Synonymous with Ottoman style architecture, the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul is one of the most historically relevant landmarks, and today sits as one of Turkey’s great gems. It is in itself a statement of Turkish progress from a once feudal society to a great empire, and possesses elements distinctly unique to its people from a once overbearing Islamic influence. As a measure of its empiric significance, the palace served for over 400 years the residence of Sultans, where social events and administrative policy alike took the helms over Turkish civilization and development.
Guests of Turkey interested in understanding the culture and pride of this country's people would benefit from a visit to the complex, where from the outset you experience the grandeur of the Imperial Gate, through the plush landscape of the First Courtyard, then into the overwhelming Gate of Salutation to the Second Courtyard, where Sultan Selim III once presided over the masses ceremonial assemblies and state functions.
The remainder of the palace premises contains a plethora of buildings and courtyards, including a treasury, apartments, bathhouses, harems, and an armory, not to mention imperial halls and royal chambers that make a visit into Topkapi’s inner walls one of the world’s great wonders.
Upon visiting Topkapi make sure to give yourself the day in order to explore the nooks and crannies of this important landmark. Audio-guides are available on site to ensure a depth of understanding of the palace. Entrance to the harem unfortunately requires a different fare altogether, and be prepared for an onslaught of long lines during the peak tour seasons, by booking your trip ahead of time.