• The Concept of Palace in the Ottomans
  • The Concept of Palace in the Ottomans
  • The Concept of Palace in the Ottomans
  • The Concept of Palace in the Ottomans
  • The Concept of Palace in the Ottomans
  • The Concept of Palace in the Ottomans
  • The Concept of Palace in the Ottomans
  • The Concept of Palace in the Ottomans
  • The Concept of Palace in the Ottomans

The 19th century of the palace, which was in a way the residence and office of the head of state, is less well known than the 16th and 17th centuries. Especially, it is not possible to compare the studies on the Ottoman Palace with its contemporary Russian Palace; It is not possible..

The Concept of Palace in the Ottomans
İlber Ortaylı
The sultan and the palace are at the head of the Ottoman central government and state. As the residence and place of duty of the head of state, the palace was also the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire.
The 19th century of the palace, which was in a way the residence and office of the head of state, is less well known than the 16th and 17th centuries. Especially, it is not possible to compare the studies on the Ottoman Palace with its contemporary Russian Palace; It is not possible to compare it with the monographs and information about the Byzantine Palace in the past centuries.
Topkapi Palace is located in the center of the Ottoman administrative district in Istanbul. Fatih Sultan Mehmed Han puts an end to the Eastern Roman Empire with the Conquest of Istanbul. Here, the concept of Byzantium should also be emphasized, because the empire called Byzantium is actually the Eastern Roman Empire. The people of that empire never used the name Byzantium. Byzantium is a name used by the German scholar Hieronimus Wolff in the 16th century. Calling the empire Byzantium, this city Byzantium, and the people of this country Byzantines is the 16th century Western European ascription. Behind it lies the political mission of legitimizing the Holy Roman-Germanic Empire.
The Concept of Palace in the Ottomans
After the conquest, Fatih Sultan Mehmed Han had a palace built in Beyazıt where the Istanbul University is located today. It is known that the border of this palace is quite wide and the Süleymaniye Mosque is located in this area. This first palace was called "Old Palace" and Topkapi was called "New Palace (Saray-ı Cedid)".
Police station located within the grounds of the palace
The Concept of Palace in the Ottomans
Fatih first had the Tiled Kiosk and then the Topkapi Palace built, and it was passed to the Topkapi Palace. The name given to the New Palace by Fatih is Saray-ı Cedid. Apart from this, the palace also took names such as Saray-ı Amire, Südde-i Saadet, Der-i Devlet. The name Topkapı was given to the palace much later. What is strange is that; From the 19th century, the palace was named after a seaside palace that does not exist today. A large wooden seaside palace was built by Sultan Mahmud I near the Byzantine walls and the salute balls in front of this seaside palace were relatively called "Topkapusu Beach Palace". The name of the coastal palace, which was completely destroyed in a fire, was given to the palace.
Topkapi is the home and largest palace of our former empire, with its modest but magnificent structure, pleasant gardens and unique location, and the richness of its treasures and archives.
The Concept of Palace in the Ottomans
Topkapı is both an administrative campus and a sultan's house for the Ottomans. In this respect, Topkapı is both a residence and a place of duty for a sultan.
Traces of Byzantium in the Palace
The area where the palace is located is also the administrative center of the former Byzantine Empire, and Topkapı was built on the former Byzantine Palace. It is known that the stones and columns remaining from the Byzantine Palace were used in the construction of the palace. Today, the water cistern from the Byzantine Palace on the road to Babü's Saade in Topkapı is still present and under protection.
Giant column capitals in the kitchen section of the palace are the column capitals of the obelisk bearing the Yustinianus monument, which was previously in front of Hagia Sophia.
The Baptismal Pool in the Tulip Garden is one of the Byzantine works of the palace. All these are good examples of the fact that the Ottomans did not have any historical heritage obsession, which contains important messages against some of the excesses seen in today's society. This respect for the legacy that preceded it is also evidence of owning a great heritage of civilization and humanity.
The Concept of Palace in the Ottomans
This interesting palace is the most original monarch house on earth. In my opinion, it is the most beautiful palace in the world in terms of both its location and the works it contains. As such, it is unacceptable to compare Topkapı with other palaces.
Topkapı Palace is also one of the monuments representing the imperial bureaucracy. It is modest but striking and above all very beautiful. It was built in the most beautiful corner of the most beautiful city in the world. It is magnificent when viewed from the sea. The aim is to bring together both magnificence and modesty.
