Wednesday, 18 November 2009
This post is part 16 of 17 of my trip to Istanbul. The series intends to give more than just a I-saw-this-and-did-that review. It aims to share the voice inside my head as I explore a world I’ve only read in books.
Apartment of The Sultan's Mother
The line for the harem can get ridiculously long so if there was ever a short line, take advantage of it. To our luck, there were only about five or six people ahead of us when JC and I awaited to purchase our tickets. The entrance to the Harem is not included in the admission ticket you first purchased to get into the Topkapi Palace. (Way to make money right?)
The Harem is the home of the sultan’s mother, all of his concubines, his children and their eunuch servants. One of the first rooms is the Hall of Ablution Fountain. Its interior is beautifully decorated in Iznik tiles. The room leads to the courtyard of the eunuchs. The main entrance of the harem separates the concubines and their families from the courtyard of the eunuchs. The main entrance is followed by the sultan’s mother and then the courtyard for the sultan’s consorts and his concubines.
The room of the sultan’s mother is one of the largest and most important part in the harem. The only rooms that were open to the public was the dining room and her bedroom. The interior was also beautifully decorated with Iznik tiles. Her room is connected to the sultan’s mother’s bathroom and the quarters of the sultan. Her bathroom consists of multiple rooms with domes and glass tiles for natural sunlight. The floor is covered in white and gray marble and the marble tub includes an extravagant fountain with gilded iron grills. These iron grills seem to be the characteristic features of the Topkapi Palace.
Following the sultan’s mother’s bathroom is the Imperial Hall. It is the largest dome in the palace. The room contains the sultan’s throne. There’s a secret door behind the mirror that serves as a safe passage in case of danger. Of the doors leads to the sultan’s mother’s apartment and the other leads to the sultan’s hamam.
Our self guided tour took as outside to the Twin Kiosk. The interior is beautifully decorated in stained-glass windows. From the inside, it has an amazing view of the Galata Tower. This is where the crown prince resided until they became adults.
Outside of the Twin Kiosk is the The Courtyard of the Favorites. This is where the sultan’s favorite consorts lived. They were able to enjoy the beautiful scenery from their windows.
Have you visited any palaces?