One of my favorite spots in Istanbul was Topkapi Palace. I loved all of the beautiful tiles decorating almost every room. It is one of the reasons why I wasn’t impressed by the Taj Mahal when I was there this February. Yeah, I said it. I was underwhelmed by the Taj.
If you follow my advice in my Istanbul: The Basics post, then you can avoid this massive ticket line pictured below. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that the museum pass would save me this headache (I waited over an hour).
The thing about Istanbul is that it is super crowded. When I was there, I was having flashbacks to when I lived in NYC. In addition to the millions of people who live there, there seems to be a ton of tourists as well. Unfortunately, the palace was quite crowded when I was there and this did diminish some of the pleasure of being there.
Note for Women: you do not have to dress modestly to visit Topkapi Palace (as you can see from what I was wearing in the pictures below). There is only one room at the palace, which holds artifacts having to do with Mohammed, in which you cannot enter unless you are covered. I put on my long sleeve shirt and pulled my dress down in order to enter (it must cover your knees), but there wasn’t actually anything impressive in there, so I wouldn’t bother.
The Grounds: The grounds at Topkapi are lovely, with many beautiful flowers throughout the compound. There are also gorgeous views of the waterfront. The weather was great when I visited, but also incredibly hot, so I look shiny (aka sweaty) in some of the pictures.
Restaurant: The picture to the right shows the restaurant on the premises. The prices were insane, though, so I would not recommend eating inside.
Tiled Walls: Almost everywhere you go in the palace you will see the amazing tile-work, mostly in blue. Some of the pictures I took have a color effect where only the blue is selected and the rest is black and white.
If you ignore my advice and do not get the museum pass, you will have to pay extra to enter the Haram section of the palace. However, it is definitely worth a visit. Do not skip the harem! It is the part of the palace which has some of the most impressive tiled walls and ceilings in the entire palace.
Of course I took a million more pictures while I was there, but I won’t post them because I don’t want to spoil the amazement for you.