"Short stories and travel reports from my life adventures around the globe".

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

Exploring Topkapi Palace in Istanbul.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace, Istanbul .

September 2020.

You just know some days are going to be special the moment you step outside. This sunny afternoon in the Turkish capital was one of them. The sky an absolutely perfect and unblemished deep blue. The sun shining bright, but not too invasive. What ideal conditions from which to take a walk through the city towards Istanbul’s 555 year old Topkapi Palace. A place that, if it hadn’t been for COVID times, would be heaving with visitors.

A sunny September morning in Istanbul.

On the way to Topkapi Palace.

In contrast, we found barely a handful of folk milling around outside the entrance. As such, it was impossible not to smile as we approached the commanding twin towers, anticipating the hours ahead in a museum of such historic and cultural magnitude.

After all, this is the palace that the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II ordered the construction of in 1459, just six years after he oversaw the Fall of Constantinople.

The entrance to Topkapi Palace.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

Eventually, six to seven years later, he had realised his dream. His palace was a vast and lavish complex overlooking the Bosphorus, built using the very best materials from far and wide. He called it “Topkapi”, the Cannon Gate Palace.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

Painting of the Ottoman sultan Mehmed the Conquerer

“Guys, how’s that palace coming along? Tick, tock, time is money”.

Naturally, the palace greatly expanded over the centuries, getting bigger and bolder with each passing year. In fact, it ended up being home to no less than 30 sultans! But in the 1850s it was Abdulmejid I, the Ottoman Empire’s 31st sultan, who called time on the old joint by moving the royal court to the brand new Dolmabahce Palace. All Things Must Pass, and all that.

The history of Topkapi Palace.

Party like it’s 1789. An oil on canvas of Sultan Selim III holding court at Topkapi Palace.

The museum we were about to explore was established in 1923 by government decree. We entered that day through the Gate of Salutation, commissioned by good old Mehmed in 1468. Its gargantuan iron doors, which open each morning to allow the day’s visitors in, arrived in 1524. There are handsome calligraphic royal seals meanwhile, on each side, including that of Mustafa III, who ruled between 1757-1774.

Gate of Salutation Topkapi Palace.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

On the other side we had to pass through a sizeable security station. Bags, jackets, contents of your pockets through the scanner, all that malarkey. Not sure which sultan established this bit.

Security station at Topkapi Palace.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

Free from the suspicious/bored looks of the uniformed security officers, we emerged into the wide expanse of Council Justice Square. A giant courtyard that served as the Ottoman Empire’s Centre of Administration, in addition to being the palace’s ceremonial grounds.

Exploring Istanbul.

Council Justice Square Topkapi Palace.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

With its towering cypress trees, pruned hedges and spotless stone path, it is undeniably beautiful and calming. Moreover, it was fun to watch the birds darting between the trees. And to spot a lone seagull who’d swooped into the courtyard for an inquisitive peck.

A seagull pecking around at Topkapi Palace.

Pecking at the palace.

At the end of the square we found ourselves pausing to appreciate the so-called Gate of Felicity. A 15th century construct that grants access to the Audience Hall, this was the sight of just about every major ceremony you could think of. From holiday festivities and the enthronement of sultans, to weddings, funerals and declarations of war.

The Gate of Felicity at Topkapi Palace.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

As for the vaulted Audience Hall, this is where the sultan and his advisers gathered to receive state officials. The entire space is gorgeous, with marble columns and a ceiling showcasing jewels and outstanding lacquer work.

Audience Hall Topkapi Palace.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

According to historic records, the iron-bar window to the left of the Throne Room used to display the various gifts the sultan received from high profile visitors. My favourite bits though were the stunning rows of green, blue and white mosaic tiles that flank the doorway. They date from the 16th century, so impressive.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

Impressive mosaic tiles at Topkapi Palace.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

Inside the throne room we found ourselves face to face (albeit behind a glass case) with an actual antique 18th century Golden Ceremonial throne. It’s an incredible piece, though disappointingly the museum provides no further information as to which sultan may have used it.

18th century Golden Ceremonial Throne Topkapi Palace

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

On the other side of the throne room, our wanderings took us to the sizeable Enderun Courtyard. This is where hundreds of young males came to live in purpose-built dormitories in order to be educated and trained as royal soldiers, bureaucrats and artisans.

Blood tax in the Ottoman Empire.

Enderun Courtyard

However, most of the men that came to live here didn’t have a say in the matter. Rather, they were forcibly removed from families across Europe in a controversial practice called Devshirme.

