Saturday, December 2, 2017


Sultanahmet, Fatih - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'49.0"N 28°59'04.3"E / 41.013617, 28.984535

Third Courtyard


The Chamber of the Blessed Mantle houses the latticed silver canopy under which the Blessed Mantle and the Holy Banner of the Prophet are kept in their golden chests. The Blessed Mantle, also known as the Holy Mantle, according to tradition was given by the prophet Muhammad to the poet Kâab bin Züheyr. The poets poem Kasida-ı Burda praising the prophet decorate the Room of the Blessed Mantle. Although many legends were spun about the appearance of the mantle, it is almost two yards long and made of black wool lined with a cream-coloured fabric.

The Pavilion of the Holy Mantle was built on the orders of Sultan Mehmed, the Conqueror. This pavilion is also known as Has Oda (Hall of the Priory Chamber) and is located in the palace's third courtyard. The importance of the Pavilion of the Holy Mantle is that it contains belongings of the Prophet Mohammed, some of the Caliphs and Companions. Some of these were brought from Egypt by Yavuz Sultan Selim I and others, collected through various channels, are all placed in this Pavilion of the Topkapı Palace.

Hırka-i Saadet, is wide armed coat made of goat hair, it belongs to Mohammed the Prophet, and Hırka-i Saadet Room is the place where the coat is preserved in Topkapı Palace. After the conquest of Egypt, Sultan Selim I brought the holy coat with the other holy relics brought to Istanbul. Formerly, the coat was preserved in the harem, after Hırka-i Saadet Room was constructed in the Topkapı Palace, it was brought here with the other relics. The keys of the silver chest and the golden drawer was only possessed by the Sultans.

The visit of Hırka-i Saadet, which became a tradition from the period of Sultan Selim I and left by Sultan Abdülmecid, was done in every 15th of Ramadan Month. This ceremony was made by the Sultan, Sadrazam (Grand Vizier), Şeyhülislam (the Minister of Religious Matters) and other high officers. The Sultan used to open the locks, bring out the coat and spreads it to his face and eyes then the others used to do the same thing and the imams and müezzins used to read Koran till the end of the ceremony.

The mantle used to be visited by the sultan and his family and court with a traditional ceremony once a year on the fifteenth day of Ramadan. The kissing of the mantle was not done directly, but a piece of muslin was placed over it. This decorated kerchief was called the Noble Kerchief (destimal-ı şerif) and was provided for each person by the Agha of the Muslin (Tülbent Ağası).

The mantle was kept in a golden box, of which only the sultan had the keys. The box was opened while he intoned the besmele. The mantle was actually wrapped in a number of square pieces of cloth called bohças. In it was another small golden box in which forty bohça were wrapped around the mantle itself. The number forty was considered especially auspicious.

The Agha of the Muslin placed the first kerchief on the mantle and the sultan kissed it, followed by the imperial princes, viziers, officials, male attendants and eunuchs. This was done while Koranic chants filled the chamber. Next to kiss the kerchiefs were the women, who were lead by the Queen Mother, followed by the chief consorts, concubines and daughters of the sultan, as well as the wives of all officials present and female attendants.

A button of the mantle was dipped into rose water. Drops of the rose water were poured into pitchers which were given to important people. This water was called the Water of the Blessed Mantle (Hırka-ı Saadet Suyu) and was supposed to have miracle qualities. After the ceremony, the sultan had the mantle packed back into its forty bohças, the small golden box, the other bohças and then into the large golden box which itself was placed under the silver latticed canopy until next year.


WEB SITE : Topkapı Palace Museum Directorate

E-Mail :
Phone : +90 212 512 0480
Fax : +90 212 526 9840

These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2017, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.


Sultanahmet, Fatih - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'49.0"N 28°59'04.3"E / 41.013617, 28.984535

Third Courtyard


They are housed in the former private chambers of the sultan, called the Privy Chamber, which are located in the Third Courtyard of the palace. The Privy Chamber houses the Chamber of the Sacred Relics (Kutsal Emanetler Dairesi), which includes the Pavilion of the Holy Mantle. The chamber was constructed by architect Sinan under the reign of Sultan Murad III. It used to house offices of the Sultan. It houses the cloak of the prophet Muhammad, his sword, one tooth, a hair of his beard, his battle sabres, an autographed letter and other relics which are known as the Sacred Trusts.

Several other sacred objects are on display, such as the swords of the first four Caliphs, the staff of Moses, the turban of Joseph and a carpet of the daughter of Mohammed. Even the Sultan and his family were permitted entrance only once a year, on the 15th day of Ramadan, during the time when the palace was a residence. Now any visitor can see these items and many Muslims come on pilgrimage for this purpose.

The Arcade of the Chamber of the Holy Mantle was added in the reign of Sultan Murad III, but was altered when the Circumcision Room was added. This arcade may have been built on the site of the Temple of Poseidon, that was transformed before the 10th century into the Church of St. Menas. The Sacred Relics consist of Islamic religious pieces sent to the Ottoman Sultans at various times dating from the 16th century to the late 19th century.

With the conquest of the Arabic world under Yavuz Sultan Selim I (1517), the Caliphate passed from the vanquished Abbasids to the Ottoman sultans. The Prophet Muhammad’s mantle, which was kept by the last Abbasid Caliph Mutawakkil III, was given to Yavuz Sultan Selim I. The various relics of the prophet, his followers and other items purportedly associated with the prophet were brought to Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, where they remain up to this day.

The Destimal Chamber is the room in which Prophet Abraham’s Pot, Prophet Joseph’s Turban, Prophet Moses’s Staff, Prophet David’s Sword, scrolls belonging to Prophet John and Prophet Muhammad’s footprint are on display.

The Şadırvanlı Sofa is the room where the keys to the Kaaba, the gutters of the Kaaba, the casing of the Black Stone (Hacerü’l-Esved), the Door of Repentance, and the swords of the prophet’s companions are on display.

The Audience Chamber, also known as the House of Petitions (Arzhane) houses a piece from the tooth of the Prophet Muhammad (Dendan-ı Saadet), Hair from the Beard of the Prophet (Sakal-ı Şerif), the Seal of the Prophet Muhammad (Mühr-ü Saadet), an autographed Letter of the Prophet Muhammad (Name-i Saadet) and his swords and bow in their exclusive reliquary made by Ottoman goldsmiths. These are known as the Sacred Trusts (mukkades emanetler). The Holy Koran is being read out around the clock by a mufti.

Amongst the collection is the Mantle (or robe) of the Prophet Mohammed, two of the Prophet's swords, a seal and the Prophet's Holy Standard. There are also four pieces of stone and two of brick with the embedded footprint of the prophet and part of one of his teeth which was broken in the Battle of Uhud.

There are twenty swords preserved in the chambers of the sacred mantle, two of which are presumed to have belonged to the companions of the Prophet. Many o them were reworked in the Palace as c mark of respect for their original owners rendering them works of art, and include the swords of Cafer-i Tayyar. Halid bin Velid, Ammar bin Yasir, Ebu'l Hasene-the scribe of Muhammed, Davut, Ali, Osman, Omer and Ebubekir, which are displayed the chamber with a fountain together with one of the pouches made in. the Palace as a cover for the sacred swords.

During the Ottoman period, a number of early manuscripts, including 139 Korans, one of which was believed to have been in the hands of the Caliph Prophet Osman when he was martyred were kept in the sacred mantle chambers. Among the Korans once preserved here were those inscribed by important calligraphers, including Yakut, Ahmet Karahisari and Shah Mahmud Nişapuri, which are now kept together with the rest of the collection, in the museum library.

Another case in the Arzhan contains the golden cover that encased the stone of the Kaaba and two silver frame: also from Mecca. Thirty-two keys, two lock frames and three locks, one of which is in pieces, are also among the relics. The governor of the Hejaz sent the keys of the Kaaba to Istanbul after the Ottoman conquest of Egypt.

Subsequently, it became customary for keys and locks to be sent by the Ottomans to Mecca bearing the names and dates of each of the sultan and inscribed with quotations from the Koran and later returned. These were iron inlaid with gold and silver or of fin silver and bronze, and were made in the Palace at Istanbul for successive sultans. Among the finest in the collection are those of the Abbasid and Mameluke periods and others made for Ahmet II. Bayezid II. Suleyman I and Abdulaziz.

Here too, one may see the so-called Door of Repentance or Tövbe Kapısı, an iron inlaid door measuring 1.45 x 2.00 m, and golden and gilded silver rainwater spouts taken from the Ka'ba after restoration. The spouts bear the date 1612 and the name of Ahmet I, and measure 2.75 m in length, 25 cm in width and 31 cm in height.

In the same case preserved one of the letters presumably sent by the Prophet to the monarchs of Egypt and Persia, and to the Byzantine emperor, inviting them to convert to Islam It is inscribed in black ink on brownish parchment and flanks a seal thought t have belonged to the Prophet, which was found in Baghdad in the 19th century an brought to Topkapi Palace, where it was preserved in an oval box.


WEB SITE : Topkapı Palace Museum Directorate

E-Mail :
Phone : +90 212 512 0480
Fax : +90 212 526 9840

These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2017, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.


Sultanahmet, Fatih - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'49.0"N 28°59'04.3"E / 41.013617, 28.984535

Third Courtyard


The Privy Room (Has Oda) was constructed in the Inner Courtyard in the time of Sultan Mehmed II (r. 1451-81) to serve as the private apartments of the sultan, for which purpose it was used until the middle of the 16th century. Prior to their accession to the throne, the sultans would come to this room to pray and receive homage from the Privy Room officials before leaving for the ceremony.

The Privy Chamber (Has Oda) also known as the Chamber of the Mantle of Felicity (Hırka-I Saadet Dairesi)  was built under Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror (1451-1481) in the Enderûn Courtyard as private mansion for the Ottoman Sultans.

