/ HAGIA EIRENE / COVERED BAZAR / BLUE MOSQUE / HAGIA SOPHIA
Af ter the construction of Topkapýpalace, the old palace became the abode of the members of the sultan's harem who had lost favour or the wives of previous sultans. At one point it is known to have had a broad eaved Baroque portal. Not long af ter the conquest, Mehmet II began the construction of a new palace at Seraglio Point, which became known as Topkapý Sarayafter a shore palace near the Cannon Gate (Topkapý) of the sea walIs. The walIs surrounding the point, which is known as the first hill of the city, were 1400 ms. in length. The old Byzantine sea walIs on the Sea of Marmara and the Golden Horn were linked up with land walIs enelosing the palace, known as the "Sur-i Sultani", and supported by 28 towers. The main gate was the imperial gate - Bab-i Hümayfin behind the Ayasofya. The gate was formerly surmounted by a keep which was later removed.The fIanking bays in the gate were also revetted in marble..
The new palace was begun within these waIIs between 1472-1478, and construction continued throughout successive eras with additions being made right up to the mid 19 century. The palace complex ineludes lodges, pavilions, state offices,dor
/ mitories and barracks an,d private qu'arters, a mosque, library and huge kitchen. The last pavilion to be built on the site was the Mecidiye Köþk, which is at present open to the public as a restaurant. Several pavilions and vilIas in the palace grounds on the point were burnt down during a fire in 1863. All trace of them was lost on the construction of the present railway at Sirkeci. '
In the first court, 'entered through the 'Bab-i Hümayfin', only two imperial pavilions have survived in good repair.
Topkapý palace became a museum in 1924. it has undergone a number of restorations since then. The first courtyard, also known as the Ceremonial Alay Meydaný, contains, on the right, the office s of the Ministry of Finance - Defterdar dairesi -' and on the left, Haghia Eirene, the Ottoman armoury. The road leading to the second gate passes between these two buildings. The second portal, which is flanked by towers, is the Bab-üs selam - the gate of respects, which dated originally from the period of the Conqueror, but which underwent some alterations to the towers during the reign of Süleyman I. During the reign of Mustafa II, a broad eaved bay was added to the inner facade of the porta!. Entering through this gate, one passes into the second court which marks the true 'entrance into the grounds of the so-called Saray-i Cedid - New Palace. On the right of this court are the pantry guards' barracks, the kitchens built by the architect Sinan, the cook' s dormitories, a bath, the chief steward's office s and the larder. On the left a road slopes down to the barracks of the Crested Halberdiers and the imperial stables, the livery treasury and the mosque of Beþir Aða. Further along the court on the left are the double domed chambers which housed the Imperial Council of viziers. This was built by Süleyman I, and it was from here that the state was ruled for a long time. A rectangular tower abutts onto the domed charnbers. This was the palace watch tower. it was built in the time of Mehmet I but later altered. The upper storey was timber-built until 1860. The tower was given its present appreance during the reign of Abdülmecid.
The Harem is entered via a door beside the domed chamber. and to the right is the entrance to the imperial records office.
The gate at the other end of the second court, the Gate of the White Eunichs, gives access to the third court, the privy court or Enderun. This gate dates from the reign of Selim III, and has broad eaves. it was under the eaves of this portal that the imperial throne was set during court ceremonies such as those of alliegance, religious celebrations and public audiences. The imperial pennant was erected here too at certain.times. The gate was flanked by the chambers and barracks of the White Eunichs.
The third court contained the Throne room. The building dates from the reign of Mehmet II, although the door and decorations date to the ý 9 century. The overhanging eaves of the building are elongated to cover a columned arcade, and the walls are revetted with faience.
This building was use d mainly for imperial audiences to viziers and foreign envoys.
Behind the throne room is the library of Ahmet III - Enderün Kütüphane. it is the largest and finest library in the palace. On the right of the court was the Enderun school, artists' and musÝ-cians atelier, the barracks of the Campaign Pages, the T reasury, formerly a pavilion in the time of Mehmet II and the remains of a bathhouse dating from the reign of Selim II. On the left of the court is the Treasury of the Sword -bearer - Silahdaraðasý Hazine - and the apartments of the sacred relies. Further to the left is the vaulted tnosque of the white euniehs. The Akaðalar .mosque has been restore d and now houses books and manuscripts collected from all parts of the palace, as the Topkapý Museum Library.
