Top Kapi Gate (Topkapı) - Topkapi Palace (Sultanahmet)
Top Kapi (Cannon Ball + Gate) gets its name from Fatih the Conqueror’s camp in which they utilized the main and largest cannon balls to take over the city. The gate before 1453 had few different names including Aiyos Romanos, Saint Romanos and Porta Romanos Gate. A confession; we did not tried to find this gate yet but we will soon. By then you can find a photo of the gate from here.
On the other hand Topkapi Palace is one of the most popular and touristic spots in Istanbul, we decided to give you interesting details on Topkapi Palace rather than repeating the generic historical summary you can find everywhere. But you can still check out the history through this link.
And here as promised, interesting facts on Topkapi Palace :
- Through out history, no one but the Sultan was allowed to enter through the middle gate Babusselam except Ivaz Mehmet Pasha who captured the Castle of Belgrade (the picture is above).
- The tallest structure within the palace is the justice tower in the court section. This tower marks the silhouette of the historical peninsula in pictures of Istanbul (picture is on the right)
- Situated on the right side of the entrance, palace kitchen includes these sections: main kitchen, sherbet room, helva (a Turkish dessert) room, pewter room and storage room. Lamb meat consumed in the palace always came from a certain specie of sheep found in Thrace. A separate kitchen called Kushane cooked only for the Harem and the Sultan.
- There are 11000 pieces of Chinese porcelains in Topkapi Palace.
- Zulfu Baltacilar Guilds guarded the Harem. They were the only hearths allowed to stay on the palace grounds at night.
- Gazelles were easy to run by in the Palace Gardens.
- The Palace collection contains 22000 handwritten books. 2500 of these books were illustrated.
- Friday prayers were always held outside of the palace in different locations.
- Murat IVth was the only Sultan that visited the sports arena. The stone throne in this arena belonged to him (picture is on the right)
- Just like we mentioned on our entry on Yildiz Palace here, Topkapi Palace also reached its current size through the addition of buildings throughout ages.
- Sultan Abdulmecit abandoned the palace.
- Two interesting spots can be found located on the leftside when entered from Bab-ı Hümayun (the picture is on the left): the remains of Samson Hospital that was burned down during the Nika Riot, and the Aya Irini (Hagia Irene) Museum. You can find more information on how to visit Aya Irini (Hagia Irene) from here.
- Babussade, Happiness Gate, opened to the third courtyard. The general who was about to go on a campaign would receive Sancak-i Şerif (Sacred Standart - believed to be the battle standard of Prophet Muhammad) from the Sultan in front of this gate (the picture is below)
There are a lot of important must sees in the Palace grounds like Sacred Relics Department, Treasurt Ward, Harem... We are not quite sure if only a day is enough to visit this Palace in detail.
We compiled these facts for you through visiting the Palace with tour guides and studying Murat Belge’s Istanbul Tour Guide book.
Take Care of Yourselves,
Tracer of Istanbul