Also known as Blood Tax, the sultans targeted Balkan, Christian families under Turkish rule. They also claimed sons of Turkish noble families suspected of opposing the sultan. Then taxed them for the cost of clothing and transport to the palace. 

Enderun Courtyard Topkapi Palace.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

Some of the young men trained at Topkapi Palace rose to high positions. A few even became grand viziers, pretty much the second highest position in the empire after the sultan.

Blood Tax.

Devshirme in the Ottoman Empire.

A 1558 painting of Ottoman officials registering Christian boys for devshirme.

In the 19th century, Sultan Murad III oversaw the transformation of one of the palace’s biggest student dormitories. He basically turned it into an exhibition chamber for what some say is the world’s largest collection of ancient Muslim objects. Today it stands as the Museum of Sacred Relics, a staggering collection of items gifted to the empire’s various sultans throughout the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

Sacred Relics Museum Topkapi Palace.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

Inside we wandered through several rooms, unsure what to make of what we saw. Scrolls belonging to John the Baptist… an actual stone footprint of Muhammed… a staff used by Moses.

As we explored, there were reminders at every turn of the museum’s strict no photo policy. Indeed there were numerous signs and confrontational guards stationed around the place. Ready, at any moment, to publicly shame anyone who even looked like they were considering taking a photo.

Inside the Sacred Relics Museum in Istanbul.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

I much preferred the peaceful vibe at the incredibly elegant Library of Ahmed III. Outside the main entrance, we paused for a moment to appreciate the vibrant colours and flawless carvings of the library drinking fountain.

The ornate fountain outside the Library of Sultan Ahmed III

Outside the Library of Sultan Ahmed III.

Sultan Ahmed III established the library in 1719 as a gift to everyone who lived and worked in the inner palace. It is nothing short of a visual feast, with its Iznik tiles, arched alcoves and geometric stone inlays. A pristine example, the museum blurb tells visitors, of Tulip Period architecture.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

Sultan Ahmed III Library.

Library of Sultan Ahmed III.

The sultan filled the library with major Islamic works of the time, in addition to poetry and novels in a variety of European languages. Unfortunately, all those antique titles have long gone, scattered around various museums in Turkey.

Inside Sultan Ahmed III Library.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

Still, one amazing item that remains is the actual pick used by the sultan during the library’s groundbreaking ceremony at the start of the construction project.

Ancient Ottoman Empire pick used by Sultan Ahmed I

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

The sultans certainly had it good. As if all those luxurious living quarters weren’t enough, they also enjoyed wondrous views of the city across the wide expanse of the Bosphorus. Likewise, today’s visitors get to enjoy the same views, which we lapped up on such a sunny September afternoon.

Bosphorus views from Topkapi Palace.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

Once again, for the umpteenth time, we thanked our lucky stars to have experienced such an unmissable Istanbul site at a time when the crowds were largely absent. A moment to breathe, smile and reflect.

Bosphorus Views.

Views of the Bosphorus from Topkapi Palace.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

Next, we took a leisurely walk through the palace gardens. As you would expect everything was spotless, with fulsome flower beds, pretty trees and nurtured bushes abound. Some tastefully set around historic stone fountains and ponds.

The gardens at Topkapi Palace.

The gardens.

Along the way, it was fun to come across one of several stone garden thrones built directly into the walls. This is where the sultan and his closest advisors would sit and watch sporting events such as wrestling and javelin. I’m guessing with plenty of soft cushions to avoid a crippling case of numb bum.

Fascinatingly, the inscription above the seat celebrates the “exceptional skills” of Sultan Murad IV, who won a javelin horseback competition during Ramadan in 1637.

Stone throne Topkapi Palace Istanbul.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

By this point I had suspected that the palace’s most impressive architecture was behind us. However, our visit concluded with a series of knockout garden pavilions, referred to throughout the museum as kiosks. First up was Terrace Kiosk, or Sofa Kiosk. In some articles, Kara Mustafa Pasha Kiosk. Just pick the one you like best.

Terrace Kiosk Topkapi Palace.

Let’s call it Terrace Kiosk.

Built by Sultan Mehmd IV, for the most part it stood as a private room open only to the sultan and…. ahem… his harem of women. Wink, wink. From time to time though the sultan also held meetings here.

Sofa Kiosk history of Topkapi Palace.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

Nearby we came across Yerevan Kiosk, built in honour of Murad IV’s capture of the eponymous Armenian capital in 1635. Octagonal in shape, it was designed by the famed Ottoman architect Koca Kasam Aga.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

Yerevan Kiosk Topkapi Palace.

