Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Turkey, Topkapi Palace


Gud Niden (Good morning). The wake up and breakfast ritual completed for the day, we set out for Topkapi Palace.


Canon 291 Palace Roses






Just behind Hagia Sophia we stroll a garden pathway before paying YTL$20 for admission tickets.

A former place of government during the Ottoman Empire and home to a few Sultans, Topkapi Place was built in 1459.



The Gate Of Salutation






Originally only the Sultan (who had to be saluted) and people working at the palace were allowed to enter through this gate.


SAM_0847 A rich collection of Turkey's National Treasures is housed here and our first introduction to one of them is a 15th Century pimp mobile.



A well designed and I imagine comfortable carriage used for transporting Harem members.

Along the outer courtyard numerous ancient sculptures and stones are displayed from across the city.


SAM_0854 This area is also part of the former kitchen which for fire safety was separated from the residential area of the palace. At one time the kitchen had over one thousand cooks and assistants.



 Canon 244                                                                                                                    Audience Hall where Sultan received foreign ambassadors.





Although it is understandable, it is unfortunate that picture opportunities are limited during our visit. Our first exhibition is a nice display of Sultan wardrobe which was all hand sewn from the finest materials. Here we see the first MC Hammer pants as most of the clothing seems oversized. Hammer this, Hammer that, everywhere even in the 15th Century!


palaces13A crowed line forms for the next exhibition and we soon find out why. The 86 carats, yes ladies 86 carats Spoonmaker's Diamond is part of what draws all the attention. I try it on but it is just a little too big for my pinkie finger.





ME0000083837_3 From vases to thrones and a special Topkapi Dagger (A planned gift to a Shah of Iran) all the items here are decorated with gold and various precious stones.



Some stones like emeralds are almost as big as MC Hammer's pants. You will need at least eight gigabytes of memory and then some to take it all in.


footprint-og-mohammed Scared items are also preserved and exhibited at Topkapi Palace. From Moses' Rod to The Footprint, Sword and Beard of The Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him).



As we tour this section a soothing live reading from The Qur'an is heard from overhead speakers, it adds a nice touch to the exhibition.


SAM_0888 For an additional YTL$15, The Harem minus the ladies can be visited. A Harem residence can be seen as a part of your regular admission fee at Dolmabahce Palace so save your liras.



SAM_0893 Harem Courtyard






Canon 258 Harem Furnace







Canon 270 Main Room at Harem


Istanbul Canon 228 Beautiful Time Piece






Canon 267 Royal Restroom







SAM_0914  Flower Room


SAM_0929Leaving The National Treasury, for YTL$10 Tony and I become instant Sultans, what a bargain!



I wonder if we need some MC Hammer pants and a Harem to make the experience complete.


Istanbul Samsung 021 Two liras and we are snacking on my new addiction as we hike back towards Divanyolu where there are many options for dining.




SAM_0934 Offering free Wi-Fi we chose Can Restaurant which has an ala-carte selection of Turkish dishes.





SAM_0933 An eggplant dish, rice, salad and water for YTL$15 is a bit disappointing although being able to get online was worth it.





SAM_0943 On the way home we cruise through Tony's old neighborhood where he chats with tenants that live in apartments his father built.



He is proud of his father's accomplishments and I can tell being here brings back good memories for my friend.


Samsung 542 One of Tony’s childhood homes. Man,  I wish he still lived here, I would be driving a Mercedes Benz.






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