Courtyard II

The Imperial Stables begin beside the Beşir Ağa Mosque and extend as far as the Halberdiers’ Barracks. They were used to keep the horses belonging to the sultan and to officials of the Inner Palace. In the single-domed space on the building’s north side, as well as in the adjacent rooms, was kept the Treasury of the Royal Tack (Raht-ı Hümâyûn, Raht Hazînesi), the riding equipment used by the sultan. Gold and silver saddles, riding crops, stirrups, bits, and bridles, all decorated with jewelry,... ...More
The Beşir Ağa Mosque Located on the road leading to the gate of the Imperial Stables, the Beşir Ağa Mosque was built for use as a prayer room for stable employees by Hacı Beşir Agha, the keeper of the Abode of Felicity (Dârüssaâde) or Harem in the time of Sultan Mahmud I (r. 1730-54). Beşir Ağa also had a fountain and bathhouse built beside the mosque; the bathhouse, known as the Halberdiers’ Bathhouse remained in use up to the 1920s, but unfortunately the building has not survived. The mosque... ...More
The Imperial Kitchens (Matbah-ı Âmire) Serving the Ottoman royal family as well as the thousands of palace employees, the Imperial Kitchens were first built in the time of Sultan Mehmed II (r. 1451-81) and subsequently expanded by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (r. 1520-66) to respond to the increase in the population of the palace. Following the fire of 1574, the kitchens were repaired and restructured by the architect Sinan. The roof of the Imperial Kitchens consists of ten domes and ten... ...More
The Gate of Felicity, whose imposing appearance symbolizes the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire and its ruler, served as the entrance to the private residence of the sultan. Also known as the Gate of the White Eunuchs (Akağalar Kapısı), it was first constructed on the order of Sultan Mehmed II and was originally fronted by four columns; these were later removed and the shape of the gate was changed (an inscription above the gate’s arch commemorates its restoration in 1774). At the very top, in... ...More
The Sukhumi Fortress Monument This monument, near the Gate of Felicity, consists of the inscription panel commemorating the construction by Sultan Ahmed III of the fortress built in Sukhumi, a city located in Abkhazia on the eastern coast of the Black Sea. The monument bears the calligraphic seal (tuğra) of Sultan Abdülhamid II who had the panel removed from the fortress at the close of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 when it became clear that the Ottomans were going to lose the fortress. The... ...More