Topkapi Palace ticket price was last revised on May 1, 2022. In this article, you can find information about the history and architecture of the palace. In addition, the current entrance fee and visiting hours of Topkapi Palace are noted.
Before the article, I would like to give you a tip for fast entry to the Topkapi Palace. There are long lines at the ticket offices of the palace during the spring and summer months. In order not to waste time here, you can buy skip-the-line tickets online from this link and take advantage of fast track. Participants of this tour meet with their guide at the gate and enter as a group with a guide.
Where is Topkapi Palace located?
Topkapi Palace is located in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul. In Sultanahmet, which is a touristic center, there are many historical monuments besides the palace. Among these, we can count the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.
Topkapi Palace consists of four large courtyards and is the largest museum in Istanbul in terms of the area it covers. The palace, where 25 Ottoman sultans lived with their families, is identified with the history of the Ottoman Empire.
History of the Topkapi Palace
The history of Topkapi Palace goes back 400 years. When the Ottomans captured Constantinople in 1453, there were two Byzantine palaces in the city.
The first of these, the Great Palace, was built in the 4th century and was now in ruins. The Palace of Blachernae, a late period palace, was on the shores of the Golden Horn and far from the city center.
Mehmed II, the first Ottoman sultan in Istanbul, first built a palace where Istanbul University is located today (near Grand Bazaar). However, he later admired the beauty of the first hill of Istanbul with seven hills.
This area, known as Seraglio Point in history, was also the place where Istanbul was founded as an ancient city in the 600s BC. This hill overlooked Istanbul like an eagle’s nest and was in a strategically perfect location.
The palace built on this hill was first called “New Palace”. Thus, the first Ottoman palace built near the Grand Bazaar became the “Old Palace”. Disgraced members of the Ottoman dynasty lived there.
The name of the New Palace gradually became Topkapi (Cannon Gate) because of the canons placed on both sides of the gate on the sea side. Ottoman sultans lived in Topkapi Palace between 1470 and 1856. In the 19th century, they moved to the modern Dolmabahce Palace.
Topkapi Palace Architecture
Topkapi Palace architecture reflects the origins of the Turks from Central Asia. The Turks, who migrated to the west since the Seljuk Empire period, continued their architectural traditions during the Seljuk and Ottoman empires.
Basically, there are two architectural periods in the Ottoman Empire. The first of these is the classical period when structures such as Topkapi Palace and Blue Mosque were built. The second is the modern period when Neo-classical and Baroque structures such as Dolmabahce Palace and Ortakoy Mosque were built.
There are four large courtyards in Topkapi Palace. The first courtyard functions as a palace entrance way and a park. The administrative buildings of the palace are located in the second courtyard. There is the Imperial Council here.
In the third courtyard, there was an “Imperial School” named Enderun. The brightest young people of the Ottoman Empire were educated here. The future bureaucrats of the Ottoman Empire were trained from this school.
There are summer pavilions in the fourth courtyard. In this courtyard, those living in the palace participated in various sports activities and the sultan watched them from these pavilions.
The palace has grown over the centuries and buildings reflecting the architectural styles of different periods were built inside. The last of these is the Mecidiye Pavilion located in the fourth courtyard. This structure was added to the palace in the 19th century.
Inside the palace is also the Harem, where the sultan and his family lived. However, in a normal palace visit, the location of the Harem is not noticed. However, if you buy a ticket for the Harem visit, you can enter through its door hidden in a corner and explore the Harem.
Interesting Facts About Topkapi Palace
In this part of the article I want to tell you some interesting facts about Topkapi Palace. After the TV series about Sultan Suleiman, interest in Topkapi Palace and Harem also increased. The series, which tells the love story of Suleiman and Hurrem, has reached millions of viewers around the world.
1. Harem Moved to Topkapı Palace Later
When Topkapi Palace was built by Mehmed II, it was designed as an office and training area. For this reason, there was no Harem in the original plan. During this period, the Harem was located in the “Old Palace” I mentioned at the beginning of the article.
However, during the Suleiman the Magnificent, the Harem moved to Topkapi Palace. The relocation of the Harem took place at the request of Sultan Suleiman’s wife Hurrem Sultan (aka Roxelana). Hurrem Sultan was the most powerful woman in Ottoman history.
2. Different Architectural Styles Together
Some parts of the Topkapı Palace were destroyed by the fire and were later restored. However, the new decoration was made in the architectural style of that period. For this reason, it is possible to see two different architectural styles together in a room. You will see this most strikingly at the Divan-i Humayun (Imperial Council).
When you enter Imperial Council, you will first see the meeting room. The meeting room is decorated with classical Turkish-Islamic decoration as seen in the picture above. The most distinctive features of classical Turkish-Islamic architecture are tiles and pencil works. The tiles are generally blue as in the Blue Mosque.
Modern Ottoman architecture, on the other hand, includes European decoration elements. That is why traces of Baroque and Rococo styles can be seen in the second room of the Imperial Council. Painting art, which was not seen in the early periods of the Ottoman Empire under the influence of Islam, shows itself with impressionist paintings in the modern period.
The reason why two different periods are seen together in a room is the damage caused by the fire. The right part of the room was destroyed in the fire and was rebuilt in the modern period. While being restored, it was adapted to the new architectural style.
3. Famous Diamond Was Found In Trash
The most interesting part of Topkapı Palace is of course the treasure rooms. Here you can see magnificent treasures such as Topkapi Dagger and Spoonmaker’s Diamond.
According to rumors, the diamond, the most precious treasure of the palace, was found in the garbage. It is called the Spoonmaker’s Diamond because the person who finds the diamond in the garbage thinks it is a shiny stone and trades it for three spoons.
The interesting story of the diamond is one of the most mysterious events in Ottoman history. At the end of this chain of events, the diamond was added to the Ottoman treasury.
Topkapi Dagger, the second most important piece of the treasure, was the subject of a 1964 Hollywood movie. In the movie, a group of thieves were trying to steal the dagger from Topkapi Palace.
Topkapi Palace Ticket Price 2022
Topkapi Palace ticket price is 320 Turkish Liras as of 2022. The standard entrance fee covers the 4 courtyards of the palace. If you buy a combined ticket including Harem, you have to pay 420 lira. Museum Pass Istanbul is valid in all parts of the palace.
You can consider purchasing the Museum Pass to enter Topkapi Palace without wasting time on ticket lines. However, if you try to get the card from the palace, you will still wait in the same queues.
You can get the Musuem Pass from relatively quieter museums of Istanbul. These are the museums within walking distance of the palace. You can find tips on buying the museum pass quickly in this article.
Topkapi Palace Skip-the-Line Tickets
There are long ticket lines at the entrance to Topkapi Palace during the spring, summer and autumn seasons. If you want to avoid this crowd, you can purchase online tickets for Topkapi Palace in advance.
Topkapi Palace guided tour tickets are slightly more expensive than standard tickets. However, it gives you fast track advantage. Topkapi Palace skip-the-line tickets can be purchased by clicking this link.
Those who buy tickets for the palace in advance meet with their guides at the entrance and enter the palace as a group. Thus, they do not wait at the ticket office and travel with a licensed tour guide.
Topkapi Palace Visiting Hours 2022
Topkapi Palace visiting hours are between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. The sales at the ticket offices end at 5:00 pm, one hour before the closing. Please also note that Topkapi Palace is closed to visit on Tuesdays.
The visiting hours of museums in Istanbul may change due to various restorations and events. Before going to the museum, I recommend you to visit the official website of the palace and review the latest situation.
Topkapi Palace Ticket Price & Hours by Serhat Engul