GETTING AROUND IN ISTANBULThere are numerous private and state-owned city buses in Istanbul, however, traffic is slow, especially during rush hours.There are two tramway services on the European side. One runs from through Sultanahmet Square and on to outlying suburbs. It divides at Aksaray, where visitors should change trains to get to Esenler Otogar, the bus station. The other is a street car(tramway) which is mainly for tourists and runs the length of Istiklal Caddesi to/from Tunnel, Taksim square. It is connected to Karaköy by the historical tunnel.
Bus and tram tickets, about equivalent up to $1.50 USD each, are usually available near the main stops, either from a kiosk or a private seller gets place next to stop, who adds about ~25% to the original price.
The DOLMUS service is another very practical way to move around the city. The dolmus (shared taxi) is either a large, modern mini-van or automobile, which runs a prescribed, short, circular route, such as between to/from Taksim, Besiktas. Or a smaller, rackety minibus, which does longer journeys within the city. The latter can be hailed almost anywhere and will cram as many standing passengers in as will possibly fit. Payment is in cash when boarding and costs about the same price as a bus ticket or tiny bit more.
For information on boat excursions on the Bosphorus, Princess Islands and how to get on-line tickets, please visit to our Istanbul pages #1 and #2 and look for columns on the left side...
- - - - - Treasures in the Museum of Topkapi Palace is considered - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - one of the most famous treasures in the world!
_ _www.helloTURKEY.net' s mission is to give you as much detailed assistance before you visit Topkapi Palace Museum.
The TOPKAPI PALACE (In Turkish: TOPKAPI PALAS SARAYI)
In Turkish 'Saray' means 'the Palace'. Topkapi Palace was the Ottoman Sultans palace from the 15th to the 19th centuries.
The Palace overlooks the famous Bosphorus and the See of Marmara in Istanbul. This magnificant palace was the ideal military watchpoint with it's natural harbor of the 'Golden Horn' (call Halic in Turkish) and for a long time it was the home of the ruling empire that stretched from the gates of Vienna to the Persian Gulf. Topkapi Palace is a museum now. For operation hours and visitation information please keep reading.
The construction of the palace started in 1466, and was completed in 1478, several years prior to the demise of FATIH SULTAN MEHMET the conqueror.
The first courtyard of the palace is a magnificient garden. To the right of the second court, shaded by cypress and other trees, is the palace kitchen which now houses an exquisite collection of crystal,
silver, and chinese porcelains, while on the left is Harem, the secluded quarters of the wives and concubines of the Sultan.
The third court contains the audience hall of the Sultan, the library of the Sultan Ahmet the 3rd, an exhibition of robes worn by the Sultans and their families, and the famous jewel of the Imperial Treasure. In the center of the third court is the pavillion of the Holy Mantle, enshrining relics of the Prophet Mohammed.
During Sultan 'FATIH' Suleyman era the population of the palace grew from 750 to 5000 by the 19th century. In these opulent surroundings the Sultans and their nobles lived and governed.
The 'HAREM', or 'Forbidden Place', is perhaps the most intriguing area of the complex, with its legendary sordid and sublime tales.
The word 'harem', as meaning of 'taboo' and/or 'forbidden', had been used for family concept in the Islamic society. Harem is the private and prohibited place where the dynasty lived in the Ottoman Palace. So, the HAREM in Topkapi was actually the Sultan's private home, a series of suites were for his mother, his children and his concubines were housed.
This part of the palace was typically run by the Sultan's mother, the supreme figure in the HAREM. Assignations tended to be ritualized and most Sultan's were primarily monogamous.
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Topkapi Palace is a museum now and the treasure of the museum is considered one of the most famous treasures in the world. Indeed, the number of maces, pendants, daggers, chests, book covers, candelabra, gems, rings, and various decorative articles adorned with such stones as diamonds, emeralds, rubies, brilliants, crystals, and turquoises are all considered priceless.
The item shown on the left is known as the 'Spoonmaker's Diamond' ('KASIKCI' in Turkish), a bright and shining oval gem shaped like the bowl of a spoon.
This diamond has 86 carats and is surrounded by 49 diamonds. This is the diamond in which the 1960's movie 'The Topkapi' was about.
