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Topkapi Palace

5 Reasons To Visit The Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

5 Reasons to Visit the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul.

What to see and do, prices, as well as where to stay and other general information.

The Topkapi Palace – what an amazing site to visit in Istanbul. Don’t rush your visit, take your time and soak up the history, the views and the architecture.

We share with you our top 5 reasons to visit the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul but after you visit you will probably have many more reasons. The Topkapi Palace is one of the top attractions in Sultanahmet, Istanbul.

After visiting the Topkapi Palace we share with you 18 hidden gems in Istanbul that are off the beaten track for you to visit. We hope you have allowed enough time to enjoy all that Istanbul has to offer.

(Editor Update 2021)

Check out our new web story on the Topkapi Palace here.


Topkapi Palace

Pro-Tip for Arriving into Istanbul

Are you arriving at Istanbul’s New Airport? To prebook your airport transfer click here.

Visit Topkapi Palace Tips

It is worth getting there early in the day, as the queues start well before the opening time of 9 am.  Any later and you will find that once the buses arrive it can become quite congested. Even if you have only one day in Istanbul it is worth a visit.

We would recommend that you pre-purchase your tickets and skip the line tour. Enjoy a guided tour inside the Topkapi Palace and see the four courtyard museum including the Audience Hall, High Court, Historical Kitchens, and The Treasury.

Click here to book

If you are staying 5 days in Istanbul you may want to consider purchasing the 5 day guided Museum pass. Skip the queue to get into the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, Dolmabahçe Palace, Blue Mosque, and more on an exceptional guided tour.

Click here to book.

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Essential Visiting Information for Visiting The Topkapi Palace.

Taken from the website of the Topkapi Palace (current as of December 2020).

“The Topkapi Palace Museum is open to visitors every day except Tuesdays.” 

Topkapi Palace Hours 

Winter Season:   2 October – 1 April

The Museum, Harem and Hagia Eirene, the last entrance to the Museum 16:00, 9:00 – 16:45 can be visited between the hours of 16:00

Attention: Ticket booths are closed at 16:00

Summer season:  April 1 to October 2

The museum, the harem and Hagia Eirene Museum, including the last entry 18:00 hours, 09:00 – can be visited between 18:45

Attention: the ticket office closes at 18:00

Topkapi Palace Entrance Fee

Museum Ticket: 100 TL (USD$13.00 Euros 11.00)

Ticket Price for one person for the main entrance is  100 TL except for the Harem Section

Topkapi Palace Harem Ticket: 42  TL (USD$5.50 Euros 5)

If you want to visit the Topkapi Palace Harem you will have to buy a separate ticket from the ticket booth in front of the Harem entrance.”

“Thanks to the Topkapi Website for providing this information yearly.”

Topkapi Palace Map

5 reasons to visit the topkapi palace

Topkapi Palace Map

Short History of the Topkapi Palace Turkey

In 1478 Mehmet the Conqueror constructed Topkapi Palace to be used as the administrative centre of the Ottoman Empire and the residence of the Sultans for 380 years.

Over the centuries the palace undertook renovations after the devasting effects firstly of the earthquake in 1509 and then later a fire in 1665.   There are 4 main courtyards and several smaller buildings.  The harem was the home for the women in the Sultan’s family.

Sadly the Topkapi Palace lost its importance during the 17th century when the Sultans preferred to build along the Bosphorus instead.

In 1923 at the end of the Ottoman Empire, the Topkapi Palace became a Museum.  In 1985 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Topkapi Palace What To See

1.  The Topkapi Palace Harem 5 reasons to visit the topkapi palace

The Exterior of the HaremThe Harem means ‘ a place forbidden’. It is where the mother of the Sultan lived with the concubines and wives of the Sultan.  The Topkapi Palace Harem has 300 rooms, 9 Turkish Baths, 2 Mosques and 1 hospital.  Only certain people could enter the Harem:

  • the Sultan
  • the Queen Mother
  • the Consorts
  • the Princes
  • the concubines
  • the eunuchs who guarded the harem
Ceiling inside the entrance to the harem at the Topkapi Palace

When you are in the Harem in the Topkapi Palace ensure that you always look up towards the ceilings – the tiles, design, colour and gold inlay are incredible. How much is all that gold worth?

Private Chamber of Sultan Murad III at Topkapi Palace

Inside the Harem do not miss visiting the private chamber of Sultan Murat III. (The photos do not do the rooms justice).


