Istanbul: Palaces

Istanbul hosted many empires through the history, the most important of which is the Ottoman Empire. Ottoman Empire had reigned for nearly 600 years, and Istanbul had been the capital city since 1453 (Turkish Republic has been founded in 1923 after the Ottoman Empire). The palaces of the Ottoman Empire still stand in Istanbul and are used as museums. The most important one is the Topkapi Palace on the Historic Peninsula. 

Istanbul Palaces

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace (Topkapı Sarayı): The palace has been built after the conquest of Istanbul (1453), and been used for nearly 400 years. It is a huge complex (700K sq. m.) that lies on the tip of the Historic Peninsula -aka Seraglio Point- with a magnificent view of the Golden Horn, Bosphorus and Marmara Sea. Besides the sultan, nearly 4000 people had resided in the palace at a time. The palace consists of four main courtyards, and many smaller buildings. The south bank of the complex has been the imperial park, Gulhane Park, which is open to public now. Topkapi Palace is one of the must-seen touristic attractions. Click here to visit Topkapi Palace official web site

Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahce Palace (Dolmabah├že Saray─▒): Dolmabahce Palace had been used as the imperial residence after 1853. In the Republican era, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk had stayed in this palace when he visited Istanbul. He died in this palace in 1938. Dolmabahce Palace now serves as a museum.┬á┬áA complete tour in the palace takes 2-3 hours. I recommend you to be there before 1 pm. so that you can see the palace in detail before it closes. You can also enjoy the Bosphorus view while drinking your coffee in the park next to the palace. The palace┬ástands on the European bank of the Bosphorus and is very close to Taksim Square (10 minutes walk downhill).┬áClick here to visit Dolmabahce Palace official web site

Ciragan Palace

Ciragan Palace (├ç─▒ra─čan Saray─▒): Ciragan Palace was built in 1867 for Sultan Abdulaziz. In this century, all Ottoman sultans used to build their own palaces rather than using the existing ones. Ciragan Palace is the last palace built. It stands in the European bank of Bosphorus and is connected to Yildiz Palace with a bridge. The palace is now being used as a luxurious hotel.

Yildiz Palace

Yildiz Palace (Y─▒ld─▒z Saray─▒): Yildiz Palace stands in the large woodlands of Yildiz Park, which had been used as sultans’ hunting and vacation area since 16th century. The palace was built in 1880 and became the imperial residence afterwards. Yildiz Palace is a museum now and its gardens can be used for private receptions.

Beylerbeyi Palace

Beylerbeyi Palace (Beylerbeyi Saray─▒): Beylerbeyi Palace was built between 1861 and 1865 as a summer residence and a place to entertain visiting heads of state. It is relativeliy small compared to other palaces. It stands on the Asian bank of Bosphorus, by the foot of the Bogazici Bridge, and now serves as a museum.