Topkapi Palace (Topkapi Sarayi)
- Type: Castles/Palaces, Museums, Sightseeing
- Time to Spend: 2 hours to Half Day
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The Topkapi Palace served as home of the Ottoman Sultans from 1465 to 1856 and is one of Istanbul's most popular attractions. It features brilliant architecture, manicured courtyards and impressive exhibits. It officially became a museum in 1924, shortly after the end of the Ottoman era.
Popular attractions include the Audience Chamber where the sultan would receive foreign dignitaries and the Sacred Trusts exhibit, which features relics such as the staff of Moses and a beard hair of Muhammad.
Topkapi Palace was also the residence of the imperial Harem. For those interested, separate tickets must be purchased for the Harem tour, which explores the quarters of the eunuchs and concubines that resided here.
The Topkapi Palace sits atop a promontory a little over a mile northeast of the Hagia Sophia. Admission to Topkapi Palace is approximately $13 USD; the Harem tour costs roughly $10 more. The museum is open from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. and is closed on Tuesdays. For more information, click here.