It is a two-storey typical palace pavilion with a quad space (four-section) layout. The double space room at the entrance is called the Hall with the Fountain (Şadırvanlı Sofa) due to the marble fountain located under its dome. The other two parts of the four-section venue consist of two domed rooms connected through doors to each other and to the Fountain Hall.

The entrance to the Privy Chamber underwent various modifications under Sultan Ahmet III (1703-1730). The Kelime-i Tevhid (The Word of Unity: Islamic declaration of faith in the oneness of God) dated 1725, written in Celî Sülüs characters (a style of Arabic script with large letters used in writing inscriptions) was the work of Sultan Ahmet III who was a skilled calligrapher.

On both sides of the door we see two more inscriptions in monogram form. On the right side takes place the phrase, “Cihan Meliki Hakan-ı Emced”: “Glorious Khan Sovereign of the Universe” and the sentence on the left side reads, “Şeriat Sâliki Sultan Ahmed”: “Sultan Ahmed Devotee of the Shari’ a” (Islamic canon law).

The first room on the right side after entering through the Fountain Hall is the Arzhane – (Presentations Room) where the Sultan received the Arz Ağaları (the Squires in charge of submissions and/or presentations) and accepted their submissions. The second room located on the corner is the most important section of the building, namely, the Throne Room (Taht Odası) or the actual Privy Chamber (Has Oda).

Yavuz Sultan Selim designated this room for the conservation and protection of the Holy Mantle or Mantle of Felicity (Hırka-i Saadet) - believed to have been worn by the Prophet Mahomet -  he brought back from his Egyptian expedition and ordered significant changes in the organization of the Privy Chamber.  Sultans, who were staying here until the second half of the 16th Century, continued traditionally until the end of the empire, to sit in this room before the ceremony of accession to the throne.

They paid visit to the “Mantle of Felicity” each year, on the 14th and 15th day of the month of Ramadan, within the framework of an official ceremony.  The Privy Chamber was maintained and restored with great care by all successive Sultans out of respect for the sacred relics sheltered therein. Each sultan in his time attached great importance to keeping the place in prime condition. The Privy Chamber has the most originally designed tiles among Sultans’ pavilions, dating from the end of the 16th Century and which fortunately survived up until our present-day.


One enters the chambers through the fountain portal or Şadırvan Kapısı - from the Privy Court - or Enderun. An inscription over the portal bears the monogram of Ahmet III and alongside it is inscribed the proclamation of Unicity. Other inscriptions also bearing monograms flank the portal on either side, where one may see decorative tile panels dating from a later restoration.

Left of the entrance, one encounters the facade of the barracks of the Privy Chamber Guards, while just before that lies a well into which the refuse that was swept out of the Chambers of the Relics was dumped. It was also where the marble slab atop which the corpses of deceased sultans were placed for ritual washing before burial was stored. Through the portal one passes first into a porch-like room with a fountain and raised dais area.

This rectangular chamber was used by the chamber guards as a prayer room, whereby it was customary for them to perform ritual ablutions at the fountain and pray on the raised dais. Beyond the Chamber with a Fountain, one encounters on the left side a room known as the Kerchief Chamber or Dest-i Mal Odası. This is a small room decorated with tilework and it dates from the reign of Sultan Murat IV, where kerchiefs given to pilgrims to the sacred relics were kept and in later years printed.

On the right of the room with a fountain is the antechamber to the Chamber of the Sacred Relics, known as the "Petition Chamber" or Arzhane. Here pilgrims waited to be received into the presence of the relics through a fine, late-period door inlaid with mother-of pearl over which an inscription written in jali-thuluth Arabic script of salutation to God's Prophet, Muhammad. The inlaid door was the work of the master inlayer, Sedefkar Vasif.

The door opens into the Chamber of Sacred Relics, decorated with fine 16th century tilework, and in the far left corner stands the gilded silver coffered domicile baldachin set atop the relics. This structure supported on four pillars, was erected for Sultan Murat IV as a throne by the Court Jeweller, Zilli Mehmet, and with the addition of grills over two sides, by Sultan Mahmut II, transformed into an open casket for the sacred relics.

It was during the reign of Sultan Mahmut II that the chamber: underwent considerable restoration am marble cases were added, together with doors, cupboards and hearth in the empir, style. A fountain can be seen under the, portico facing the chambers. Plaque above and between the windows were added during repairs that dates to the reign of Sultan Mehmet V (Reşat) .


WEB SITE : Topkapı Palace Museum Directorate

E-Mail :
Phone : +90 212 512 0480
Fax : +90 212 526 9840

These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2017, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, November 23, 2017


Sultanahmet, Fatih - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'47.1"N 28°59'07.4"E / 41.013076, 28.985388

Third Courtyard



It is one of the first structures constructed by Fatih Sultan Mehmed in 1962-63 to form the plan of Topkapı Palace. This structure has also quadruple arrangement like the other structures at the Palace. It is formed by the connection of the other open room at Bosphorus side via a marmite terrace to the three rooms overlooking the Marmara Sea. The villas, solid walls and two big vaulted storehouses, and another storehouse from Byzantine Empire consist of the main walls of inner palace.

The Conqueror's Pavillon, also called the Conqueror's Kiosk (Fatih Köşkü) and the arcade of the pavilion in front is one of the pavilions built under Sultan Mehmed II and one of the oldest buildings inside the palace. It was built circa in 1460, when the palace was first constructed, and was also used to store works of art and treasure. It houses the Imperial Treasury (Hazine-i Amire).

The pavilion originally consisted of three rooms, a terrace overlooking the Sea of Marmara, a basement and adjoining hamam, or Turkish bath. It consists of two floors raised on a terrace above the garden, built at the top of promontory on a cliff with a magnificent view from its porch on the Sea of Marmara and the Bosporus. It has a quad venue layout such as the other Sultan’s pavilions inside the Palace.

The lower floor consisted of service rooms, while the upper floor was a suite of four apartments and a large loggia with double arches. The first two rooms are covered with a dome of considerable height. All the rooms open onto the Third Courtyard through a monumental arcade. The colonnaded portico on the side of the garden is connected to each of the four halls by a door of imposing height. The capitals of the imposing capitals are shrunken Ionic in form and date probably from the 18th century.

The pavilion was used as the treasury for the revenues from Egypt under Sultan Selim I. Before this period, under Sultan Mehmed II and Sultan Bayezid II, these apartments must have been the most agreeable rooms in the palace. During excavations in the basement, a small Byzantine baptistery built along a trefoil plan was found.

Sultan Mahmut I (18th century) added Elçi Hazinesi (Treasury of Ambassador) to the treasury portico, the portico and the terrace parts of which was closed by walls in Yavuz Sultan Selim's period. In 19th century, the villa to which French style vitrines were added in order to be displayed for important visitors became one of the early examples of Turkish Museum.

The Fatih Pavilion bears the specific features of imperial architecture, with its spacious rooms, its terrace in iwan appearance, its vestibule with portico, its high gate behind a couple of porphyry columns, the deep windows and niches in its walls and its magnificent fireplace. The Conqueror’s Pavilion is the cut-stone monumental application of the traditional form of home with outer hall.

The building’s massive walls and two vaulted cellars are supported by a sub-structure covering a small Byzantine baptistery built along a trefoil plan, found during excavations in the basement. The structure which had originally wooden ceilings and was covered with lead-coated roofing was renovated during the 16th Century to acquire its present appearance.

The Conqueror’s Pavilion which Fatih Sultan Mehmet had initially built as a contemplation lodge soon turned out to become a place where the items of the treasury were conserved. As the treasure was substantially enriched following the Egyptian expedition of Yavuz Sultan Selim, terraces and porches were closed through walls in order to protect the highly valuable objects.

During the reign of Sultan Mahmut I (1730-1754) the green porphyry columns in front of the main door were immured so as to create a new space called Ambassadorial Treasure (Elçi Hazinesi). Thus, the Pavilion’s monumental portal and its whole façade facing the Third Courtyard were closed with doors and windows.

Furthermore, a jewellery workshop was added onto the building in 1766 for the on-site repair of the valuable articles in the Treasury Chamber collection. All of these additions were finally removed in subsequent periods restoring the building to its 16th Century appearance.

The Building, today used as Treasury Section (Hazine Seksiyonu), was restored in 2000 and renewed by replacing new earthquake-resistant, modern vitrines.


WEB SITE : Topkapı Palace Museum Directorate

E-Mail :
Phone : +90 212 512 0480
Fax : +90 212 526 9840

These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2017, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.


Sultanahmet, Fatih - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'46.8"N 28°59'04.5"E / 41.013000, 28.984569

Third Courtyard


The Audience Chamber, also known as Audience Hall or Chamber of Petitions (Arz Odası or Arz Dîvanhanesi), located right behind the Gate of Felicity and integrating with it through its eaves is the primary venue embodying the Sultan’s direct contact with the state administration. This is the place referred to as the High Office (makam-ı muallâ) in Sultan’s decrees. Sultans used to receive ambassadors of foreign states in this chamber.

It is also the venue where they ceremoniously handed in the Sacred Banner (Sancak-ı Şerif) to the commanders of expeditionary forces going on a military campaign. Behind the Audience Chamber on the eastern side is the Dormitory of the Expeditionary Force. On Sundays and Tuesdays, i.e. the customary Audience Days (Arz Günleri) and also following meetings of the Imperial Council (Dîvân-ı Hümâyûn), Sultans held here private consultations with state officials.

This is just in the opposite of Bab-üs Saade and it goes united with its fringes to the gate. Main entrance to the Audience Chamber, with the small fountain of Sultan Süleyman I to the right, and the large gifts window to the left. The Audience Chamber, also known as Audience Hall or Chamber of Petitions (Arz Odası) is located right behind the Gate of Felicity, in order to hide the view towards the Third Courtyard. This square building is an Ottoman kiosk, surrounded by a colonnade of 22 columns, supporting the large roof with hanging eaves.

Room was strictly reserved for the Sultan's use on official occasions. Foreign envoys and visitors, the Prime Minister, Ministers and Chief Justices were received in audience by the Sultan in the Throne Room. Located in the third courtyard of the palace it was originally built on the orders of Sultan Mehmet, the Conqueror. Later the Throne Room was repeatedly modified and restored by other sultans. Inside is the main throne room with a dome and two smaller adjacent rooms. It comprises of a reception salon with the throne and two service rooms.

The Emperor was seated on a slightly elevated throne completely covered with gold cloth, replete and strewn with numerous precious stones, and there were on all sides many cushions of inestimable value; the walls of the chamber were covered with mosaic works spangled with azure and gold; the exterior of the fireplace of this chamber of solid silver and covered with gold, and at one side of the chamber from a fountain water gushed forth from a wall.

It is an old building, dating from the 15th century, and further decorated under Sultan Süleyman I. This audience hall was also called "Inner Council Hall" in contrast to the "outer" Imperial Council Hall in the Second Courtyard. Here the sultan would sit on the canopied throne and personally receive the viziers, officials and foreign ambassodors, who presented themselves.

The viziers came here to present their individual reports to the sultan. Depending on their performance and reports, the sultan showed his pleasure by showering them with gifts and high offices, or in the worst case having them strangled by deaf-mute eunuchs. The chamber was thus a place that officials reporting to the sultan entered without knowing if they would leave it again alive.

The most elaborate ceremonies which took place here where those conducted during the reception of ambassadors who came escorted by officials to kiss the hem of the sultan's skirt. The throne was richly decorated during the ceremonies.

The present throne in the form a baldachin was made by order of Sultan Mehmed III. On the lacquered ceiling of the throne studded with jewels are foliage patterns accompanied by the depiction of the fight of a dragon, symbol of power, with simurg, a mythical bird. On the throne there is a cover made of several pieces of brocade on which emerald and ruby plaques and pearls are sown.

The ceilings of the chamber was painted in ultramarine blue and studded with golden stars. The tiles that lined the walls were also blue, white and turqoise. The chamber was further decorated with precious carpets and pillows. This was to impress the visitors and hold them in awe of the power and presence of the sultan. The chamber was renovated in 1723 by Sultan Ahmed III and rebuilt in its present form after it was destroyed by fire in 1856 during the rule of Sultan Abülmecid I.

Two doors in front lead out into a porch, another one to the back. The two doors in front were for visitors while the third one was for the sultan himself. The embossed inscriptions at the main visitors' door, having the form of the sultan's monogram and containing laudatory words for Sultan Abdülmecid I, date from 1856.

The main door is surmounted by an embossed besmele (the Muslim confession of faith "In the Name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful") dating from 1723. The inscription was added during the reign of Sultan Ahmed III. The tile panels on either side of the door were placed during later repair work. There is a small fountain at the entrance by Sultan Süleyman I. The fountain was used not only for refreshments, but could be used to prevent others from overhearing secret conversations in this room. The fountain was also a symbol of the sultan, the Persian inscriptions calls him "the fountainhead of generosity, justice and the sea of beneficence."

The Audience Chamber is a classic example of Turkish style pavilion architecture, a vaulted structure consisting of a throne room and the ablution space next to it. It has two doors in front and one in the rear side. While the Sultans were only using the back door, the front door was used by state officials and ambassadors who were accorded audience by the Sultans.

Gifts presented by ambassadors were placed in front of the large window with iron bars in the middle of the main façade between the two doors and the Pişkeş (Gift) Gate to the left (Pişkeş Kapısı, Pişkeş meaning gift brought to a superior).The reign of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent was the most glorious period of the Audience Chamber. The structure underwent several repairs from the 16th through the 19th Century.

Nevertheless the inscription in verse adorning the dome over the throne room indicates that it was initially built during the reign of Sultan Mehmet III (1595-1603). The lacquered ceiling of the jewels inlaid throne is decorated with floral motifs, between which is depicted the struggle of a dragon against a simurgh as a symbol of power. This throne chamber was saved with the least damage from the 1856 fire.

However, the fireplace hood, the tiles on the surface of the dome and on the walls, the wooden windows and door wings ornamented with tortoiseshell and mother of pearl and all the items inside had been burned. Following the 1856 fire, the Audience Chamber was restored during the reign of Sultan Abdülmecit.

The structure that was renovated in Empire style by the architects and craftsmen who built the Dolmabahçe Palace reached our present-day with its decoration in Empire and Neoclassical styles. The monogram shaped marble relief inscriptions praising Sultan Abdülmecit situated on both sides of the door, were of course added following that restoration. The walls were coated during the 19th Century, with tile panels dated to the 16th Century.

Above the gate used by the Sultans we find the monogram of Sultan Mustafa III (1757-1774) with a repair inscription. There is also an epigraph written in Sultan Mahmut II calligraphy above the afore-mentioned Pişkeş (Gift) Gate.


WEB SITE : Topkapı Palace Museum Directorate

E-Mail :
Phone : +90 212 512 0480
Fax : +90 212 526 9840

These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2017, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.


Sultanahmet, Fatih - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'45.8"N 28°59'06.8"E / 41.012729, 28.985211

Third Courtyard



The Dormitory of the Expeditionary Force (Seferli Koğuşu) was constructed in 1635 under Sultan Murat IV (1623-1640) on the plot of the demolished portion of the Sultan’s Bath (Hünkâr Hamamı). The old Expeditionary Force Ward consisted of the fountain in front of the Sultan’s Hamam, a bath, a small mosque and the actual dormitory.  The building was torn down and rebuilt by Sultan Ahmet III in 1719, in the course of the construction of the Enderûn Library.

The vaulted dormitory part in the entrance apricot and which was remained from Byzantine Empire has supported by14 columns. Adjacent to the dormitory, located northeast is the Conqueror's Pavilion. This long extensive building with colonnade consists of two large connecting rooms.

In that period, an arcade including the columns of the demolished Pool Pavilion was added in front of the ward. The actual core of the building supported by seven columns has survived up until our present-day. The barrel vaults of the great hall on the courtyard side of the Expeditionary Force Ward, consisting of two intertwined halls, are based on arches and masonry columns. The small hall on the Marmara front has wooden ceilings. The epigraph above the entrance to the ward bears the monogram of Sultan Mahmut II (1808-1839) who restored the building.

The Shirvan, glass cases and wooden bedsteads were removed from the halls during the 1916 restoration. The inscription above the entrance gate bears the name of Sultan Mehmet Reşat V who had these repairs performed in the Hijri year - A.H. 1335 (Gregorian, 1916). The epigraph reads: “This ward which is the Dormitory of the Enderûn Expeditionary Force was repaired and integrated into the Imperial Treasury upon the sovereign order and highest instructions of the Emir of the Faithful, His Majesty the Ghazi Sultan Mehmed Reşad Khan”.


Since 1972 this collection has been housed in the old accommodation quarters of the "Ak Ağalar" (White Aghas). Here are embroidered purses, special prayer linen, trouser belts, tablecloths, bed linen, Sultan's caftans, and leather articles like boots and slippers worn by Sultans and princes. The articles wereall embroidered by the harem ladies in the palace, partly as a dowry by yhe young girls, or for their daughters by the older ladies.

The oldest embroideries have classic designs being not very colourful and having stylized flower motifs : tulips, carnations and roses. Later, pomegranate and various leaf and branch motifs were used predominately. In the 17th century one notices embroideries with pastel colours appearing, often with repetitive patterns. Symmetry of patterns was still there, the three of life often appears, and the colours also have two tones. Hyacinths and  artichokes were later added to the repertoire.

When embroidering they often used fine materials. Probably for that reason, today there is no embroidery dating before the 16th century. There are many more embroideries dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, but they are of a lower quality. With the importation of European embroidery competition increased, and this handwork began to lose its importance for ladies towards the end of the 19th century.



The collection of sultans’ clothing, which showcases perhaps the finest examples of Ottoman textile art, contains clothing of the sultans and princes from the second half of the 15th century to the early 20th century. The decorative patterns of the sultans’ clothing were drawn up by palace miniaturists, who made up a large part of the court’s artists and artisans working for the court, or ehl-i hiref. Besides serâser cloth, the sultans’ garments would be made with expensive silks such as velvet, çatma velvet with raised designs, kemha or velvet pile.

Beginning in the time of Sultan Ahmed III, these heavy and expensive fabrics—with their large amount of gold and silver thread—were replaced with lighter and simpler fabrics such as satin, taffeta, gezi (thickly woven silk cloth), canfes (thin taffeta), sandal (a mixture of cotton and silk), geremsut silk, and selimiye (silk cloth made in workshops near Istanbul’s Selimiye barracks).

For the Ottoman sultans, headgear not only completed an outfit, but also served as an important status symbol. During ceremonies and on reception days, sultans would wear headgear called horasanî, mücevveze, selimî, or kâtibî. Another important piece of Ottoman headgear was the fez. In 1827, Sultan Mahmud II issued an imperial decree abolishing the Janissary corps and establishing a new army called the `Asâkir-i Mansûre-i Muhammediye (Victorious Soldiers of Muhammad), whose mandatory uniform consisted not only of coat and trousers, but also of the fez.

Subsequently, a new clothing regulation was introduced, obliging all state employees and religious scholars to wear the fez. This clothing reform of Sultan Mahmud II served as a means of promotion for the radical changes he brought to the structure of the Ottoman state. The introduction of the fez resulted in other kinds of headgear losing their function as status symbols.

The Topkapı Museum possesses the world's finest collection of Turkish textiles and kaftans. This is due largely to the fact that the kaftans of each Ottoman sultan from the time of Sultan Mehmet II onwards ( 1451-1481) were traditionally preserved in the Palace Treasury. From the end of the 19th century onwards, the sultan kaftans were shown to diplomatic guests in the treasury, a practice that was later carried over from the late Ottoman period into the Republic.

The Dormitory of the Expeditionary Force (Seferli Koğuşu) houses the Imperial Wardrobe Collection (Padişah Elbiseleri Koleksiyonu) with a valuable costume collection of about 2,500 garments, the majority precious kaftans of the Sultans. It also houses a collection of 360 ceramic objects. There displays some sultan’s clothes and kaftans made by precious fabrics from Sultan Fatih to Sultan Abdülhamid II.

In the first room the kaftans (magnificent garments) of all Sultans who lived in Istanbul are displayed. They are made of precious materials, silks, satins, brocades and velvets. Noteworthy displays in the rear room are the garments of princes, valuable Turkish material samples mainly with flower patterns, precious furs used for the Sultans' winter caftans and silk prayer rugs.

The Textile Collection includes children's kaftans, ceremonial and everyday kaftans and other items of royal costume such as shirts and pantaloons, caps, pouches and turbans, as well as household fabrics in the form of quilts, sheets and prayer rugs, decorative cushion covers, wall coverings and floor rugs. Kaftans for daily wear were practical to carry and simple in motif and decoration, while the ceremonial kaftans were valuable and eye-catching. The winter kaftans were made of thick cloth, and often featured furs such as ermine, sable, marten and fox.

The kaftan, arobe-like garment with long wide sleeves and open down the front, was worn over other clothes. Cloth for the kaftans was of Turkish origin, wowen in Bursa and sent to Istanbul for sewing. Upon the death of a sultan his clothes were labelled and carefully stored in the treasury. This, along with the fact that they were taken out and aired each spring to protect them from damp, has resulted in these magnificent garments being amazingly well preserved today.

The development of cloth patterbs is very interesting : The small crude patterns of the 15th century were developed in the 16th century, and designs reached their peak in the 17th century. In those centuries the motifs most frequently used were tulips, carnations, hyacinths, paradise appless, encircled branches, pomegranates, deer and stags.

Most of the kaftans are made of cloth of local origin, although the collection does include those of Iranian, Italian and Spanish origin. We have records of cloth being ordered from overseas by the Ottoman Palace. We also know that "Turkish cloth", kemha (brocade) in particular, was employed for papal vestments. Such cloth was ordered from Ottoman Turkey and made up in Europe where it was embroidered with cruciform and other appropriate motifs.

A number of vestments of this kind ate to be seen in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the Benaki Museum in Athens and in several European monasteries, and are evidence of the extent of trade in Ottoman textiles after the 15th century.

We know to whom each Kaftan belonged as these fine garments, which constitute the most significant part o costume collection, have been individually labeled after the death of each sultan stored under these names. We can therefore, date most of them from period of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror (15th century) through to that of Sultan Mehmet V (Resat) (20th century) .Western dress adopted by the sultans during the time of Sultan Mahmut II (1808-1839), after which sultans possessed both traditional kaftans and Europeanized dress.

Other than certain small detail form of the kaftan changed very little over the centuries, as we can see from the the imperial collection. The sultans full-skirted kaftans with stiff yolks over-garments, which were front-but and long-sleeved, the sleeves broad lined with plain silk. Ceremonial kaftans were more decorative and imposing appearance, the hem longer, often trailing the floor, and elongated sleeves trailing behind the hem of the kaftans. These were sometimes attached separately during a ceremony. Winter kaftans are easily distinguishable from summer wear, lined with sable, ermine squirrel, fox and martin, or quilted with cotton.

Documentary material in the archives relating to Ottoman text encyclopaedic, although only a few fabrics have been matched to the vast number of names in the archives. The imperial costumes, especially kaftans, tend to be of heavy brocade-for which the generic term is kemha- and plain and double-pile or catma velvet. Apart from the brocade classed as kemha, there are several other types of brocade of silk wrought with silver and gold thread; these include seraser and serenk, both gilded silk brocades; zerbaft -a heavy gold brocade; and atlas, also classed as a silk brocade.

Other fabrics include taffeta or taftai; damascened brocade or diba; silk brocade wrought with gold or hatai; felt or aba; broadcloth or çuha; camelot or sof; warp- dyed satin or kutni; and finer fabrics such as "gezi" a fine watered silk; "canfez" a silk muslin gauze; and "bürümcük" a fine-spun raw silk gauze. Canfez, gezi and atlas are self -patterned weaves, aba, cuha and sof being plain non-patterned fabrics. Some of the fabrics mentioned can be identified by their warp-stripe or small- motif pattern, or by their damascened surface.

Sultan kaftans were mostly made of heavy brocade with metal thread classed as kemha-a closely woven fabric which was extremely stiff and difficult to tailor, but was preferred for ceremonial occasions as it gave the impression of rigid immobility in the wearer, and encouraged the stiff deportment expected of sultans. Kemha was also eminently suited as a furnishing fabric and was frequently used as such. It is essentially a double-layered weave with silk warp and weft and a supplementary weft of gold or silver thread.

A number of different types of kemha are referred to in archival documents, such as 'yekrenk kemha', 'pesuri kemha', 'muehhip kemha' and "gulistanli kemha". Only the latter brocade, that of "gulistanli kemha" has been subjected to detailed technical analysis. A tightly-warped cloth with eight to nine thousand warp threads, there are two kaftans in this fabric in the collection. The kemha kaftans of Sultans Bayezit II and Selim II are also worthy of note.

Double-piled velvet or çatma was also much used for kaftans. It is a firm, closely woven fabric, the pattern delineated in velvet pile on a background of plain weave often wrought with metal thread. Telli catma-or double-pile velvet wrought with metal thread-was, according to documentary evidence, formerly woven in the Ottoman towns of Bursa and Bilecik.

During the 18th century, it was produced in Istanbul in workshops around Ayazma Mosque in Uskudar, and in the 19th century by weavers around Selimiye Mosque in Istanbul. Widely used as upholstery fabric too, cushion covers and lengths of catma were exported extensively to Europe, which is why Turkish catma can be found in a number of museums in America and Europe. There are four royal catma kaftans in the Topkapı collection, those of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, Sultan Mehmet III and Sultan Murat III.

Plain silk velvet was relatively less used for kaftans. Basically a looped pile cloth; the pile is trimmed in Turkish velvets to give the fabric a smooth or a two-level contoured surface, as in catma. Both the warp and weft of the Palace velvets are silk, with in some cases metal strip woven into the weft.

Seraser is a tightly woven, stiff gilt brocade with a silk warp and weft of gilded silver or silver strip giving it a brilliant sheen. Extremely heavy and valuable because of the metal strip weft, this fabric was largely reserved for ceremonial kaftans. The number of workshops in which seraser was woven were from time to time restricted by imperial order to control the consumption of silver strip, which was used liberally in this type of cloth; hence the cost to the crown of silver was kept under control. The seraser kaftan of Selim II is a fine example of the fabric at its most brilliant condition.

Serenk is a two-color brocade also used in the making of kaftans. It is similars to kemha in structure and appearance but instead of the metal strip, yellow silk is used in the weft, giving the cloth its characteristic golden sheen. The use of silken thread instead of metal strip also renders the fabric softer and more supple. There are two main types of serenk, an unpatterned 'sade serenk' and a stippled fabric or 'Sahbenek.' The kaftans of Sultan Bayezit II and Selim I are two of the finest examples of this cloth in existence.

A number of kaftans were made of monochrome silk satin or atlas, a tightly woven cloth of fine silk with considerable body which was consistently preferred over the centuries for its fine sheen, close in character to that of the silken thread from which it was woven. There are many kinds of atlas, mainly dark burgundy red, cream, yellow and blue. The embroidered kaftan of Crown Prince Mehmet is of burgundy atlas.

The other kind of cloth encountered among the kaftans was selimiye-a patterned silk fabric (both warp and weft of silk) generally decorated with warp stripes, florettes or small motifs in offset repeated in various colors. This kind of cloth, which first appears in 18th century costume, can be seen in the kaftan of Sultan Mahmut I. The textiles in the collection were mainly woven exclusively for the court in Palace workshops, the colors and quality being especially suited to the imperial purse and preference. The most favored ground color was burgundy red, which is combined with a number of contrasting colors, resulting with an extraordinary tonal harmony.

Motifs and patterns are taken from the common repertoire of the Ottoman decorative arts and may equally be encountered on artifacts from other branches of the arts of the period such as rugs and embroideries, ceramic tiles, marble relief and metalwork. Boldly outlined motifs, mainly floriated and foliate in character, such as tulips, carnations, peonies, hyacinths, plane leaves, lanceolate leaves, curved stems, blossoming branches, giant pine cones and pomegranates are the mainstay of this repertoire.

The less common triple dot device often accompanied by the so-called 'chintemani' or stylized cloud motif, the seal of Solomon and Sunburst motifs also figure on imperial fabrics as do animal motifs, although rarely, namely stags and gazelles entwined with curved stems, addorsed peacocks and peacock feather sprays.

Motifs recur in endless repeat patterns of alternate ogival medallions on a single axis or offset on alternate axes, lateral pairs of curved flowers and leaves springing from parallel stems, or floral sprays springing from a single point to cover the surface of the fabric. One rather fine pattern used in kaftans, of the so- called 'saz yolu' type consist of interlacing fine stems and lanceolate leaves.

The collection also contains leather overntantles, also classed as kaftans, and embroidered kaftans of some interest, as well as some press-patterned over plain- dyed cloth and stamped with gilt and silver, and a large number of imperial shirts and drawers, quilted leggings, soft slippers or kalcin (a kind of very thick stocking) and undershirts.

Among the shirts are nearly sixty very curious talismanic shirts, some of which can be identified as the property of particular members of the imperial family, such as the shirt dated 1480, bearing the same of Prince Cem (Cem Sultan). These shirts were designed to protect the wearer from malevolent forces, to ward off genies, sickness, wild beasts or human foes. The shirts were covered with inscriptions and characters of magical or auspicious value, arranged in a grid pattern, and are calligraphically related in character to the art of the manuscript.

The costumes of the ladies of the court have long been the subject of conjecture. We have very few actual examples to hand, as there was no tradition parallel to that which has led to the preservation of the costumes of the sultans.

Most of the harem costumes in the collection were acquired, by bequest or purchase, from members of the imperial family and private collectors when the Palace was turned into a museum, but it is by no means representative. Nineteenth century dressmakers' accounts books inform us that cloth imported from Europe by special order was utilized in the making of costumes for the female members of the royal family. It is costumes of that era that we have in the Palace collection.

Ottoman textiles of the finest quality were produced from the 14th to the 17th centuries, but fine textile weaving began to disappear towards the end of the 17th century, there being an even more marked decline in the industry in the 18th century. Some new local textiles did appear in the 18th century such as Selimiye and Uskudar catma, but, as in the west, the Ottoman market was largely inundated with mass-produced European fabrics following the innovations and modifications to weaving looms introduced by the French engineer, Jaquard in 1876.

The revolution in the European textile industry led to the decline of the centuries old fabric industry in Turkey. It was not until the reign of Abdülmecit (1839-1861) that some attempt was made to revive it, with the removal of the Feshane factory from Kadırga to Eyup where steam-powered looms were introduced in 1843. A textile factory was opened the following year, in 1844, at Hereke, and brocade weaving was begun there shortly afterwards. This factory is still in operation, producing heavy "Ottoman" weaves to order.


WEB SITE : Topkapı Palace Museum Directorate

E-Mail :
Phone : +90 212 512 0480
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Saturday, October 7, 2017


Sultanahmet, Fatih - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'47.2"N 28°59'02.9"E / 41.013105, 28.984139

Third Courtyard



The Mosque of the Ağas (Ağalar Camii) is the largest mosque in the palace. It is also one of the oldest constructions, dating from the 15th century during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II. The Sultan, the ağas and pages would come here to pray. The mosque is aligned in a diagonal line in the courtyard to make the minbar face Mecca. In 1928 the books of the Enderûn Library, among other works, were moved here as the Palace Library (Sarayı Kütüphanesi), housing a collection of about 13,500 Turkish, Arabic, Persian and Greek books and manuscripts, collected by the Ottomans. Located next to the mosque to the northeast is the Imperial Portraits Collection.

The Sultan, the squires and pages would come here to pray. The mosque is aligned in a diagonal line in the courtyard to make the minber  face Mecca.  It is situated adjacent to the Privy Chamber on the Golden Horn side of the Enderûn Courtyard. Its large central section was covered with a large barrel vault in the 18th Century. There are two narrow lateral spaces on each of the two sides.

There is a separate mihrab (altar) in the section facing the Privy Chamber. The second lateral section facing the other side is reserved for the squires from the Dormitory of the Expeditionary Force and the Pantry and Treasury Wards to perform their prayers. Three windows in the rear of the large section open up to the Harem masjid where Sultans as well as the Sultanas (Mothers of the reigning Sultans) and the Sultans’ wives used to fulfill their religious prayers.

The walls of the Mosque of the Ağas are covered with 17th Century tiles. The most interesting examples are the stacks with the Arabic letter vav, bearing the signature of the Archer Mustafa. This is a space reserved for the prayers of high-level squires. The most significant restoration carried out in previous centuries, of this stone and brick masonry building was the renovation by Es-Seyyid Mehmed Ağa of the adjacent small mosque, according to a door inscription in the interior.

The tile epigraph on the inside of the door refers to the date of 1136 A.H. (1722 Gregorian) and to the name of “Es-Seyyid Mehmed Ağa”.  The building used as a warehouse from 1881 onwards was restored in 1916.  The newer inscription by Kâmil Akdik dated 1928 indicates that following a further restoration of the Mosque of the Ağas in 1925, the books from the Sultan Ahmet III (Enderûn) Library and other libraries in the Palace were all moved here so that all the libraries in the Palace were unified under the name of New Library or Palace Library.



The Topkapı Scroll
The Topkapı Scroll, the best preserved example of its kind, contains far-reaching implications for the theory and praxis of geometric design in Islamic architecture and ornament. Created by master builders in the late medieval Iranian world, the scroll compiles a rich repertory of geometric drawings for wall surfaces and vaults. This important document belongs to a once-widespread Islamic tradition of scrolls in which geometric patterns ranging from ground plans and vault projections to epigraphic panels and architectural ornament in diverse media appeared side by side.

The Koran Collection At The Topkapı Palace Library
When the Topkapı Palace, the home of the Ottoman sultans and the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire for four hundred years, was turned into a museum in 1924, the manuscripts, found in many pavilions and rooms, were gathered together to form the New Library. Today, the Islamic manuscripts preserved in this new library have been sorted out into categories of Arabic, Farsi and Turkish.

A complete catalogue was compiled and published by F.E. Karatay in 1960. The first of the Arabic catalogues contains Korans and works of Koranic commentary. These Korans and Commentaries, which have been gathered from the various pavilions, buildings and rooms of the Palace and are classified by the name of the location where they were found, number more than two thousand.

The collection of Korans, the richest to be found anywhere in the world, comprises texts of the Koran inscribed during the 7th - 19th centuries in Arabia, India, Maghrib (North Africa) and the lands dominated by the Seljuks and Ottomans. Almost all have been prepared by famous calligraphers, gilded by master gilders, and bound by the most capable bookbinders of the times. The 1600 or more Korans found in the first volume of the Arabic catalogue are preserved in the Palace Library as rare books.

Among these are seven believed to be inscribed by khaliph Osman (RA), nine accredited to khaliph Ali (RA), two ascribed to Hasan and Hussein (RA) as well as many translations. There are twenty-one Turkish translations, thirty-nine Farsi translations, twenty-one Chagatay translations and one Uygur translation.

The first Korans were written on parchment in the 7th - 8th centuries in a monumental type of script called kufic. This script, whose name is derived from Kufa, an early Islamic center, is a style of Arabic script closest to pictorial design. Kufic script, most characterised with its horizontal and vertical lines, showed regional peculiarities in the 9th century. The kufic script of Iran differed from the kufic of the regions of Baghdad and North Africa. The script used in Baghdad and North Africa was more dynamic and of slighter dimension.

The first Korans written in kufic script, besides the one believed to have been recited by khaliph Osman (RA) at the moment of his death, are the Korans written in vertical form. In addition to those written on parchment, there are those of the 9th -11th centuries inscribed on thick dark paper with sepia ink using delicate kufic lines. Also in the Palace collection are Korans prepared in North African cities such as Ceuta and Marrakech between the 12th and 16th centuries.

These are written on parchment on thick dark paper in Maghribi kufic with gilded frontispiece, illuminated surah headings, surah titles, marginal rosettes and sajdah marks. Kufic script was used in copying the text of the Koran until the middle of the tenth century. Examples of eastern Iranian kufic continued to be seen until the twelfth century. From the eleventh century onwards, a more rounded type of script was used in the writing of the Koranic text. The main type of script characterising this new tendency was naskhi, a style completely opposite in appearance to kufic.

This script began to be characterised in the first ten years of the tenth century when a calligrapher named Ibn al-Muqla used the length of the letter alif as a proportional guide At the beginning of the eleventh century another calligrapher named Ibn al-Bawwab created a freer naskhi.

After Ibn al-Bawwab, Yakut al-Mustasimi, a Turk from Amasya living in the Abbasid Baghdad of the thirteenth century, specified the rules for six different scripts in the art of calligraphy. The scribes trained by Yakut spread his style in Koranic script to all Islamic countries. The scripts he used in the main text were naskhi, muhaqqaq, rayhani. In the surah titles and other additions tawqi, riga, thuluth and kufic were used.

In the second half of the thirteenth century Korans written in rayhani script begin to appear. All these resemble naskhi of Yakut al-Mustasimi (d.1298) Although both small and large styles of rayhani were used in Iranian Korans until the late fourteenth century, this style was rare in the Mameluke Korans. Besides naskhi and rayhani scripts, the more majestic thuluth and muhaqqaq scripts were the styles to gain more popularity and appear more frequently in the Korans that have come down to us from the twelfth century.

Examples where muhaqqaq script is used in combination with rayhani appear in Iran at the end of that century. Although the technique was used in both Iran and Turkey, it was not preferred by the Arabic speaking countries.

At the beginning of the fourteenth century the only script to be used in copying the Koranic text in the Islamic world was muhaqqaq. In the Egypt of the Mamelukes, however, this type of script made its appearance only in the second half of the same century. Gilders were as important as calligraphers in Koranic manuscripts. Throughout the 19th - 14th centuries the gilders decorating the Korans of the Abbasid, Fatimi, Eyyubi, Muvahhid, Mameluke, Seljuk and llhanic periods created colourful gilt arrangements using a variety of motifs.

The large Korans of the Mameluke and Ilhanic periods, with their impressive gilt compositions, made the Koran the most magnificent work of art in the Islamic world. The tradition of gilt designs in Koranic inscription appears to have been established in the eleventh century. The most common tradition of gilt design in the Korans of the 11th -14th centuries was the complete decoration of a designated square or rectangular area on the first page of the text. The gilding of the border around the text of the first two surahs (Al-Fatiha and Al-Bakara) appeared in the fourteenth century.