The sultan's privy kitchen is a small building behind the mosque adjacent to the second entrance to the Harem.
T wo slightly ramped alleys" lead from the third to the fourth courtyard. Flanking the alley to the right is the barracks of the cellar slaves (now the administrative offiees of the palace) and the barracks of the treasury guards. To the left of the alley on the left are the chambers of the sacred relics.
The fourth court is a spacious garden, sometimes called the tulip garden - a misnomer based on the word 'lale'. The actual title is the 'Lala's garden'. The chief court physician, or Lala's tower is set on the edge of the terrace overlooking a lower terrace garden. This was the palace
pharmacy. On a terrace wall a little further on from the tower is the pavilio!} of Mustafa Paþa, alsoknown as the Sofa, whieh dates to the b~ginning of the 18 century. It is a fine example of Turkish architecture in an ancient Turkish tradition, decorated with occidental-inspired motifs.
T o the left of the court is a stone paved terrace adjoining the chambers of tKe sacred relics. The terrace extends from the arcade fronting the chambers, and contains an attractive pool. it is reached from the garçlens via a short flight of steps abutting onto the Revan pavilion, also called the 'Sevk oda', which was built by Murat IV in 1635. This is an extremely finely decorated pavilion. Manuscripts originally kept in bookcases' in the pavilion were later transferred to the museum library. At the end of the terrace on' the right, dominating the view of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus is the Baghdad pavilion, built af ter Murat IV's second conquest and interior, decorative dome and vaults and mother-of-pe.arl inlayed doors are among the most striking of its elegant attributes.
At the edge of the terrace overlooking the city and the Golden Horn is a gilded bronze baldachin, which has four fine columns supporting an eaved cupola. Along the eaves runs an inscription frieze containing a long poem whieh informs us that the baldachin was built by Sultan ýbrahim as a place of vigil. Below it is the figgrove, or lower garden.
T o the left of the terrace, just opposite the chambers of the relies is a smaIl chamber known as the Cieumcision room. This was built by Sultan ýbrahim in 1641, and is' decorated with fine tile panels dating to the 16 centu~,y but whieh are reused on this building. The window panels conta in smaIl fountains and a long poem is inscribed on the facade.
T wo pavilions of note are also to be found on the Marmara side of the fourth court, the 'Çadir Pavilion' and the 'Mecidiye Pavilion', built by Abdülmecit i. The letter is European in st yle and is the final building to be built in the palace complex. it is flanked by a smaIl wardrobe room 'esvap oda' and a smaIl chapel mosque with minaret - the Sofa mosque. A path leads down the terrace from the Mecidiye pavilion to a gate whieh gives access to the outer gardens of the palace, or what is now known as Gülhane Park. A large number of pavilions and royal summer villas were on ce to be found in the seraglio gardens, but were burnt down during a fire in 1863, and all trace of them disappeared during the building of the Sirkeci railway which passed through the promontory at this poinL Some drawings and plans of these pavilions do, however, exist.
This is effectively a separate complex within the palace. The main entrance is via the Carriage Gate, dated 1558, from
the second court, while there is a second gate - the Kuþhane Gate from the third court and the 'Þal' gate. The carriage gate is flanked by the barracks of the Crested Halberdiers - the sultan's privy guards, and abutts the chambersof the sacred relics on the other side. It is set on a sloping site. Over the 400 years of habitation in the harem, it was added to, restore d anCl changed at various times. it contains 250 rooms, several baths and inner courts. Some of the more notable chambers include the apartments of the Black Eunichs, who were responsible for running the harem, the slaves apartments and hospital, the apartments of the heir elect and the dowager sultan, crown prices' apartments and the chambers of the favorites. In addition was the sultan' s privy chambers, which were a complex in themselves.
Although the harem has not been inhabited by the sultan and his retinue for over a century, it is known that same old court retainers lived in the harem sedian of Topkapý up to 1908.
The wealth and variety of faience of different periods is one of the most notable features of the Harem.
The museum colledian consists of artefacts collected from various parts of the palace, which are now kept in different sections according to their classification. The sedions include those of Chinese and European porcelain, arms and armaur, costume and carriages,besides the most valuable artefads in the collection, such as valuable jewellry, encrusted medals and medallions and other artefads in the precious metals or encrusted with precious stanes. Apart from these, the palace alsa possesses a valuable colledian of paintings. .."