Istanbul, which has hosted many civilizations for centuries, draws attention as a city of palaces. Unlike other Ottoman capitals (such as Edirne, and Bursa), new palaces were built on top of the palace. While many of them can still be seen waiting for their visitors in all their splendor today, you can see a foundation piece or the remains of a mosaic at the site of some palaces.
While some of the palaces were built out of necessity, some of them were built because of the show of power, some because of the luxury of spending money unplanned, and some because of the desire to give a gift to a daughter or a concubine. Istanbul palaces can be found especially on the European side. While the palaces after the conquest were in the historic peninsula, 18. And 19th-century palaces stretch on both sides of the Bosphorus.
Why Are There So Many Palaces in Istanbul?
Istanbul, which has survived in many important periods from the Byzantine Empire to the Ottoman Empire, has a richness of both historical and architectural structures. Historical palaces, one of the most important details that make Istanbul Istanbul, are also among the must-visit spots for those who want to tour the city.
The history of Istanbul and its palaces, which shape the history and come from the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires with all their experiences, allow us to have many ideas about both the political and social life of their periods. We are sure that you will be satisfied with this experience as you visit each part of the palaces in Istanbul that we have researched for you with pleasure and curiosity.
Topkapı Sarayı – Sultanahmet
Sultan Mehmed had Topkapı Palace built in 1478, approximately 380 years before Abdülmecit built the Dolmabahçe Palace, which was the residence of the Ottoman sultans during the administration of the state. The palace once had an area of about 700,000 square meters; it now has an area of 80,000 square meters.
Since Topkapi Palace is the place where the Ottoman Sultans lived and the whole empire was ruled and lived from here, it is not misleading to accurately describe their lifestyles. This magnificent work of Ottoman architecture now welcomes visitors as a museum. You will definitely be traveling in time. It is a great pleasure for everyone to examine such a magnificent palace. History buffs will undoubtedly find Topkapi Palace interesting and unforgettable.
The most logical transportation method to go to Topkapi Palace is the tram. Gulhane Park station, which is less than ten minute’s walk from the palace, is the closest tram stop to Topkapi Palace. In any case, if you want to go to Topkapi Palace by car, you will have to leave your car at a nearby, paid car park as there is no parking space on the palace grounds.
Dolmabahçe Sarayı – Kabataş/Beşiktaş
Dolmabahçe Palace was built between 1843-1856 by the 31st Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Abdülmecid I. Sultan Abdülmecid I and his family lived in Topkapı Palace, but Abdülmecid wanted to build a contemporary palace in the old Beşiktaş. When we compare Medieval Topkapi with the palaces of European monarchs, Ottoman palaces attract great attention as modern architectural elegance and comfort.
The innovative approach we see in Ottoman architecture is an indication that it was influenced by Europe. For example, elements of traditional Turkish architecture and lifestyle were analyzed by combining them with contemporary European styles (Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassicism). The construction cost of the castle corresponds to 5 million Ottoman gold, ie 35 tons of gold. It was stated that the gilding on the ceilings was made of approximately 14 tons of gold.
In 1924, the palace was used as the presidential mansion by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first leader of the Turkish Republic. He died in the palace at 09:05 on November 10, 1938. At this hour, all the clocks in the palace were silent for a moment. When you visit Dolmabahçe Palace, please pay attention to this detail by looking at the clocks.
Dolmabahçe is located in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district, so you can take a 15-minute downhill walk from Taksim or take the bus, boat, or tram routes to get there. Dolmabahçe Palace is open to visitors between 9:00 and 16:00 every day except Mondays and Thursdays. If you want to visit Dolmabahçe Palace and take some photos, please make sure your flash is turned off in the palace. Because the light emitted from the flashes darkens the coatings of the items in the palace and damages them.
Beylerbeyi Sarayı – Üsküdar
Beylerbeyi Palace, meaning “Lord of the Lords,” is located in the Beylerbeyi neighborhood, on the Anatolian side of Istanbul, Turkey. Used as a holiday home for the Ottoman Empire in the 1860s, it is now located just north of the foot of the 1973 Bosphorus Bridge. It is known that Sultan Abdülaziz had the Beylerbeyi Palace built between 1861 and 1865 in order to serve as a summer palace and a place where foreign guests were hosted.
