gotta agree with all the TopKapi would be the best to see.
I dont recall there being a tour guide there
BUT I do recall when we went back for a second day it was closed for the day - was it Monday? i can't recall but might be worth checking out which days the sites are open when setting up your plans
enjoy the trip and bring home great memories
Fondest memory: Turkiish delight to eat - buy it in the shops up around the top of Sultanamet or the spice bazaar
and just walking around all the sites
Favorite thing: To get some idea to the overall plan and layout of the palace complex, you can take a look at two scale models that are located on the right after you enter through the Gate of Salutation (where you pay admission into the palace). The first picture shows the scale model of the inner part of the palace (2nd-4th courtyards) whilst the second scale model shows Seraglio Point with the whole Topkapi Palace complex.
This beautiful old orthodox church is located indise the Topkapi Palace walls. As you enter the first Big Gate, and before you pass the 2nd one (the real entrance to the palace) you will find this old church on your left.
It’s nowadays closed to the public, so if you wanna see the interior, look at the postcards!
Reserve a whole morning for this visit. The Palace is the former residence of the Sultan and it houses wonderful jewel exhibitions, as well as the Haren where the many wives of the Sultan lived, a world were no man (except him) could enter. The gardens are nice and the views of the city gorgeous.
There is usually a lot of people to visit the haren, so go there first and take a place in the queue, just in case: I couldn't see it the first time I visited Istanbul.
Visiting Topkapi Palace Museum:
The order for the construction of the Topkapi Palace on the Seraglio Point overlooking both Marmara and Bosphorus was given by Mehmed II (the Conqueror). The place was then an ancient olive grove. The final form of the first palace covered an area 700m², and was enclosed with fortified walls 1400 meters in length. The walls were pierced by a number of gates, namely the Otluk gate, the Demir gate and the Imperial gate (Bab-i Humayun), and a number of minor angled gates between them. After the reign of Mehmed II , the palace grew steadily to form a city like complex of buildings and annexes, including a shore palace known as the Topkapi shore palace, as it was situated near the cannon gate -Topkapi- of the ancient walls of Istanbul. When the shore palace was burned down in 1863, it lent its name to the great complex we now know as Topkapi Palace. The main portal, the Bab-i Humayun, was suited next to the mosque of Ayasofya (Haghia Sophia Church), and this led a series of four courts surrounded by various structures. The courts, chambers, pavilions and other sections can be viewed at the floor plan of Topkapi Palace
Fondest memory: Visiting Aya Sofya Museum,
The Church of Hagia Sophia, associated with one of the greatest creative ages of man, was also the Cathedral of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople for more than one thousand years. Originally known as the Great Church, because of its large size in comparison with the other churches of the then Christian World, it was later given the name of Hagia Sophia, the Holy Wisdom of Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity.
Justinian conceived the grandiose project of rebuilding the Great Church from its foundations. Nothing like it was ever built before or after. Construction work lasted five years [532-537] and on December 27, 537, Patriarch Menas consecrated the magnificent church.
The new Hagia Sophia belongs to the transitional type of the domed Basilica. Its most remarkable feature is the huge dome supported by four massive piers, each measuring approximately 100 square, m, at the base. Four arches swing across, linked by four pendentives. The apices of the arches and the pendentives support the circular base from which rises the main dome, pierced by forty single-arched windows. Beams of light stream through the windows and illuminate the interior, decomposing the masses and creating an impression of infinite space. Twelve large windows in two rows, seven in the lower and five in the upper, pierce the tympana of the north and south arches above the arched colonnades of the aisles and galleries.
The thrust of the dome is countered by the two half-domes opening east and west, the smaller conchs of the bays at the four corners of the nave, and the massive outside buttresses to the north and south. The esonarthex and exonarthex, to the west, are both roofed by cross vaults. Two roofed cochliae [inclined ramps], north and south of the esonarthex, lead up to the galleries. The vast rectangular atrium extending west of the exonarthex had a peristyle along its four sides. At the center stood the phiale [fountain of purification] with the well known inscription that could be read from left to right and from right to left: 'Cleanse our sins, not only our face'.
The church measures 77 x 79 m. and the impressive huge dome soaring 62 m. above the floor has a diameter of about 33 m. According to R. van Nice, a scholar well versed in the problems posed by the architecture of Hagia Sophia. The nave is 38.07 m. wide, more than twice the width of the aisles, which measure 18.29 m. each. The vertical planes formed between the two north and the two south piers by the arcades of the aisles and galleries and the tympana above them are aligned flush with the side of the piers facing the nave. Thus, the mass of the piers is pushed aside into the aisles and galleries. By this clever arrangement the bearing structure is hidden from the eye, creating the impression that space expands in all directions and that the dome floats in the air.
