Becca couldn't leave Istanbul without seeing the Topkapi Palace, so we set aside a day to do just that. The site is huge, so it is never a short visit. The Topkapi Palace, sits on top a hill, overlooking the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara. Its views are quite spectacular, so it is no wonder it was chosen as the original home of the rulers of Constantinople, which became Istanbul.
The church of Saint Irene
As we entered the grounds, we passed the church of Saint Irene, now a concert venue, and made our way through the huge crowds coming and going along the path, to join the queue to buy our ticket. Once inside, we headed for the harem, where the Sultan and his ladies lived. Although their surroundings were quite sumptuous, the women of the harem were prisoners, unable to leave, only used for the pleasure of the Sultan and to provide his heirs.
The Courtyard of the Concubines in the Harem
of the Topkapi Palace
The Courtyard of the Queen Mother, dating from the 15th Century
A window to the outside world, from the Sultan's Privy Chamber
Some of the windows are beautifully decorated with stained glass
Large sections of Topkapi were being renovated, and we felt that we should have been given a discount. Especially as the kitchens are still not open for general view, after years of renovations.
Closed for renovations
We had lunch overlooking a magnificent view of the Bosphorous, and that alone was worth the expense and the crowds.
Becca at Topkapi Palace