Footsteps of Sultans – Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

Topkapi Palace  Istanbul

Our time in the iconic city of Istanbul was limited to two days. We were on a cruise of the Mediterranean and the adventure was like speed dating with the great capitals of classicism. At the end of the first day, just before its gates closed shut for the day, we scurried into the massive Topkapi Palace complex.

We would have had more time, but we first had to fend off dozens of rug merchants along the way, each attempting to lure us in with mint tea and the promise of a great deal. Finally we paid the admission fees and slinked away into the gardens and courtyards of Topkapi. All at once the frenzy of the city was forgotten, we had stepped into paradise.

Topkapi flowers

Topkapi served as the capital of the Ottoman Empire and home to its Sultans for more than four centuries. Vestiges of this Imperial past can be seen throughout the complex from ornate doors to relics in the museum belonging to the Prophet Mohammad.

Since it was nearly closing time, we rushed about the Palace, glancing through Treasuries and small Museums, more interested in the intricate design and architecture than anything else. My moment of Zen was standing in a patio overlooking the Bosporus. It was gorgeous, gazing out across the intersection of continents and cultures and imagining the people who stood there before me. Throughout Istanbul, but especially at Topkapi, the city’s rich history is palpable.

Topkapi View

Prompted by the crowds strolling to the gates like lemmings, we left with hesitation, not wanting to leave the calm, peaceful world of the palace complex behind. It may have been at that moment when I fell in love with this great quirky city.

Topkapi Palace Istanbul

Topkapi Palace Istanbul

Topkapi Palace Istanbul

Topkapi Palace Istanbul

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Tags: , , ,

Subscribe and get my free ebook!

Subscribe to the LandLopers newsletter and get a free copy of my new book, "My Favorite 50 Travel Photos."

By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Also follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and

8 Responses

  1. Nicole

    We’re headed to Istanbul in November, and these lovely pictures are making me excited! Amazing!

    • Matt Long

      It’s a great city, we hope to return soon! Have fun on your trip

  2. Debbie Beardsley

    Turkey is very intriguing to me and a place that is high on my list! The flowers were beautiful as were all the other pictures. Thank you for sharing you experience, it made me want to go even more.

  3. Jojo Jambul

    Hi Matt, i like reading and watching those picture about Topkapi Palace

  4. nithya (Life Out of a Suitcase)

    I loved Topkapi Palace when I visited in 2007 and the view spectacular! Hope you enjoyed the city, even if it was only 2 days.

  5. Liv

    Two days is nowhere near enough to explore Istanbul properly Matt – you have to go again! Topkapi is magnificent. Well done for getting through all the carpet vendors!

  6. Andrew Darwitan

    I found this place way too crowded for my liking (maybe I went at the wrong time). And I’m just not a huge fan of treasures & jewelries so Topkapi Palace didn’t do much for me. I still prefer the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.


Leave a Comment