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Gülhane Park

The Marmara Sea lies north and Topkapi Palace looms just east of this shady public park, which features colourful rose beds and wide sea views.

A walk through Gülhane Park is a privilege the vast majority of people would not have had before the 20th century. Before becoming a public park in 1912, Gülhane Park served as the outer garden of Topkapi Palace, where the sultans of the Ottoman Empire lived for four centuries. After a visit to the palace, walk through the park to enjoy views of the Marmara Sea and the Bosphorus Strait from the heart of Istanbul.

The name of Gülhane Park means “Rosehouse Park”, and a quick glance at the grounds will show you why. The park originally served as a rose garden, and extensive rose beds still line its paths today. Tour the walkways amongst the centuries-old trees, and keep an eye out for the monuments arranged throughout the park. A pillar built to memorialize the Romans’ defeat of the Goths stands in the park, as does a statue of Turkey’s first president, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

One of the most pleasant ways to experience the park is to have a cup of tea at the café in the northeastern corner. Situated right at the edge of Seraglio Point, this café offers some of the best sea views in the entire city. Have a meal in the café’s garden, or else stock up on meat and cheese at a local market and have a picnic on the sloping lawns nearby.

The neighbouring Topkapi Palace is one of Istanbul’s biggest attractions, so any trip to Gülhane Park should include a visit to this fortress. See exhibitions of ancient clothing, jewellery and weapons amassed by the Ottoman sultans who lived here beginning in 1478.

On the other side of the Gülhane Park along the old palace gates stands the Istanbul Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam. This fascinating museum displays the breadth of inventions created by Muslims, including a clock powered by water. The museum is open every day of the week except Tuesday, and there is a fee for admission.

Gülhane Park runs along the western edge of Topkapi Palace. Reach it on foot or via public transportation from the city’s historic centre.


Guide to Exploring Gulhane Park


Map

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