Built-in 1974, the Bosphorus Bridge protects the surviving palace structures under its wings by crossing the continents. The foundations of the massive suspension bridge are placed directly under the stables. In addition to a historical settlement in the north, the complex is equipped with guard dormitories, military barracks, and soup kitchens built by Sultan Abdulhamid I on the Bosphorus.
If you stop by the Üsküdar district on the Anatolian side of Istanbul, you can easily find Beylerbeyi Palace. Istanbul’s two popular tourist destinations, Sultanahmet and Taksim Square, are close to Üsküdar. To go from Sultanahmet to Üsküdar, you can use the public ferries from Eminönü, the transit center of the Old City. The experience you can have on these ferries is unique. Before getting on the ferry, you should definitely taste the excellent fish rolls in Eminönü Square. Before boarding the ferry, don’t forget to buy a bagel to feed the seagulls.
Yıldız Sarayı – Beşiktaş
The vast expanse between Beşiktaş, Ortaköy, and Balmumcu was an empty grove known as Kazancolu Garden in the early Ottoman period, even in the time of Suleiman the Magnificent, but is now one of the most dynamic centers of the city. In the past, Ottoman sultans often hunted here. It was thought that Sultan Ahmed I added the forests to the imperial lands. Ahmed briefly resided in a mansion in the park before moving there. Sultan III. The form of the “Yıldız Mansion,” built by Selim for his mother Mihrişah Valide Sultan, is still standing today. The Turkish word for star is “yildiz.” Selim had a rococo-style fountain built for his father in Yıldız Palace.
The Yildiz Palace is located in the Besiktas district of Istanbul. It can be found at Yildiz Park, which lies between Besiktas and Ortakoy on the road between Ciragan Palace and Besiktas. You may walk a short distance to the palace after arriving at Beşiktaş port by city ferryboats. The palace is also reachable by bus from the Yldz Park-bound stops Kabataş, Beşiktaş, Taksim, Sarıyer, and Eminönü.
Çırağan Sarayı – Beşiktaş
The Persian word “cerag,” which means “torch,” is the origin of the name Ciragan. Ceragan was given the name as a consequence of the well-known Ottoman celebrations known as Iragan Festivals, which were conducted in tulip gardens illuminated with torches at night. Sultan Abdulmecit oversaw the construction of the palace. The structure was built on the European banks of the Bosphorus, between the neighborhoods of Ortaköy and Besiktas, using money borrowed for the organization of Istanbul’s water system and the construction of a new railway.
Early in the 17th century, the area around the Raan Palace was referred to as the “Kazancolu Gardens.” The extravagant events known as “Raan Festivals” that took place in the vicinity of the palace between Beşiktaş and Ortaköy gave rise to the word “raan,” which in Persian means “light spreading.” Raan Palace is extremely near Dolmabahce and can be reached in five minutes on foot.
Mystery of the Palaces
Palaces are expensive to construct and involve a lot of labor from both people and animals. Throughout history, they have served as a representation of the riches, power, and advancement of the region in which the rulers are situated. It is one of the buildings that archaeologists are most interested in because of this.
The palace evolved into a religious hub and a representation of the nation’s might during the eras when the monarchs were regarded as divine figures. The presidential mansions and government service buildings of today’s nations also include these insignia.
The Ottoman state system, based on the absolutist concept, generates one of history’s final great empires. The classical space of this style, Topkapi Palace, was a complex of functions that incorporated parts of its core construction, official portions, and areas where the dynasty resided. The heart of political life was Topkapi Palace, which collected the hierarchical growth of the Ottoman state’s institutionalization with environmental structures on the historical topography transmitted from Byzantium.
Cultural Background of Istanbul
Istanbul, a cultural crossroads and the capital of several empires, is frequently referred to as “the meeting place of the East and West.” While the description is correct, it falls short of capturing the real beauty and charm of this enthralling city. Every man’s home is his own palace. Please take advantage of a unique opportunity before it’s too late to review the properties in Turkey and buy yourself a property in Istanbul‘s most beautiful districts. What impressed us the most about Istanbul was not only the fact that so many influences were present in its history, but that you could feel, taste, touch, hear, smell, and sense them continuously, on a daily basis, from all areas of the city.