Five more sections of Topkapı Palace have been restored and opened to the public: the Department of Holy Relics (Mukaddes Emanetler Dairesi), the Conqueror’s Pavilion (Fatih Köşkü), the Pages’ Barracks (Seferli Koğuşu), the Dormitory of the Treasury (Hazine Koğuşu) and Mecidiye Pavilion (Mecidiye Köşkü).
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and First Lady, Emine Erdoğan, attended an official ceremony on Thursday, 20 April, to mark the occasion.
At a speech made ahead of the ribbon-cutting, the President stated that most of the restoration work planned for different sections of the Topkapı Palace, which was the imperial home to the Ottoman Sultans, has now been completed. Some parts, such as the Mecidiye Pavilion, which was built in 1865, are opening to the public for the first time.
The President and First Lady then toured the five new sections, which house important artefacts from the Ottoman era. They inspected the gold swords, costumes and jewellery worn by sultans, along with humble items that were used by servants in the palace dormitories and barracks. These objects, along with religious scripts, shrines and artefacts are now all on display for public viewing.
The restoration work at the vast Topkapı Palace, which was turned into a museum in 1924, has been ongoing since 2014 as part of the Turkish government efforts to preserve this vital period of history for future generations.
Topkapı Palace became the main residence and administrative headquarters of the Ottoman rulers who lived here between the 15th and 19th centuries. It is located in the Fatih district of Istanbul and boasts stunning views overlooking the Golden Horn, where the Bosporus Strait meets the Sea of Marmara.
Built on the first known settlement in Istanbul, construction of the palace first began in 1460 by order of Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Constantinople. Today the grounds of this huge palace complex, that was once epicentre of the Ottoman Empire, occupy some 700,000 sq. m.
It comprises of four courts and houses multiple sections, such as the Treasury and Harem, each containing the colourful stories and mysteries of life in the Ottoman court.
The Topkapı Palace Museum is open daily from 9am to 6pm, except Tuesdays when it is closed. It is recommended to allow at least half-a-day to see the site. Maps and guided tours are available.
One day tickets for international visitors start from 500TL (£20), or pick up a Muze Istanbul (Istanbul museum pass) online for 1,750TL (£72), which gives entry to multiple popular historic sites for five days. Visit the museums website for more details.