A large diamond surround by forty nine separate smaller diamonds, which gives it the appearance of a full moon lighting the night sky amidst the stars.
One other famous treasure is THE TOPKAPI DAGGER, again this item was made famous by the film, 'The
Topkapi'. It was originally crafted in 1747 as a gift from the Sultan to the Iranian Nadir Shah, the dagger never reached its intended recipient, who was killed in an uprising before the Ottoman emissary crossed the border into Iran.
Then the dagger, which was returned to the Topkapi Palace has remained there ever since. It is 31 centimeters in length(slightly less than a foot). It features three unusually large solid emeralds, worked in gold and other precious gems.
Along both sides of the handle are rows of diamonds, and the back of the handle is covered in mother-of-pearls and enamel.
Other highlights of the TOPKAPI PALACE, include rich Ottoman textiles and silk royal robes; jewel-encrusted ceremonial objects; intricately designed wool and silk carpets from the imperial looms; finely crafted armor and weaponry; Chinese porcelains; musical instruments; illuminated religious and literary manuscripts; and bejeweled domestic objects.
The Topkapi Palace Museum is open everyday from 9:00 to 17:00(5:00 PM), and closed on Tuesdays.
Tickets for museum entrance is 20.00 TL(Turkish Lira) for all visitors and can only be obtained from the ticket booths located at the museum.
A separate ticket is required for Harem visits. The Harem section can be visited only by a guided tour and tickets should be purchased separetely. The entrance fee for Harem is 15.00 TL(Turkish Lira) for all visitors. Harem entrance tickets can be obtained from the ticket booth in front of the Harem entrance. And tour for Harem is not available everyday. Please check the schedule before you start your visit. Ph: (216)512-0480
Plan ahead or else you'll regret that you didn't! We recommend that you plan your travels in Istanbul in advance. Be advised that long lines are common during the summer months, so just to tour this palace and other atractions in Sultanahmet Square will take one full day for each so plan on spending at least 4 to 5 days while visiting this magnificent city.
While you visit the Sultanahmet Square DON'T MISS THIS HISTORICAL BOOK MARKET
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ called
SAHAFLAR ÇARSISI !
SAHAFLAR CARSISI, one of Istanbul's oldest market, the Second-hand Book Bazaar, nestles in an ancient courtyard between the Beyazit Mosque and Sedefçiler Gate of the Covered Bazaar (KAPALI CARSI).
The Bazaar is built on the same site as the Chartoprateia, which used to be the book and paper market of Byzantium. However, it was only at the end of the 18th century that book sellers began to migrate across from the Covered Bazaar and set up shop in the courtyard.
Printing and publishing legislation introduced soon after enabled the trade to expand in a major way and take over the entire market, which from then on became known as the Sahaflar Carsisi. Many of tiny bookstalls display shelves crammed with textbooks, novels, holy and foreign books.
In the latest years this market lost its importance due to inevitable rise of modern bookstores and lately because of the internet. Today there are still some old books, new ones, and examples of Ottoman calligraphy
manuscript decorated with miniatures can be found.
The market remained a focal point for gathering spot for Istanbul's intellectual and literary circles. However, over the last half century or so, the market has lost much of its significance with the inevitable proliferation of modern bookstores across the city.
Don't miss to visit this book treasure! It is in walking distance to everywhere in Sultanahmet square and it is open daily except Sundays and public holidays, when the main stores are closed. The smaller stores, however, tend to open every day.
Please be adviced that, some shops are closed, according to the times of prayer and this strongly occurs during Friday noon time prayer.
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Only a small section of the HAREM in Topkapi Palace is open to the public and is also not opened for tours everyday!
Harem is open on certain days of the week and is only for groups.
So, before you head to TOPKAPI, please check the schedule with your travel agency and/or hotel, or call the Palace at 212-5120480
Also please note that there is an additional fee to enter Harem.
Palace's operation hours and ticket price, please keep reading middle column of this page.
We recommend you plan your travels to Istanbul in advance! It will take several days to explore the city's many landmarks and attractions; such as Blue Mosque, The Saint Sophia, The Phosphorus and The Bazaar and many others...