Topkapi Palace

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An insider's guide to Topkapi Palace Museum

Topkapi Palace's history is vibrant. The building served as the residential, administrative, educational and cultural building of the Ottoman sultans for nearly 400 of their 624 reigning years. Today it doubles as the Topkapi Palace museum.

  • While You Buy Your Tickets…

    1. While You Buy Your Tickets…

    Be sure to notice the Fountain of the Executioner next to the ticket windows before you head in. This is where the executioner would wash his hand and sword after a decapitation.

  • Visit the Topkapi Palace harem

    2. Visit the Topkapi Palace harem

    This impressive building of hundreds of rooms where the sultan and his family lived has been restored in lush ornate fashion. It’s a separate ticket, but definitely worth it.

  • Topkapi Palace Jewels

    3. Topkapi Palace Jewels

    The Topkapi Palace diamond is the pride of the palace. The riches in the Treasury are not purely aesthetics, they make up the complex Topkapi Palace history.

  • Topkapi Palace Relics

    4. Topkapi Palace Relics

    Relics from the Prophet Mohammed and Moses, among others, are collectively called the Sacred Trusts.

  • How long to spend

    5. How long to spend

    You’ll need at least half a day to explore the palace, but make a whole day out of it to really take it all in. Try to arrive at opening to avoid the crowds!

Planning Your Visit

  • Obey the Dress Code

    You’ll get denied entrance to the Sacred Relics Department if you’re showing some skin. No shorts, short skirts or sleeveless shirts are permitted. It is the holiest section of Topkapi Palace, Turkey.

  • Orient yourself

    Along with the harem section, Topkapi Palace, Istanbul houses four courtyards or “avlu.” Shade or eateries for resting aren’t too hard to find. There’s a café and a restaurant in the first courtyard, a second café in the third courtyard, and a second restaurant in the fourth.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    Open Wednesday through Monday. October 26 - April 15, 9:00AM to 4:45PM. April 15 - October 26, 9:00AM to 6:45PM.
  • Is it expensive?
    Museum tickets start at 30TL (about $11), Harem tickets start at 15TL (about $5) and continue up with perks and tours.
  • Will I need a guide?
    A guide will definitely add to the experience! Audio guides are also available for rent at the palace.
  • How to get there
    Take the tram to the Gülhane or Sultanahmet stations, or the Marmaray to the Sirkeci Station. It's a short walk from any station.
  • Additional information

    • Cloths can be provided by onsite staff if you need to cover up during your visit to the Sacred Relics Department.

    • Stroller and photography are not permitted inside, so please plan ahead.

Other Sightseeing Options in Topkapi Palace

Want to discover all there is to do in Topkapi Palace? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Topkapi Palace

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 2,861 reviews

Me and wife want to thank Mr. Matt. We both enjoyed the whole tour, it was a great day. He interspersed history with humour and kept us all interested. He gave us time to explore on our own, as well as guide us though the historical sites. We were very lucky to have had him as our tour guide.

Guide: Mehmet-Abi Hello, it was an amazing day Our Guide had always an answer to every Question we asked him and he was so kind to us His English Skills were perfect and everybody understood him I can fully recommend the Tour Greetings / Selam Adnan and Sadina

The guide was super Mehmet showed us the best places within a short time.I would recommend this tour to everyone whomwants to see a lot of Istanbul within a short time.

Numan is a great guide! He's very pleasant, knowledgeable and flexible. He accommodated to our interests and thanks to him our stay in Istanbul was wonderful

Mehmit, our tour guide, was extremely friendly and provided enough contextual history after visiting each attraction. Would definitely recommend