Topkapi Palace Museum Entrance with Audio Guide

Normal ticket value: €20

Free with Istanbul E-pass

Istanbul E-pass includes a Topkapi Palace Museum entrance ticket with an Audio guide. Simply scan your QR code at the entrance and get in. The audio guide is available; in English, Russian, Spanish, Arabic, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Japanese, Persian, Chinese, and Korean.

Topkapi Palace Istanbul

It is the biggest museum in Istanbul. The location of palace is just behind the Hagia Sophia in the historical city center of Istanbul. The original use of the palace was the house for the Sultan; today, the palace is functioning as a museum. Important highlights in this palace are; the harem, treasury, kitchens, and many more.

What time does Topkapi Palace open?

It is open every day except for Tuesdays.
It is open 09:00-18:00 (The last entry is at 17:00)

Where is Topkapi Palace located?

The location of palace is in the Sultanahmet area. The historical city center of Istanbul is convenient to excess with public transportation.

From Old City Area: Get the T1 tram to Sultanahmet tram station. From the tram station to the palace is just 5 minutes walk.

From Taksim Area: Get the funicular from the Taksim Square to Kabatas. From Kabatas take the T1 tram to Sultanahmet station. From the tram station to the palace is just 5 minutes walk.

From Sultanahmet Area: It is within walking distance of the majority of the hotels in the area.

How long does it take to visit the Palace and what is the best time?

You can visit the palace within 1 hour time if you go on your own. Guided tours are typically around 2-3 hours. There are lots of exhibition halls in the palace. In the majority of the rooms taking pictures or speaking is forbidden. It may be busy depending on the time of the day. The best time to visit the palace would be early morning. Around 9-10 am would be a quiet time in the place.

Topkapi Palace History

After conquering the city in 1453, Sultan Mehmed the 2nd ordered a house for himself. As this house would be hosting the royal family, it was a vast construction. The construction began in the 1460s and was over by 1478. It was just the core of the palace in the early period. Every Ottoman Sultan that lived in the palace, later on, ordered a new extension in this building.

For this reason, construction continued up until the last Sultan that lived in this Palace. The final Sultan that lived in this palace is Abdulmecit the 1st. During his reign, he gave an order for a new palace. The name of the new palace was Dolmabahce Palace. After the new palace was constructed in 1856, the royal family moved to Dolmabahce Palace. Topkapi Palace was still functional up until the collapse of the empire. The royal family always used the palace for ceremonial occasions. With the declaration of the Turkish Republic, the status of the palace changed to a museum.

General Information about the Museum

There are two entrances to this Palace. The main entrance is behind the Hagia Sophia near the beautiful 17th-century fountain of Sultan Ahmet the 3rd. The second entrance is lower on the hill near the Gulhane tram station. The second entrance is also the entrance to the Archaeological Museums of Istanbul. From both of the entries, you can proceed to museum ticket offices. The second gate of the palace is where the museum starts. To be able to pass the second gate, you either need the ticket or Istanbul E-pass. At both of the entry gates, there is a security check.

Before using the tickets, there is a final security check and you enter the museum. In the second garden of the palace, there are several exhibition halls. After the entry, if you make a right, you will see the Ottoman Empire's map and the model of the palace. You can admire the sheer size of 400.000 square meters with this model. If you continue to the left from here, you will see the Imperial Council Hall. Until the 19th century, the ministers of the Sultan hold their councils here. At the top of the Council Hall, there is the Justice Tower of the palace. The highest tower in the museum is this tower here. Symbolizing the Sultan's justice, this is one of the rare places of the palace, which is visible from the outside. Mothers of the Sultans would be watching their son's coronation from this tower.

Next to the Council Hall, there is the outer treasury. Today this building is functioning as an exhibition hall for ceremonial costumes and weapons. Opposite Divan and Treasury, there are the kitchens of the palace. Once hosting nearly 2000 people, it is one of the most significant sections of the building. Today the biggest Chinese porcelain collection outside of China in the world is in this palace kitchens.

