Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Visiting the Ottoman Empire at Topkapi Palace in Istanbul

Today's adventure: Topkapi Palace, the largest and oldest palace in the world, where the Ottoman Empire's Sultans lived for over 400 years. First, we had to walk through our cute hipster Galata Tower neighborhood...
....across the bustling waterfront and through the spice market.
The crowds at Topkapi were massive, even this early in the morning on a Wednesday in March. Pretty beds of hyacinth and tulips all across the palace grounds.
In the gallery section of the palace we got stuck between an incredibly potent tourist combination of pushy Chinese ladies in visors and packs of shouting 10 year old Turkish school boys who insisted on touching everything. Thankfully, we were about a foot and a half taller than both groups and managed to see swords, pieces of Mohammed's beard and the famous 86-carat diamond above the crowds. Those poor teachers! Rob and I escaped to lunch at the elegant palace cafeteria. We sat in an enclosed glass room on the terrace watching the ferries and freighters busily zip across the Bosphorus.
Recharged from lunch, we toured the palace gardens and the ourdoor lounges. My obsession with photographing tiles and painted dome ceilings began.
The obsession got much worse when we entered the super lovely harem quarters. Next time, I would go straight here and maybe skip the galleries.
I've put up a second post with more of my tile and mural photos, there are a lot. After the palace, Rob was melting with congestion from his cold. We walked back home through the lovely gardens outside the palace. There are so few parks in Istanbul and this one really stands out with it's groomed flower beds.
Thanks to the rain yesterday, we had a clear view of our Galata neighborhood on the walk back.

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