II. COURTYARD / DİVAN SQUARE
Is the yard where the management facilities’ structures relevant to the palace system’s organization which was designed by Fatih Sultan Mehmed(1451-1481). The yard was called Divan Square or Justice Square as it was built for symbolising fundamental missions of the state.only the Sultan would enter this yard on their horse. The Sultans would appear there two times; in the religious festivals. The funeral ceeremonies and accession rituals also used to be done there.
Ritual properties of the second yard is, in a sense, set off by roaming axles. The most important and widest one is Padişah Yolu (Path of Sultan) which is between Bâb-üs Selâm and Bâb-üs Saade. Second most important path is vezir yolu (Path of Vizier ) which is between Bâb-üs Selâm and Divan. The yard is formatted in the era of Fatih Sultan Mehmed and completed upon construction of Sûr-ı Sultâni and Has Ahırlar in 1478. However, in the era of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman (1520-1566); it faced some alterations reflecting the glory of the Empire. A new Divan-ı Hümâyûn was constructed, old Divanhane being given new functions; Dış Hazine (Exterior Treasury) is extended and rebuilt, the yard is encircled with columned porticos with “sülüs” style calligraphy.
Kubbealtı / Divan-ı Hümâyûn
In the early times of the Kanuni Sultan Süleyman (1520-1566) era, built by Mimarbaşı Alaüddin (Acem Alisi). The building at the left corner of the yard, in front of the Palace of Justice, is formed of three side-by-side places. At the side of the yard, the first structure having a dome is Divan-ı Hümâyun. The other place connected to this room via a large aperture is Divan-ı Hümâyûn Kalemi. the room with a dome, opening to this room with a small door is Defterhane. This building is damaged in the 1665 Harem fire and has been renewed by Mehmed IV. At the face of the structure, the written inscriptions referring to the repairments in the eras of III. Selim (1789-1807) and II. Mahmud (1808-1839) can be seen.
Kubbealtı, is the main meeting place of Divan-ı Hümâyûn. On its adjoining wall to Palace of Justice, Sultans would watch the Divan-ı Hümâyûn works behind the gold glossed bars of the window which is called Kafes-i Müşebbek.
Performance of Divan-ı Hümâyûn
Divan-ı Hümâyûn where the Ottoman Empire is governed, meet in council four times a week(on Saturdays,Sundays,Mondays,Tuesdays). Grand vizier and Kubbealtı vezirleri which is formed of six or nine persons; constituting the associate members of the Dîvan; Anadolu ve Rumeli kazaskerleri; sitting on the lounge in front of Kubbealtı, discuss the affairs of the state or result the cases upon listening. Highest rank officers after viziers were the kazasker’s who are handling the matters of military cases, inheritance cases, legal and religious matters. After Divan councils, coming before the Sultan,interviewed subjects of the day would be summarized. Dîvan-ı Hümâyûn Kalemleri would handle all the administrative affairs of the state similar to present day’s council of ministers. By transfer of government affairs to the Sadrazam Sarayı (Bâb-ı Âli) in the late 18th century, Divan forms itself into a function of distributing mevacip to the Kapıkulu Soldiers and accepting the delegates.
Exterior Treasury / Weapons Section
The treasury building with eight domes, situated near the kubbealtı , is built in the era of Kanuni. The place of the treasury for the Fatih ‘s era is not clear. The taxes which are the incomes of the state were kept there. Maliye Defterhanesi, was the place where the ottoman Sultans’ gifts called “hilat” which is a precious caftan for the girls or women who is a member of Sultan’s harem and the delegates.
The structure which is known to be having a large fringe on exterior in 16th and 17th century was used by the treasury officials and keepers when putting the money into bags on the days of ulufe. Interior treasury department with its two floors was very well-secured. Treasury which is under responsibility of the district treasurer would be opened when needed and would be stamped by the Sultan’s stamp which is kept by grand vizier.
Presently, the building is used as Weapons Section where the different kinds of weapons of different periods are exhibited.
