Topkapı Palace Seraglio to host more visitors
With restoration works in the Topkapı Palace’s Courtyard of the Concubines and the Seraglio Hospital nearing their end, efforts are being made to increase the number of visitors by threefold in the different sections of the palace’s Seraglio.
Restoration works in the Seraglio section of the palace have been continuing since 2014, and now, as the works are nearing their end, people will soon be able to see the different new areas of the Seraglio, which was not possible before.
In the Courtyard of the Concubines, which consists of a courtyard with classical Anatolian house architecture and two-story buildings around it, a dome and a vault were conserved first within the scope of the restoration works at the site.
Concrete plasters, believed to have remained from the 1940s, were removed, original brick joint techniques were applied, and the restoration of the wall tiles and paintings was completed.
The restoration work of the Seraglio Hospital has also reached the final stage. It is known that the hospital, which is believed to be built at the farthest point of the Seraglio in order to prevent people of the palace from being affected by a possible epidemic, was used during the cholera epidemic at the time of Sultan Abdulaziz.
In the hospital, where all employees were women, there is a pharmacy, a patient’s room, a kitchen, a bathing cubicle, laundry as well as some other rooms. After the completion of the works, visitors will have the option to see the various sections of the Seraglio.
Warehouses will be opened to visitors
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Yasin Yıldız, the head of the National Palaces Administration, said that although the Topkapı Palace Seraglio was a place of great interest, all sections of it cannot be seen by visitors.
Noting that not only the sultan and his family but also a significant number of workers in their service lived in the Seraglio, Yıldız said: “Everything has been considered in the Topkapı Palace for the needs of this army of people.
Located in the Seraglio section of the palace, the hospital is large enough to serve both concubines and palace ladies.”
He said that the places that have never been opened to visitors until today and that were used as warehouses in previous years would also be opened to visitors after the completion of works.
Yıldız stated that they established a structure that includes 25 warehouses, restoration workshops, laboratory and conservation center, which will be opened by the end of the year, in order to completely solve the warehouse problem of the palace.
Informing that the Topkapı Palace is home to nearly 200,000 movable historical artifacts, Yıldız said: “After it became a museum in 1924, there was a storage problem, and this place [the Seraglio Hospital] was used as a warehouse. The National Palaces Administration handed over the Topkapı Palace in September 2019, and serious work has been carried out for 18 months. Many modern warehouse spaces have been created.”
Yıldız noted that restoration works in the Seraglio were mostly structural and that there were places that could be traced back to the beginning of the 17th century.
Stating that architectural extensions were made in the palace in different centuries, Yıldız said: “The main framework of the restoration work is the classification and preservation of these areas that have survived to date. Apart from this, as in every restoration, necessary reinforcement has been made for places with static problems and objects that have lost their originality.”
“These places date back to the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. It is not possible to use all kinds of technology, but we think that a highly qualified museum will emerge by using all the possibilities that modern museology allows us. We are planning to finish the restoration this year,” Yıldız added.