Once you pass the 3rd garden of the palace, the first thing that you would see is the audience hall of the palace. This was the place where the Sultan would be meeting with the heads of the other countries. The Sultan's place would be meeting with the members of the Council Hall was again the Audience Hall. You can see one of the Ottoman Sultans' thrones and beautiful silk curtains once decorating the room in this room today. After this room, you can see the 2 highlights of the palace. One is the religious relics room. The second one is the  Imperial Treasury.

In the religious relics room, you would see the beard of Prophet Mohammed of Islam with the staff of Moses, the arm of St. John The Baptist, and many more. Most of these items are coming from Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, and Egypt. As every Ottoman Sultan was also the Caliph of Islam, these objects were showing the spiritual power of the sultan. This is one of the rooms of the palace where taking pictures is not possible.

Opposite the room of religious relics is the Imperial Treasury. The Treasury has 4 rooms and the rule about taking pictures is the same as the room of holy relics. The treasury highlights are Spoon-makers Diamond, Topkapi Dagger, the gold throne of The Ottoman Sultan, and many more.

Once you finished the 3rd garden, you can proceed to the final section of the palace. The 4th garden was a private area of The Sultan. There are 2 beautiful kiosks here named after the conquests of two important cities. Yerevan and Baghdad. This section has a beautiful view of the Golden Horn Bay. But the best place to take pictures would be the other side. Opposite the kiosks, there is one of the most beautiful views of the city from the Bosphorus. There is also a cafeteria where you can have some drinks. The restrooms are also available in the restaurant.

Harem Section of the Palace

Harem is a different museum within the Topkapi Palace. It has a separate entrance fee and a ticket booth. Harem means prohibited, private, or secret. This was the section where the Sultan lived with the family members. Other men outside the royal family were not able to go into this section. Only one group of men would be entering here.

As this was a section for the private life of the Sultan, there are no records about this section. What we know about Harem comes from other records. The kitchen tells us a lot about the Harem. We know how many women should be in the Harem from the records of the kitchen. According to 16th-century records, there are 200 women in the Harem. This section includes private rooms of the Sultans, Queen Mothers, concubines, and many more.

The Final Word

Topkapi Palace should be on top of your visit list if you are coming to Istanbul. The best time to visit the palace is early in the morning as soon as it opens as it becomes crowded with tour groups as the day passes. Are you planning on a thrifty tour? Istanbul E-pass can be a great save!

Topkapi Palace Museum Hours of Operation

Topkapi Palace Museum is open everyday between 09:00-18:00 except Tuesdays
Last entrance is at 17:00.

Topkapi Palace Museum Location

Topkapi Palace Museum is located in old city behind the Hagia Sophia.
Cankurtaran Mh.,
34122 Fatih / Istanbul,

Important Notes:

  • Simply scan your QR code at the entrance and get in.
  • Topkapi Palace is located behind the Hagia Sophia.
  • Topkapi Palace Museum visit takes around 2 hours.
  • Photo ID will be asked from child Istanbul E-pass holders.
Know before you go

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is Topkapi Palace free to Visit?

    There is an entrance fee of 320 Turkish Lira for the Topkapi Palace Museum. If you want to see the Harem Section, you need to pay an extra 100 Turkish Lira.

    Istanbul E-pass includes free entrance to Topkapi Palace Museum and Harem Section.

  • Should you visit Topkapi Palace if you have only one day in Istanbul?

    It is one of the top tourist attractions. Even if you have only one day in Istanbul, it is a worthy place to visit. You can get audio guide during your visit and it will help you explore many things and their connections with the past.

  • Where to enter the Topkapi Palace Museum?

    There are two entrances to the Topkapi Palace. The main entrance is behind the Hagia Sophia and the second entrance is from near the Gulhane Tram Station.

  • Can you visit Harem Section on the same entrance ticket?

    Harem section is a separate area inside the Topkapi Palace. You need to buy a separate ticket worth 100 Turkish Lira to visit it.

    Harem section entrance is included in the Istanbul E-pass.

  • Why is the Harem section so popular?

    Harem Section presents the picture of the personal life of Sultan and its Harem as it consists of personal rooms of Sultan, Queen Mothers and concubines. People love to visit it to know more about their private lives.

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