About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

21 March 2014

Topkapi Palace

Commissioned by the first Ottoman Sultan, and enlarged by every subsequent sultan, the Topkapi Palace is located at the corner overlooking the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Straight. It is a massive complex, but instead of the western style of a single building, it is composed of multiple smaller buildings.

It's size and variety of sights means that it takes a long time to go through. There are magnificent rooms with amazing decorations, there are collections of jewels and treasures (including some huge diamonds, emeralds etc), collection of gifts and spoils of war, and a great display of armaments across the reign. 

There is also an interesting collection of religious artefacts, which unlike the other artefacts are not covered with detail on authenticity - with good reason when considering the claims I suppose. There is a collection of items supposedly from the prophets before Mohammed (in the Islamic tradition) including Moses and David; while there is a room of items from Mohammed and the first caliphs also. All these were effectively spoils of war when the Ottoman sultans took over the caliphate, so I suppose there is some degree in authenticity on the latter items.

Within the museum complex, but a separate entry, is the Harem - or private residence of the Sultan and his family. After the hot sun outside, the harem complex was amazingly cool - a testament to the architecture I suppose. These spaces were equally impressive in decor and design, and also showed the most stark changes in style across the centuries.

It took us close to 4 hours to cover the palace, and we didn't see all the ceramic collections. The jewels and the opulent rooms make it a worthwhile visit but it is not something to do again and again.

No comments: