Parts of Topkapi Palace:
Third Courtyard

Topkapi Palace has four courtyards. As we are getting deeper the courtyards are getting more private. This is the third courtyard named as Enderun Courtyard.

It was Sultan's private domain where the sultan spent his days.

Entry to the Third Courtyard was strictly regulated and it was off-limits to outsiders. Enderun Courtyard (Enderun Avlusu) is surrounded by the buildings for the needs of the Sultans, the dormitories for the Enderun students and teachers, a mosque, a Turkish bath etc.

The courtyard is 100 metres in width and 90 metres in length.

It is a nicely landscaped garden surrounded by the Hall of the Privy Chamber (Has Oda) used by the palace officials, the treasury containing the most important treasures of the Ottoman age, the Harem and some pavillions.

The library of Sultan Ahmed III is in the center of the Enderun Courtyard.

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Here is a list of these buildings:

1. Gate of Felicity (Bab-us Saade)

2. Throne Room or Audience Chamber (Arz Odasi)

3. Library of Sultan Ahmed III

4. Agalar Mosque

5. Dormitory of the Royal Pages (Hasodali Kogusu)

6. Inner Treasury or Fatih Pavillon (Hazine or Fatih Kosku)

7. Treasurers’ Quarters (Hazine Kogusu)

8. Cellar Quarters (Kilerli Kogusu)

9. Pavillon of the Holy Mantle (Hirka-i Saadet Dairesi)

10. Dormitory of the Campaign Pages (Seferli Kogusu)


Topkapi Palace, Third Courtyard Plan


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And detailed info about these buildings:

1. Gate of Felicity (Bab-us Saade)

This gate was called the Gate of Felicity because it led to the Inner Palace, the House of Felicity. It is more like a portico with a high wooden roof and a small dome on it.

This gate has divided the administrative parts and the private parts of Topkapı Palace.

It was an important ceremonial place. For 400 years, ascension ceremonies took place in front of this gate, in the second courtyard.

The Sultan received well-wishers here and the soldiers of the army paid respects to their Sultan here, before going out for a campaign.

Gate of Felicity (Bab-üs Saade), becomes an important scene for the performance of Mozart's “Abduction From the Seraglio” every year, as a part of the International Istanbul Music Festival.


Where exactly?

The third gate is at the North end of the second courtyard

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2. Throne Room or Audience Chamber (Arz Odasi)

This is a small building with an overhanging roof supported by antique marble columns.

Arz Odası (Throne Room) is where the Sultan received his viziers after the Divan meetings (Imperial Council) to hear about their report of the Divan meeting.

And also it was the place where the Sultan received ambassadors of foreign powers upon their arrival and departure, until the Sublime Porte took on this role in 1755.

Magnificent reception ceremonies took place under this roof. The receptions of the Topkapi Palace inspired lots of paintings, decorating the walls of the European palaces.


Where exactly?

It is where the gateway leads us, just next to the Gate of Felicity and acting as a visual barrier to the private quarters.

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3. Library of Sultan Ahmed III

This elegant building dates back to 1719 and is covered with Proconessian marble.It is consisted of three domed areas. The stained glass on the windows are as old as the building.

The interior decoration, with the sedir (low platform of seating, a typical element of Ottoman design), the carpets (nearly 500 years old) and the feeling of the space with high domes, is a must-see.

This library served the students in the palace school (Enderun) whose various branches were housed around the third courtyard.

It houses a very rich collection of antique books today. The bookcases are inlaid with ivory and reaching a number of 6,000 volumes of Arabic and Greek manuscripts.


Where exactly?

It is the first building you will see slightly on the left of the Throne Room (Arz Odasi).

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4. Agalar Mosque

It takes its name from the highest ranking white eunuchs who were in charge of various branches of the Palace School (Enderun). And it dates back to the 15th century.

Today the building serves as a library housing the book collection of the Topkapi Palace.


Where exactly?

It is at the left corner of the coutyard, on the left of the Library of Sultan Ahmed III.

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5. Dormitory of the Royal Pages (Seferliler Kogusu)

It has a domed portico supported by a row of Byzantine columns.

It houses the Imperial Wardrobe of the Topkapi Palace, a collection of imperial costumes for the Sultans. Only a few costumes are on display.

The displayed silk, brocade, and gold-threaded clothing is a small portion of the collection There's a 550 years old red and gold silk kaftan worn by Sultan Mehmet II, the Conquerer which is in very good shape, despite the years passed.


Where exactly?

It is the first building at the east of the courtyard, on the right of the Throne Room (Arz Odasi).

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6. Inner Treasury (Fatih Pavillon) (Hazine / Fatih Kosku) chambers

It is the building that Sultan Mehmed II, the Conquerer and his immediate successors used as reception halls of the Topkapi Palace and the vaulted cellars below used as the Inner Treasury.

The entire building was converted to the Imperial Treasury of the Topkapi Palace, in the 17th century.

Only the Sultan was free to enter these rooms alone. Other than him, any visitor should be witnessed by at least 40 men while he was in.

The building now serves as an exhibition hall for the exquisite collection of precious objects that once belonged to the Ottoman Sultans.

This is one of the greatest collections of treasures in the whole world. Think about how various and precious objects could be collected throughout centuries.

Inner Treasury consists of four sections:

Treasury Room 1:

Displays ceremonial thrones and some Ottoman objects. Four thrones in this room are;A throne in pure gold, (a gift to Sultan Murat III in 1585 by the Egyptian governor),an ebony throne crafted specially for Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent,a jewel-encrusted throne, (a gift to Sultan Mahmut I by Nadir Shah of India),and a jewel-studded mother-of-pearl and tortoise-shell throne of Sultan Ahmet I, (crafted by the master of inlay, Mehmet Ağa, the architect of the Blue Mosque).

Treasury Room 2:

Displays a collection of medals, and non-Ottoman objects gifts and objects taken as the plunders of war.

Treasury Room 3:

Displays a pair of shoulder-high candlesticks crafted of solid gold, ornamented with several thousand brilliants and diamonds and an opulent collection of jade, emeralds, rock crystal, zinc and other precious gem and objects made by artists and craftsmen for the sultans.

Treasury Room 4:

Displays the famous “Topkapi Dagger” is here, weighted down by a row of emeralds and diamonds in the hilt and on the cover. You might remember the funny movie “Topkapi” (with Peter Ustinov in 1964), which was about a plot to rob the Topkapi Palace Museum and steal this dagger.

Don’t be surprised if you see a bunch of people grouping around a case, they are looking at the “Kasikci Diamond” (Spoonmaker's Diamond). This is an 86 carat diamond which is the fifth-largest in the world. It was discovered in the 17th century.

The golden cradle, in which newborn sons were presented to the sultans is another interesting piece to see in Topkapi Palace.


Where exactly?

It is at the east side of the courtyard, next to the Seferliler Quarters.

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7. Treasurers’ Quarters (Hazine Kogusu)

The building houses the Collection of Miniatures (Turkish and Iranian paintings, made for albums belonging to Sultans) and the Royal Portrait Gallery (portraits of 37 Ottoman Sultans).

An important item is the map drawn by Piri Reis (an important admiral) in 1513. The interesting thing about the map is, that it is outlining Europe, Africa, both Americas and Antarctica as if they were viewed from the space.


Where exactly?

It is at the center of far end of the courtyard.

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8. Cellar Quarters (Kiler Kogusu)

Today it is used for museum’s administrive headquarters.


Where exactly?

It is the building right next to the Treasurers’ Quarters.

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9. Pavillon of the Holy Mantle (Hirka-i Saadet Dairesi)

It houses the Holy Mantle and the collcection of the sacred relics, brought to the palace after the conquest of Egypt by Sultan Selim, the Grim in 1517.

The domed space is ornamented with Iznik tiles. The building has an ornamented dome, decoratively carved door and Iznik tiles covering the walls.

You will see that this place is usually the crowdest of all other chambers of the Topkapi Palace.


Where exactly?

It is at the North-west end of the courtyard.

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10. Hasoda Chambers (Hasoda Kogusu)

Sultan’s attendants used to live in this building. It has a domed portico.

Today temporary shows and exhibitions take place here.


Where exactly?

It is the building at the west end of the courtyard.

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