Topkapi Palace

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Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey

Topkapi Palace Istanbul Reviews

halilee halilee
133 reviews
Beautiful place but packed full of people! Apr 28, 2012
We visited Topkapi Palace as soon as it opened, and even then, there was a lineup at the ticket office that took an hour to get through ( 25 TL). Once inside, the grounds are breathtaking with equally stunning architecture of which the most interesting was probably the Harem which cost extra ( worth it!). This was where the sultan kept his concubines, ladies-in-waiting, and his children ( murat III had 112 children!). Some of the sultans had up to 300 concubines!

The Treasury has an impressive collection of objects including the Topkapi Dagger and the 5th largest diamond in the world. There is another room called the Sacred Safekeeping room that holds a footprint in clay of the Prophet Mohammed , the rod of Moses, and the sword of the prophet David. Both of these rooms we ( my 2 friends, my adult daughter and myself) kind of sped through as the sheer mass of people was overwhelming. We were literally squished up from the front and the back and the sides.. with people. Not very enjoyable or relaxing. Maybe if we had beelined for this as soon as we got in, it would have been more enjoyable with less people, but as it was, we had entered the Haram first.

As we were leaving, the lineup to the ticket office was huge, we're talking probably at least 3 hours of standing in line. If that's the case, I'd leave and try another day. Otherwise, try to get here first thing in the morning or maybe later in the day. You do need probably at least 2-3 hours here. The palace is definately impressive and worth seeing.
Entrance
Intricate details
Beautiful gardens
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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ccjbeachbum says:
amazing place
Posted on: Jul 27, 2012
rsvpme says:
Spectacular photography..truly !
Posted on: Jul 15, 2012
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Forever333 Forever3…
4 reviews
Topkapi-Old Sultanhamet Aug 16, 2012
surrounded by other major attractiis like the blue mosque, haga sophia us topkapi palace- its worth walking from the open park/cobbkestone paths to see some ancient relics

i saw the stick that according to stories was that of moses.

other artifacts like that of prophet mohammed, ancient large diamonds and relics of the ottoman empire.

the palace itself is of rare architecture.

don,t be afraid to ask the military guys to take a photo with them.

And you must try the roasted chestnuts.
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kmarvi kmarvi
1 reviews
Famous tourist spot Mar 31, 2011
Very nice museum, a must to see. Carries out both the Islamic and Modern treasures. The palace itself is magnificnent and is a must to see
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Dr_Seuss Dr_Seuss
216 reviews
Topkapi Palace Dec 06, 2010
It was alright, but nothing really special. Maybe I was just expecting more. More like a series of buildings rather than a grand palace.

Easy walking distance from the other main attractions at the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.

Ticket area was a few portakabins up against the wall outside. Beside them were a list of the various areas within the palace, and before going in already knew about half of them were closed. No reduction in price depite it being limited (cost 20TL when I went). Cost more again to enter the Harem, which 1.) I thought was a bit poor and 2.) I had plans to get back to the Blue Mosque.

I did like the open courtyards, and there are some nice buildings within it, but much of it is pretty unspectacular.

The best bit was the religious artefacts held within the Treasury, but there were loads of security people and you couldn't take any pictures.

Some of the exhibitions were quite crowded, even in December, which I thought encouraging, but exited wondering what the fuss was about.

Probably somewhere that will be on people's lists of things to do in Istanbul, and if you have the time then it would be OK. If pressed though I would skip it, you won't miss out on that much.
Gate Of Salutation
First Courtyard
Gate Of Felicity
Audience Chamber
5 / 5 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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halilee says:
Congrats on your feature & I must say I pretty much agreed with you!
Posted on: Dec 02, 2012
vulindlela says:
Congrats on a second day of feature!
Posted on: Dec 02, 2012
monky says:
Congrats on being featured Ian have a great weekend!:D
Posted on: Dec 01, 2012
JP-NED JP-NED
42 reviews
Topkapi Palace! Mar 01, 2009
We're staying about three hours at the Topkapi palace, but you can stay there a whole day, so much to see and to wonder about!

Topkapı Palace constructed by Fatih Sultan Mehmet, (the Conqueror) in 1478 has been the official residence of the Otoman Sultans and center of State Administration around 380 years until the construction of Dolmabahçe Palace by Sultan Abdülmecid. The palace having around 700.000 m.² area during the foundation years has currently 80.000 m.² area.

Topkapı Palace was evacuated by the accommodation of the Palace inhabitants in Dolmabahçe, Yıldız and in other palaces. Upon abandoning by the Sultans, Topkapı Palace where many officials resided had also never lost its importance. The palace was repaired from time to time. A special attention was taken for the annual maintenance of Mukaddes Emanetler Dairesi (Sacred Safekeeping Rooms) visited by the sultan and his family during Ramadan.

The opening of Topkapı Palace for visits as museum happened firstly in the reign of Sultan Abdülmecid (1839-1861). The belongings within Topkapı Palace Treasury was shown to the contemporary English ambassador. Later on, it has become a tradition to show the antics within the Topkapı Palace Treasury to the foreigners and during the era of Sultan Abdulaziz (1861-1876), showrooms are made in French style, and these antics are started to be shown to foreigners in these showrooms within Treasury. During the period when Sultan II Abdulhamid was dethroned (1876-1909), it was thought to open the Treasury Room to public visits on Sundays and Tuesdays, yet it never realized.