The Koran of the eleventh century written by Abul Kasım Ali b.Abdullah al-Baghdadi, vizier to the Seljuk sultan Tuğrul Bey, and preserved in the Palace Library today, is an important example of the period's Koranic gilding with its frontispiece, illuminated surah heading, surah titles and marks in the gilt style of the Seljuks. The works of the 13th century master of the naskhi style, Yakut al-Mustasimi, are just as valuable.

It has been discovered that the Korans and Koranic sections written by Yakut al-Mustasimi and the 14th century naskhi masters Abdullah Sayrafi and Argun Kamili were restored and carefully gilded in the time of the Ottoman Sultan Süleyman in the 16th century. The "Al-An'am" surah in thuluth and rayhani script of Argun Kamili of Baghdad, the gilt Koran in rayhani script of Muhammed b.Sayfeddin al-Nakkash are distinguishable for their rich and colourful design.

The 15th section of the Koran written on thick paper in gold muhaqqaq script in Mosul during the era of the Ilhanic ruler Sultan Olcaytu is another important development in Korinic calligraphy. In the fourteenth century the Ilhanic and Mameluke ateliers were the most productive in the Islamic world. The most distinctive examples of Mameluke Korans were prepared in 1256-1399. While bight colored gilt Ilhanic Korans were being produced at the beginning of the fourteenth century, the transition to colourful design in the Egypt of the Mamelukes and in Syria came later towards the middle of the same century.

The Mameluke Korans preserved in the Palace Library are part of this development. In the same way, the Timuri Koran written at the end of the 15th century by Muhammed b. Sultanshah al-Haravi of Heart and the Turkmen Koran written in the fifteenth century at Tabriz are significant for an understanding of how Koranic design developed a rich and colourful set of motifs.

Some valuable Korans in the Palace Library were inscribed under the Safevids in Iran in the 16th century. They are important for their design and gilding as an example of the development of the Safevid Koranic style and the elaborateness of motif. Particularly Koran numbered H.S.25, with its pages of dynamic taliq script, is a magnificent work of the famous calligrapher Shah Mahmud Nishapuri.

Undoubtedly the best examples reflecting the development of gilding and calligraphy in the Ottoman Korans are preserved in the Palace Library. The fundamentals of Ottoman Koranic script were set down in the Korans produced in naskhi by the famous calligrapher Sheikh Hamdullah at the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century. Koranic gilding developed in those years as well. The Sheikh Korans in the Palace Library are all matchless examples of the gilding style of the period.

The Koran written in naskhi script by Abdullah b. Ilias and gilded by Bayram b. Dervish, the Koran written in a combination of naskhi-thuluth script by Ahmet Karahisari and gilded in the style of the gilder Karamemi are both important works reflecting the stages of Ottoman Koranic writing in the sixteenth century. The large Koran attributed to Ahmed Karahisari is a magnificent manuscript incorporating rich motifs of gilt. This work, a major masterpiece of Ottoman book design, is one of the most valuable manuscripts in the Palace Library.

Some selected Korans produced by the well-known Ottoman calligraphers of later centuries are precious additions to the Library's unique collection. The calligraphers and artists of the nine-tenth and early twentieth centuries experimented with different script styles such as thluth and taliq and preferred to produce decorative wall inscriptions. The Ottoman art of hand-copying Koranic text eventually adopted a rococo style and then exhibited neoclassic gilding patterns. The Library Collections is abundant with examples of these as well.

This magnificent assembly of work was accumulated through the individual collections of the Ottoman Sultans for hundreds of years. The multitude of samples of kufic and maghribi kufic script, the works of the well-known Islamic calligraphers Yakut, Abdullah Sayrafi and Argun Kamili, the exquisite Safevid Korans together form a precious legacy.


WEB SITE : Topkapı Palace Museum Directorate

E-Mail :
Phone : +90 212 512 0480
Fax : +90 212 526 9840

These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2017, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.


Sultanahmet, Fatih - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'46.2"N 28°59'05.7"E / 41.012837, 28.984902

Third Courtyard


GPS : 41°00'46.7"N 28°59'03.8"E / 41.012967, 28.984399


A foundation library bestowed to the benefit of the Enderûn Palace School students was built by Sultan Ahmet III (1703-1730), replacing the former Pool Pavilion. The Arabic poem in six verses inscribed on the main gate of this building, which is the first library established on the Palace premises, situated in the centre of the Enderûn Courtyard. It is explained in the epigraph that Sultan Ahmet III had this dwelling, destined to collect books, built at his own expense as a good deed to serve the lofty ideal of encouraging the learning of science.

The Neo-classical Enderûn Library (Enderûn Kütüphanesi), also known as Library of Sultan Ahmed III (Sultan Ahmed III Kütüphanesi), is situated directly behind the Audience Chamber (Arz Odası) in the centre of the Third Court. It was built on the foundations of the earlier Havuzlu kiosk by the royal architect Mimar Beşir Ağa in 1719 on orders of Sultan Ahmed III for the use of the officials of the royal household. The colonnade of this earlier kiosk now probably stands in front of the present Treasury.

The library is a beautiful example of Ottoman architecture of the 18th century. The exterior of the building is faced with marble. The library has the form of a Greek cross with a domed central hall and three rectangular bays. The fourth arm of the cross consists of the porch that can be approached by a flight of stairs on either side. Beneath the central arch of the portico is an elaborate drinking fountain with niches on each side.

The construction has been extended through iwans on its three sides. The exterior façade is marble coated. It is surrounded by two fountains, one on the building side, and the other on the courtyard side. Sultan Ahmet III Library Fountain is in front of the Sultan Ahmet III Library the third courtyard of Topkapı Palace. It was built by Sultan Ahmet III in 1719.

The domes and vaults are ornamented with vegetal motifs manufactured through the malakâri - decorative plasterwork - technique characteristic of the Tulip Era. Window and door wings are ivory inlaid with classic geometrical patterns. Window and door frames are covered with 17th Century concatenated tiles; ceilings are stone inlaid with geometric figures, such as the Baghdad and Revan Pavilions. Silver wire caged built-in book cabinets are located between the windows.

The building is set on a low basement to protect the precious books of the library against moisture. The walls above the windows are decorated with 16th - 17th century İznik tiles of variegated design. The central dome and the vaults of the rectangular bays have been painted. The decoration inside the dome and vaults are typical of the so-called Tulip Era. The books were stored in cupboards in the walls. The niche opposite the entrance was the private reading corner of the sultan.

The library contained books on theology, Islamic law and similar works of scholarship in Ottoman Turkish, Arabic and Persian. In those days the library contained more than 3,500 manuscripts. Some are fine examples of inlay work with nacre and ivory. Today these books are kept in the Mosque of the Ağas (Ağalar Camii), which is located next to the library in the western direction. One of the important items is the so-called Topkapı manuscript, a copy of the Holy Koran from the time of the third Caliph Uthman Ibn Affan.

The library’s book collection consisting of books originating from the private treasure of Sultan Ahmet III, and the books endowed by Sultan Abdülhamit I and Sultan Selim III was conserved here, date after which it was integrated into the collection of the Palace Library.

In 1928 the books of the Enderûn Library amongst other works were moved here as the Palace Library (Sarayı Kütüphanesi), housing a collection of about 13,500 Turkish, Arabic, Persian and Greek books and manuscripts, collected by the Ottomans. Located next to the mosque to the northeast is the Imperial Portraits Collection.


Enderûn (meaning "inner most") was the “selâmlık” portion reserved for men, of the private compartment of the palace. It was also called the “Harem-i Hümâyûn” together with the Harem where the Sultan lived with his family. Beyond the Gate of Felicity is the Third Courtyard (III. Avlu), also called the Inner Palace (Enderûn Avlusu), which is the heart of the palace, where the sultan spent his days outside the harem.

The Enderûn Courtyard which took form during the reign of Fatih Sultan Mehmet - the Conqueror - (1451-1481), consists of the patio where the Sultan’s pavilions are located, the marble terrace called Sofa-i Hümayun (Imperial Hall) harbouring the Sultan’s mansions and the flower garden. That courtyard contains as well the dwellings of the Enderûn School, destined to the education of the youngsters recruited via Devşirme - a system of recruitment of youngsters of foreign background for serving the Ottoman Empire.

It is a lush garden surrounded by the Hall of the Privy Chamber (Has Oda) occupied by the palace officials, the treasury (which contains some of the most important treasures of the Ottoman age, including the Ottoman miniatures, the Sacred Trusts), the Harem and some pavilions, with the library of Sultan Ahmed III in the center. Entry to the Third Courtyard was strictly regulated and off-limits to outsiders.

The third Courtyard (Enderun) formed by the dormitories and the structures belongs to the Sultan. Hall of Audience where Sultan accepts viziers and ambassadors, Enderun Library which was constructed by the Sultan Ahmed III, Treasury of Enderun also known as Conqueror’s Pavilion, Privy Room (Chamber of Sultan) and the Aghas’ Mosque which was constructed for the Enderun aghas at the reign of Fatih are the important structures of this courtyard. Courtyard is surrounded by the Big and Small Room Wards, Expeditionary Force Ward, Pantries’ Ward, Treasure Ward and the Privy Room Ward which added to the Privy Room at the 19th century.

The Third Courtyard is surrounded by the quarters of the Ağas (pages), boys in the service of the sultan. They were taught the arts, such as music, painting and calligraphy. The best could become Has Odalı Ağa (Keepers of the Holy Relics of Muhammad and personal servants of the Sultan), or even become officers or high-ranking officials.

Enderûn was the term used in the Ottoman Empire to designate the "Interior Service" of the Imperial Court, concerned with the private service of the Ottoman Sultans, as opposed to the state-administrative "Exterior Service" (Birûn). Its name derives from the location of the Sultan's apartments in the inner courts of the Topkapı Palace; its head was the Kapı Ağası.

