Harem: Part 3

After finishing up in the Imperial Hall, the Harem tour at Topkapı Sarayı continues with the private apartments of the Sultan. The first room encountered is the III. Murat Has Odası (Privy Chamber of Murat III). It’s the oldest and best surviving room in the Harem, built in 1579, and was used as the private quarters and a reception hall for several Ottoman sultans.

III. Murat Has Odası in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

III. Murat Has Odası

III. Murat Has Odası in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

III. Murat Has Odası

The room is decorated with İznik tiles, geometric patterns, and a band around the room with an inscription of the Koran. It also features a large dome and monumental arches.

III. Murat Has Odası in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

III. Murat Has Odası

III. Murat Has Odası in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

III. Murat Has Odası

III. Murat Has Odası in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

III. Murat Has Odası

III. Murat Has Odası in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

III. Murat Has Odası

Next is the I. Ahmet Has Odası (Privy Chamber of Ahmet I), built in 1608. It features mostly green İznik tiles with cabinets and window shutters inlaid with mother of pearl, tortoiseshell, and ivory.

I. Ahmet Has Odası in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

I. Ahmet Has Odası

I. Ahmet Has Odası in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

I. Ahmet Has Odası

I. Ahmet Has Odası in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

I. Ahmet Has Odası

I. Ahmet Has Odası in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

I. Ahmet Has Odası

A small but colorful room attached to the I. Ahmet Has Odası is decorated from floor to ceiling with fruit painted on wooden panels. This is the III. Ahmet Has Odası (Privy Chamber of Ahmet III), also known as the Yemiş Odası (Fruit Room). It was built in 1705 and was probably used as a dining room by the Sultan.

Yemiş Odası in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

Yemiş Odası

Back through the III. Murat Has Odası is the Çifte Kasırlar (Twin Kiosk), which was also known as the Veliaht Dairesi (Apartments of the Crown Prince). The Şehzade (Crown Prince) lived there in seclusion, giving the building the nickname “kafes” (cage).

Çifte Kasırlar in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

Çifte Kasırlar

Both rooms were built in the 1700s but at different times and both have fireplaces in the center. One has a domed roof while the other has a flat wooden ceiling.

Çifte Kasırlar in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

Çifte Kasırlar

Çifte Kasırlar in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

Çifte Kasırlar

Çifte Kasırlar in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

Çifte Kasırlar

Çifte Kasırlar in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

Çifte Kasırlar

The rooms are richly decorated with İznik tiles, geometric patterns, and Koranic script.

Çifte Kasırlar in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

Çifte Kasırlar

Çifte Kasırlar in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

Çifte Kasırlar

They also feature beautiful stained glass windows.

Çifte Kasırlar in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

Çifte Kasırlar

Çifte Kasırlar in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

Çifte Kasırlar

Çifte Kasırlar in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

Çifte Kasırlar

Çifte Kasırlar in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

Çifte Kasırlar

Outside of the Çifte Kasırlar is the Gözdeler Taşlığı ve Dairesi (Courtyard and Apartment of the Favorites). It was built by Osman III in 1754 with the second floor added by Abdülhamit I in the 1770s. Abdülhamit I lived in the building together with his harem and family.

Gözdeler Taşlığı ve Dairesi in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

Gözdeler Taşlığı ve Dairesi

The final part of the tour goes down part of the Altınyol (Golden Road), which is a narrow passage leading from the Karaağalar Taşlığı ve Dairesi (Courtyard and Apartments of the Black Eunuchs) (covered in Harem: Part 1) through the private quarters of the Sultan, and all the way to the Mermer Sofa (Marble Terrace) in the IV. Avlu. The name “golden” comes from the tradition of the sultans throwing gold coins for the concubines to pick up on the day of their accession to the throne.

Altınyol in the Harem-i Hümayûn at Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul, Turkey

Altınyol

The tour of the Harem ends at this point and exits to the III. Avlu.

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