Yerevan Kiosk.

For at least a century those in the palace also called the Yerevan Kiosk the Turban Room, due to the fact that this is where the sultan stored his vast collection of turbans.

Inside the Yerevan Kiosk at Topkapi Palace.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

And how about the Circumcision Chamber? Yes, that’s right, a ceremonial kiosk dreamed up by Suleiman the Magnificent. Here, his many many sons (and the many many sons of the sultans who followed) would come to get circumcised.

Circumcision Chamber Topkapi Palace.

Close your eyes and think of the empire, lad.

The grandest of these pavilions, arguably, is Baghdad Kiosk. Not least because of its dramatic location on Iftariye Balcony, which provides more wonderful views of the Bosphorus.

Iftariye Balcony Topkapi Palace.

Baghdad Kiosk.

This one commemorates another military victory in, yes you got it, Baghdad. There’s some serious bling behind the red security ropes. One is a silver charcoal stove gifted to the palace by the French king Louis XIV. The other, a throne belonging to Sultan Mahmud II.

Baghdad Kiosk.

Baghdad Kiosk Topkapi Palace.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

Finally, we were done with what had been an unforgettable date with history at Topkapi Palace. Unfortunately, we had not been able to see the Imperial Harem, the private living quarters of the Queen Mother and the concubines. Famed as one of the palace’s most beautiful sections, the harem is a definite reason to go back one day.

Making our way towards the exit, we negotiated one last stretch of garden. Then cut through the cobbled street home to all the palace kitchens, store rooms and wine cellars.

Kitchen and store rooms at Topkapi Palace.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

Leaving the compound, we were tired but happy. And already trying to figure out on what day we would go and explore Topkapi’s successor, Dolmabahce Palace.

Outside, we stopped for a moment to get our bearings. A street seller smiled, turning his row of corn ribs. Ah… one of the very few things on Planet Earth that I can’t eat. Thus we returned his smile and headed off in search of a more palatable dinner.

Street food vendor in Istanbul.

A Date with History at Topkapi Palace.

Like this? Take a look at my series of articles on Istanbul.

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.

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  • christinenovalarue

    J’ai visité Topkapi il y a quelques années, j’en ai gardé un tel souvenir ! Surtout le harem, et les céramiques

    July 9, 2023 - 4:02 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Christine, Je suis ravie que vous ayez également apprécié la visite de ce palais. Merci d’avoir lu et pris le temps de laisser un commentaire.

      July 9, 2023 - 7:09 pm Reply
      • Rebecca

        Ah, vous parlez français, Leighton? Incroyable!

        July 12, 2023 - 6:53 am
      • Leighton

        un petit peu 😉 ha ha

        July 12, 2023 - 8:48 am
  • Free KetoDietRecipes & Guides

    I just stumbled upon your fantastic blog post about Topkapi Palace, and I couldn’t be more excited! The article captures the essence of this historical. It must be an incredible experience to visit Topkapi Palace and immerse oneself in its rich history and stunning architecture. I can’t wait to learn more about it! Have A Great Day Ahead – Melissa.

    July 9, 2023 - 5:16 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks so much Melissa. Topkapi Palace is an unmissable sight when in Istanbul. Its successor, Dolmabahce Palace, is every bit as magnificent. In fact, it would be hard for us to choose between them in terms of how much we enjoyed our respective self-guided tours.

      July 9, 2023 - 7:06 pm Reply
  • kagould17

    What a spectacular visit Leighton and one time where Covid was a benefit. With a palace like this, it is a wonder that the sultan would ever leave. As to sultans in sporting contests, perhaps the other competitors found it prudent to hold off a bit and let the good old sultan win. The forced training of young men and the blood tax are interesting tidbits. Rulers rule and have their way with common folk, just like politicians do today, with a bit less violence. Cheers and Happy Sunday. Allan

    July 9, 2023 - 5:16 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Allan, ha I totally agree that such palace sporting events were invariably fixed. Imagine being the poor sap who accidentally or otherwise knocked the sultan off his horse in that crucial semifinal. Off with his head. Blood Tax was a riveting aspect of Topkapi Palace that I certainly hadn’t heard about prior to visiting. Thanks for reading Allan and for your always insightful comments.

      July 9, 2023 - 7:13 pm Reply
  • Memo

    I always learn so much from your posts. I was not familiar with the blood tax. Kind of a compliment and punishment rolled into one. So much opulence is hard to comprehend. Equally hard was trying to figure out how you got the forbidden pictures. But I could see you lounging on that golden throne. Don’t know about the staff of Moses, though.

