Istanbul, Topkapi palace • Turkey

"Embark on a captivating journey through time in Istanbul with our video of less than 7 minutes, dedicated to the magnificent Sultan's Palace, the historic Topkapi Palace. Witness the opulence of this iconic place, its lush gardens, its audience halls, its craftsmen's workshops, and its breathtaking views over the Bosphorus. Dive into Ottoman history by touring its grand spaces and marvel at the richness of its collections. From the sultan's residence to today's museum, follow the evolution of this UNESCO World Heritage site. For an even richer journey, our page provides detailed historical explanations. Istanbul has never been closer. Watch, learn, and be inspired!"

This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip Turkey • Istanbul 2015

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Reading the text below will help you better understand the historical context of the sites shown in this video.

The Ottoman era in Constantinople


The capture of Constantinople by the Ottoman armies left a devastated city and many once prestigious palaces are largely in ruins, which prevented the victorious Sultan, Mehmet II from settling there after his victory. 

The court therefore settled first in the "Old Palace", largely spared from the conquest of the city. This palace later became Istanbul University. 

Sultan Mehmet II decided to build a new palace and chose the site of the ancient Greek acropolis, ideally located on a promontory overlooking the Bosphorus. The construction of this palace began in 1453. This palace will logically be called "the new Palace", in Turkish "Yeni Sarayi". The current name of Topkapi dates from the 19th century.


Topkapi Palace


Sultan Mehmed II decided on the basic layout of his new palace and demanded the best craftsmen and materials for its construction as he wanted his new palace to rival the best constructions of the past.

Topkapi Palace (or Topkapı Sarayı in Turkish) is a palace complex located in Istanbul, Turkey, which served as the official residence of the Ottoman Sultans for over 400 years. The palace was built in 1460 by Sultan Mehmed II, who conquered Constantinople in 1453. 

Topkapi Palace is one of the largest palaces in the world, and it is made up of several buildings linked together by courtyards and gardens. It includes audience halls, apartments, libraries, mosques, craftsmen's workshops and lush gardens. The palace is surrounded by high walls and defense towers, and it is located on a hill overlooking the city and the Bosphorus. 

Topkapi Palace now houses a museum that exhibits a large collection of historical objects and artifacts from the Ottoman Empire, such as weapons, jewelry, clothing, carpets, and ceramics. Visitors can also see the royal halls, audience halls, kitchens, hammams and palace gardens. 

Topkapi Palace is an iconic place in the history of Turkey and the Ottoman Empire, and it is one of the most visited sites in Istanbul.


Function of the palace


Besides being the main residence of the sultan, Topkapi was the seat of government, and as such access was strictly regulated.

The palace had its own water resources and was practically autonomous, a real city within the city. More than 4,000 people lived there permanently.


The evolution of Topkapi


The original plan of Mehmet II has always been respected during the various enlargements and repairs that the palace has undergone. This plan allowed for major changes over the centuries, since no imposing central building existed, unlike most royal palaces, such as Versailles. The successors of Mehmed II were able to develop the buildings with great freedom while respecting the idea of ​​the founder.

Among the expansions, the construction of the harem during the 16th century.

Other changes have been made. At the beginning of the 16th century, in 1509, a major earthquake damaged the palace. About fifty years later, a fire starting from the kitchens again ravaged the architectural complex.


Decline of Topkapi Palace


The Ottoman sultans at the end of the 17th century chose to partially abandon the palace built by Mehmed II, preferring to settle in a new palace on the Bosphorus. The new European-style Dolmabahçe Palace suited them better, and they decided to move the place of power. However, many functions remained in Topkapi, such as the library, the imperial treasury and the mosques.


End of the Ottoman Empire


The Ottoman Empire ended in 1921. Topkapi Palace was then transformed into a museum of Ottoman history in 1924. Since then, Topkapi has been managed directly by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The museum has rich collections of clothing, weapons, miniatures, porcelain, jewelry dating from the Ottoman era. It also represents an undeniable interest from an architectural point of view. All these riches earned it a UNESCO World Heritage listing in 1985.


Spoken comments in the film: 

Topkapi Palace was built by Sultan Mehmet II in the years following the capture of Constantinople,in the 15th century. The sultan settled there with his court and his administration. At the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1921, Topkapi Palace was transformed into a rich museum dedicated to Ottoman history and culture in Turkey.


The Tower of Justice is the tallest building on the palace site. This tower, which was visible from afar, symbolized the sultan's vigilance against injustice.


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about the place, Istanbul:

Istanbul is the economic capital of Turkey. It is at the same time the largest city in the country. The city was founded in the 7th century BC under the name Byzantium. 

In 330 CE, Emperor Constantine the Great designated it as the new capital of the Roman Empire and initially called it New Rome. Later it became Constantinople. For 16 centuries it was the capital of several empires, Byzantine, Roman and Ottoman. 

Constantinople was a Christian city for a long time, even hosting 4 of the first 7 councils. With the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the city became Muslim before becoming the seat of the Ottoman Caliphate in the early 16th century. 

At the time of the formation of the Republic of Turkey, the capital was transferred to Ankara and the city was renamed in 1930 to become Istanbul.



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Disclaimer: Despite its appropriateness, copyright issues prevent the use of turkish traditional music in "Istanbul • Topkapi palace, Turkey", hence the use of royalty-free music. Despite our careful selection, some might regret this decision, which is necessary to avoid potential lawsuits. Although difficult, this decision is the only viable solution.

one of the palace lounges, Istanbul • Turkey
main gate of the palace, Istanbul • Turkey

main gate of the palace

ceiling in the Queen Mother's apartments, Istanbul • Turkey

ceiling in the Queen Mother's apartments

the double pavilion, apartment of the crown princes, Istanbul • Turkey

the double pavilion, apartment of the crown princes

terrace mosque, Istanbul • Turkey

terrace mosque

Istanbul • Turkey

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