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.

What people are saying about Topkapi Palace

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 2,686 reviews

Me and my friends had an amazing day absorbing the vast historical knowledge of our professional guide, the meetup with Naci was smooth and we instantly knew this was going to be a great day of sightseeing and learning about culture, great food and historical tidbits. Highly recommended!

Very nice, interesting and informative tour our Gide Cetin is very knowledgeable and passionate about his job, he explained to us the history of Topkapı palace in a very interesting way, we felt we were watching a movie! Highly recommended!

Great tour, very knowledgeable guide. In 7 hours we learned so much about Tuerkey it’s glorious past, challenging present and promising future. Tired but happy we relax now remembering the unforgettable moments our guide created for us.

Mehmet was an amazing guide, he took to all of the top tourists area. He was very knowledgeable about the history of Turkey. He even took me pictures, and was very friendly.

Mehmet, our tour guide, was very professional and informative. Answered all of our questions and showed us all of Istanbul's essentials with great pride.