Justice Tower (Adalet Kulesi)
Palace of Justice was built in the era of Fatih Sultan Mehmed as an independed tower shaped building. The structure whose similar ones can be seen in Edirne and Manisa Palaces also, has a symbolic meaning that Ottoman Empire respects the justice most greatly.
Justice Tower was elevated in the era of Sultan Mahmud II. (1819-20) after some restorations. Later in the era of Sultan Abdülaziz, it reached its present day high and sharp-conical appearance.
II. Structures In Relation With The Yard
Behind the northeast porticos of the yard called Adalet Meydanı, there is Saray Mutfakları partition connected to this yard via three doors and consist of structures around a 170meters long street. It can sometimes serve thousands of people in some ceremonials.
In the very opposite of the kitchens, between the nortwest porticos, at a lover level of ground; there is Has ahır where the glorious and very rich harnesses of the dynasty horses are standing. Zülüflü Baltacılar Koğuşu which can be entered through a door near Kubbealtı , is situated near and at the same level of ground with Has Ahır.
Mutfaklar can be entered through the three doors on the second yard’s porticos. First door is Kiler-i Âmire Kapısı. The one in the middle is Has mutfak kapısı. the last and most near one of the doors to Bab-üs-Saade is Helvahane Kapısı. Mutfaklar is a street like other service units; introvert and independent. There; instead of yard; there is a long service path with fringes on both sides.
These kitchens having ten rooms, was cooking meal for Birûn and Enderûn. Mutfak personeli, used to prepare rich fast meals for Ulufe dağıtım günleri and festivals.
Mutfaklar beginnig from the south; was reserved for the palace dwellers and workers,in turn. The first one was the Sultan’s kitchen and was cooking various kinds of foods for one person.
Serçini, the chef, was preparing food for the Sultan with other twelve skilled cook. Serçini was responsible for the porcelaindinner sets which are used for the Sultan and delegators reception.
For the kitchens of the palace, from the different places of the empire; qualified material, alive animals, fruits and vegetables and spices used to be provided. Matbah-ı Âmire Emini who is responsible for the kitchens, was having a high rank which is close to viziership. Kitchens used to hold a good amount of employees. And helvacıbaşı was leading the service together with a crowded stuff of peple when preparing the deserts. All the dismissals and appointments of all these stuff whom works under directive of kilercibaşı in Enderûn, was managed by him.
These places’ present day use is like that; upon entering the Kiler-i Âmire kapısı, Vekilharç Dairesi which is at the right hand side; being restored; serves as Museum Workshops. Photography Workshop and Textiles Conservation Workshop is also situated in this building. After restorations, Kiler ve Yağhane binası functions as Müze Saray Arşivi.
Aşçılar Mescidi with its two floors, beside the oil house structure, is still conserved, but not alloowed for visits. And the dorms of the helvacı, cook and tablakar’s, is being used as exhibition hall of the museum. The building which is built by the dorm of cooks, used to be exhibiting crystals, european porcelains and silvers. In the opposite site, the kitchens are transformed into separate exhibition saloons and exhibiting Chinese and Japanese porcelains.
It is one of the most important collections of Topkapı Palace Museum is Palace Archive which contains a variety of documents beginnig from the oldest inscriptions of Otoman up to 19.century documents.
To make use of Palace Archive, you are required to have permission from General Directorate for Culturel Heritage and Museums
. The archive which is open for all allowed investigators, serves everyday in weekdays between 9.00-12.00; 13.00-16.30.
The Golden Horn Side of the second yard, the area between Maliye hazinesi (Silahlar Seksiyonu), Kubbealtı and porticos is where the Has Ahır is situated. One can reach there through a sloping path which is at the left side of Babü’s-Selam . After second yard part of this region is called Meyyit Kapısı as it is used for taking out the died people.it is known that Fatih Sultan Mehmed built Has Ahır after finishing the buildings on second and third yards also known as Divan meydanı and Enderûn, while completing Sûr-ı Sultâni.