    July 9, 2023 - 6:26 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      I was very naughty with the photos Memo. You know me, slowly slowly, discreet, discreet. I would’ve loved to try the golden throne for size. Now THAT would have been a cover photo. Yeah… staff of Moses and Muhammed’s footprint. Mm. There was so much reading and research to do with this post, but I found the history thoroughly absorbing. At least I didn’t have Roger Moore down as one of the sultans 😉

      July 9, 2023 - 7:17 pm Reply
  • Toonsarah

    Wow, what a building! Like you I love the tiles in the Audience Hall and the decorations of the various kiosks, not to mention those views! I gather the ‘no photography’ rule extends only to exhibits, not the buildings?

    July 9, 2023 - 7:19 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Glad Topkapi Palace appeals, Sarah. The no photography rule was largely limited to inside the Sacred Relics Museum. And those security guards that enforced it weren’t messing around. On the whole though Topkapi was far more open to photography than at Dolmabahce Palace where virtually the entire interior was off limits to the lens. Ahem, or so the signs said.

      July 9, 2023 - 7:29 pm Reply
  • Stan

    leighton you’ve done a magnificent job of presenting this palace. as usual you go deeper than most bloggers and manage to strike a fine balance between the informative and personal. blood tax gives me the jeepers imagine being or having your loved ones ‘chosen’ for that, never to be seen again. i love all the architecture particularly the library and the yerevan kiosk

    July 9, 2023 - 7:23 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Stanley! Cheers me old mucker, as always you give me far too much credit. The library was a favourite of mine too. Moreover, if I had to choose a favourite kiosk, I think I’d probably plump for Yerevan Kiosk. It’s also cool to think that, back then, we had absolutely no clue that one day we would visit and then later live in Yerevan. Thanks as always for the kind words.

      July 9, 2023 - 7:32 pm Reply
  • Mike and Kellye Hefner

    Such history and opulence, Leighton! With all of the excellent photos you did get, I didn’t miss the museum photos – even the scrolls of John the Baptist, Mohammed’s footprint, and Moses’ staff. Wonder if they have the Arc of the Covenant stashed in a back room somewhere. 😁 I soaked up every word of your post as I found the palace fascinating. I just have to wonder how they built such grand buildings without today’s technology. And somebody had to make every one of those amazing tiles by hand! Wow! I’m so glad you shared this amazing place.

    July 9, 2023 - 7:26 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Ha ha, you made me laugh out loud with the Arc of the Covenant. It probably is in a back room somewhere with The Antwerp Diamonds and Shergar. Maybe Elvis is in there too, keeping an eye on them. Seriously though I’m glad you enjoyed the history and art. Later in the series I’ll be posting about Dolmabahce Palace, which actually raises the opulence levels up several bars. Say hi to Mike, I hope you’re both having a good summer.

      July 9, 2023 - 7:38 pm Reply
  • ThingsHelenLoves

    What a place. You know the whole thing was a bit extra when even the Circumcision Room’ was a knock out. Guess many a lad hoped they would be knocked out! A beautiful place with some fascinating history. Nice to see you back, Leighton.

    July 9, 2023 - 7:52 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      I reckon those young men would’ve loved the beauty of that room. Until they realised the big ‘drawback’. Oh, I’ll stop there. Thanks for checking in Helen, it’s great to be blogging again and lovely to hear from you.

      July 9, 2023 - 8:27 pm Reply
  • anoush

    Brilliantly written piece on an absolutely stunning place. The kiosks are masterful and the gardens look so peaceful and charming.

    July 9, 2023 - 9:14 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks so much Anoush!

      July 9, 2023 - 9:20 pm Reply
  • Lyssy In The City

    What an incredible experience and place to visit! It’s hard not to take pictures of everything, especially as bloggers, but it does make you appreciate and be present more.

    July 9, 2023 - 10:48 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for checking in Lyssy.

      July 9, 2023 - 10:57 pm Reply

    Fabulous. But then Istanbul is so full of wonderful places that you could do a post on each of a hundred buildings. And a hundred more on experiences. It’s just brilliant reading these and remembering our visits there, bringing back so many great memories. Loving reading along. Oh, and I DO know which sultan introduced the security checks. It was Suleyman The Jobsworth, son of Suleyman The Parking Warden. I believe they fled to England when overthrown.