The Inner Service was divided into four departments. In descending order of importance, these were the Privy Chamber (Hass Oda), the Treasury (Hazine), the Privy Larder (Has Kiler), and the Great and Little Chambers. Among the responsibilities of the Inner Service was also the running of the palace school, where selected young Christian boys, gathered through the devşirme system (from the 17th century, however, Muslim boys were also admitted) were trained for the highest state offices. These boys served then as pages in the Inner Service, and were known as içoğlanı ("lads of the interior").

The Inner Service was also notable for its employment of deaf-mutes (dilsiz), at least from the time of Sulta Mehmed II, to the end of the empire. They acted as guards and attendants, and due to their particular nature were often entrusted with highly confidential assignments, including executions. Their number varied but they were never numerous; they had their own uniforms, their own heads (başdilsiz), and although many were literate, they also communicated in their own special sign language.

The Enderûn Institution, inspired from the state organization schemes of the Great Seljuk Empire and Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, functioned for centuries as the principal Ottoman establishment devoted to the education and training of the future members of the high-level state and military bureaucracy, where also the artistic skills of students in various fields were developed.

In the framework of the above-mentioned Devşirme system which existed from the first half of the 15th Century up until the end of the 17th Century, the Ottoman Sultans created a class of civil servants loyal to them, educated within the principles of the Islamic religion and Turkish culture. A group of the thus recruited pages were educated at the Palace as such and others were trained in the army.

They were eventually assigned to high ranking positions in the state apparatus following their schooling. From the 18th Century onwards, these high posts were occupied by native Turks.

During the initial phase, the youngsters were confided as pupils to a Turkish family where they learned Turkish and were brought up within the traditions and customs of Turkish society. Following that phase, they were sent to preparatory schools. The most gifted among them were then admitted into the classes of the Enderûn School.

There, the interns were studying in successive wards beginning from the Big Room and Small Room, continuing respectively through the Dormitory of the Expeditionary Force (Seferli Koğuşu), the Pantry, Treasury and Privy Chamber wards. The students who were fulfilling symbolic tasks relevant to the function of each particular ward, had then the possibility to climb the ladder of public offices all the way up to the post of Grand Vizier (Greatest Minister holder of the Sultan’s imperial seal).

The Enderûn Courtyard is so structured as to highlight the Sultan’s buildings, like in other venues of the Palace. Dwellings used by the Sultan such as the Conqueror’s Pavilion, also called the Conqueror's Kiosk (Fatih Köşkü), the Privy Chamber, and the Pool Pavilion were situated in the centre and inner corners of the courtyard whereas the wards used by the students of the Enderûn School were located at its outer edges.

These wards opening up to the courtyard through their porches had an interior layout consisting of a small hall surrounded by the dormitories, the glass room and the baths. The Enderûn wards were lined up in a hierarchical order arranged according to the level of training classes. The Big and Small Room wards located on each side of the Gate of Felicity (Bâb-üs Saade) and the Ward of the Expeditionary Force (Seferli Koğuşu) established in the 17th Century after demolishing the Sultan Selim II Bath would constitute the lower rungs of the School of Enderûn.

While others are the Pantry, the Treasury and the Privy Chamber wards. The Privy Chamber Ward is known to be intertwined with the actual Privy Chamber. Also in this direction, there is the Mosque of the Ağas (Ağalar Camii). In the middle of the Enderûn courtyard was the Pool Pavilion which was demolished in the 18th Century and replaced by the Enderûn Library (Sultan Ahmet III Library).

The establishment of a new army in 1826 after the abolition of the Janissary Corps was also the occasion for the creation of a new education system. After this date, the Enderûn School and Institution began to lose of its importance.


The Enderun School was a palace school and boarding school mostly for the Christian millet of the Ottoman Empire, which primarily recruited students via devşirme, a system of the Islamization of Christian children for serving the Ottoman government in bureaucratic, managerial, and Janissary military positions. The Enderun School was fairly successful in creating the multicultural bureaucracy, which was reflected in the multicultural nature of Ottoman statesmen over the centuries.

The Enderun School functioned for academic and military purposes as well. Ideally the graduates were permanently devoted to government service and had no interest in forming relations with lower social groups. It was run by the "Inner Service" (Enderûn) of the Ottoman palace. The Enderun School's gifted education program has been called the world's first institutionalized education for the gifted.

The growth of Ottoman Empire is attributed and was dependent on the selection and education of statesmen. A vital component of Sultan Mehmet II's goal to revive the Roman Empire was to establish a special school to select the best youngsters within the Empire and to mold them for government. Sultan Mehmet II improved the existing palace school founded by his father, Sultan Murat II and established the Enderun Academy (Enderun) in Istanbul.

The third courtyard of the Topkapı Palace was surrounded by the Imperial Treasury, the Pavilion of the Holy Mantle, and the buildings of the Palace School, which educated the top tier of students from Enderun as well as princes of the House of Sultan Osman. There were seven halls or grades within the Palace School, and within each hall there were 12 teachers responsible for the students' mental and academic development. Students wore special uniforms designated by their achievement level and additional buildings included the library, mosque, music conservatories, dormitories, and baths.

The Enderun system consisted of three preparatory schools located outside of the palace in addition to the one within the palace walls itself. There were 1,000-2,000 students in three Enderun Colleges, and about 300 students in the top school in the Palace. The curriculum was divided into five main divisions :

Islamic sciences; including Arabic, Turkish and Persian language education
Positive sciences; mathematics, geography
History, law, and administration: the customs of the Palace and government issues
Vocational studies, including art and music education
Physical training, including weaponry

At the end of the Enderun school system, the graduates would be able to speak, read, and write at least three languages, able to understand the latest developments in science, have at least a craft or art, and excel in army command as well as in close combat skills.

The graduation ceremony for students leaving the Enderun School was known as çıkma. The graduates themselves were referred as çıkma. The name çıkma literary means "leaving" or "pulling out". The pages were leaving Palace School and palace service to continue their training in the functional service. This "transferral" occurred every two to seven years, or after the accession of new sultan to the throne.

The successful graduates were assigned according to their abilities into two mainstream positions: governmental or science, and those who failed to advance were assigned to military. One of the most distinctive properties of the school was its merit system consisting of carefully graded rewards and corresponding punishments.


GPS : 41°00'47.8"N 28°59'06.7"E / 41.013278, 28.985194

Under the responsibility of the head of kitchen called Kilercibaşı (Chief Cook), Kilerli Koğuşu used to concern on cooking the sultans meals, preparing the sultans table and taking dinner service . After 1856 Enderûn fire in 1856, it was reconstructed as Hazine Kethüdalığı. Since 1960 it has been using as Topkapı Sarayı Müzesi Müdüriyeti.


WEB SITE : Topkapı Palace Museum Directorate

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Phone : +90 212 512 0480
Fax : +90 212 526 9840

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Sultanahmet, Fatih - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'45.2"N 28°59'03.3"E / 41.012546, 28.984238

Third Courtyard


The Gate of Felicity (Bâbüssaâde or Bab-üs Saadet) is the entrance into the Inner Court (Enderûn), also known as the Third Courtyard, marking the border to the Outer Court or Birun. The Third Courtyard comprises the private and residential areas of the palace. The gate has a dome supported by lean marble pillars. It represents the presence of the Sultan in the palace. No one could pass this gate without the authority of the Sultan. Even the Grand Vizier was only granted authorisation on specified days and under specified conditions.

The gate was probably constructed under Sultan Mehmed II in the 15th century. It was redecorated in the rococo style in 1774 under Sultan Mustafa III and during the reign of Sultan Mahmud II. The gate is further decorated with Qur'anic verses above the entrance and tuğras. The ceiling is partly painted and gold-leafed, with a golden ball hanging from the middle. The sides with baroque decorative elements and miniature paintings of landscapes.

The Sultan used this gate and the Divan Meydanı square only for special ceremonies. The Sultan sat before the gate on his Bayram throne on religious, festive days and accession, when the subjects and officials perform their homage standing. The funerals of the Sultan were also conducted in front of the gate. On either side of this colonnaded passage, under control of the Chief Eunuch of the Sultan’s Harem (called the Bâbüssaâde Ağası) and the staff under him, were the quarters of the eunuchs as well as the small and large rooms of the palace school.

The small, indented stone on the ground in front of the gate marks the place where the banner of Muhammad was unfurled. The Grand Vizier or the commander going to war was entrusted with this banner in a solemn ceremony.

Bâbüssaâde ağası

The Kapı Agha (Turkish: Kapı ağası, "Agha of the Gate"), formally called the Agha of the Gate of Felicity (Bâbüssaâde ağası), was the head of the eunuch servants of the Ottoman Seraglio until the late 16th century, when this post was taken over by the Kızlar Agha. In juxtaposition with the latter office, also known as the Chief Black Eunuch as its holders were drawn from Black African slaves, the Kapı Agha is also known as the Chief White Eunuch.

As his title implies, the Kapı Agha was in charge of the Gate of Felicity that separated the Outer Court (Birûn), where state affairs were conducted, from the Inner Court (Enderûn) and the Sultan's private apartments in the Topkapi Palace. The Agha occupied an office to the right of the gate and was responsible for controlling entrance to the Inner Court and for transmitting the Sultan's orders to his officials, rendering him, in the words of the Ottomanist Halil İnalcık "the sole mediator between the Sultan and the world outside the Palace".

Among the duties of the Kapı Agha and his white eunuchs was also the running of the Palace School for the pages of the palace, whose graduates then went on to provide the administrative elite of the Empire. The "Mosque of the Aghas" (Ağalar Camii) in the Topkapi Palace was built for use by the Kapı Agha and his eunuchs. The Kapı Agha consequently was an influential post, a close adviser to the Sultan and able to play a decisive role in the imperial succession. Its holders bore the rank of vizier and came in precedence only after the Grand Vizier and the Shaykh al-Islam.

