Topkapi Palace Museum Guided Tour

Normal ticket value: €25

Included with Istanbul E-Pass

Topkapi Palace Istanbul

It is the biggest museum in Istanbul. The location of the 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; Harem , Treasury, kitchens, and many more.

Istanbul E-pass includes Topkapi Palace Tour with English speaking Professional Guide. For details, please check "Hours & Meeting".

What time does Topkapi Palace open?

It is open throughout the week except for Tuesdays.

Summer Time: 09.00-18.00

Winter Time: 09.00-16.30

Where is Topkapi Palace located?

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

From Old City Hotels; Get the T1 tram up to Sultanahmet tram station. From the tram station to the Palace is just 5 minutes walk.

From Taksim Hotels; 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 Hotels; 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 Palace.

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. Topkapiwas 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 became 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 the hill near the  Gulhane Tram Station . The second entrance is also the entrance for the  Archeology 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  guided tour. In 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 towards 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 palaces of the Palace, which is visible from 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 to  Divan  and  Treasury , there are the kitchens of the Palace. Once hosting nearly 2000 people, it is one 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 to 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 were 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  Caliphs of Islam , these objects were showing the spiritual power of the Sultan. This is one of the rooms of the Palace that taking pictures is not possible. 

Opposite of 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 of the kiosks, there is one of the most beautiful views of the city from the  Bosphorus . There is also a cafeteria that 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 Palace that 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 Tour Times

There are several tour options in day time.
You can manage your tour time with customer support team

Istanbul E-pass Guide Meeting Point

Meet with the guide at the front of Sultan 3. Ahmed Fountain which is located accross the main gate ot Topkapi Palace.
Our guide will hold Istanbul E-pass flag at the meeting point at meeting time.

Important Notes:

Topkapi Palace Tour performs in English

Admission price and guided tour is free with Istanbul E-pass

Harem Section of Topkapi Palace is not included

You can not enter to Palace with your E-pass without guide

Photo ID will be asked from Child Istanbul E-pass holders

Know before you go

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is Topkapi Palace free to Visit?

    Topkapi Palace Museum is not free to visit, and there is an entrance fee of 150 Turkish Lira. If you want to see the Harem Section, you need to pay an extra 100 Turkish Lira. Get a free entry with Istanbul E-pass.

  • 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. A guided tour of the museum 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 Museum or section is a separate area inside the Topkapi Palace. You need to buy a separate ticket worth 100 Turkish Lira to visit it.

  • 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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