After breakfast headed out to the seraglio point area with the Topkapi palace as the destination. Arrived just after opening, I was told to get there as soon as possible due to the late crowds that this place attracts. Was a short line up for ticket and once inside I paid the extra to get an audio guide. The audio guide was a bit pointless as all it really did was read out the same thing that was written in the signs anyway and there was so many little groups and tour inside the palace that you could just turn your ear and hear what they were saying about the item/ building anyway.
The palace was built in 1459 to 1465 but each sultan adds there own little building and renovations. It is a very large complex with over 5000 inhabitants. There was large kitchens and workshops on the right when you entered and then straight ahead through the gate of Felecity. Walked Through the throne room which was used as a reception centre when meeting foreign diplomats. The room was very opulent ( as was everything really in the palace) to show the power of the sultan and the room was also redone with new rugs and curtain and colour for each meeting. The library and school were interesting to learn that eduction was valued above many things in the empire and if a boy showed promise at the school then they were trained for consult roles despite there families status. The women of the harem where also educated and towards the empire had become a powerful group with much influence over palace. Walked through some of the outer pavilions including the one used for circumcision. All were highly decorative with walls covered in the painted tiles and carvings. Walked around to the treasury exhibition. There was probably a 30 to 40 m queue of people waiting to go inside to look. Once inside it was very busy with people but the items on display were priceless. It is hard to describe how large and flawless the jewels were. No picture were allowed to be taken inside. There was a pair of candle sticks close to 6 feet all and weighing over 50kg made from close to solid gold. Jugs and vases craved from a solid piece of rock Crystal and then encrusted with rubies and emerald. Some of the head pieces and broaches had emerald the size of a fist. And each sultan had there own throne made, each one was more elaborate then the previous rulers. The pearl inlay and tiger skin with hundreds of diamonds and precious stone inlayed in them.... They were something Elsa to see.
Look in the clothing exhibition but it was a few kaftans and they must have been short people because the kaftan looked like they would fit a person no taller then 5 foot. The western style life was introduced in the mid to late 1800 when one of the sultans travelled through Europe. This was seen in the change to pants and jacket but also the style of portrait painting changed in the galley.
Brought the extra to ticket into the Harem. It was definitely worth it. The tourist entrance is in the same place it was always via the black Eunchs courtyard. Walked through the apartment of the sultans mother. This was a large residence with a private bath and multiple stories and rooms. The courtyard for the sultans sons and twin rooms. Not sure where the other children lived, I guess they were just with there mother but the sons of the favorite got to live in the one prince rooms. Onto the sultans bedroom and private library and viewing deck.
The courtyard surrounded with a dozen or so rooms for the favorites. There were many girls that never got mead the sultan so just lived out there days serving other women. The whole place was covered with beautiful tiles, both marble and wooden cravings and the shelves and wardboards that are covered with wood inlayed with mother of pearl.
It was time leave as the crowds were starting to get oppressive and I had been there for getting close to 4 hours. Walked back throughout the first or outer courtyard of the palace seeing the outside of the mint, the partial ruins of the haghia eirene and exiting via the imperial gate. Had a quick walk around the Ahmet 3rd fountain and walked down the sogukcesme sok street which is lined with beautiful old wooden home. Got in the way of a tv film crew as I was too busy looking around to the side and up and not infront. Walked back to the hotel for a lunch break before heading out toward the spice market and surrounds. Wondered around the shops in and out and of the smaller side alleys. Came across some very delicious Turkish delight. Was the market has seeping lots of spices and teas so not really something I can buy as I can't make use of it. Back at the hotel read through the guide books to have a look at what there around to see in the same areas and think about how to make the most of the next week and a bit. It started raining so was a good time for a break also.
Headed out a drink with a couple of people from the intrepid tour and then a dinner which was super quick. They have the food already prepared and in a buffet in the window and you just stand there while the guy serves it onto a plate that is carried to your table instantly. Super fast service. Great if you are hungry, let's just hope the food is hot enough and I dont get sick from it.
After dinner walked out to try and get some night shots of the blue mosque. Am going to look into a new camera I think. Wasn't able to take very good pictures at all. The pictures taken at night or inside just always look grainy. Its annoying. Walked back to the hotel and luckily it had stopped raining.