In the Has Ahır, there was only the distinguished horses for Sultan and high ranked people of Enderun. At the north end of the long building, the one domed room and others connected to this one, together form Raht-ı Hümâyûn Hazinesi. Inside the treasury, there are harness sets which are used by high ranked people and garnished by valuable stones, packsaddles were kept. It is understood that in this department, there used to be rooms reserved for Ahır Emini and some high ranked governors. Forming an important percent of the Birun society of the palace, it is known that Istabl-ı Âmire (Has Ahır) population was more than 3000 people and it is known that in various places of istanbul ; there are associations, backagammon,workshops and various buildings in relevance to this community.
At the south end of the yard, there is a mosque and Turkish bath built in 16th century. Mosque and Turkish bath and because has been made rebuilt by eunuch Beşir Ağa later in Mahmud I. era (1730-1754); it is known as Beşir Ağa Camii. The structure survived to our day is not open for visits.
Zülüflü Baltacılar Koğuşu
In Topkapı Palace; about Zülüflü Baltacılar Organization, first structuring is thougt to have been in era of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman. Because this class has different services like external services of harem besides diffeent services for Divan-ı Hümâyûn and Enderûn, it is situated near the Divan-ı Hümâyûn and second yard. Baltacılar society was founded in the era of Sultan Murad II. (1421-1451), as a pioneer team of the army. This name is given to Zülüflü Baltacılar because of their sharp, camel hair color helmet with braids on two sides.
Zülüflü Baltacılar have undertaken different missions through the history of the palace. Besides some functions like putting off the harem fires, providing firewood for Turkish bathes and furnaces; they also have duties of Divan-I Humayun’s cleaning, accession and moving and setting the sultan’s throne in festival days. And also they used to have some external duties like; reading Kur’an under Sancak-ı Şerif during the war, giving the rose water and candies to the required places when they are prepared at palace Mevlits.
As from all the ward structures in the palace, in this example also the stone courtyard is surrounded by a variety of buildings. An important of these buildings is formed by big ward and çubuk odası, camekan; the resting place for the Zülüflü Baltacılar.
Architectural design of the ward is made in same dimensions with Turkish House, wooden and colorful. It can be assumed that the architectural structure was similar to this individual example.
Because of its symbolic feature, Bâb-üs Saade is the most important gate of the palace. The Gate, opening to 3rd Yard where Divan Meydanı, Enderûn Okulu and Padişah Daireleri are located, is one of the highest degreed places, because of being basing point of Birun and Enderûn and of being the place in front of which the sultans were sitting on important days such as culüs and festivals.
It was given different names in many periods. The most common names of it are Gate of Audience (Arz Kapısı), Akağalar Gate and Bâb-üs Saade. It was built in a portico with a green and white coloured column and in a way that both its existence and the terms of Enderûn and Birun became more clear kavramlarını ve varlığını belirleyecek şekilde yeşil ve beyaz sütunlu bir revak ortasında, dışa doğru çıkıntı yapan bir kubbe ile kapı belirgin hale getirilmiştir. It is known that the gate, before which the ceremonies in the palace were held and the portico part was planned and built in the era of Fatih Sultan Mehmed (1451-1481). These ceremonies were held at the same place throughout the centuries.
With its remained gate dome and the fringes, the gate is looking at the courtyard. It was grounded on three columns facing one another. This architectural image must have been done in the second half of the 18th century, Sultan III. Mustafa’s period. The repair inscription written in verse with talik letters dated in 1774 on the gate proves this. There is Besmele and II. Mahmud’s signature with his letters. Most probably, the decoration of the sides of the gate was restored in the 19th century,
II. Mahmud’ s period (1808-1839). Before this gate and the portico there was being held cülus ceremonies and religious festivals. There Sancak-ı Hümâyûn used to be delivered to the grand vizier who was going for battle with ceremony.
It was the tradition that when the grand vizier came to the palace with ceremony on the Divan’s meeting, he used to salute the gate. This shows that the gate with domes had a mean of symbolic presence of the sultan and his power.