2.  The Circumcision Room at the Topkapi Palace

5 reasons to visit Topkapi Palace

As you wander from building to building, room to room, the colourful tiles impress even those who normally do not consider tiles of importance.  The Summer Pavilion was built by Sultan Ibrahim in 1640.  It was used for the circumcision ceremonies of the Crown Princes.  The walls are covered with rare specimens of Ottoman Tiles.  The most important of these are the blue and white panels influenced by Far Eastern ceramics on the chamber facade which dates back to 1529.

3.  The Gate of Felicity at the Topkapi Palace

5 reasons to visit the topkapi palace

The magnificent entrance into the Inner Court dazzles you with the gold and tile decorations of the walls and columns.  This Gate was used by the Sultans when holding special ceremonies.

4.  The Library of Ahmed III at the Topkapi Palace

5 reasons to visit the Topkapi Palace

The Library of Ahmed III was built in 1719 for the use of the officials of the Royal Household.  Today the books of the library are kept in the Agalar Mosque. When you walk into this room, there is a sense of peacefulness.

The Ceiling Inside the Library of Ahmed III at the Topkapi Palace

5.  The Apartments of the Queen Mother at the Topkapi Palace

 5 reasons to visit the Topkapi Palace

Sultan Murat III originally commissioned the Apartments, they are located in the centre of the Harem.

Rules for Your Visit to The Topkapi Palace in Istanbul

  • No taking photographs inside the exhibition halls
  • Prams are prohibited
  • Topkapi Palace Dress Code: You will need to wear appropriate clothing, if not, suitable clothes will be provided by the staff at the Sacred Relics Department.  Shorts, mini-skirts, tank tops or strapless clothing are not allowed.
  • If you want to use a tripod you will have to ask for permission
  • There is not a guide service available only audio guides available from the booths inside.

If you enjoyed our article you can now download it and take it with you offline when you travel to Istanbul and visit the Topkapi Palace.



Other Things To Do in Istanbul

Ideally, you want to give yourself 7 nights in Istanbul to be able to see all the sights at a leisurely pace and not rush.

Are you a lover of Turkish cuisine?

One of our highlights of visiting Istanbul is enjoying the innovative Turkish food.

More places to see in Istanbul

We have put together some recommended tours for you:

We spent  5 hours just wandering around the Grand Bazaar haggling over the prices of Turkish Delight, scarves and a gold engraved tea service. Crazy, how on earth are we going to travel with this without breaking it.  

The Spice Market is also worth a few hours. The aromas and the colours of the spices, well you will just have to visit to feel the essence yourself.

You can’t leave Istanbul without a boat ride on the Bosphorus.  The sunset cruise on a private yacht is spectacular. The Bosphorus separates Asian Turkey with European Turkey and it is the narrowest used strait for international navigation by shipping vessels.  Over 48,000 vessels sail every year down the strait.

Where To Stay in Istanbul

Istanbul Hotels

Some of Istanbul’s famous hotels are:

The stunning Four Seasons Hotel:


5 reasons to visit the topkapi palace

Ciragan Palace Kempinski Hotel Istanbul:

5 reasons to visit the topkapi palace


The most famous hotel is The St. Regis Hotel:

5 reasons to visit the topkapi palace


For more hotel options click our link below:

5 reasons to visit the topkapi palace

We use Hotels Combined to give our readers the best possibilities of getting your accommodation at the best prices available on the day of booking.  Hotels Combined use over 100+ related hotel websites direct and indirect to bring you the latest deals.

Istanbul Weather

The best times to visit Istanbul is between March and May and September and November.  It is not as busy and the weather is pleasant.

Visa Requirements for Turkey

For the latest visa information for visiting Turkey click our link below:



Getting In to Istanbul

There are many options to search for the cheapest flights in and out of Istanbul.  We are great fans of using the search engine Skyscanner, where we find the cheapest options in most of our searches.

Cheap flights to Istanbul

Find the cheapest flights with Skyscanner who then directs you to the airline’s website with no extra fees to pay.

Travelling by bus throughout Turkey is easy and safe.  We spent one-month using buses, it was certainly a cost-effective method of transport.

For the latest bus schedules and ticket prices click here.

You can book a private airport transfer from Istanbul’s new airport to your hotel click here.

More articles to inspire you to visit Turkey:

Grand Bazaar Istanbul

Hot Air Balloon Ride over Cappadocia

Secrets of Ephesus



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