Concubines quarters of Topkapı Palace welcomes visitors for 1st time

The mysterious Cariyeler Taşlığı (concubines quarters), the Turkish bath (hamam) inside it and the Kuşhane Kitchen in Istanbul’s iconic Topkapı Palace are ready to welcome visitors after undergoing restoration work.

Located in the secluded harem section of the palace, the concubines’ quarters display the organizational hierarchy of the Ottoman harem, which included the sultan’s family, female servants, concubines and eunuchs. The concubines’ quarters section, which was built in the mid-16th century, consists of chambers used by imperial consorts. It also includes a pantry, laundry room and bathrooms.

Around 120 artifacts are being exhibited in the hamam section alone. The hamam section, considered to be one of the oldest structures of the palace, was opened to visitors for the first time in history.

Objects and statues carefully curated by the National Palaces Collections enact scenes from the Ottoman era for a more realistic experience.

The Kuşhane Kitchen was used exclusively for serving meals prepared in the palace kitchen to Ottoman sultans. Visitors will now get a chance to see various objects, including bronze and silver pots and silverware and see more details about Ottoman food and kitchen culture.

The Chairman of the National Palaces – Topkapı Palace Ilhan Kocaman said they aim to restore the rest of the palace soon. He noted that they plan on opening all sections of the palace to visitors.

The involvement of international museum curators in the restoration of the palace buildings has been instrumental in creating concepts that successfully combine tradition with modernity, and in establishing exhibition arrangements that reflect this theme. Through their collaboration, the venues have undergone modernization that includes state-of-the-art security, air conditioning, display systems and equipment, ensuring the preservation and protection of the palace’s invaluable cultural heritage for generations to come.

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