    July 9, 2023 - 11:48 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Word. We also heard about the lesser celebrated No-Photos Suleyman but luckily we didn’t bump into him. Thanks for the kind words, I hope all is well in France.

      July 10, 2023 - 10:50 am Reply
  • notesoflifeuk

    Blood Tax sounds like the worst kind of tax!

    It’s so rare to be able to visit such places when it’s so quiet… Covid was a blessing and a curse!

    Wonderful photos!

    July 10, 2023 - 12:43 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thank you for reading and dropping a comment into the thread. A blessing and a curse indeed, gotta take whatever smooth happens to come with the rough. I just enjoyed reading your ‘Windows of Manchester Cathedral’ post.

      July 10, 2023 - 10:53 am Reply
  • Anna

    Absolutely glorious stuff!!! As you know I’ve been reading quite alot of books set in Istanbul and this place is always mentioned. So nice to see what it looks like!!! Oh, and speaking of books I just read a beauty that I think is right up Sladja’s alley – The Bookbinder of Jericho by Pip Williams. Set in Oxford during the WW1 years. It was beautiful!!!! X

    July 10, 2023 - 3:48 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Anna, thanks for checking out my piece on Topkapi Palace. I will pass your recommendation onto Sladja, thanks!

      July 10, 2023 - 11:00 am Reply
  • TheDogGod

    Brilliant article.

    July 10, 2023 - 4:53 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading and leaving a comment!

      July 15, 2023 - 10:20 am Reply
  • bronlima

    Fascinating reading, yet another thing I missed out on In Istanbul. The circumcision room is certainly a cut above other palaces.

    July 10, 2023 - 5:40 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Ahahaha it had to be done. Thanks for dropping by, Geoff.

      July 10, 2023 - 11:01 am Reply
  • Lookoom

    Nice review of the palace. I visited the palace in spring when the tulips were in bloom – a great time for the gardens. Tulips originated in Turkey and were collected by the very wealthy. It’s not without reason that the Ottoman Golden Age was called the Tulip Period. I was also lucky enough to visit the harem, which gives a more intimate view of court life, with smaller, less sumptuous rooms.

    July 10, 2023 - 5:55 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Cheers, my friend. The subject of the tulip can be hotly contested depending on who you’re talking to. I’ve heard several claims that they originally came from Persia, specifically from the Kazakhstan region. Missing the harem was unfortunate, if we ever get back to Istanbul that will be top of the list.

      July 10, 2023 - 11:07 am Reply
  • Jason Lawrence

    Excellent piece Leighton, so detailed and with striking images.

    July 10, 2023 - 6:38 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Jason!

      July 10, 2023 - 11:12 am Reply
  • grandmisadventures

    One of the positives of Covid is being able to visit such a popular site without the crowds. This is a place that overwhelms me in the best way- between the extensive history of sultans, dormitories for kidnapped youths, articles of John the Baptist and Moses and then the incredible beauty of the buildings themselves I think my brain would be on overload to take it all in. Really loved following along today on this visit to such an Istanbul icon. 🙂
    (ps, every time I see pictures of Sladja I think what a really beautiful style she has that seems effortlessly classy)

    July 10, 2023 - 4:59 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Meg, it’s lovely to see how much of this article you absorbed and appreciated. Topkapi is a titan of a sight, that’s for sure, so much to take in and notice as you explore. You have just made Sladja’s day with that comment and obviously I am on the same page! Her cheeks are still just a touch crimson as I write.

      July 10, 2023 - 5:30 pm Reply
  • Mallee Stanley

    What a feast for the eyes—wow! and all to your selves (even better)

    July 10, 2023 - 6:37 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading Mallee 🙂

      July 10, 2023 - 7:30 pm Reply
  • Little Miss Traveller

    So interesting to view Topkapi Palace through your post as we joined a lengthy queue to get tickets but gave up after about an hour as it was so hot and there wasn’t any shade, Travelling in Covid obviously had its advantages!

    July 10, 2023 - 7:30 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Oh dear, that sounds like an awful experience. Like you, I would have called it a day and moved on to more peaceful Istanbul pastures. Thanks for your comment, Marion.

      July 10, 2023 - 7:32 pm Reply
  • Travels Through My Lens

    Topkapi Palace seems like a city within a city! I was amazed as I read and looked at the photos of so many different structures, rooms, quarters, gardens, etc. The grandeur, extravagance, and detail are truly remarkable. And what a treat for you and Sladja to have it mostly to yourselves. I imagine you both needed to unwind after leaving, just to sort through all you had experienced. Thanks Leighton, for sharing your amazing experience; I feel like I was there with you to witness such an incredible place.

