I. COURTYARD (ALAY MEYDANI)
This asymmetrical yard which can be entered through Bâb-ı Hümâyûn, comprises the secondarily important structures. This place features as a center where the civils can enter on stated days and lead their relations with the state. It is the only place where the high officials of the state can enter on their horses.
The 300 meters long avenue between Bâb-ı Hümâyûn and Bâb-üs Selâm, used to witness the glory of the sultans’ passage to Cülus, Sefer, Cuma Selamlıkları and forms the scene for Valide Regiments also.
Service structures comprised by I. Courtyard
On the left hand side, there was wood-warehouse which supplies for palace and association of wickerwork seller and buyers. The parts consist of Turkish baths, wards, workshops and stables; have not been able to survive to our day. Presently, on the place of all these structures, Drugstore Building (Eczane Binası) is being used as housing for The Ministry Of Culture employees.
Hagia Eirene Churc which is used as Cebehane after the Fatih era, later period of these above-mentioned buildings; is one of the rare buildings to survive. All these survived structures leaning towards Tiled Pavilion, beginning from the edge of Cebehane have reached our day through complete alterations.
17 786 square meters range of the royal mint survived to our day, chief management of mint, stamp press house head office, building survey and monuments head office with conservation and restoration head laboratories management office are partly using these structures. The structures coming after Koz Bekçileri door and situated opposite the Archeology Museum, is rent from Ministry of Tourism by History Foundation and being used by the foundation.
The Structures no longer existing on the courtyard
At the end of the mint buildings’ row, it is known that there used to be a building belonging to a constttution called Kız bekçileri (Guards) or Koz bekçileri. And the door on the avenue where the Bekçiler Ocağı is situated is known as Gate of Koz Bekçileri .
After its entrance through Bâb-ı Hümâyûn, at right hand side; Enderûn Hastahanesi , then through the way to Marmara side structures of the palace and gardens; Dizme or Dizme Kapısı, Hasfırın, Dolap Ocağı were situated in turn.
As you get closer to the entrance of the door, one can see the Cellat Çeşmesi(Fountain of The Executioner) which dates back to 16th century, was moved to this side wall of the square by the Abdülhamit II(1876-1909).
At the left hand side of the avenue, at the part of the yard near to the Bâb-üs Selâm (Gate of Salutation); there used to be a octagon manor-house shaped structure. The building which has a conical roof is known as Tower of Kağıt Emini Kulesi or Deâvi Kasrı. One of the Kubbealtı viziers, coming there everyday, was collecting the applications of the civils, listens to the suitors and announce the subject to the council of the state.
Presently, almost at the same place on which this structure used to be situated, the tea garden belonging to DÖSİM.
Ceremominial Pavilion (
In the year 1820; was built by Sultan Mahmud II. (1808-1839). Alay Köşkü, is made built for the Sultan and high officers of the state to be able to watch the parades. On the window girdles by the main road, Hattat Mustafa İzzet Efendi’s verse inscription applied on black stone with gold-printed metalic letters can be observed. And at the opposite, there is Bâb-ı Âli Gate (Gate of State) where the grand vizier executes government works. But at the opposite to the Bâb-ı Âli Kapısı; Alay Köşkü, reflects the hierarchy in architecture also with its two floors against one floor of the Bâb-ı Âli Gate.
I- Bâb-üs Selâm/ Gate of Salutation
This door whose name is pronounced as Orta Kapı in common, has been called as Bâb-üs Selâm in 18th century. Above its crest-style door facing first yard, under “celi” style calligraphic “Kelime-I Tevhid”, there is sultans’ signature of the Mahmut II, and on the both sides signatures of the Mustafa III. Below these signatures, there is inscriptions of repairment with a date of 1758. at the both sides of the door, there is octagonal roofed towers. On the two winged big wrought door, there is a date of 1524 and the signature of “İsa b.Mehmed”; probably the builder craftman of the door.
Again with an iron door, you can enter second yard. This part being consisted of two floors, inside the door building; there is two rooms on right hand side, one on left hand side. It is known that there used to be dormitory and other units of the gatekeepers.
The place called “kapı aralığı” where the high offiicials were arrested and choked to death is also situated therein. Generally, the number of the Bevvâbân-ı Dergâh-ı Âli, Baş Kapıcıbaşı, Kapıcılar Kethüdası and their related employees changed in every era.
The left and right sides of the portico which is on the part of the door that faces second yard, is elevated with a backing. At the course of state council meetings, two powerful class of the Ottoman army used to set their own councils there. At the right hand side of the entrance, Chief of Janissary with the high ranked janissary, and at the left hand side Sipahi ağaları would dwell. Besides these, these porticos have been made use of as some open ranges for Anadolu ve Rumeli Kazaskerleri (Anatolian and Thracian soldiers ) who leave the meeting earlier, to solve some issues.
Presently, at the left hand side of the “Kapı Aralığı”; Gate Management of the Museum and Information Desk is serving and at the right Tourism Police Office is situated. And at the parts of the door facing the second yard, there are x-ray devices and tollgates.