What is the Harem?
Harem means "forbidden" in Arabic, and the harem at Topkapi was the area where the sultan's wives, children, and concubines lived. The harem was off-limits to most people, and only the sultan and his family were allowed inside.
The harem at Topkapi Palace was a large complex with many different rooms and courtyards. The harem had its own mosque, school, hospital, baths, and kitchen. During its peak in the 18th century, it housed over 300 rooms, nine bathhouses, two mosques, a hospital and a laundry.
What is inside the Topkapi Harem?
As you stroll through the labyrinth of corridors, courtyards and chambers, imagine what life in the Harem might have been like for the beautiful concubines, scheming favorites, dutiful eunuchs and powerful Queen Mother. Admire the extraordinary architecture that reflects various styles from the 16th to early 19th century. Marvel at some of the most masterful Iznik tiles with floral patterns and verses from Koran, as well as extraordinary cabinet doors with tortoiseshell and mother-of-pearl inlays.
Of particular note are:
- The ornate Privy Chamber of Sultan Murat III
- The Apartments of the Queen Mother
- The Throne Hall
- The Fountain Hall.
Note that you will need to purchase a dedicated ticket to access this must-visit area; however, it is definitely worth it.
We recommend booking a guided tour to learn more about the intricate details and compelling stories of the harem. You can find Topkapi Palace tickets and tours that include access to the Harem here!
FAQ about Topkapi Palace Harem
Harem means "forbidden" in Arabic.
The Topkapi Palace Harem is one of the most intriguing and intimate parts of the palace. It was the living quarters of the Sultan's family, including his wives, children, and concubines. The harem was a heavily guarded place where outsiders were not allowed.
Yes, the harem at Topkapi Palace is open for visits! In fact, it i’s one of the most popular attractions at the palace, and it's definitely worth a visit. Book your Topkapi Palace & Harem tickets here!