Here are the best palaces in Istanbul we suggest you visit. These five palaces of Istanbul are sure to delight.
We are today traveling to Istanbul, one of the most popular cities in the world. The city, which has hosted many nations and countries for centuries, is the capital of many cultures and civilizations and is home to millions of people. Beautiful Istanbul sits across two continents and is a crossing point of eastern and western culture.
If we try to describe Istanbul fully, it would be necessary to write volumes of books about this interesting city. Instead, this article will only discuss the Istanbul palaces we know you want to add to your Turkey travel itinerary.
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1. Topkapı Palace – Topkapi Palace
After Fatih Sultan Mehmet (II. Mehmet) conquered Istanbul, he had Topkapi Palace built, which was used as a castle during the Byzantine period. Thus, the first Ottoman palaces in Istanbul emerged.
Topkapi Palace stands out with its slightly different architecture from that period’s eastern and western cultures. The palace has four central courtyards with other functions. For example, the second courtyard was used as the administrative center at that time. If you want to learn in detail what is what and which part is used for what, you can take a guided tour by paying extra. You can visit the palace independently, but we recommend you take a guided tour.
One of the most important features of Topkapı Palace is that it was the place where the Ottoman sultans lived until the 17th century. After the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1924, the palace was converted into a museum. In 1985 this spot became part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
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2. Çırağan Sarayı Palace – Ciragan Palace Kempinski
Çırağan Palace is among the prettiest palaces in Istanbul. There are many reasons we recommend you visit this palace, the most interesting reason we recommend a trip to this Istanbul palace is that here you have the opportunity to stay in this palace.
Çırağan Palace gives you the opportunity to travel in time. This palace was built at a time when every Sultan wanted to live in his own house instead of his parent’s home. You can experience things that even the Sultan could not experience in this palace, built during Sultan Abdulaziz’s reign. Sultan Suite is ranked 14th on CNN’s list of “The 15 most expensive hotel suites in the world”. It comes then as no shock that Çırağan is the most expensive place for accommodation in Istanbul.
3. Beylerbeyi Palace
You can be enchanted by stepping into this palace built in the 19th century. The word Beylerbeyi means lord of the aghas, and I think that the reason is that it is one of the best palaces of Istanbul.
The palace is located on the Bosphorus, a spectacular part of Istanbul which connects Asia and Europe. It is the last palace where the Ottoman sultans lived, as it was the place where Abdulmecid was put under house arrest. Sultan Abdulmecid II lived here under house arrest. The construction of the palace was started during the reign of Sultan Mahmud, but it was Sultan Abdulaziz who turned it into its present form. He demolished the building and had it rebuilt after a fire.
There is a reason why Turkish President Ataturk loved to host guests at Beylerbeyi Palace, even in the early days of modern Turkey; from magnificent gardens to detailed ornate ceilings, anyone who loves architecture should not miss visiting the magnificent summer residence as a relic of the empire.
4. Dolmabahce Palace
This palace was built because the Sultan thought Topkapı Palace was old and wanted to move to a new one. The Sultan also wanted this newly built palace to rival many European palaces.
Dolmabahçe Palace was used in two different periods, 1856-1887 and 1902-1922. During the Republican period, this palace was converted into the Presidential Palace. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and leader of the Republic of Türkiye, used the palace as a summer residence and wrote some of his important works here. Another feature of this Turkish palace is that leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk passed away in this palace.
What is impressive in this palace in Istanbul is that the crystal chandeliers weigh several tons and also that Dolmabahçe Palace witnessed the late Ottoman period and the early modern era. This palace is not only interesting because of its physical and visible features but also because the palace was in operation over both the Ottoman period and the Republican period.
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5. Yıldız Sarayı Palace – Yildiz Palace Museum
The name of this palace in Istanbul translates to Star Palace. In addition to being recognized by UNESCO, this palace has an architecture that combines the west and east. It can be said that the palace, which was built by the Italian architect Raimondo D’Aronco, was influential in the unification of this east-west culture.
Yıldız Palace is also close to Dolmabahçe Palace, but the palace does not face the Bosphorus. Although certain mansions date back to Sultan Abdülaziz’s reign, Abdülhamid used this building between 1876 and 1909. In those years, the Sultan expanded the mansions and created a small city with an opera house, carpentry shop, and even an imperial porcelain factory.
Suppose you are interested in music, art, and literature. In that case, I recommend you visit Yıldız Palace because the palace has a library that exhibits books and photographs, which you should definitely see.
Now that you have a list of the palaces of Istanbul tell us, which one of these Istanbul palaces will you set foot in first?