The World Spins Around Istanbul

Today I visited one of Istanbul’s most well-known sites, the Topkapi Palace.  This is where the sultans ruled the Ottoman Empire for the first 400 years before the construction of the Dolmabahçhe Palace in 1856.  The place is a giant complex of amazingly intricate rooms and halls that have now been converted into a museum.

Once I got past the overwhelmingly huge amount of tourists there (Turkey is very close for Europeans and this site is technically in Europe), the Palace itself was awesome.  The sultans lived in such opulence.  Their living quarters – hand-painted ceilings that took 1000 workers three years to create, golden doorknobs, French stained glass and Persian rugs – were of the highest quality.

From several rooms, the palace gives way to sweeping views of Istanbul.  Istanbul is an incredibly beautiful city – it might be the prettiest I’ve been to.  Through the marble Ottoman columns, you can see steamers bringing people to and from the Asian side of the city while a network of cobbled bridges base gentle hills covered in red-roofed homes.  Gulls laugh on the rocky shore of the Bosphorus as old men, drinking Turkish çay, fly alabaster kites.  Clouds linger in the light breeze, watching as the world moves around Istanbul as it once did centuries ago.  It seems as if time itself has slowed.  Everything is…serenely Turkish.  I watch.

Giant Ottoman fountain on the way to the Topkapi Palace

The outer gate to the Topkapi Palace, surrounded by European tourists

Before entering the Topkapi Palace, looking back at the Aya Sofya (Hagia Sofia)

Neat domed buildings on the inside


The famous inner gate to the Topkapi Palace

The Ottomans were good at making something simple, like a door, into something really ornate

The Palace gardens

Side view of the Palace gardens

View to the northeast from part of the Topkapi Palace. The view was so much better than my camera, and thus this picture, can show.

Another view. The Bosphorus Bridge is on the left.

Another view, this time to the west. Large Ottoman mosques like the one on the left dot the Istanbul skyline.

To the west, many bridges cross between the two European peninsulas

Neat tree

Entering the Gold Road seperating the residence of the Sultan from that of officials and servants

Everything where the Sultan lives is extremely fancy

Ornate tile

Blue domed ceiling in one of the myriad of rooms used by the Sultan and the royal family

The Sultan's private Turkish bath

Window in the ceiling

The Sultan's main living room

Beautiful stained glass was everywhwere in Topkapi Place

Fountain + cool building on the Palace grounds

This sign is everywhere in Istanbul

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1 Response to The World Spins Around Istanbul

  1. jml says:

    The ornateness rivals the Romans!!

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