Topkapı Palace museum premises to expand fivefold
The museum premises, which currently cover a space of 80,000 square meters, will thereby span 400,000 square meters, Demirören News Agency reported on Aug. 23.
One of the officials responsible for the execution of the restoration works informed the agency of the ongoing project and said they were making sure the renovations were being undertaken based on “scientific” expertise.
“These works have a scientific characteristic and are conducted with a big team. We are running the works here through serious planning and serious strategies. Some of the works are done only when the palace is closed, as we try not to prevent visitors’ entry,” said the head of the Istanbul Directorate of Surveying and Monuments Dr. Olcay Aydemir.
“What in fact prolongs the [restoration] process is the planning of the documentation of what we come across during the restoration, their exhibition, and when they are viewed by visitors. Nothing has been done by chance during the palace’s construction, so none of the planning, protection, exhibition and introduction works undertaken are by chance during the restoration,” Aydemir told the agency.
It is possible to see restoration works almost everywhere in Topkapı Palace. The walls, 15 different sections in the seraglio, structures in the former military area, Small Room and Pantry Ward, Library of Ahmed III, Treasury Department, Seferli Ward and former Teşvikiye and Gülhane hospitals are among the places that have been undergoing restoration.
In the past, only simple maintenance was done on the palace, but now, with the greatest renovation work of its history, scientific restitution and restoration projects are being implemented.
There is a different restoration team for every section. The teams are made up of archaeologists, art historians, geologists and others. There is also a museum official who inspects the debris from the works. According to officials, even a single stone cannot be thrown away without being checked.
“In every place we touch here, we see layers and traces that are centuries old. And this is a factor that directly affects the restoration process. We are running the works here by protecting these historical traces. There is a considerable amount of knowledge accumulation in the palace structures. It is a very honoring feeling to read these knowledge,” Aydemir said.
The Topkapı Palace, which overlooks the confluence of the Bosphorus and the Marmara Sea, was one of the major residences of the Ottoman sultans for almost 400 years (1465-1856) during the empire’s 624-year history.
It now serves as a museum and a major tourist attraction, containing a number of important relics of the Muslim world.