Istanbul Attractions: Topkapi Palace Museum History and Hours

Topkapi PalaceWhen searching for things to do in Instanbul, you do not want to miss a trip to the Topkapi Palace, also known as the Topkapi Palace Museum. The Topkapi Palace was home to the Military Empire of the Ottoman Turks. Seasoned travelers who frequent Turkey rarely overlook Topkapi Palace Museum. It is a well-known museum, abundant in splendor and drama. The palace dates back to 633 B.C. It also hides many stories, of ancient Sultans and periods of civil unrest, which makes this one very special attraction.

Since many Istanbul tourist attractions often have a touch of intrigue, it is not too difficult to understand why this museum is so special, however, after one tour, you will notice just how different it really is.

Topkapi Palace Museum History

As far back as 1362, the palace housed Ottoman Sultans, a lavish royal family, but all of that changed, in 1863 when fire consumed most of the building. The palace had to be rebuilt and while the structure reflected exquisite carvings and tiles, it did not display as much opulence as the former palace. Still, after many centuries and generations later, the palace became the home of millions of dollars of treasures and holy relics. However visitors will enjoy the beautiful Iznik tiles of the palace.

All of this changed by the turn of the 19th century. In 1922, the Ottoman Sultans and their dynasty were abolished. However, the remains of their kingdom were preserved within the great halls of the palace. Two years later, the new ruler, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, converted the palace into the museum. This background story, serves as a major area of interest for Turkey tours today.

Topkapi Palace Museum Mysteries

There are many mysteries within the halls of the museum, for example the Harem Cage, always brings up questions, especially from western tourists. Many who are aware of Turkish culture, know that some of the things to do in Istanbul included female companions for royal families. But, the cage always draws attention.

Another exhibit, called mechanical devices shows the ingenuity of the Sultans. Each room within this exhibit has a specialized machine, which many can’t believe they built over 500 years ago. The real question, however, seems to revolve around their use. In addition, although the palace was well-designed, many still feel a lack of opulence, especially when comparing it to Dolmabahce Palace, which is filled with crystal and gold.

Topkapi Palace Museum Hours of Operation

The Palace is open every day, except Tuesdays. The doors open each day at 9:00 a.m. and close promptly at 5:00 p.m. All of the exhibits or sections are available without tour guides, except the harem section. You must purchase a separate ticket and schedule a tour with a guide.

During your visit you will be able to experience many of the beautiful exhibits. Among these are the Imperial garments, beautiful drawings as well as calligraphy. This would be a great chance to experience some of the wonderful and historic exhibits of Istanbul.