    July 10, 2023 - 10:12 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Tricia, so pleased that you enjoyed this virtual tour of Topkapi Palace. You’re right that a little time and space is needed after a visit, there is so much to process. In fact, dinner and a drink was the perfect post-palace activity.

      July 10, 2023 - 10:31 pm Reply
  • Anuran & Sayoni

    Fantastic blog post, we aspire to have a site like yours. thanks for the palace tour 🙂
    Sayoni and Anuran

    July 11, 2023 - 11:42 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks so much for reading and contributing to the comment thread!

      July 11, 2023 - 11:47 am Reply
  • WanderingCanadians

    Not having to deal with the crowds would certainly put a smile on my face, especially on such a beautiful day. The palace, gardens and views of the city look lovely. I’m such a fan of all the colourful tile work.

    July 11, 2023 - 1:11 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for dropping by! Those tiles are just the best. If we ever get our own kitchen…

      July 11, 2023 - 2:33 pm Reply
  • NortheastAllie

    This seems like it was the perfect day to explore the palace! The details on the library building are beautiful, and the gardens seem lovely as well!

    July 11, 2023 - 11:38 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading, Allie!

      July 12, 2023 - 8:50 am Reply
  • Rebecca

    I visited the Topkapi Palace on a guided tour in Istanbul a few years ago, but I didn’t have much time to explore all of it; I only had enough time to peep my head into a few of the rooms and that was about it. No doubt, however, that the whole palace is a true beauty!

    July 12, 2023 - 6:53 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Oh dear, that sounds unsatisfying. I hope this article gave you a bit more insight, thanks for reading and sharing your own experience Rebeca.

      July 12, 2023 - 8:53 am Reply
  • wetanddustyroads

    The entrance to Topkapi Palace almost looks like the cover of a fairy tale book. Love the mosaic tiles and the ornate drinking fountain. A palace steeped in history and the perfect place to portray the opulent life of the many sultans. Oh, how dare you walk past the delicious sweet corn 😉.

    July 12, 2023 - 5:09 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Corn… uuuuuurgh…. (facial spasms). Of all the dishes in all the world, he had to be pedalling corn 😉 Thanks for reading about Topkapi Palace Corna 🙂

      July 12, 2023 - 5:28 pm Reply
  • travelling_han

    I can’t believe how quiet it was!!! It was HEAVING when we went in September last year. What an amazing and special experience to have it almost to yourselves. Like you I loved it, and found it so interesting learning about the history. The gardens and views were just gorgeous weren’t they!

    July 13, 2023 - 1:18 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Oh lord, I can only imagine how busy it must have been Han. Still, I’m glad that the charm and beauty of the place came through for you all the same. Thanks for reading!

      July 13, 2023 - 1:26 pm Reply
  • Anuran & Sayoni

    Beautiful 😍😍

    July 13, 2023 - 4:40 pm Reply
  • Monkey's Tale

    It sounds amazing. I’ll make sure it’s on the list. I’ll have to come back to it in a couple days because I can’t open any pictures with the very poor internet here. Maggie

    July 13, 2023 - 8:38 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      No worries, Maggie. An article about Topkapi Palace without photos is a sad thing, methinks. Hope you enjoy the catchup when the time is right.

      July 13, 2023 - 11:34 pm Reply
  • Laura

    I would have had my stealth-mode activated here as well to capture photos- how could one resist in such a lavishly detailed place!? The whole compound looks like a fairytale come to life…if you omit the blood tax situation and circumcision chamber 😬
    What a gift to have explored it minus the droves of other humans that would usually be present. Often I cannot spend as much time as I would like at famous sites like this, because I get overwhelmed by the crowds. Looking forward to reading about the next palace later in the series- I can hardly imagine the opulence bar being raised any higher!

    July 15, 2023 - 3:09 am Reply
    • Leighton

      We’re the same Laura, we have often given up on monster sights for these very reasons. Thanks for checking into my Istanbul series!

      July 15, 2023 - 10:09 am Reply
  • Joseph Hee

    Absolutely loved this read! It was like being transported to a completely different world as I munched on my dinner in sunny Singapore. Thanks for sharing!

    August 16, 2023 - 1:40 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Joseph, thanks for reading and leaving a comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the read, feel free to follow for notifications on my bi-weekly published articles. I loved exploring Singapore by the way, you are lucky to live there.

      August 16, 2023 - 1:44 pm Reply

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