Istanbul is a multifaceted and interesting city full of attractions, some of which the city has inherited since the time of the sultans.
Palaces and palace pavilions remained from the sultans in Istanbul, now forming one of the most interesting categories sights of Istanbul. From the palaces of Istanbul, those that today are museums with recreated interiors and household items stand out.
This article lists the best palaces-museums and palace pavilions of Istanbul that you can visit.
If you need a complete list of Istanbul palaces, then you can view here →
The Topkapi Palace (Topkapı Sarayı) served for 400 years as the main residence of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire, as well as the administrative and educational center of the state.
Today, the former Topkapi Palace is a museum, a magnificent architectural monument of the 15th-19th centuries and is a complex surrounded by high walls.
The Topkapi include: courtyards and the palace complex itself with an administrative part and a harem, as well as other buildings and panoramic terraces. Also in the complex is the Church of St. Irene.
Address of Topkapi Palace: Cankurtaran Mh., 34122 Fatih / Istanbul. More about Topkapi Palace with St. Irene Church…
Dolmabahce (Dolmabahçe Sarayı) is a magnificent palace complex built in 1843-1853 by order and for Sultan Abdul-Majid I, who considered the Topkapi Palace operating at that time to be out of date and wanted to erect a new palace for permanent residence, which in architecture and luxury would not be inferior to the exquisite European residences of influential people.
Today Dolmabahce Palace is a museum where you can visit the garden with a view of the waters Bosphorus Strait, palace halls and rooms, consisting of: the official public part of "Selamlik" (Selamlık) with Ceremonial a hall (Tören Salonu), a Harem or a family part; as well as a clock museum and a museum of painting and sculpture (Resim ve Heykel Müzesi).
In a separate building of the former kitchens of the Dolmabahce Palace there is now a museum of palace collections (Saray Koleksiyonları Müzesi).
Address of Dolmabahce Palace: Vişnezade, Dolmabahçe Cd., 34357 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey. More about Dolmabahce Palace…
Aynaly Kavak or Aynalykavak (Aynalıkavak kasrı), which is also known as the shipyard Palace, is a summer pavilion preserved from the Ottoman Sultan's palace complex.
According to some sources, the construction of structures began during the reign of Mehmed II the Conqueror. Another version says that the complex is identical to the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. The palace complex included numerous buildings and gardens until it was destroyed as part of Selim's innovative movements.
Today, the preserved (now restored) Ainalikavak Pavilion is one of the most elegant legacies of classical Ottoman architecture. Within the walls of the palace pavilion there is a museum with beautiful halls.
Aynalıkavak Pavilion is located near Golden Horn, at address: Keçeci Piri, Donanma Cd., 34440 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey.
Museum website: aynalikavak-kasri.
The Beylerbeyi Palace (Beylerbeyi Sarayı) is a 19th-century palace in the Baroque style, which served as a summer residence and accommodation for high-ranking guests of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire.
The palace, which acquired its current appearance, was built by order of Sultan Abdul-Aziz in 1863-1865.
Today the palace is a museum and is a palace complex, which includes the main building of the palace with recreated interiors, as well as the surrounding garden with terraces and access to the waters of the Bosphorus, pavilions, sculptures, a fountain and a cafe.
Beylerbeyi Palace is located in the Asian part of Istanbul, at address: Beylerbeyi, Abdullahağa Cd., Istanbul. More about Beylerbeyi Palace…
The Palace of Kyuchuksu or Göksu Kasry (Küçüksu Kasrı) is a neo-Baroque palace, which, like the Beylerbeyi Palace (only Küçüksu is smaller in size) served as the summer residence of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire.
This miniature palace was built in 1857 by order of Sultan Abd-ul-Majid I.
Now the Kyuchuksu Palace is a striking monument of the Ottoman Empire and functions as a museum with recreated palace interiors.
Kyuchuksu Palace is located in the Asian part of Istanbul, at address: Göksu, Küçüksu Cd., 34810 Beykoz/İstanbul, Turkey. More about the Kyuchuksu Palace...
Ihlamur (Ihlamur Kasrı) is a former summer residence of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire, used for recreation, and built in 1849-1855 by order of Sultan Abdul-Majid I.
It was a small palace complex, consisting of two buildings: front, or ceremonial (Merasim Köşkü, Merasim) and private chambers, or harem (Maiyet Köşkü, Mayet).
Bright features and spectacular neo-Baroque decorations are visible in the architecture.
Today, within the walls of the palace there is a museum with a magnificent interior of the palace with halls and rooms and the surrounding garden and forest area with a lake.
Address of Ihlamur: Teşvikiye, Nişantaşı Ihlamur Yolu Sk., 34357 Şişli/İstanbul, Turkey.
Museum website: ihlamur-kasri.
Maslak (Maslak Kasırları) is a former palace complex consisting of a garden and pavilions, and was used as a hunting residence and a resting place of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire.
The palace complex was built under Sultan Mahmud II, and various additions, including buildings, were made during the reign of Sultan Abdul-Aziz.
Some of the structures of the palace complex have survived to the present day, while others have been demolished.
Among the many buildings of the complex, only Mabeyn-i Humayun, Kasrsi Humayun, Limonluk Kulkhani, Agalar's Office and a Tent Villa have been preserved.
Today it is a museum with a cafe and a restaurant.
Address Maslak: Darüşşafaka, Büyükdere Cd., 34398 Sarıyer/İstanbul, Turkey.
Museum website: maslak-kasirlari.
Beykoz Medjidie Palace
Beykoz Medjidiye Palace (Beykoz Mecidiye Kasrı) is one of the oldest pavilions in Istanbul.
The construction of the pavilion, which was started by the Egyptian Governor Mehmed Ali Pasha as a gift to Sultan Abdul-Majid in 1845, was continued during the reign of his son, the Egyptian Governor Said Pasha. The complete construction was completed in 1854.
The pavilion was used during sultan's hunts, as well as for daily living and official receptions.
Today this two-storey pavilion is a museum and one of the most elegant historical mansions in the city. The mansion is surrounded by a grove with terraces, magnolias, pines and lime trees. The palace park offers views of the Bosphorus.
The pavilion with the park is located in the Asian part of Istanbul, at address: Yalıköy, Beykoz Kasrı, 34820 Beykoz/İstanbul, Turkey.
Website of the Beykoz Museum: beykoz-mecidiye-kasri.
Entrances to the listed palaces and palace pavilions are paid.
In some palaces, as well as other museums of Istanbul, the museum card of Istanbul (Museum Pass Istanbul) and Istanbul E-pass Museum and Tourist card. More about museum and tourist maps of Istanbul...
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