The amazing Topkapi Palace (Cannon Gate Palace), the residing place of Ottoman Sultans for 400 years (1465-1856) is today’s major tourist attraction in Istanbul (Turkey). Formerly in Ottoman Empire the place was used for official and royal entertainments. At first it was called New Palace (Yeni Saray). Later on it the palace was called Topkapi due to the Cannon gates addition in 19th Century. The Topkapi Palace is close to the heart of Muslims as some important holy relics of Muslims including the cloak and sword of holy prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are placed there. The Topkapi Palace has become UNESCO world heritage site in 1985.
Initial constructed by Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Byzantine Constantinople (1959) was later on renovated and expanded over centuries. Major renovation took place after the earth quake of 1509 and 1665 fire. The huge Topkapi Palace has four main courtyards and several small buildings. In the time of Ottoman Empire the royal palace was residing place of more than 4000 people. In this huge place close to shoreline there were mosques, bakeries, pavilions, gardens, hospitals and a mint.
The Topkapi Palace was reopened as museum of imperial era by government in 1924 after the decline of Ottoman Empire in 1921. The spacious palace of 592,600 to 700,000 m2 (6,379,000 to 7,535,000 sq ft) has hundreds of rooms and chambers i.e. The Chamber of the Sacred relics, Harem, Imperial Hall, Privy Chamber of Murat III, Privy Chamber of Ahmed I, Privy Chamber of Ahmed III, Twin Kiosk / Apartments of the Crown Prince, Apartments of the Queen Mother, Courtyard of the Favourites, Courtyard of the Eunuchs, Dormitories of the Halberdiers with Tresses, Second Courtyard, Imperial Council, Tower of Justice, Third Courtyard, Audience Chamber, Enderun Library (Library of Ahmed III), Fourth Courtyard, Circumcision Room, Yerevan Room, Baghdad Kiosk, iftar Pavilion and Terrace Kiosk. The specific part of the palace is open for the visitors. The Turkish military guards the Palace.
The Topkapı Palace Museum functions under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism serves tourists. The palace provides a display of Ottoman architecture, Ottoman treasure and jewellery. The Museum also contains large collections of porcelain, robes, weapons, shields, armour, Ottoman miniatures, Islamic calligraphic manuscripts and murals. The museum is opened to public every week day except Tuesday and holidays. There is a fee of 20 TL for entrance. The Google rating for Topkapi Palace is 4.6 stars.
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