Third Court:

     The third gate is called the "Babussade" (Gate of Felicity) or the "Akagalar" (White Eunuchs) Gate. This is the place where the Imperial Throne was displayed for all kinds of occasions like religious holidays, court ceremonies such as a new Sultan's accession, allegiance, funerals, public audiences and welcoming foreign ambassadors. It was also here where the councils were held to discuss the demands of Yeniceri (janissary) soldiers when they were simmering into rebellion.

     The special ceremony called Handing over the "sancak" (the imperial pennant), where the Sultan gives the pennant to the army commander  when he set out on campaign was also taking place in front of this gate.

     This gate takes us to the third court, the private inner areas of the palace called "Enderun" (the privacy court). Only the Sultan was to pass through this gate on Horse and some favoured statesmen could enter on foot.

Military Band Show at Topkapi Sarayi


Throne Room exterior
(Click picture to enlarge)

Kaftan of Murat IV

The map of Piri Reis
This map, drown by the Turkish geographer Piri Reis is the oldest known map that includes the continent of America.

The golden dome of the Holy Relics (Click picture to enlarge)

Entrance door of the Sacred Relics Chambers
Decorated with mother-of-pearl. (click pic. to enlarge)

     As you enter the third court, you'll first see the Throne Room. The building dates from the reign of Mehmet II, although the door and decorations date to the 19 century. The building was used mainly for imperial audiences to viziers and foreign envoys. The Grand Vizier and the members of Divan were also  coming here to present their resolutions to the Sultan for ratification.

    On the right of the court is a section called "Serefli Kogusu" in which sultan's costumes are displayed. Next to this is the treasury section where many precious objects are displayed. Among these objects, is the Topkapi Hanceri (the Topkapi Dagger).  A beautiful dagger ornamented with valuable emerald pieces was planned to be sent to Nadir Shah of Iran as a present, but when it was on the way it was heard that Nadir had been assassinated and so it was taken back to the palace treasury. Relics including a hand, arm and skull bones belonging to John the Baptist are also on display in the this section.


The Topkapi dagger, 1746.

     Behind the Throne Room is the elegant library of Ahmet III - "Enderun Kütüphanesi" built in the early 18th century. It is the largest and finest library in the palace.

   The buildings on the southwest corner of this court housed the Imperial Enderun, an institution where young boys from Christian families were trained for administrative posts in various state departments. It  was the Enderun school, "Has Oda" where the most talented young children were educated. Today, a superb collection of calligraphy is on display in this room. Among these is the Map of Piri Reis, a Turkish geographer and a renowned cartographer of the 16th century. He drew the oldest map of America in existence. Piri Reis was also a pirate and admiral who left his mark on Ottoman naval history.

     One of the buildings opposite to the third gate houses a large number of miniatures. Turks had the tradition to illustrate manuscripts during the cultural periods before Islamic belief. The oldest illustrated documents on paper among Turkish tribes, are from the period of Akhuns. These documents dating from 717-719 are in Turkish, Chinese and Arabic and they belong to a Turkish emir who battled with Moslem armies in Pencikent near Samarkand. This prince was taken prisoner, and his palace was ruined 722. The wall drawings are the most important part of Turkish cultural treasures. Von le Coq who has researched Central Asian Turkish culture writes: "Turks have scattered all of their written cultural products in the dusty roads of steppes and deserts while migrating to the west."

      Again in the third court in Topkapi, is The Chambers of the Sacred Relics where personal belongings of the Prophet Mohammed (a mantle, sword, seal, tooth, beard and footprints) and Caliphs, religious books, framed inscriptions and Koran scripts are on display. All these were brought to Istanbul when the Ottomans assumed the caliphate of Islam.

      The collection of Korans in Topkapi Palace Museum are the richest to be found anywhere in the world. It includes texts of the Koran inscribed between the 7th - 19th centuries in Arabia, œran, India, Maghrib (North Africa) and in the lands dominated by the Seljuks and Ottomans. Almost all have been prepared by famous calligraphers, gilded by master gilders, and bound by the most capable bookbinders of the times. The 1600 or more Korans found in the first volume of the Arabic catalogue are preserved in the Palace Library as rare books. Among these are seven believed to be inscribed by caliph Osman (RA), nine accredited to caliph Ali (RA), two ascribed to Hasan and Hussein (RA) as well as many translations. There are twenty-one Turkish translations, thirty-nine Farsi translations, twenty-one Chagatay translations and one Uygur translation.

     Further to the left is the vaulted mosque of the white eunuchs "Akagalar Mosque" which has been restored and now  called Topkapi Museums Library, it houses many books and manuscripts collected from all parts of the palace. Other buildings in this courtyard include very precious pieces of clocks, Treasury of the Sword-bearer (Silahtaragası), portraits of sultans, a pavilion in the time of Mehmet II and the remains of a bathhouse dating from the reign of Selim II.

The Throne of Ahmed  I

The Throne Room (click on the picture to enlarge)

The Has Oda (click on the picture to enlarge)

Turkish art of miniatures

Interior view of Sacred Relics Chamber (click pic. to enlarge)


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