Istanbul's Palaces


Topkapi was the first Ottoman palace to be built (1466-1478) in the newly conquered capital of the Empire. Located on the spot where the foundations of the city were first laid in ancient times by Megarian Chief Byzant in seventh century BC, the palace boasts one of the most beautiful views of Istanbul, incorporating the Bosphorus, the two shores and the sea of Marmara. Unlike the European palaces, Topkapi is not a single monumental structure but a more organic complex made up of various kiosks, gardens and areas spread over the tip of the historical peninsula at the entry of the Golden Horn. It was turned into a museum in 1924 and has become one of the most attractive palace-museums in the world.

There are appealing eating and resting facilities for visitors on the palace grounds. Open daily between 9:30-5:00 p.m. except Tuesdays.
Tel: (212) 512 04 80


Dolmabahce was built in 1853 in the rapidly growing northern section of the city, at the Marmara outlet of the Bosphorus, to replace the Besiktas Palace which was pulled down for the purpose. It housed Sultans and their entourages before the Republic, and it was then used by Ataturk during his visits to Istanbul. Ataturk died here on the 10th of November, 1938. The palace now serves as a museum and as a guest-house for foreign statesmen.

Open daily between 9:00-4:00 p.m.
Tel: (212) 258 54 44


Yildiz, one of the last residences of the Ottoman sultans, was completed by Abdul Hamit II at the end of the 19th century. The Sale, the largest and most exquisite of the buildings, reveals the luxury in which the sultans lived and entertained. Set in a very large park of flowers, plants and trees gathered from every part of the world, the palace grounds offer one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the Bosphorus.

Open daily between 8:30-5:00 p.m.
Tel: (212) 276 10 22


Beylerbeyi was initially the residence of the Governor General in charge of Anatolia, but was rebuilt in the style of Dolmabahce and Ciragan as a royal palace in the 19th century.

Open daily between 9:00-5:00 p.m. except Mondays and Thursdays
Tel: (216) 321 93 20

Ihlamur Kasri

Lovely imperial rest house built in the midst of Linden trees, where you can have a cup of coffee, or as the Turkish word ihlamur implies, a cup of Linden tea.

Open daily between 9:00-5:00 p.m. except Mondays and Thursdays
Tel: (212) 261 29 91

Maslak Kasri

The Sultans's hunting lodge. One pavilion of the palace now serves as a cafeteria.

Open daily between 9:00-5:00 p.m. except Mondays and Thursdays.
Tel: (212) 276 10 22