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Intro: Welcome to Istanbul
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TURKEY   >  Must See   >> Istanbul
Türkçe  
ISTANBUL

ISTANBUL PALACES

TOPKAPI PALACE
On a finger of land at the confluence of the Bosphorus, the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara stands the Topkapi Palace, that maze of buildings that was the focal point of the Ottoman Empire between the 15th and 19th centuries. Construction of New Palace (Topkapi Palace) is started after 1466, and completed on 1478, a couple of years before the death of Fatih. This palace is not a building like other European Palaces, and composed of various mansions and chambers. Initially constructed Cinili Mansion is a Glass Palace and concluded on 1472. Mansion with Middle East architecture character and two layers become Archeology Museum on 1875 and Turkish Islam Pieces of Art Museum on 1908. It is also opened as Fatih Pieces of Art Museum on 1953. Cinili Mansion, Kubbealti Arzodasi (Under Dome Submission Room), Hasoda, Treasury, Pantries and Expeditionist like barracks, a part of kitchens, patients room, hamam, now a library, Agalar Mosque, stables and other buildings' construction is followed and finally structure is completed with the construction of main gate at Sultanahmet direction, known as Bab-i Humayun and Palace ramparts on 1478. Palace residents, which were approximately 750 persons during Fatih period, become more crowd and during XIXth century, it reached to 5000 during normal days and extraordinary days like festivals 10.000. For this reason, new additions had been made to this palace. Topkapi Palace Harem division is constructed between 1574 -1595 during IIIrd Sultan Murad period and then Harem residents in Bayazit had been moved to this place. Harem residents were 474 persons at the beginning of XIXth century. There were Black Eunuch in Sultans Palace Chamber while entering the Harem, and on the upper level of it, Prince's School for little princes. In the course of time, Enderun School, Master Doctor's Room, Enderun Pharmacy, mansions within internal courtyards and summer mansions at Sarayburnu coasts are constructed in the Palace, kitchens and stables are widened, and new mosques and libraries had been added.
Opening hours: Daily 09.00 – 17.00, winter closed Tuesday.

DOLMABAHCE PALACE
Built in the reign of Sultan I Abdulmecit during the 19th century, this over-ornate palace lies along the European coast of the Bosphorus. Dolmabahce Palace was constructed between 1843 and 1856, mixing different European artistic influences and built by Abdulmecit’s architect, Karabet Balya. It was built over three levels, and symmetrically planned, with 285 chambers and 43 halls. It has a 600m long pier along the river, with two huge monumental gates. The palace is surrounded by well-maintained and immaculate gardens, with an immense 56-columned greeting hall, with 750 lights illuminated from 4.5 tonnes of crystal chandelier. The entrance was used for meeting and greeting Sultans, and opposite the ceremonial hall was the harem. The interior decoration, furniture, silk carpets and curtains all remain with little defect. The palace has a level of luxury not present in most other palaces, with walls and ceilings decorated with gold, and European art from the period. Top quality silk and wool carpets, southeast Asian hand-made artifacts, and crystal candlesticks adorn every room. The men’s hamam (public bath) is adorned with alabaster marble, and the harem also contains the Sultan’s bedrooms and the women and servants’ divisions. One of the highlights is the throne room, which stands at an amazing 36-metres high – almost twice the height of the rest of the rooms. The east wing is home to the Museum of Fine Arts.
Telephone number to book guided tours: (0212) 23 69 600
Opening hours: Daily 09.00 – 16.00, except Monday and Thursday.

CIRAGAN PALACE
The most picturesque spots along the Bosphorus and Golden Horn were reserved for the palaces and mansions for the Sultans, and other important dignitaries, most of which have now gone. The huge palace was constructed by architect Serkis Balyan in 1871, as appointed by Sultan Abdul Aziz, from the ruins of the old palace. The interior was rebuilt, at a cost of four million gold coins, beginning with covering the ceiling with wood and the walls with marble. The rooms were decorated with rare carpets, furniture, gold and silver. The sides of the building were decorated with coloured marble, and monumental gates connected it to Yildiz Palace, via a bridge, which is how the harem women went between the two, in total privacy. It briefly housed the Turkish Parliament from 1908, but was destroyed by a fire two years later, and was only rebuilt in 1991. Now, it is Istanbul’s premier luxury hotel, and has retained something of its former glory.

BEYLERBEYI PALACE
Beylerbeyi, in which the Asian Tower of Bosphorus Bridge was constructed, is a beautiful district allotted for palaces since the Byzantium era. Sultan Abdulaziz built the Palace, to replace the older, wooden palace, between 1861 and 1865. Eastern and Turkish motifs are used with Western design elements, on the sides and for internal decoration, and the atmosphere is something resembling that of Dolmabahce Palace.
The building comprises of three floors, and contains 26 rooms and six halls, which includes the harem and men's greeting rooms. The interior is decorated with Bohemian chandeliers, valuable tiles and ceramic vases. Silver-edged furniture and luxurious carpets add something to the beauty, and even till today the authentic furniture, carpets, curtains and other property have been well preserved.A huge pool, terraces and stables, face the back cliff. A road and tunnel, used until 1970, passed under the palace garden and were used by the most distinguished foreign dignitaries when visiting the palace.
Open daily except Monday and Thursday.

YILDIZ PALACE
This vast park consists of mansions, gardens and lakes, the whole area surrounded by high walls, and all set in a superb hillside location. Popular at weekends and holidays with locals, it offers one of the few green areas within the city centre, and is a great place for walking, relaxing and eating. There is a steep walk up the hill from Ciragan Caddesi up to the first pavilion, but rewards are cooling breezes and sweeping views of the Bosphorus.
It was the centre of the Ottoman Empire for 30 years, during the reign of Abdulhamid II, and the second largest palace in Istanbul. Its main structure, Yildiz Palace, was built in the old Ottoman style and the pavilions which are dotted around the park were transformed into a power base. The most important remaining building is Sale Koske, where receptions were held, and is the largest and most ornate and reveals the luxury in which the sultans lived and entertained. The first section was modelled on a Swiss Chalet, the second two completed in the late 19th century.
Some of the mansions are undergoing restoration, but Sale is open for visitors, and two have terraces serving food and drinks. Further along the path is a State museum, the Belediye Sehir Muzesi, and Yildiz Sarayi Theatre.
Park: Open daily 09.00 – 17.30
Sale Kosku: Open daily 09.30 – 17.00, except Monday and Thursday.
Museum: Open daily 09.00 – 16.30, except Monday.


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   Last update 2.December.2012 Thursday