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4 of 5 bubbles Review of Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace
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Topkapi Palace Museum Half Day Tour Istanbul
Ranked #7 of 1,033 things to do in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: This enormous palace was the Imperial residence of Ottoman sultans for almost 400 years. Although much of the palace is not accessible, the daily tours of the Harem are of great interest to tourists.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
23 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 8, 2013

It's a must see sight. Great history, you don't necessarily need a tour, many things are written in English.

Visited July 2012
Thank lubthai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level Contributor
116 reviews
61 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“Interesting but expensive”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 8, 2013

Quite interesting to walk around, and was certainly very busy, even at an off peak time, but could have been a little bit better maintained, with better directions. Audio guides were available, but a few more signs around the place would have been helpful. Still it made for an interesting couple of hours.

Visited January 2013
1 Thank Delory123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
54 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Allow time and plan your trip - amazing history here”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 7, 2013

Best to read up about the palace complex and it's history if you don't hire a guide or rent an audio tour. The complex is made up of several courtyards and various buildings. Some are being renovated. It does get busy and come closing time arouund 4-5pm, they will refuse you entry into rooms.

Make sure you visit the armories housing some amazing weapons from centuries ago - you can still see the battle marks on some of them. Relics to see include the Rod of Moses, the tooth of the Prophet and even his footprint. The gemstones collections in the Treasury are also amazing. The harem is charged extra which I didn't go into as there was plenty else to see.
For those who want to soak up the atmosphere, the grounds are filled with trees, some have had a fungal infection which has hollowed them out but they are still alive - you can fit inside the trunk,

There is a cafe outside the palace with a shop, there is also an eatery inside with a view of the Bosphorus, though prices are really steep!

Visited January 2013
Thank dimsum888
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Herts, England
Level Contributor
113 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“A must see”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 7, 2013

Hi, book your tickets online so you do not have to queue. Huge site with great insight into how the sultans lived!

Visited January 2013
Thank jdx5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
133 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 117 helpful votes
“Buy and print tickets online beforehand to avoid queues”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 7, 2013

If you go, you should print your tickets beforehand, and definitely get tickets for the Harem. The main part of the palace is actually the harem! Tickets are 25 lira for the palace and 15 lira for the harem. There's no point in going to the palace if you don't go to the harem as well.
https://muze.gov.tr/buy_e_ticket Don't confuse this with the museum pass which is 72 lira, which may not be worth it unless you are going to lots of museums.

That said I was slightly disappointed by the palace because it looks huge from outside but it looks like there are a lot of rooms you cannot go into. Gardens are nice and it's definitely worth a visit if you are in Istanbul, but best to go at off-peak times cos some rooms are very small, intimate ones with intricate tile work, and it's hard to appreciate this when you are being smashed up against them by other people.

Visited January 2013
9 Thank israphale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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