Old Palace located in Beyazıt Square. However, during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Mahmud I, the palace was given its current name, which means "Cannon Gate Palace." Despite losing its importance, the palace was still utilized as the imperial treasury, library, and mint during this period. The name change reflects the evolving role and significance of the palace throughout history.

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Facts of Topkapi Palace
The Main Entrance to the Palace is called the Imperial Gate

The Imperial Gate, also known as the Bab-ı Hümayun in Turkish, is the main entrance to the Topkapi Palace complex. It is a grand and imposing gate that was designed to impress visitors and show off the power and wealth of the Ottoman Empire. The gate is made of stone and features intricate carvings and decorations. Passing through the gate, visitors would have been greeted with a stunning view of the palace's courtyards and buildings, including the famous domes and minarets of the Harem.

Know Before You Go To Topkapi Palace

Here are some information to Plan your Visit to Topkapi Palace

Best Time to visit
How to Reach
Topakapi Palace Facts
  • The Topkapi Palace can be visited year-round, but certain times are more ideal than others. 
  • The best periods to visit are from March to May and from September to November when the temperature is pleasant, and the tourist crowds are minimal.
  •  Avoid the peak season in late May and June when it can get unbearably hot, and prices skyrocket. 
  • The palace is closed on Tuesdays, and weekends have long queues, so plan your visit on Monday and Thursday mornings. Friday mornings can also be crowded due to the Blue Mosque opening in the afternoon.


During Winter: 9 AM to 4:45 PM

During Summer: 9 AM to 6 PM

Closed Dates: Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesdays and first day of Ramadan

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FAQs of Topkapi Palace Facts

Is there an entrance fee for Topkapi Palace?

    Yes, there is an entrance fee for Topkapi Palace. The fee varies depending on whether you want to visit the Harem section or not. As of 2023, the entrance fee for the palace only is 100 Turkish lira, and for the palace and Harem together is 150 Turkish lira.

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