Cultural authorities in Istanbul are reaping the fruits of their labors to improve Topkapı Palace, as 3.4 million people came to visit the former imperial palace last year, according to numbers from the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
The museum’s seraglio (harem) section, which is located inside the museum but visited with a different ticket, drew 1,030,491 people. In 2012, 3.3 million people visited the palace, while another 800,000 people visited the seraglio.
As part of improvement works, the seraglio and 10 pools in the palace’s garden were made usable while the Karaağalar and Kadınlar prayer rooms, which had been used as storage, were restored in accordance with their original designs.
The historic Gülhane (rose garden) was also reconstructed in Topkapı Palace. Around 40,000 roses were planted in the historic Gülhane, which is separate from the park of the same name below Topkapı Palace.
Also, half a million hyacinths and tulips were planted in the museum, and special hyacinth and tulip gardens were opened. With the contributions of Isparta-Güneykent Municipality, the Isparta scented rose garden was also opened.
The gendarmerie team which protects theTopkapı Palace serve with a novel service concept with the scope of the recent works. Soldiers forming part of a new horse rider team serve in the palace wearing historical dress.
The military Janissary Band concerts, which are organized outside the palace from time to time, perform every Wednesday at 11 a.m. in the Divan Avlusu.
The Merkez Yazma Eserler Kütüphanesi (Manuscripts Library) at the palace was also reopened after seven years, while many of the materials were also digitized and put online.
Other works in the palace
The restoration of the Imperial Hall, which is the private meeting area in the seraglio, has been completed. Also, the Zülüflü Baltacılar Ocağı (Dormitories of the Halberdiers with Tresses) was reorganized as a historic military post and will open soon.
All the gravure and drawing collections of the palace, including the map of Piri Reis, were put on display and their catalogues were printed.
Many new applications were put into practice in the Topkapı Palace Museum, too. The tradition of reading the Miraciye (Prophet Muhammed’s ascent to heaven) began in the palace on the night of Miraj.
It is similar to to the tradition of reading the Mevlit (Islamic memorial service) on the holy night, which marks the birth of Prophet Mohammed.
The conference hall, Enderun School (a special school in the Ottoman times) and seraglio of the palace will only host museum concerts and conferences.