Topkapi palace is the most extensive monument in Turkish civil architecture. The monument occupies 700,000 m2. It is a building complex of courts, pavilions, mosques and fountains. huge strong walls surround the the whole palace. Its name “TOPKAPI” is a compound and means “Cannon Gate”. When Mehmet ll conquered Istanbul in 1453, he had his first palace erected in the district where the University Istanbul and Suleymaniye Mosque have been standing.
Since the palace was fairly small, he decided to build Topkapi Palace in 1459. During 16th century, Hurrem Sultan had added and moved the Harem to Topkapi Palace. Harem section of palace was the official residence of the sultans. Sultan Abdulmecid l moved to the new palace of Selamlik to “DOLMABAHCE PALACE” first in 1839 and They had moved the Harem section to Dolmabahce Palace in 1856. After then Topkapi Palace was only empty summer palace until Turkish Republic Foundation. In the heyday of the empire approximately 4,000 people lived in this palace district. The total area included four grand courts and the HAREM section.
After end of 17th century, Topkapi Palace lost its important as an old fashion palace. Royal family and Sultans had preferred to live in their new palaces, pavilions along the Bosporus. First They had built summer pavilions by the water. The good example of these is Aynalıkavak Pavillion where is facing to Golden Horn and old city. It is really good examples of 16th century summer pavilions. All similar ones were all collapsed and build whealty palaces like Dolmabahce Palace. So, Walls of Dolmabahce Palace is much older than palace building.
Imperial Treasury of Topkapi Palace
Treasury of Topkapi Palace has been one of the most famous place in all over the world. Originally It was used to finance the administration of the state. They had kept all valuable objects here such as silk and golden embroidered Kaftans, biggest diamond of the world, Topkapi Dagger and many many others. The fine quality of objects here also becomes the excellent samples of finest Turkish Jewelry in grand Bazaar.
Harem of Topkapi Palace
Because of movies, Harem is known a kind of fun place of Sultans which is totally misunderstanding. Harem was the residential area of Royalty. Sultan’s mother ( Valide Sultan) was the empress of the country too. According to Turkish tradition, sons respect to mom in all their life. And all permissions have come from mother. So, Mother of Sultan was head of Harem and secret empress of the country too. They were quite powerful. Even They didn’t let their sons to focus only one woman. Everytime, they hed kept sending beautiful girls to bedroom of Sultan. Otherwise they could lose the power in the Harem. There was secret life behind the doors of Harem for 500 years and No one could witness this secret life at all.