Topkapi and Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia, which could not be built for centuries, is the most important mosque of the city, the symbol of the conquest. Until then, it is the biggest, brightest and most famous temple on earth. Fatih could have renamed it “Fethiye Mosque” if he wanted to; However, due to the Ottoman respect for the heritage of humanity, neither the name of the mosque nor its main structure were changed.
The Concept of Palace in the Ottomans
The Concept of Palace in the Ottomans
The private garden of the palace, Gulhane
If Hagia Sophia has been preserved until today, it owes this to the fact that it was the first mosque in the protocol of the entire empire, even the entire Islamic world, by the Ottomans.
Most of the rulers used to perform Friday prayers and tarawih prayers in this mosque. It is quite natural that a palace built at that time was close to here. However, it should not be forgotten that the Ottomans erected a monument of elegance like the Blue Mosque in front of Hagia Sophia.
The Concept of Palace in the Ottomans
The palace is located at the most beautiful point in the world, at the tip we call "Sarayburnu". It can be seen from all parts of the city and - once - dominates all parts of the city. Today, unaware of our historical and cultural heritage, and built as if to ax this heritage, ugly multi-storey buildings prevent the palace from being seen from many parts of the city and also overshadow the view seen from Topkapı Palace. 
While the place where Mimar Sinan built Süleymaniye was unsuitable for the construction of a mosque, Mimar Sinan kept the foundations for a long time in order to create a magnificent silhouette when viewed from the Golden Horn and built Süleymaniye to its current location. Today, this sensitivity is almost non-existent.
Construction of the Palace
The palace was not built and finished at once, it was formed with additions made from time to time. Especially during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, with the expansion of the state, the increase in the number of palace servants necessitated the construction of new buildings.
The Concept of Palace in the Ottomans
Sultan III. Murad and Sultan IV. During the reigns of Mehmed, new additions were made to the buildings built by Fatih. Despite this, the additions made in the palace almost complement each other. When viewed in general, it is clear that the palace, which forms a unity with Sultanahmet and Hagia Sophia, adds a great richness to the view here. It is possible to see this in pictures taken from the sea today.
The last addition to the palace is the Mecidiye Mansion, which was built during the reign of Sultan Abdülmecid. Not all buildings built in Topkapı have survived to the present day. Some of them were destroyed over time, while others were burned.
Location of the Palace
The place where the palace is located is also close to the Hippodrome and the Horse Square. The fact that this largest palace in Turkish history was established in Istanbul, in the most popular place of the city, is also proof of the prudence of the great sultan Fatih.
The Concept of Palace in the Ottomans
Generally, the mansions of the managers are also located here. For example, the mansion of Sokullu, one of the unforgettable grand viziers, is at the location where the current Blue Mosque is located. Opposite it is the palace of Grand Vizier Maktul (or Makbul) İbrahim Pasha, which is today the Museum of Turkish-Islamic Works.
The view of Sarayburnu from the Galata Tower in the 1890s
The Concept of Palace in the Ottomans
A feature that should be emphasized is that, as in all traditional cities, there were no fixed buildings in Istanbul where the state offices were institutionalized until the 19th century. Except for the palace, the Grand Vizier's Office (Bâb-ı Âli) and the Bâb-ı Meşihat (Süleymaniye), there were no prominent government offices in this region until the 19th century. 
Even the mayor of the city and the judge of Istanbul, who performed the highest judicial duties, used the private residence as a chamber of office and court wherever he was. The Kaptanpaşa office in Kasımpaşa, Ağakapısı in Süleymaniye and the building that is the Bâb-ı Meşihat (shayk al-Islam) are exceptions to this. Kaptanpaşa is located in the district of the navy, while the janissary agha is located in the city center due to his security duty.
The Concept of Palace in the Ottomans
Glory and Modesty
We can say "empire" for the Ottoman, but we prefer to say "state". Because there is a mysticism in the word of the state. Accordingly, it can be said that the religion factor has an undeniable effect on the understanding of the administrative center of such a state. With this aspect, Topkapı Palace is an important example that shows the magnificence and modesty, the understanding of religion and the world understanding together in the Ottoman Empire.
As a Muslim ruler and caliph, the sultan is the leader of all Muslims in the world, and this needs to be demonstrated. 
In this respect, the palace is also the seat of the caliph of the Muslims.
The palace hosts important works not only for Muslims but also for Christians. Like the relics of some prophets. As a matter of fact, the bones of John the Baptist inherited from Byzantium are also from this sentence.
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Topkapi Palace welcomes more than ten thousand visitors on average every day and the number of visitors is increasing day by day. Although this situation is pleasing from the point of view of interest in history, a limitation should be introduced in the future so that the palace does not wear out and is handed over to future generations.
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