Secret road of sultans in Topkapı Palace reopens to public visit
Musa Kesler – ISTANBUL
A closed division in the world-wide known Topkapı Palace, known as the “Grand Ride” or “Horse Ramp,” which the sultans of the Ottoman Empire used to leave the palace in disguise, reopened to public visits on Sept. 18.
“Sultans used this road leaving the palace in disguise not to be recognized. Sometimes they were leaving on horses. That is why it was called the Grand Ride,” Deniz Esemenli, an art historian, told daily Hürriyet.
According to another historian, Necdet Sakaoğlu, the road was very important for the sultans.
“They all loved to go out and join the crowds. These trips were like inspections of the public. Residents should not know that the sultan left the palace. So secretly, the sultans were using the road to enter the city.”
Before a sultan’s departure, guards would go out first to inspect the surroundings, then the sultan would leave the palace.
Sultans mostly dressed up like dervishes or merchants, according to the historians.
“There are a lot of entrances to the palace. But this one is not seen from outside. It’s a hidden, a secret one,” said Sakaoğlu, describing the road as “the longest and the most regular one in the palace.”