30 October 2006

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

Hearing: Seagulls call, coffee maker, bfast ppl chatting and earlier the Turkish Anthem playing in a nearby school.
8.34am ..... yes its true.

Morning all, I'm in the terrace bfast room just finishing up my cup of coffee and oh look, its started raining LOL. I got here early before anyone else so i managed to take a pic of the terrace. Nothing can deter me on this holiday, I'm determined to enjoy everything. Alastair i guess you did end up rubbing off on me after all.

To my right i can see buildings on top of one another, a single tree in a courtyard with brown leaves. Infront the Marmara Sea and a couple of antennas sticking up for good measure. To the left more buildings, a huge aircon unit on a rooftop, a Turkish flag (the people here are very patriotic and peeking out between the buildings the minarets of the blue mosque and half its dome LOL.

Edit: 5.24pm

I'm on the terrace again, its empty so I've snuck up here to have the place to myself. It was raining all day today but not a huge unbearable downpour so it was manageable, now its pouring.

After bfast i headed outside with no distinct plans to go anywhere, i was just going to walk and if i got lost all the better.

My photos en route

I ended up at Topkapi Palace which is huge btw. Entrance 10 YTL, audio guide (recommended cuz u can choose where to go and set your own pace) also 10YTL and you'll need to leave id, entry into the harem 10YTL.
Through the entrance there is an area with display models of Topkapi and to the right you can see the old royal carriages.

Further along are the old kitchens which are converted into an exhibition space for the porcelain used during the sultans era. The story goes that every three months the soldiers would get paid their salary at a ceremony attended by foreign emissaries. If the soldiers ate the food presented to them it meant that they accepted the payment as fair, if they refused then it meant that they were dissatisfied and negotiations would immediately begin.

Don't be fooled by my photos these kitchens are huge and run along the entire side of the 2nd court. Each kitchen was used for certain people, the first for royalty and those of a higher position in the court, others for the more general food preparation and one specifically for sweets!

This is Felicities Gate where many a ceremony was held and it is the entrance way into the 3rd court. Its walls are decorated with frescoes of beautiful landscapes and scenes. There is a painting of a sultan (don't ask me which) sitting on his throne infront of all his guests – i saw both the painting and the throne housed in the exhibitions there.

Enderrun – the inner palace. The place where boys were educated to later take up a position in the court. The chamber of petitions, the sultan would receive guests here but only speak to them through his visiar and through the window. Tapestries decorated with gold and silver decorated this place and when they got too old and tattered they were stripped and melted down and 80-90kgs of silver and you don't want to know how much gold was the result.

Library and random views of the 3rd court.

In the 3rd court on the right there is a bunch of exhibitions showing the sultans clothes, thrones covered in precious stones, precious jewelry and daggers even the relics (ie the forearm) of St John the Baptist...

Onto the 4th court. On the right is a fab view of the Marmara Sea and Bosphorus which also happened to be the view for my pitt stop for a break and bite to eat.


The Iftar dome. It is said that this is where the sultan broke his every evening during Ramadan, it has a beautiful view and in case your wondering - yes its gold.

Further on there is an entire room dedicated to holy relics on of which includes the staff of Moses. Now correct me if I'm wrong but seeing something like that regardless whether you believe what these people did or not, to have something like that tying these people from the past to the present is impressive and i admit made a chill go down my spine. In these rooms the Koran is constantly read and the Sultans room was right next to them.

Photos from the Harem (women's quarters). Eunuchs were used to guard these quarters. The first photo is of the main entrance which also doubled as a shopping alley.

The Concubines Courtyard. On the left are the baths since hygiene was an important part of life and on the right the concubines rooms. They were assigned according to station, favour of sultan, potential, children etc

Inside the hammams, one of which was specifically for the sultans wife.

The inner private rooms. Above the area on the left was the concubines choir – everyone there was educated and music was big.

Topkapi Palace explored, it was another walk around to take in the sights...

The entrance/exit gate dividing the road to Topkapi Palace.

Ahmet III fountain

The Haga Sofia or Ayasofia

The Blue Mosque – Yay someone to take a pic of me

Along this walk i lost count how many cats i saw. They were everywhere. This is the Egyptian Oblisk, behind is the Column of Constantine and between both though you probably cant see it properly is the Serpant Column. On the run of shops on the right i stepped into a shop to ask for directions and got them along with advice on a trip up the Bosphorus and a story about his life, family and plans for his shop. He was so nice, a grandfatherly sort of person and even gave me free coffee! I'll have to go back sometime and try the baklava...

As ive been sitting here writing this one of the guys from the hotel realised they had a problem with the water on the terrace and proceeded to try to get rid of it while it was still raining and started dancing just for the fun of it or maybe it was because he had an audience – very entertaining stuff.

So by the end of today ive been inside 1 historical palace and seen so many significant sites, been followed by 2 guys and had a great many laughs and thourougly enjoyed myself. I wonder whats in store tomorrow.


No comments:

Post a Comment