The Topkapi Palace Museum
April 15, 2003 2:50 AM   Subscribe

The Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul. Lavish treasures.
posted by hama7 (14 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Stunning miniatures.
posted by hama7 at 2:52 AM on April 15, 2003

Very interesting. I know nothing of medieval Turkish art, but the miniatures in particular seem to me stylistically to resemble Russian and Byzantine icons, Indian art, and Western European Romanesque or Gothic art of roughly the same period. Maybe not surprising, this is an area in a geographical location to be influenced by, or influence, all of these.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 3:40 AM on April 15, 2003

The Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, a slideshow.
posted by plep at 4:33 AM on April 15, 2003

Neat! This is a very interesting museum...I remember thinking that a lot of the sultans had morey than taste, with all the jewel-encrusted gewgaws on display. (Not least of which is the famous dagger from the movie.) The lavishly decorated Korans and the Arabic calligraphy seriously wowed me, too. I haven't found a decent link, but there were amazing pieces like verses from the Koran written so that the words formed pictures -- geometrical forms, peacocks, sailboats, what-have-you. (Best I could find is this link; scroll down to the Ismail Derdi painting about 3/4 of the way down the page and the Ismail Zuhdi painting near the bottom.)

And it would make sense that it looks like Byzantine art, yes..

on preview: neat link, plep! (but I'm already running late for work...) The history of Ayasofya/Hagia Sophia alone would make another good FPP, as would the architecture of Sinan, who designed the magnificent Suleymaniye mosque in Istanbul, as well as the Selimiye mosque in Edirne.
posted by Vidiot at 5:26 AM on April 15, 2003

As usual hama7, I detest your politics and love your posts; thanks again for a great link. Several friends have spent time in Turkey and all rank it as one of the most beautiful places on earth. I hope to get there someday.
posted by jalexei at 6:05 AM on April 15, 2003

a lot of the sultans had morey than taste

errr, make that "had more money than taste." Damn pre-coffee AM posting...
posted by Vidiot at 7:38 AM on April 15, 2003

I join everyone else in making a full prostration before your Sublime Poste. Like Vidiot, I've been there, and I agree with his suggestions for further posts; I sought out Sinan mosques when I was in Istanbul, and was never disappointed. Topkapi was, of course, a highlight of my trip (if you go, though, be sure to tell the cabbie "Topkapi Palace," because plain old Topkapi is a gate, the Cannon Gate, on the other side of the city); they rush you through the few bits they let you see at an alarming rate (you can only go on the official tour), but I managed to sneak out of line and see a few unopened parts by myself (all the while wondering what the punishment would be if I was caught—god knows what goes on down in those cellars...). Which reminds me, the excellent introductory text on the website contains this strange sentence: "Since Topkapi is so large, only some sections are open to the public." Try replacing "Topkapi" with, say, "the Louvre" and you'll see how ridiculous it is. Why don't they open more of it to the public? What's going on in there?
posted by languagehat at 7:47 AM on April 15, 2003

Oh, and Vidiot—go to work, already!
posted by languagehat at 7:49 AM on April 15, 2003

I hope to get there someday.

Now might not be a bad time to go. (NYT link)

Agree with languagehat's suggestions and cabdriver tips. (Topkapi is also a gigantic, confusing, and smelly otogar, or bus station, on the Asian side of town.) I'd actually recommend staying in the Sultanahmet section of town if you go; it's a stone's throw from there to the Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern (an amazing 1500-year-old sunken cistern with Roman columns), the Hippodrome, Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace, the Mosaic Museum, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Gulhane Park, Covered Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, et cetera, et cetera. Sigh. I wanna go back!

(and thanks, languagehat. Made it to work on time, and even had enough slack in the schedule to acquire some java.)
posted by Vidiot at 8:55 AM on April 15, 2003

I spent a couple weeks in Istanbul in 2000, it was incredible and I can't wait to go back. The Galata Tower was a favorite spot, amazing views of the city and water. Also, for any guy travelling there, I highly recommend a shave and haircut while you're there. Don't ask, just do it. You'll thank me later.
posted by Ty Webb at 9:04 AM on April 15, 2003

Agreed, Ty. (And a Turkish bath.)
posted by Vidiot at 9:12 AM on April 15, 2003

To me, the most interesting part of the palace is the part that's not there: the Cage. (Scroll down below the second picture.) Originally intended as a merciful alternative to fratricide, it produced madmen that hastened the end of the empire.
posted by joaquim at 10:19 AM on April 15, 2003

Turkish bath, yeah! There's a 300-year-old hammam somewhere west of Sultanahmet that's particularly memorable, but anywhere you go it's an amazing experience, and I wish they had them here. (Don't tell me about the Russian Baths, it's not the same.)

Incidentally, one of the oddest things about Istanbul (or, considering the period I'm talking about, Constantinople) is the fact that the Byzantines totally ignored the section of the city where Topkapi Palace was later built. The original Imperial Palace was south of there, where the Sultanahmet ("Blue") Mosque is now, and they later moved northwest to Blachernae, but they seem not to have been attracted to the intersection of the Golden Horn and the Bosporus, to us the most magnificent spot in the city. Very strange.
posted by languagehat at 12:35 PM on April 15, 2003

hama7, you dig up some magnificent art and cultural sites, and this one is superb. Thanks!

Glad to know we have so many seasoned Istanbul travelers here too - it's definitely high on my list of places to see. When and if I do go, I will know who to e-mail for advice ;-)
posted by madamjujujive at 8:14 PM on April 15, 2003

« Older Flag Flying Illegal   |   Buddyzoo! Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments