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“Great, but crowded”
Review of Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace
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Skip the Line: Topkapi Palace Including...
Ranked #5 of 1,159 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.
Reviewed July 23, 2013

This sprawling complex is beautiful and interesting - so much so in fact that you will, of course, not be alone when visiting. Come early or late to avoid the crowds, but do come. Even if there is a frightening queue, make sure you check out the Harem.

Thank dr_iggy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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9,381 - 9,385 of 23,996 reviews

Reviewed July 22, 2013

The first POI for today was Sultan Mehmed II's Topkapı Sarayı (Top-kahp-uh Sah-rai-uh). Wow, that palace is so gigantic. The guidebook said to allocate about three hours for a full tour, but we ended up taking closer to four. It was amazing. The first impression was feeling lost because it was so big. It had several park sized courts that were surrounded by boatloads of buildings of varying sizes. One very nice surprise was an excellent view in the North / North-East direction. John C. Frémont was the explorer who discovered the Golden Gate Bridge waterway in 1846, and he named it after the harbor near the Golden Horn in Istanbul. The bridge in the distance is very similar to the Golden Gate Bridge in architecture.

Then we toured the royal treasury. That is one of the most spectacular museum-like displays I have ever walked through. Because they don't allow photographs in the display, I took notes as I walked around... I ended up using abbreviations for ruby, emerald, and diamond because there were so many. The fifth largest diamond in the world was on display -- weighing in at a whopping 86 carats, and surrounded by 49 smaller diamonds in the same fixture! It has been called the Spoonmaker's diamond because it was discovered and then sold by a peddler for three spoons. There was also a small treasure chest full of emerald and jade, a pendant with an emerald as big around as a coke can and an inch or two tall, two solid gold candlesticks that were each about the size of five-foot tall pedestals embedded with rubies, emeralds, and diamonds, a full suit of chain mail studded from head to toe with precious gems, and a dagger with three emeralds each over an inch thick -- just to mention a few!

Palace: 25 TL; Harem: 15 TL

Thank uncompromisinglife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 22, 2013

Is a very big palace, and should not miss it since you are in Istanbul. Make sure you bring sunscreen, hat and water.

Thank italycanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 22, 2013

A glimpse on the daily life of an Ottoman Sultan in the Imperial Court, with its magnificent buildings, receiving halls, divans, armory, clothing museum, and the imperial treasury where you can check out the Topkapi dagger, crowns and jewels.

If you have more time, visit the Harem (extra ticket required). Don't miss the spectacular view of the Bosphorus Strait and the Grand Halic behind the Imperial Treasury. Alot 2 - 3 hours.

Thank Gingermint
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 22, 2013

If you only do one 'touristy' site in Istanbul, then make this it. I started at the Harem to avoid the crowds and it was wonderful. The next highlight was the pavilions and circumcision rooms. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the armoury. Its a fascinating mix of weaponry and armour, some highly ornate. Make sure you look down at the glass covered sarcophagi uncovered during an archaeological dig (the palace is built over an old Christian church). The grounds and gardens are a lovely place to relax and enjoy the seclusion. If you are pressed for time, I would miss the religious relics and even the treasury (unless you are a huge jewelry fan). The queues for these sections are long and frankly both exhibits were a bit underwhelming. Don't forget to bring a scarf and cover your shoulders for the religious relics section if you do go in (guards get a bit techy). Its a good half day if you want to see everything at a leisurely pace and breathe in those Bospherous views. In a push, you could see the palace in 2 hours but you would need to cut out some exhibits unless you beat the crowds (early morning/late afternoon). Worth the entry fees (Harem is a separate charge).

Thank ZeddyDog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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