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Topkapi Palace in Turkey

Topkapi Palace, The Harem and Gülhane Park

Actual date of this event: 2-7 April

One of my most favorite things we did in Istanbul was visit Topkapi Palace. But it wasn't the palace as a whole that won me over - it was The Harem and Gülhane Park. Beautiful. Stunning. Major Eye-candy! We took an extremely large amount of pictures, so it was really really difficult to sift through and choose the best. I really wish I could share them all, but you'll have to live with only 52 (the last ones are my favorite).

Topkapi Palace is a massive palace which sits up high on the "peninsula" of Sultanahmet. Construction of the first parts of the palace began in 1453, and was the court of the Ottoman empire and the home of several sultans until the 19th century. To enter the palace, we passed through two gates. The first is the Imperial Gate which opens to the grounds where the Hagia Irene and the Archaeology Museum are. We chose to skip those attractions because we knew we had loads of ground to cover in the palace.

{Hagia Irene}

The second gate is the Middle Gate which is where you actually use your ticket to get in to the palace grounds. Once we entered, we saw long paths of trees, flower gardens, and it all seemed so peaceful even though there were quite a lot of people inside.

! There was a separate fee to visit The Harem, but it was included in our pass which is partly why we got the museum pass.


The Harem, which means "forbidden", was the living quarters of the imperial family as well as the sultan's concubines (at one point he had around 300 of them) and eunuchs (at one point he had 200 of them). As it was a private residence, the sultan could basically do whatever he wanted. The Harem is six floors, but we were only able to view one level. The walls of the rooms were covered in intricate tile, all perfectly aligned with one another. The windows were even more beautiful with colorful stained glass with parts being normal glass to allow natural light to flow into the rooms. Each room was decorated completely different, but all of them were a sight for sore eyes!
After we left The Harem, we walked around the palace grounds a bit more. There were a few other buildings that we could enter, which also has spectacular tiling and stained glass. I had a really difficult time choosing which windows were my favorite, but I think the ones below were.
While in Topkapi Palace, we found a few look out points. One looked out toward Beyoglu and Galata Tower, and the other to Asia. I could definitely see myself living here just for these views!

My bucket list

by mixedupmom

I am also sorry for your loss.
as for my bucket list (not counting family stuff):
top 3 favorite places to visit:
Turkey - especially Istanbul and Cappadocia
Beach, Beach, Beach - anywhere
Las Vegas - 1972
top 3+ experiences:
Learning to horseback ride at the age of 68!
Taking a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia
Walking on the Great Wall of China
Seeing the mountains of Sedona
Fishing in the islands and catching a marlin
Seeing the Hope Diamond on display at Topkapi Palace
and more......
make your list and DO IT!

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