Orientation week – Trip to Topkapi Palace

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As part of the formal Orientation, today they took us to the Historic Peninsula (basically Topkapi Palace and Covered Bazaar). The buses left Koc around 10.00 and by the time we arrived at Sultanahmet it was almost time for lunch. Before we headed over to the Topkapi palace, lunch came in the form of sandwiches from Sultanahmet Koftecisi and Ayran (Turkish salty yogurt drink). We had lunch spread across the steps and the sidewalks right across from the German Fountain a gift from the German Kaiser Wilhelm II. which stands in the middle of what used to be the Hippodrome of Constantinople.

After lunch we walked over to the Topkapi Palace. Sultanahmet Meydani is the heart of the historic peninsula and it used to be the heart of the capital of the Roman empire, Constantinople. It is the home of the Hagia Sophia, Hagia Eirene, Topkapi Palace, the Archaeology Museum, Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, the Basillica Cistern and the Blue Mosque just to name a few of its attractions. the Hagia Sophia is right next to the Topkapi Palace and the Hagia Eirene is inside the Topkapi Palace grounds.

It was a beautiful day and there was so much to see. I loved the armory (I never thought I would say this but it is beautiful )they have newly renovated. Just walking around trying to conjure the Ottomans strolling the gardens, the Sultan watching the proceedings of the Council of State from his hidden latticed window up above the Assembly Room, the most beautiful ladies in the world lounging on their couches in the different pavilions in the Harem section is fantastic enough without even seeing the individual treasures in all the different sections.

There was an exhibit however, I found very interesting. It was in the area which used to be the stables of the palace – the Sultan’s treasures- consisting of the personal items used by the Sultans and his family. Exquisite sums it up nicely, I think.

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