TOPKAPI PALACE (TOPKAPI SARAYI MÜZESI)
Petit Futé's opinion on TOPKAPI PALACE (TOPKAPI SARAYI MÜZESI)
Come and get an idea of what life at the Ottoman court could be like in the city's most emblematic museum.
Try to arrive as early as possible to avoid queuing during peak periods (May to September) and try to avoid Sundays. Access is through the second gate (Orta Kapı), the one with two towers. The rooms exhibiting the jewellery, the imperial treasure and the sultans' clothes are closed for work. For the duration of the visit, the ideal is to stay there for 3 hours, but you can also spend the day there! It is possible to visit the palace with an audioguide that offers explanations in several languages and that can easily be listened to by two people. This imperial residence of the Sultan was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. As far as the visit is concerned, the museum is composed of successive gardens and many rooms that have been arranged for thematic exhibitions. You will of course be very comfortable in the park (especially in the 4th courtyard overlooking the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara), but some rooms quickly become narrow when crowded. Within the palace, one can discover the armoury, the clock-making shop, the courtroom, the paintings of the sultans, the relics, the courtyards, the pavilions (Circumcisions kiosk, Yerevan kiosk, Baghdad kiosk, Terrace kiosk), the gardens, a small mosque. As the palace is regularly maintained, some rooms close (completely or temporarily) while others reopen according to schedule. They may also be subject to flexible hours. A huge sign to the left of the counters (in Turkish and English) indicates which places are open and closed. For the harem, it is considered a shame to come to Topkapı without visiting it. The ticket office is located on the left after the entrance. Attention, the Müzekart pass does not include the harem! In this part there can be a lot of people, and it can be as many as 10 or as many as 70, the maximum number allowed. Each group is led by a guide who speaks only English. Cameras and camcorders are allowed, but professional equipment (tripods) is not free of charge. The harem is very large but for various reasons only a very small part of it can be visited. In the palace is the café-restaurant Konyalı, in the fourth courtyard, where you can have a coffee or a meal while enjoying the magnificent view of the Bosphorus. Perfect for a refreshing break on hot days.
Information on TOPKAPI PALACE (TOPKAPI SARAYI MÜZESI)
Open from 9am to 5pm, 7pm in summer. Closed on Tuesdays. Admission: 72 TL, 42 TL for the harem (free for children under 8).
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