Topkapi Palace, home of many sultans and their wives is going to impress you with its historical courtyards, galleries, staterooms, and of course with famous Harem. Topkapi Palace served as an administrative, cultural and state center for Ottoman Empire from 1459 till 1865, nearly 400 years. It was the center of intrigue, strategy and politics. Although it was known as Saray-i Cedid once, which means New Palace, it is called Topkapi Palace now. As many collections of Ottoman sultans such as treasures, costumes, armory and artifacts are exhibited in Topkapi Palace, it is counted as one of the best museums in the city.
Topkapi Palace is a mixture of elements including traditional Islamic, Rococo, Neo-classical features.
There are four main courts in Topkapi Palace. First court, also known as Bab-ı Humayun is the service area for the palace. It was open to all, just like today. Second court, known as Bab-as Selam or Gate of Salutations is surrendered by well-worn gardens and tress.
As you pass through third court, you will see Divan, entrance to the Harem, Inner Treasury, and Bab-us Saadet.
Third court was the center where top soldiers, administrators, artisans and scholars were trained or educated. Throne Room and Ahmet III Library are mostly interested parts of the court. Also, many rooms housing Ottoman antiquities such as artifacts, jewels, costumes are within this court.
Fourth court was the private part of Topkapi Palace with its several pavilions with waterfront panorama.
Today you can go and sit in Konyali Café, occupying one of the pavilions, and enjoy the terrace looking across Marmara Sea.
If you have a museum card, you can enter to there for free, but if you would like to see famous Harem section, then you should pay additional fee even if you have a museum card.
Transportation is very easy to Topkapi Palace; you can get the tram from Eminonu and get off in Sultan Ahmed station (Sultan Ahmed Mosque is in the same region).