Restored sections of Topkapı Palace open
Restored sections of Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace, from where Ottoman emperors ruled territories spanning continents for nearly four centuries, were opened to visitors on Jan. 9.
According to a statement made by the Istanbul Provincial Culture and Tourism Director, the palace’s kitchen and bath, the Cooks’ Mosque, Kalayhane, Harem Hünkar Bath, Valide Sultan Bath, Kuşhane Bath and Arslanlı Garden are now open to visitors.
“The palace kitchens located in the second courtyard of the palace consist of buildings around a 170-meter-long courtyard/street on an area of 5250 square meters on the Marmara Sea front. The kitchens were built in the era of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror but their architecture is not known. A two-domed place right next to the Cooks’ Mosque was also built in this period. During the reign of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent (1520-1566), it is known that the kitchens were widened due to the growing palace population. Also, after a fire in 1574, the kitchen and ward structures were renovated by Chief Architect Sinan and the street in front of it was extended, while porticoes were taken forward towards the courtyard,” the statement said.
It is said that in the palace kitchens, meals were cooked for 4,000-5,000 people of Birun (the outer palace) and Enderun (the inner palace) in the palace kitchens everyday as well as to the members of the Divan-ı Hümayun (Imperial Court) and janissaries.
As for the kitchen dormitories of the palace, the statement said: “The restoration works started in 2013 in the kitchen dormitories, where cooks and other service members stayed in the 16th and 17th centuries. Now the dormitories are opened to visitors with three new themes and most of the artifacts are displayed for the first time. These themes are ‘Kitchen Table Tools,’ ‘Coffee in the Palace’ and ‘Storage in the Palace.’ Also, the Kalayhane, where the kitchen tools were maintained and tin-coated, the Cook’s Mosque, where cooks and other kitchen workers prayed, and the Dormitory Bath were opened for the first time.”
The statement said that the Sultan and Queen Mother Bath was opened to visitors after a long time.
“Built in the late 18th century as a double bath, the two baths, which were renovated in the middle of the 18th century, consist of cold, warm and lukewarm sections. However, the Queen Mother Bath is smaller than the Sultan Bath. Separating the apartments of the sultan from the women’s section, this bath was used by women from different classes, like servants and concubines on different days,” it said.
The Kuşhane Kitchen, whose restoration started in 2016, was built in the 15th century as the first section of the Seraglio. It was designed for the accommodation of workers in the Seraglio.
The Arslanlı Garden, which had been under restoration since 2014, is now open as a view terrace and activity place.