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Topkapi Palace's history is vibrant. The building served as the residential, administrative, educational and cultural building of the Ottoman sultans for nearly 400 of their 624 reigning years. Today it doubles as the Topkapi Palace museum.
Be sure to notice the Fountain of the Executioner next to the ticket windows before you head in. This is where the executioner would wash his hand and sword after a decapitation.
This impressive building of hundreds of rooms where the sultan and his family lived has been restored in lush ornate fashion. It’s a separate ticket, but definitely worth it.
The Topkapi Palace diamond is the pride of the palace. The riches in the Treasury are not purely aesthetics, they make up the complex Topkapi Palace history.
Relics from the Prophet Mohammed and Moses, among others, are collectively called the Sacred Trusts.
You’ll need at least half a day to explore the palace, but make a whole day out of it to really take it all in. Try to arrive at opening to avoid the crowds!
You’ll get denied entrance to the Sacred Relics Department if you’re showing some skin. No shorts, short skirts or sleeveless shirts are permitted. It is the holiest section of Topkapi Palace, Turkey.
Along with the harem section, Topkapi Palace, Istanbul houses four courtyards or “avlu.” Shade or eateries for resting aren’t too hard to find. There’s a café and a restaurant in the first courtyard, a second café in the third courtyard, and a second restaurant in the fourth.
- When to visitOpen Wednesday through Monday. October 26 - April 15, 9:00AM to 4:45PM. April 15 - October 26, 9:00AM to 6:45PM.
- What is the price?Museum tickets start at 30TL (about $11), Harem tickets start at 15TL (about $5) and continue up with perks and tours.
- Will I need a guide?A guide will definitely add to the experience! Audio guides are also available for rent at the palace.
- How to get thereTake the tram to the Gülhane or Sultanahmet stations, or the Marmaray to the Sirkeci Station. It's a short walk from any station.
- Additional tips
- Cloths can be provided by onsite staff if you need to cover up during your visit to the Sacred Relics Department.
- Stroller and photography are not permitted inside, so please plan ahead.
What People Are Saying About Topkapi Palace
A great service and the Guide was outstanding, knowledgeable and very flexible. Will use the service again, and if back in the same location (Istanbul and surrounding area) will work with same guide.
Experienced guide, knowledgeable with the history of each location. Very good English language communication skills. Managed and tracked the time to stick to schedule. I would highly recommend friends and family to book online through GetYourGuide. We made sure to request for an English speaking guide and it was provided. Other languages were also available. We had expedited track lines whereby, the tickets were immediately used to enter rather than wait in ques, which is an asset in Turkey for all the touristic sites whereby others were waiting in line. Pick-up and drop-off were coordinated in advance when we contacted the number provided in the reservation. Bus was air-conditioned and clean. I hope everyone gets the same experience when trying GetYourGuide services. Good luck.
We had an awesome day. The tour started punctually. We got to visit all the places that were advertised. The guide knew very well everything and helped us with other things we needed and wanted to visit. We had a great lunch. So far the best we have had. Would totally recommend again.
I loved everything about the tour. Mehmet was an great guide, knowledgeable about history and about the small details of the city. The tour took us all around the area and we got to see how beautiful the city is and how rich it is in history and culture. I recommend it!
Our tour guide was great. She was very informative and also gave us time needed to explore on our own. Very helpful