Soul of the Garden

Images of Turkey

 Istanbul - The Topkapi Palace Complex

The exterior gates of the Topkapi Palace complex.

The Topkapi Palace was built by the Ottomans on the site of the original Greek acropolis of Byzantium. For those with historical imagination, when you stand on one of the palace balconies overlooking the Bosphorus, it is easy to imagine the Greek colonists who first settled this spot nearly three thousand years ago...  when thy climbed up onto this promontory they must have recognized what a great and strategic location this was. When the Ottomans took the city, they too recognized that this high ground over looking both the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus was the logical heart of the city and chose this spot for their new imperial palce. Eventually, the Topkapi became much more that the residence of the Sultans, it was part treasury, mint, palace, government headquarters, and more. Today, the palace is a museum and contains many revered religious and imperial treasures. The grounds are lovely with great swaths of roses and allees of sycamores bringing green relief to the heart of the city. The oldest church in the city, St. Eirene, is inside the palace walls, as are a variety of museums including the great archeologial museum which is a must-visit sight. Whenever I visited the grounds, I found them filled with people enjoying the sea breezes and seeing their history on display.


The main tower of the palace which can be seen from afar with beautiful gilding under the eaves.


One of the interior courtyards of the palace.


The palace grounds.


A beautiful door with Arabic inscription.


The dome of one of the private chambers.


Roses everyehere,


Enjoying one of the park spaces.


More roses.


The view from one of the balconies overlooking the spot where the Golden Horn and Bosphorus join. The walls below protected the palace - some parts of the walls go back 2,500 years.


Outside of the archeology museum there are gardens filled with relics - these seemed to be waiting patiently for their pedestals.


Cats are welcomed nearly everywhere in Turkey and they always seem well cared for.


A classical pose


Dinner time.




In the gardens outside of the archeology museum - lovely! One of my favorite spots in the city.




An angel's wing.


Faces from the past...


Enjoying the roses.


Gary Greenblum and Sandi Aitkin two of the Austinites who shared this beautiful adventure with me.


Facade of St Eirene.

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