History of Topkapi Palace

  • History of Topkapi Palace

Brief Overview of the Topkapi Palace History

1453: Conquest of Constantinople, known today as Istanbul, by Sultan Mehmed II

1459: Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror orders the construction of the 'New Palace', which is now the Topkapi Palace

1465: Construction of Topkapi Palace is completed

1478: The outer walls for better defense are completed.

1509: Extensive renovations and expansions take place due to damage from earthquakes

1529: During the reign of Suleyman I, the second gate is completed.

1665: Severe fire destroys large parts of the palace; renovation works are initiated

1853: The palace ceased to be used as a royal residence. Under Sultan Abdulmejid, the Ottoman elite moves to the newly built Dolmabahce Palace; Topkapi becomes accommodation for ranked officers

1924: By the decree of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who had founded the Turkish Republic a year earlier, the Topkapi Palace is transformed into a museum.

1985: UNESCO declares Topkapi Palace a World Heritage Site

History of Topkapi Palace

Summary: History of Topkapi Palace

Topkapi translates to "Cannon Gate" in English. The grand palace served as the residence of Ottoman sultans for nearly 400 years, functioning as both an administrative and educational center of the Ottoman Empire.

Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror ordered the construction of the palace in 1459, six years after the conquest of Constantinople, at the location where the Byzantine Acropolis and the Mangana Palace once stood. This strategic site offered a broad view of the Sea of Marmara, the Golden Horn, and the Bosporus, allowing the swift detection of approaching enemies.

Another reason for choosing this location was the presence of existing city walls, which needed expansion. These walls protected against threats not only from the west over land but especially from the water, surrounding the peninsula on three sides along the coast of the Sea of Marmara and the Golden Horn, connecting overland.

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 initial construction was concluded. Over time, subsequent Ottoman rulers made additions and improvements.

In the early 18th century, the palace took on its present form. However, when Sultan Abdulmecid I decided to build a new palace in European style and eventually moved his court to the Dolmabahce Palace in 1856, the Topkapi Palace lost its significance and became quarters for high-ranking officers.

Upon the orders of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the palace has been serving as a museum since 1924. Today, the 350-hectare palace complex, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, stands as one of Istanbul's most famous landmarks, annually attracting over 3 million visitors from around the world.



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