|One of the main entrances to Topkapi Palace. |
|Massive courtyards lead to different areas of the palace. |
|Entrance to the main part of Topkapi. |
With all the power and the money in the world of course the
Ottomans and Byzantines were going to build lavish palaces. Thousands of hand painted tiles, gold painted
ceilings and manicured gardens provide an extravagant touch to the multi-acre
mansions. There are a number of palaces scattered throughout Istanbul. However the two that stand out above the rest
are Topkapi Palace and Dolmabache Palace.
|One of the many hand painted atrium in the harem. |
The Ottoman rule was one of the greatest in world and the
Topkapi Palace was the heart and crown jewel of the empire. It was occupied for 400 years after it was
completed in 1478 after three years of construction. The entire area of the palace is enormous,
you enter one gate and then one building and then you’re in a courtyard and it
still keeps going on and on. The entire
palace itself is 700 meters square or twice the size of the Vatican. During the height of the Ottoman Empire, over
5,000 people inhabited the palace!
|Topkapi sits over looking the sea providing stunning views from|
many areas of the palace.
|Even some of the walk ways were decorated with incredible detail. |
|There are so many different rooms in the harem, it takes about an hour|
to get through.
|Thousands of hand painted tiles covered the rooms. |
Due to the magnitude of the Topkapi, you could probably
spend a day alone looking at everything it has to offer. Since I was short on time, I was only able to
see a few different parts but that was enough to realize how special this place
was. The armory display was obviously very
interesting but it was the harem that I found to be the most beautiful. The harem is where the Sultan and his family
lives so you can imagine how well decorated it is.
|One of the Sultan bed chambers. |
|Courtyard in the harem over looking city. |
I do not know how many rooms I walked into but each was
uniquely decorated with thousands of hand painted tiles, beautiful atrium,
stained glass windows and of course gold.
I was told that this is the must see along with the jewels, however, the
line was over an hour long so I had to skip that. Although I could not see it all, I still
could understand the beauty the Ottomans put into their home.
|In front of the main gates at Dolmabache. |
|The main fountain when walking into the palace. |
The second palace I visited was the Dolmabache Palace which
is one of the only must see sites not in the Old City. (A suggestion would be to take the ferry by
the Galata Bridge after eating a fish sandwich to the Palace. This will save time due to traffic and also
give you good views of the shoreline.
Then head to Ortakoy for a beer and Kumpir.) Unlike the Topkapi, Dolmabache is relatively
new built in the 1800’s. Yet similar in
nature, you could spend a whole day exploring.
|The main building in the palace. |
|Standing at the gate to the main area of the palace. |
|Standing on the inside in front of the main gate at Dolmabache. |
Once again I was short on time so I only was able to venture
into a few parts of the palace. It was
clear that this palace was more modern as it is based off European structures
such as London’s Buckingham Palace. Just
like the Topkapi, the harem was the must see in Dolmabache. It was just as stunning but in a simpler
fashion. Unfortunately, I could not take
pictures inside the palace so you will have to go see for yourself. These palaces are huge so budget your time
wisely as you cannot leave Istanbul without seeing these two estates.
|Similar to Topkapi, Dolmbache is covered many acres. |
|Rose beds covered the grounds at Dolmabache. |
Post a Comment