Sultan (Hunkar) and Sultana (Valide Sultan) Baths in Topkapi Palace
One of the double bath in the TopkapiPalace was used by Sultan the other was used by the women who live inthe harem (seraglio).
Baths were built in 1580 by the great Turkish architectMimar Sinan. Sultan and Sultana hammams have reached to present daywith several renovations. The interior decoration is rococo style ofthe 18th century. It is heated from below by hypocoust system likeRoman baths.
This Turkish Bath consists of three parts including coolroom and tepidity used for resting and dressing and caldarium (thehottest room) for bathe.
The cage which was used for the Sultan'ssafety and the marble basin in the hottest room are the mostinteresting details of Sultan (Hunkar) Hammam.
Sultan and Sultana Baths, located on the right side of the hammam way, which is starting from the door with inscribed stone panel of the Sultana's seraglio hall, in harem complex (seraglio) of the Palace.
There are two doors of Sultan (Hunkar) Hammam one is opening to the hall and other is opening to the Sultan's long room.
This bath's changing rooms , furnished with silk mattresses, valuable curtains and illuminated by crystallized chandeliers and lamps made from silver, reflects the glory of the Ottoman bath architecture.
Twisting spouts and taps was cultured, with the purpose of saving water which is a precious natural resource, during Suleiman The Magnificent period. Serially located gilded taps, which controls the flow of hot and cold water, indicate the comfort is important as well as wealth in that period.
Today, Sultan and Sultana baths are not open to use. It can be seen by visiting the Topkapi Palace Museum which is open six days a week. For Harem (seraglio) complex, where the baths are, also requested an admission ticket.
Construction of Topkapi Palace, that spread over approximately 700,000 square meters, has begun 20 years later of Istanbul's conquest. The Palace was completed between 1474 and 1479 years. From that date until the end of the 19th century, so many constructional additions were made in the palace.
Topkapi Palace, which is placed in Istanbul Sultan Ahmet Square, has been surronded by high and thick walls called as ''Sur-i Sultani''. The walls on the coastal part of the palace are the Byzantine bulwarks. Topkapi Palace is named by the most fameous gate of coastal bulwarks which was '' Top Kapısı'' (Gun Gate).
The Ottoman Empire was governed from this palace for 400 years. The palace, that number of employees reaching 5-6 thousand in that period, was like a distinct city in Istanbul. The palace had its own different laws.
Today, is entered to this vast and majestic Palace from the Great Gate that formerly ''Sultan Gate'' which situated behind the Hagia Sophia and in front of the famous Sultan Ahmet Fountain.This is a round-arched door with inscription.
There is a complex, consisting of several units such as Palace school (enderun), mint for producing money, Palace hospital in the first courtyard behind this door. Undoubtedly the Byzantine Church Hagia Irene is the most historic and ancient structure of this huge courtyard. Today, several major concerts are organised in this enormous temple.
At the end of the first courtyard the second courtyard greets us with two towers. Entrance tickets to the Palace is taken from the booths in this gate. Name of the monumental entrance is Greeting Door (the former pronunciation is Bab-ı Selam). There are two domed Court (Divan) structure behind the Greetings Door, where the riding horse was prohibited in the past. In those days the most important councils held in the Divan building by the Sultan attendance. There are also Aga Mosque and private stables in this courtyard.
From the third door, called as Felicity Door (Bab-us-saade), proceeded to the third courtyard. There are private venues of Sultan in this courtyard.
After entering through the door we faced with Presenting Room. In this room which was one of the most important parts of the palace foreign guests were come before the Sultan. They offer gifts to the Sultan who was sitting on the throne in baldachin style.
Harem (seraglio) complex which is the world's most popular and well known venue of Topkapi Palace is in the third courtyard as well.
This complex which also included Sultan and Sultana Baths was regarded as the private residence of Sultan.
Building of Harem like a reflection of the hierarchical and complicated organization of the empire, in the architectural form. The most detailed structure of the harem is Sultana's apartment.
Third courtyard opens to the fourth and last yard with two narrow gaps which are located in the right and left sides of Administration Building. Chalets and the marble ornamental pool are the most important architectures in that small courtyard. The tiles that covering the exterior walls of the buildings in the fourth courtyard is worth a visit. Especially, decorative tiles on the walls of the circumcision room have a unique beauty.
Topkapi Palace Museum is open to visitors every day except Tuesdays.
Winter Season (October 26/April 15) between 09.00am-04.00pm
Summer Season (April 15/October 26) between 09.00am-06.00pm
It can be used in the museum audio guide.