Topkapı Palace is a private walking tour with Serif Yenen or one of his colleagues from the Serif Yenen Private Guides Team.
The Palace, the imperial residence of the Sultan, his court and Harem, was also the center of the state administration.
The Palace was the Ottomans’ second palace in Istanbul. Its construction was started in 1459 and completed in 1478. As each succeeding sultan ascended to the throne, he added parts to the palace, indicating to us the different tastes and styles of architecture of four centuries. The changes were made for reasons of practicality, to commemorate victorious campaigns, or to repair damage caused by earthquakes and fire.
The Topkapı Palace housed each of the Ottoman Sultans from Sultan Mehmed II to Sultan Abdülmecid, covering nearly four centuries and 25 Sultans. In 1924 the palace was turned into a museum.
On this tour, we will focus on the Palace covering the Harem section.
Depending on the time of the tour, we may have a lunch stop (not included in the price) at the palace restaurant with good food and view.
Come join us to discover the Ottoman Sultans’ way of living at the Topkapı palace.
Topkapi Harem Tour – Program Summary
(There may be changes in the program)
- The tour will start from the Sultanahmet area – details to be provided to registrants later.
- Orientation and short intro about the Ottoman history
- Topkapı Palace
- Harem Quarters
- Depending on the starting time, lunch break
- Tea break
- The tour will end in the Palace area.
- The Palace is closed on Tuesdays.
Topkapı Palace (Topkapi Harem Tour) Highlights
- This tour is a private tour only for you, no other participants.
- Discover the Ottoman administration and the dynasty with an expert guide.
- Enjoy Topkapi Palace extensively with no rush.
Meeting Point and Time:
- As this is a private tour only for you with no other participants, we can start the tour anytime you like.
- Depending on the location of your hotel, we may pick you up from your hotel by public transport or we may meet you at a certain point in the Old City.
Duration of the Topkapi Harem Tour
- It will take about 3-4 hours.
- The price is $250.00 USD per person (Minimum 2 participants).
- Children up to the age of 6 are free.
- For the confirmation of the tour, we will kindly ask you to make online payment by clicking on “BOOK NOW” button on this page.
What is Included?
- Professional tour guide services by Serif Yenen or one of his team members.
- Orientation and introduction about the Ottoman history
- Some complimentary copies of Serif’s publications.
- Entrance fees and costs to the places to be visited.
- Tea/coffee break.
What is not Included?
- Personal expenses
- Gratuity to the guide (optional)
This tour is operated by A-group Travel Agency “Serif Yenen Travel ↗” licensed by the Turkish Ministry of Tourism (Licence number: 8860)
Topkapi Palace Museum (Topkapi Museum)
The Topkapi Palace Museum is located in Istanbul, Turkey. It is situated in the historic center of Istanbul, on the Sarayburnu promontory overlooking the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus, and the Sea of Marmara. This palace complex was the primary residence of the Ottoman sultans for approximately 400 years and served as the administrative and ceremonial center of the Ottoman Empire.
History and Construction of Topkapi Palace Museum:
The construction of the Topkapi Palace began in 1459, shortly after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul) under the orders of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror (Mehmed II). The palace was built over several centuries and underwent numerous expansions and renovations under different Ottoman sultans.
Usage of Museum Topkapi Palace :
The Topkapi Palace served as the main residence and administrative headquarters of the Ottoman sultans from the 15th century until the 19th century when Sultan Mahmud II moved the imperial court to the newer Dolmabahçe Palace. It was not only a residence but also the center of government, where state affairs were conducted and where the sultan and his court lived. The palace complex included a series of courtyards, pavilions, gardens, and buildings, each serving specific functions.
Sultans Associated with Topkapi Museum:
Several Ottoman sultans lived in the Topkapi Palace over the centuries, including Mehmed the Conqueror, Suleiman the Magnificent, Selim II, and many others. Suleiman the Magnificent, in particular, is often associated with the palace, as he undertook significant renovations and expansions during his reign.
Museum: Today, the Topkapi Palace has been converted into a museum, officially known as the Topkapi Palace Museum (Topkapi Sarayi Müzesi in Turkish). It opened to the public as a museum in 1924. The museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts, art, and historical objects from the Ottoman period, including:
- Imperial Treasury: This section of the museum displays the famous Topkapi Dagger, jewelry, precious gems, and other valuable items that once belonged to the sultans.
- Harem: Visitors can explore the Harem section, which was the private living quarters of the sultans and their families.
- Palace Kitchens: The palace kitchens feature an array of utensils and artifacts related to food preparation in the Ottoman court.
- Islamic Art and Manuscripts: The museum also houses a rich collection of Islamic art, including calligraphy, ceramics, textiles, and manuscripts.
- Imperial Costumes: You can see the elaborate costumes and garments worn by the sultans and members of the Ottoman court.
- Courtyards and Gardens: The palace complex itself is a work of art, with beautifully landscaped courtyards and gardens.
- Pavilions and Rooms: Various pavilions and rooms within the palace display furniture, ceramics, and other items from the Ottoman period.
Topkapi Palace Harem
Topkapi Palace and the Harem are historic landmarks located in Istanbul, Turkey. They are both significant components of Istanbul’s rich history and are popular tourist attractions today. Here’s some information about each:
- Historical Significance: Topkapi Palace, also known as the “Topkapi Sarayi” in Turkish, was the primary residence of the Ottoman sultans for approximately 400 years, from 1465 to 1856. It served as the administrative and ceremonial center of the Ottoman Empire during this time.
- Architecture: The palace complex is a stunning example of Ottoman architecture and design. It is characterized by a series of courtyards, gardens, and pavilions, each with its unique purpose and style.
- Museum: Today, Topkapi Palace is a museum, and it houses an extensive collection of artifacts from the Ottoman era. Visitors can explore various sections of the palace, including the Imperial Treasury, where the famous Topkapi Dagger and other valuable items are displayed.
- Hagia Irene: The Hagia Irene, a Byzantine-era church, is located within the palace grounds and is often used as a concert venue.
- Views: The palace offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Bosphorus Strait, the Golden Horn, and the Asian side of Istanbul.
- Role: The Harem, or “Harem-i Hümayun” in Turkish, was an integral part of Topkapi Palace. It served as the private living quarters of the sultan, his family members, and the palace’s female residents.
- Architecture: The Harem is a labyrinthine complex of interconnected rooms, hallways, and courtyards. It is known for its exquisite design, with intricate tilework, ornate ceilings, and beautiful frescoes.
- Residence of the Sultan: Within the Harem, the sultan’s mother, wives, concubines, and children lived. The layout of the Harem allowed for a strict hierarchical structure, with the most favored concubines residing in the best rooms.
- Life in the Harem: The Harem was a place of both intrigue and luxury. It was home to powerful women who often played significant roles in the politics of the Ottoman Empire. It was also a place where residents received education, training, and entertainment.
- Visiting the Harem: Today, visitors to Topkapi Palace can purchase a separate ticket to explore the Harem. It’s advisable to do so because the Harem provides a fascinating glimpse into the private lives of the Ottoman sultans and their families.
Both Topkapi Palace and the Harem are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and offer a unique opportunity to delve into the history, culture, and opulence of the Ottoman Empire, making them must-visit destinations for anyone interested in Turkey’s rich past.