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Topkapi Palace

The official residence of the Ottoman sultans for about four centuries is now accessible to the public and home to sacred relics.

Topkapi Palace is among the best preserved Ottoman palaces, located on the spot where settlement in Istanbul began. A visit to its quarters provides insight into the Ottoman history of the Turkish city. The 15th-century Topkapi Palace was converted into a museum under Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, in 1924.

While the palace is a dream for history buffs, some visitors come here just for the views; the palace looks out over the Golden Horn, a natural harbor in Istanbul, the Bosphorus Strait and the Sea of Marmara.

The site covers 173 acres (70 hectares) and is surrounded by over 3 miles (5 kilometers) of walls. Admire the towering gates, tree-lined courtyards and classical Turkish buildings, which once housed Ottoman sultans and their followers. It grew and changed over the reigns of successive sultans, each of whom would leave his own mark on the palace.

Visit the harem, the private space in the palace where a sultan’s family lived along with the concubines and eunuchs in their service. The harem was traditionally inaccessible to outsiders, which invoked myths and legends about what happened there. These days, only part of it is open to the public, but you can still see the 40-roomed section allocated to the sultan’s mother and the large baths and domed hall where the sultan spent his free time.

Even after hundreds of years, the palace is still a place of grandeur. The courtyards hold numerous striking examples of Turkish art and architecture. In the kitchens there are 12,000 pieces of Chinese and Japanese porcelain.

In the outer courtyard, admire the Hagia Irene, a striking Orthodox church that is now often used as a concert hall. It’s also a museum, but you’ll need special permission to visit.

The Topkapi Palace in the Old City of Istanbul has no tour guide service, but you’ll find plenty of private tour guides waiting in front of the ticket booths. The palace is open daily, except Tuesdays.


Guide to Exploring around Topkapi Palace


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Map

Lodging Near Topkapi Palace

See all 2,102 Hotels near Topkapi Palace
Lalinn Hotel $30
Lalinn Hotel

Lalinn Hotel

Oyuncu Cikmazi Oyuncu Sok. No 4, Istanbul
     
    4.2
    of 5, from 452 reviews
    3.0 out of 5.0

    Located in Old City, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Mosaic Museum and Hippodrome. Basilica Cistern and Blue Mosque are also within 15 minutes.

    Hotel Amira Istanbul $95
    Hotel Amira Istanbul

    Hotel Amira Istanbul

    Kucuk Ayasofya Mahallesi Mustafa, Istanbul
       
      4.8
      of 5, from 1,038 reviews
      0.0 out of 5.0

      Located in Old City, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Hippodrome, Basilica Cistern, and Hagia Sophia. Blue Mosque and Cemberlitas Bath are also within 15 minutes.

      Sura Design Hotel and Suites - Boutique Class $114
      Sura Design Hotel and Suites - Boutique Class

      Sura Design Hotel and Suites - Boutique Class

      Divanyolu Cad. Ticarethane Sok. No:45, Istanbul
         
        4.1
        of 5, from 766 reviews
        5.0 out of 5.0

        This family-friendly Istanbul hotel is located in the historical district, within a 5-minute walk of Basilica Cistern, Hagia Sophia, and Cagaloglu Hamami. Hippodrome and Blue Mosque are also within 10 minutes.

        Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel $114
        Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel

        Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel

        Divanyolu Cd. Alemdar Mah., Istanbul
           
          4.2
          of 5, from 958 reviews
          5.0 out of 5.0

          Located in Old City, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Basilica Cistern, Hagia Sophia, and Cagaloglu Hamami. Hippodrome and Blue Mosque are also within 10 minutes.

          GLK PREMIER Acropol Suites & Spa $106
          GLK PREMIER Acropol Suites & Spa

          GLK PREMIER Acropol Suites & Spa

          Akbiyik cad. No:21, Istanbul
             
            4.4
            of 5, from 728 reviews
            5.0 out of 5.0

            This fully renovated historical mansion is located in the center of Sultanahmet facing the Marmara Sea, Hagia Sophia, and Blue Mosque.

            Boutique Saint Sophia $116
            Boutique Saint Sophia

            Boutique Saint Sophia

            Alemdar Cad. 2, Istanbul
               
              4.7
              of 5, from 304 reviews
              4.0 out of 5.0

              Located in Old City, this hotel is steps from Basilica Cistern and Hagia Sophia. Hippodrome and Blue Mosque are also within 10 minutes.

              GLK PREMIER The Home Suites & Spa $109
              GLK PREMIER The Home Suites & Spa

              GLK PREMIER The Home Suites & Spa

              Kucukayasofya Cad No:60, Istanbul
                 
                4.2
                of 5, from 1,044 reviews
                5.0 out of 5.0

                GLK PREMIER The Home Suites & Spa is a 5-minute stroll from the azure Marmara Sea and Blue Mosque. In a 15-minute walk, guests will reach stalls full of souvenirs and spices at the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar, or the dome-roofed Hagia Sophia and historic Topkapı Palace.

                Hagia Sophia Hotel Istanbul Old City $108
                Hagia Sophia Hotel Istanbul Old City

                Hagia Sophia Hotel Istanbul Old City

                Alemdar Mah. Yerebatan Cad.No 13, Istanbul
                   
                  4.5
                  of 5, from 387 reviews
                  0.0 out of 5.0

                  Located in Old City, this hotel is steps from Basilica Cistern and Hagia Sophia. Hippodrome and Blue Mosque are also within 10 minutes.