Of the sixteen empires founded by the Turks, the Ottoman Empire was the longest lasting and the largest. It lasted for 622 years ruling over the Asian, European and African lands surrounding the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.
Peoples of different races and religions were united under its rule. The only other empire in history that governed such vast lands for such a long period was the Roman Empire.
Thirty-six sultans reigned during this period, and starting from early 16th century, they also became the religious leaders of the Islamic world as caliphs.

Capable civil servants, after completing their education in the school in the private courtyard of the sultan, served faithfully and successfully in the administration and organization of the empire. Most of the viziers and grand viziers were graduates of this school. Life started at dawn in the palace and it was subject to strict rules and ceremonies. Everybody had to abide by the centuries-old customs and traditions, and these were observed rigorously even when the empire fell into a period of decline. The etiquette of this palace always influenced the rules of protocol in the Western world.

The seaside mansions and pavilions of Topkapi Palace were demolished at the end of the last century.

The different tiles, woodwork and architectural styles displayed in Topkapi Palace reflects the development of Turkish Art and the harmonious existence of differing styles over the centuries.

The first courtyard is entered through the so-called Imperial Gate. The monumental fountain seen outside the gate is a beautiful example of 18th century Turkish Art. In this courtyard there are the palace bakery, the mint, the quarters of the palace guards, and the firewood depots. The vegetable gardens used to occupy the terraces below. The first building in the palace complex, the Tiled Pavilion, and the Archeological Museum are in this courtyard, too. To the left of the entrance is the Hagia Eirene Museum, a 6th century Byzantine church.
The second courtyard is through  the second gate, known as the Gate of Salutation. The second courtyard was the administrative center of the state and the government. Only the sultans could enter this yard on horseback. Citizens with official business were allowed here, as well as the representatives of the Janissary corps on special paydays.

The reception of foreign emissaries and state ceremonies took place in this courtyard. It is known that absolute silence prevailed in such ceremonies, sometimes attended by up to ten thousand people. When the sultan was present in the event, the imperial throne was placed in front of the gate at the other end of the courtyard, and as a demonstration of respect; that present would stand with their hands clasped in front.
The only tower in the palace is located here. It was called " Tower of Justice " because it was the venue of the state court of justice. The entire city and the port could be kept under observation from this tower, the only entrance of which was from the harem section.

The third courtyard was the private domain of the sultan and it was entered —only by special permission- through the Gate of Felicity, guarded by the white Eunuchs. The imperial university, the throne room, the treasury of the sultan and the quarters housing the sacred relics were located in this section. The sultans received foreign ambassadors and high government officials in the throne room, which is directly opposite the entrance. For security reasons those serving in the throne room were selected from among deaf and mute persons.

The  fourth courtyard  is from a  passageway  that leads  to a number of pavilions set amidst gardens. The  Revan and exquisitely decorated Baghdad Pavillions,  from the 17th century,  are in this court yard. The last addition to the palace, the Mecidiye kosk, is too here.
On the ground floor of the last building there is a restaurant for visitors. The terrace in front of Baghdad Pavillion is the best place to have an overall view of the Golden Horn, the Galata district, and the wonderful skyline of old Istanbul with its domes and minarets.

The gardens of the palace sloping toward the sea have now been turned into a public park.


The seaside mansions and pavilions of Topkapi Palace were demolished at the end of the last century.

The different tiles, woodwork and architectural styles displayed in Topkapi Palace reflects the development of Turkish art and the harmonious existence of differing styles over the centuries.

The first courtyard is entered through the so-called Imperial Gate. The monumental fountain seen outside the gate is a beautiful example of 18th century Turkish art. In this courtyard there are the palace bakery, the mint, the quarters of the palace guards, and the firewood depots. The vegetable gardens used to occupy the terraces below. The first building in the palace complex, the Tiled Pavilion, and the Archeological Museum are in this courtyard, too. To the left of the entrance is the Hagia Eirene Museum, a 6th century Byzantine church.
The second courtyard is through  the second gate, known as the Gate of Salutation. The second courtyard was the administrative center of the state and the government. Only the sultans could enter this yard on horseback. Citizens with official business were allowed here, as well as the representatives of the Janissary corps on special paydays.

The reception of foreign emissaries and state ceremonies took place in this courtyard. It is known that absolute silence prevailed in such ceremonies, sometimes attended by up to ten thousand people. When the sultan was present in the event, the imperial throne was placed in front of the gate at the other end of the courtyard, and as a demonstration of respect; that present would stand with their hands clasped in front.
The only tower in the palace is located here. It was called "the Tower of Justice" because it was the venue of the state court of justice. The entire city and the port could be kept under observation from this tower, the only entrance of which was from the harem section.

The third courtyard was the private domain of the sultan and it was entered —only by special permission- through the Gate of Felicity, guarded by the White Eunuchs. The imperial university, the throne room, the treasury of the sultan and the quarters housing the sacred relics were located in this section. The sultans received foreign ambassadors and high government officials in the throne room, which is directly opposite the entrance. For security reasons those serving in the throne room were selected from among deaf and mute persons.

The  fourth courtyard  is from a  passageway  that leads  to a number of pavilions set amidst gardens. The  Revan and exquisitely decorated Baghdad Pavillions,  from the 17th century,  are in this court yard. The last addition to the palace, the Mecidiye kosk, is too here.
On the ground floor of the last building there is a restaurant for visitors. The terrace in front of Baghdad Pavillion is the best place to have an overall view of the Golden Horn, the Galata district, and the wonderful skyline of old Istanbul with its domes and minarets.

The gardens of the palace sloping toward the sea have now been turned into a public park.



Topkapi Palace
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