At his heyday in the 15th and 16th centuries, the Kapı Agha rivalled the Grand Vizier for importance. Nevertheless, and in contrast to his analogues in other Islamic states, usually denoted by variants of the title hajib, the holders of the office never expanded their power to the extent that they could rival the Sultan's own.

Unlike their counterparts, the Kapı Ağası controlled neither the administrative apparatus, which remained firmly in the hands of the Grand Vizier, nor the palace troops, which were commanded by another official, the Agha of the Janissaries, who notably also received about five times the Kapı Ağası's daily salary of 100 akçes. Nevertheless, many Kapı Ağası went on to assume major provincial governorships (often distinguished by the epithet hadım, "eunuch", in their subsequent careers), and several are considered as among the greatest Ottoman statesmen of the period.

The post reached its height in the reign of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent (1520–1566), when its holders became the steward of the charitable foundations and endowments (vakifs) designated for the upkeep of the two holy cities (Haramayn) of Islam, Mecca and Medina, and of over seventy large mosques. During this time, the holders of the office engaged in open rivalry with the Grand Viziers for control over state affairs.

Soon after, however, through the influence of the women of the Imperial Harem, the Kapı Ağası was eclipsed by the Kizlar Agha, who supervised the Harem. The Kizlar Agha became independent of the Kapı Ağası in 1587, assumed the control of the Haramayn and quickly rose to become the senior palace official. The final blow to the authority of the office came in 1704, when its remaining powers were transferred to the Silahdar Agha. The position of the Kapi Agha survived, but thereafter was devoid of any significance.



Beyond the Gate of Felicity is the Third Courtyard (III. Avlu), also called the Inner Palace (Enderun Avlusu), which is the heart of the palace, where the sultan spent his days outside the harem. It is a lush garden surrounded by the Hall of the Privy Chamber (Has Oda) occupied by the palace officials, the treasury (which contains some of the most important treasures of the Ottoman age, including the Ottoman miniatures, the Sacred Trusts), the Harem and some pavilions, with the library of Sultan Ahmed III in the center. Entry to the Third Courtyard was strictly regulated and off-limits to outsiders.

The Third Courtyard is surrounded by the quarters of the Ağas (pages), boys in the service of the sultan. They were taught the arts, such as music, painting and calligraphy. The best could become Has Odalı Ağa (Keepers of the Holy Relics of Muhammad and personal servants of the Sultan), or even become officers or high-ranking officials.

The layout of the Third Courtyard was established by Sultan Mehmed II. Its size is roughly comparable to the Second Courtyard. The rigid layout did not allow for any great changes. While Sultan Mehmed II would not sleep in the harem, successive sultans after him became more secluded and moved to the more intimate Fourth Courtyard and the harem section. The Hünername miniature from 1584 shows the Third Courtyard and the surrounding outer gardens as it must have appeared following its completion under Sultan Mehmed II. It also shows at the bottom the sultan in what looks like a shore pavilion either holding audience or being entertained by courtiers.


WEB SITE : Topkapı Palace Museum Directorate

E-Mail :
Phone : +90 212 512 0480
Fax : +90 212 526 9840

These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2017, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


Sultanahmet - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'45.1"N 28°59'01.1"E / 41.012516, 28.983635

Second Courtyard


Next to the Chamber of Sacred Relics, there is the exhibition of Clock Section (Silahtar Treasury) Clock Collection. The permanent exhibition in the palace’s Inkwell Chamber with 380 mechanical clock collection on display at Second Courtyard..

Among the collection are Turkish clocks made by Turkish clock masters along with clocks collected from Germany, Russia and France during the Ottoman Empire’s 400-year span. Among them are magnificent clocks made by Breguet, the genius clockmaker for Ottoman sultans. One hundred clocks in the collection have been repaired by modern-day clock masters, who will also work to restore and maintain the remaining clocks in the collection. The collection is divided into three parts: Ottoman clocks, European clocks and pocket watches.

Watches and clocks used by Turkish Sultans in one part of the palace or another from the 16th through the 19th-century, including pocket watches, wall and table clocks, are at present exhibited in the Silahtar Treasury. Some of these watches were purchased privately by the Sultans, while others were royal gifts to Turkey’s monarchs, or were acquired through other channels.

The Clocks are shown in what was originally the Old Silahtar Treasury. There are some 350 clocks in the collection, acquired by the palace as diplomatic gifts or by purchase. Nearly 200 clocks are on display, and include those of Turkish, German, Austrian, English, French, Swiss and Russian origin.

Turkish Clocks

The earliest Turkish clocks are dated to the 17th century and are fine examples of the craftsmanship of the period. Although we know that clocks were made in and around the Ottoman capital during the 15th and 16th centuries, these four clocks, the work of craftsmen named Bulugat, Sahin, Abdurrahman and Mustafa Aksarayi are the earliest surviving examples we have in the collection. The silver, horizontal movement table clock of Mustafa Aksarayi and Şahin Usta's clock cases are among the finest artefacts of the period.

The late 17th century Şeyh Dede pocket watch elliptical fob (sash) watch calender is one of the finest of its type, 18th century Turkish clocks were influenced by English time-pieces in form, as we see in the work of the master craftsmen Zihni, Edirneli Ibrahim and Osman. The collection also possesses the only signed Zemberekcioglu clock from that century.

Ahmet Eflaki Dede was sent to Paris by the court in the 19th century to learn new skills in clockmaking. We have only one of his clocks in the collection, but there are a number of time-pieces made by his student followers Mehmed Şükrü, Hüseyin Hakki and Süleyman Leziz, who were among the leading craftsmen of their time.

Skeleton clocks are in the majority among the Turkish 19th century time- pieces, while Ismet Usta, who worked at the court of Sultan Abdulhamid I, produced pedestal clocks of the English type. The jointly-made walnut consol (bracket) clock dating to the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid II is a fine example of the woodwork and inlay of the period.

German Watches and Clocks

The oldest German time-piece in the collection is a pendant watch dating to the 16th century. The collection also boasts a Renaissance wall clock, roughly contemporary, which was made in one of the southern European cities. The musical organ chime bracket clock in the imperial hall is an 18th century time-piece made mid-century by Kintzing at Neuwied. Two other time-pieces of German origin are a wall clock and regulator and a pocket watch presented to sultan Sultan Abdulhamid II by the Emperor Wilhelm II. The latest piece in the collection is a Black Forest wall clock.

Austrian clocks

The collection contains a number of clocks dating from the 18th century onwards, although it is known that the Emperor Rudolph II sent an automatic movement time-piece to the palace during the reign of Sultan Murad III. The earliest existing piece, however, dates from about 1720, a table clock with gold encrusted case made by Joseph Dershinger. 19th century pieces include a miniature table clock encased in encrusted silver, made in Vienna, and a carriage clock inscribed Andreas Hochenadel, also from Vienna. Two other interesting pieces are a musical table clock and a laterna chime Kurz waIl clock, also from Austria.

English Clocks and Watches

English time-pieces constitute the largest part of the collection. The earliest dates from the 17th century, although we know that English clocks reached the court during the 16th century, the first being sent by Queen Elizabeth I in 1583. The earliest piece to survive is a tulip-shaped fob watch signed Bird. Pendulum clocks signed J.Forrest and W. Jourdain also date from the 17th century.

During the 18th century, some English clock-makers produced musical watches and clocks with tortoise shell cases and Ottoman Turkish (Arabic) numerals, among them are Markwich- Markham, Perigal, Borrell, Storey and Recordon. The collection contains pocket and fob (sash) watches, carriage, table and long case clocks bearing their signature.

One of the most notable is a colossal long case organ musical and chiming clock in an inlayed case (inlayed with mother-of- pearl). Two Markwich-Markham Borrel musical pedestal clocks (a pair) are among the most striking pieces in the collection, their cases inlayed with silver and encrusted with precious stones. Among the 19th century clocks in the collection are some made by the sons of those master craftsmen.

French Watches and Clocks

French time-pieces were imported to the Ottoman court from the time of Süleyman I onwards, although the earliest piece in the collection dates from the 17th century and is a fob watch signed De Baufre, made in Paris and dated 1675. Pocket and fob watches by Jullian Le Roy, dated to the 18th century with enamel inlay and encrusted cases are particularly interesting. Neuchatel organ musical and chiming pedestal clocks made for the Ottoman court after the 18th century are also of interest.

A whole case is devoted to the display of Breguet pocket watches, made in Geneva, the cases of which are encrusted and enamelled and bear painted views of the Bosphorus. The collection also boasts one of the seven pendule sympathique clocks made by Breguet for the palaces of Europe. This particular clock was presented to Sultan Mahmud II by Napoleon, and is encased in an encrusted case bearing scenes of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. Also in the collection is a group of neo-gothic table clocks.

Russian clocks
The most notable of the Russian clocks in the collection is the griffon shaped table clock signed Faberge, a present from the Czar Nicholas II to Sultan Abdülhamid II in 1901.

Swiss Clocks and Watches
These date from the 19th century onwards, when Swiss time-pieces began to supercede English clocks and watches. The collection baoasts pocket watches made for the palace, at Chaux de -Fonds by the Courvoisier Freres and Courvoisier et- Cie. Among them are two bearing the portraits of Sultan Abdülaziz I and Sultan Abdülmecid on the cases.

There are also a number of enamelled watches from Geneva and a pair of musical cage clocks made by Pierre I. Droz and son (H.L.Droz) at La Chaux de Fonds. Two curious time-pieces in the form of a pistol and spectacles made by the Rochat brothers at Geneva are also to be found in the collection.


WEB SITE : Topkapı Palace Museum Directorate

E-Mail :
Phone : +90 212 512 0480
Fax : +90 212 526 9840

These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2017, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.