So the first thing we did was we climbed up the path and up ahead of the Archaeological Museum. And then when we went up and saw the whole Imperial Courtyard lined with army men!!!! In Turkey, every young man Has to join the army for atleast a year. The logic is that this will make the Men a Little (=Read LOTS) smarter and sensitive (=:P) and also develop patriotic feelings. As well as get everyone to compulsorily do community service.
And just then we saw…!!!!???
What did we see?? That remains to be seen in another Story, Stay Tuned.
The Topkapi Palace gate was large and imposing. I looked back on the crumbling palaces I’d seen in my travels and wished we would care about our history as much as we cared about money. India would have a lot more visitors then for we’ve got a cultural heritage worth the envy of any country.
The gate led us to the main courtyard where we looked at the huge grounds split up into a star. We walked into a room which in Indian Palaces is commonly known as Diwan-E-Khaas (or the room where the Sultan held meetings with the priests and noblemen). In Turkey though it was called the Imperial Council.
And as we entered..whoosh!! The ceiling stunned us. Such beautiful gilded paintings and maintained so well!! Plus there were spots demarcated as to where the Sultan sat and where the Council sat. We were 4 of us sharing one audio guide and so we had to pause for a while to catch on to all the information we were being told.
The council hall has multiple entrances both from inside the palace and from the courtyard. The porch consists of multiple marble and porphyry pillars, with an ornate green and white-coloured wooden ceiling decorated with gold. The floor is covered in marble. The entrances into the hall from outside are in the rococo style, with gilded grills to admit natural light. While the pillars are earlier Ottoman style, the wall paintings and decorations are from the later rococo period. Inside, the Imperial Council building consists of three adjoining main rooms. Two of the three domed chambers of this building open into the porch and the courtyard.
We do not have many photos from what we saw in other parts of Topkapi. The reason being, we passed the Imperial Treasury, The Jewellery Room, The Ancient Relic Room.
All these rooms had items precious to the National Heritage of Turkey which is why we were not allowed to click photographs.
The Imperial Treasury contained relics from the Byzantine Age. Also there were articles of daily use by the Ottoman Sultans. The collection we see now consist of gifts of ambassadors, enthronement gifts, and purchases of the Sultans themselves.
There were shields and armours encrusted with pearls and precious stones. There were fragrance holders and goblets made of gold with rubies and emeralds. Queens would be proud of their jewellery boxes so carefully preserved.
Even the Peacock Throne of Emperor Jehangir which was stolen by Nadir Shah and lost in time, was preserved. I don’t want to be biased to India but amongst the other jewels, our Indian throne shone through. The pearls were set so carefully and evenly. It was a delight to look at it. Of course i was happy it was preserved in Turkey and not in India.
This website was one that gave excellent descriptions of the Treasury Room relics.
There is a huge line getting into this exhibit. It is a hugely popular exhibit. At the entrance of the exhibit is the Ottoman Symbol for prosperity and money.
the huge rush for getting into the Treasury Exhibit
I’ve yet got the Room of Ancient Relics and other points to do. But that remains yet another part of the journey!!