At this point we would add the following historical evidence, which we believe will be found interesting. Written sources refer to 'the number of clerics appointed to the service of the most holy Great Church of Constantinople. ' The records list a total of 600 persons assigned to serve in Hagia Sophia: 80 priests, 150 deacons, 40 deaconesses, 60 subdeacons, 160 readers, 25 chanters, 75 doorkeepers. Another source reveals the extent of destruction and pillage which Constantinople suffered in the hands of the Catholic Crusaders after 1204 and the difficulties that the great church had to face from the 13th century onwards. Paspatis writes: 'In 1396, during the patriarchy of Callistus II, a note was made in the second volume of patriarchal documents [Millosich-Muller] listing all the existing gold and silver sacred vessels, hieratic vestments, crosses, gospel-books and holy relics. The destitution of the celebrated church, looted by the Latin Crusaders became evident. I mention the most important objects, from which pillagers removed pearls and other ornaments of gold in later times.
The church had: nine gospel-books, two of which remained in the church for the use of the priests, while the other seven much adorned the representations of embossed gold, were kept in the Skeuophylakion; five craters ...fourteen patens and chalices; six lavides [spoons]; six silver asterisks; four candelabra by the entrance; sixteen ripidia [fans]; eight crosses containing splinters of the True Cross and adorned with gold, silver and pearls; four aer [large veils]; twenty-six chalice veils and four patriarachal staffs; also a few icons, hieratic vestments and some relics of saints that had escaped the rapacious Crusaders...'
On Tuesday, May 29, 1453, Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror entered the vanquished city late in the afternoon and rode to Hagia Sophia. He was amazed at its beauty and decided to convert the Cathedral into his imperial mosque. It has converted into a museum by M.K.Ataturk in 1934. It's a real must see...
Sultanahmet Sq.; 512-0480. The first Ottoman palace to be built shortly after the conquest in 1453. Located on the spot where the foundations of the city were laid in ancient times by Byzas the Megarian in the seventh century B.C. In 1924 the palace became Turkey’s finest museum. Collections include Chinese porcelain, jewels, embroidered robes, miniatures, and relics of Muhammad the Prophet (570-632). Closed Tues.
go to the Topkapi Palace . Famous residence of the Ottomans Sultans . Ottoman Empire ( 1299 - 1923 ) . 36 sultans . On 3 continents . For more infos contact to me !
Fondest memory: Topkapi Palace 1460-1856 ......................... White Eunuques Gate
Topkapi palace. The most famous palace in istanbul. 'Must see' attraction.
Overlooks the Istanbul Bosphorus and the Marmara Sea. It is a maze of buildings that was once the great palace of the ottoman sultan from the 15th to the 19th centuries. The first courtyard is a magnificent wooden garden. To the right of the second court, shaded by cypress and plane trees is the palace kitchen, now housing an exquiste collection of crystal, silver and Chinese procelain, while on the left is the Harem, the secluded quarters of wives and concubines of the sultan. the third court contains the Audience Hall of the sultan, the Library of Sultan Ahmet III, an exhibition of robes worn by sultans and their families, the famous jewels of the Imperial Treasury and finally, an exhibition of miniatures. In the center of the third court is the Pavilion of the Holy Mantle, enshrining relics of the Prophet Mohammed. Topkapi Palace where Ottoman Sultans lived and governed until the 19th Century; and Suleymaniye Mosque built on the order of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. The site of the Topkapi Palace was originally the acropolis of the Byzantium. The earlier palace was called the New Place, Saray-i-Cedit. Later with several additions along the shores of Bosphorus, it became to be known as the Topkapi Palace. The complex cover s an area of 700,000 square meters. Different parts of the palace have been altered several times, alterations were made almost by every sultan. This complex was city in its own walls. Kitchens were built by the famous architect Sinan in the sixteenth century to feed 5,000 persons per day, 10,000 on holidays.
Favorite thing: Walking through the palace one really can imagine the opulent lifestyle that existed here when it was actually in use. And, the tiles alone make this grand palace a special visit.
Topkapi Palace is a must see place..
And if you are lucky,you must see it in white..
Most people who has visited agrees that it is one of the best palaces in Europe.
Fondest memory: Seeing my future in a turkish coffe cup while smoking capuccino flavoured tobacco in a water pipe or nerguille.