Topkapi Palace Audio Guide
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A time journey through the Ottoman centuries
With this special Topkapi Palace audio guide, you can explore the magnificent Topkapi Palace at your own pace. You have the flexibility to pause, rewind, or fast-forward the audio guide, allowing you to focus on areas of particular interest and spend more time in sections that captivate you.
The Topkapi Palace served as the residence of the Ottoman Sultans and their families, functioning as both a government and administrative center of the Ottoman Empire. On the sprawling 350-hectare grounds, which is twice the size of the Vatican, more than 5,000 people lived, including the royal family, high-ranking officials, soldiers, and servants.
Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror ordered the construction of the palace in 1459, six years after the capture of Constantinople, at the location where the Acropolis and the Mangana Palace of Byzantium once stood. This strategic site was chosen for its panoramic views of the Sea of Marmara, the Golden Horn, and the Bosporus, facilitating the swift detection of approaching enemies.
Another reason for selecting this site was the existing city walls, which needed expansion. These walls provided protection against threats originating not only from the west over land, but particularly from the water surrounding the peninsula on three sides. They encompassed the entire peninsula along the coasts of the Sea of Marmara and the Golden Horn, connecting them over land.
The first part of the palace was completed in 1465, but it wasn't until 1478, with the reinforcement of the old walls, that the construction work was initially completed. Subsequent Ottoman rulers made additions and improvements over time. The palace acquired its current appearance in the early 18th century. Following Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's decree in 1924, the palace has served as a museum.
Topkapi Palace is not only historically significant, but also holds great importance in terms of architecture and design. The palace complex, with its intricate tilework, marble facades, and beautiful gardens, is a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture that incorporates European influences from the Baroque and Rococo periods.
The complex is divided into four courtyards that seamlessly blend into each other. It consists of pavilions, studios, administrative and reception rooms, mosques, baths, kitchens, libraries, and, of course, the Harem. Besides the Harem, other popular attractions include the treasury and the rooms housing the Holy Relics of Prophet Muhammad.
Today, the palace complex, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, is one of Istanbul's most famous landmarks, annually visited by over 3 million people from around the world. Now you have the opportunity to listen to a free audio sample!
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