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Topkapi Palace Museum

Turkey travel guides: Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul

The Topkapi Palace museum is one of the must-see attractions to visit in Istanbul. The palace visited by thousands of tourists every year (796.588 visitors in 2013) is located on hill 1 of 7 hills, the Seraglio (Sarayburnu) Point, overlooking the Golden Horn, Marmara Sea and Bosphorus.

The palace was built in 1459-1465 after the conquest of Constantinople and served the Ottoman Empire until 1856 when the palace was moved to the Dolmabahce Palace along the Bosphorus coast.

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The Topkapi Palace is not a one building structure like the European palaces, but it is a complex of several pavilions and flats. While the population of the palace was only 750 people during the period of Mehmet The Conquerer’s rule, the number increased in time and in 19th century it became 5.000 people before the Ottoman Palace was moved to the Dolmabahce Palace in Besiktas along the Bosphorus.

This unique Ottoman Palace hosts the collections of legendary treasures collected by the Ottoman emperors in a period of centuries, thrones, jewelery, Turkish fabric wovens with silk and artificial fibers, silk caftans, garments of the emperors, guns and valuable prayer rugs and many more. Also the worldwide famous Topkapi dagger, Throne of Nadir Shah and Kasikci diamond are also exhibited in the Topkapi Palace.

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Topkapi Palace Museum Facts & Figures

  • The name translates as “Cannon Gate Palace” from a nearby gate which has since been destroyed.
  • The palace was built over the acropolis of the ancient Byzantion.
  • The total size of the complex varies from around 592,600 square meters to 700,000 square meters.
  • The Topkapi Palace Museum is among the monuments contained within the “Historic areas of Istanbul”, which became a UNESCO world Heritage in 1985.
  • The Topkapi Palace Museum contains important holy relics of the Muslim world, including the Prophet Muhammed’s cloak and sword.
  • The Topkapı Palace was transformed into a museum in 1924.

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