By the order of Ghazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Topkapı Palace firstly affiliated to the Istanbul Asar-ı Atika Museums Directorate and opened to public visits on date of April 3, 1924, then it started to service as Treasury Chamberlain, after it was renamed as Treasury Directorate and finally it was renamed as Topkapı Palace Museum Directorate and it still continues its services.
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JP-NED says:
Thanks Murat!
Posted on: Oct 29, 2009
Bluetraveler says:
Wow! Nice review :))
Posted on: Oct 29, 2009
Eric Eric
408 reviews
Too expensive, but hard to skip... Dec 25, 2008
Topkapi is one of those tourist sites that you feel compelled to go to, whatever the cost, because when is the next time you are going to be in Istanbul? The entry fees are way over the top, even for Turkey (where high entrance fees abound!). It's 20 YTL just to get in, then another 10 YTL if you want to see the harem (supposedly the most impressive part). The audio tour is an additional 5 YTL, and guided tours run much more. So basically, you are going to be paying $20-30 just to see the place, making it one of the most expensive "museums" in the world to visit.

One frustrating thing about Turkey is that often you'll buy a ticket to enter a place, and then once you get in you'll find that you have to buy an "additional" ticket just to see the best part. Sometimes you even have to pay to use the restrooms, after you've already paid to get in!

The palace is impressive enough, and a lot of the objects, especially in the treasury, are incredible if you like looking at shiny, expensive things. I didn't buy the tickets to visit the harem, which is supposedly the best part, but I wasn't convinced based on reading the descriptions. Some of the "artifacts" in the museum (I think one of them was a nearly mint condition bowl that Moses supposedly used) seemed a little bit too fanciful, and too well preserved, to be true, which also impacted my experience.

Overall -- beautiful objects in the treasury, good views of Istanbul from the walls, but way too expensive for what you get. Unfortunately, since most people are going to be in Istanbul once, everyone seems to end up paying. Phil said it was half the price when he visted a few years ago, and I wouldn't be surprised if prices double again in the next few years as Turkey becomes even more popular as a tourist destination.

If you have to choose between this and the nearby Archeological museum, opt for the Archeological museum.
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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meersan meersan
6 reviews
Sep 24, 2005
Topkapı Palace was #3 on my list of Things To See in Istanbul (behind the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia). The home of the sultan and his family for nearly 400 years, Topkapı was the administrative center of the Ottoman empire until 1853. Today the palace is still very well-preserved, but keep in mind Topkapi is more a complex of buildings and courtyards as opposed to a single, European-style castle. Overall I was very impressed with the quality of the exhibits and the beautifully-preserved buildings. It really felt like a palace in which people lived and worked, rather than a lifeless museum.There are many things to see in Topkapı. Most of the buildings are open to visitors and contain exhibits including period furniture, clothing, jewels, religious relics, and items received by the sultans as gifts over the centuries such as Chinese jade and pottery. A real highlight for me was the Imperial Costumes collection, which holds actual garments worn by the sultans. It was amazing to see clothing over 500 years old in absolute pristine condition!If you like, you can also tour the harem, which costs an additional fee. The harem tour takes 4 hours, so if you have the time you may wish to give it a shot. I decided to skip it.Be sure to keep your ticket stub as you will need it to visit the Treasury. This amazing exhibit contained items such as jeweled thrones, a gold cradle, gold plates and dishes, and a jaw-dropping 86 carat diamond. The story told to us by our guide stated that the diamond was originally found by a beggar in a garbage heap in Istanbul. He bartered it to a spoonmaker in exchange for three wooden spoons, hence its nickname the "Spoonmaker Diamond". Eventually the diamond ended up in the hands of the sultan, but whether or not he paid anything for it is unknown! In the Treasury you can also view the famous Topkapi dagger, which has very large emeralds set into the hilt and a clock built into the pommel. I'm not sure why you'd need a timepiece built into a dagger, but perhaps it was the equivalent of a cell phone camera in its day.Of all the things I saw at Topkapı, however, the thing that sticks with me most is the Pavilion of Holy Relics. Here you can see relics of the Prophet Muhammed and his caliphs, including swords, early fragments of the Koran, hairs from the Prophet's beard, and even an impression of his footprint. There is an imam present at all times to read the Koran in Arabic. Lastly, there is a piece of the Black Stone of Mecca (Makkah). For non-Muslims, this is the closest you will ever get to the Ka'bah! Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.Topkapı Palace has an excellent view of the Bosphorus from the fourth courtyard (near the fountain). You can get some great pictures from here.The palace gift shop is located next to the ticketing station. You can also purchase postcards from the numerous street vendors outside the palace. They accept Turkish lira, euros, and American dollars.I had a great time at Topkapı Palace. For the price of a ticket, it's a can't-miss.
Entrance to Topkapı Palace
The Baghdad Pavilion
View of the fourth courtyard
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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TravellinChic says:
great review :-)
Posted on: Apr 29, 2013
rubaroo says:
bfully written again! :) let me check ur pther articles now...
Posted on: Oct 29, 2007
stagsa says:
Would be most interested in your comments about Athens and the isles. Greece is one of my most favorite places!!
Posted on: Dec 15, 2005

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