Babı Hümayun / The Imperial Gate

Bâb-ı Hümâyûn, first of the three ceremonial gates of Topkapı Palace, built in 1478 by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, is the entrance to the first courtyard. Originally it was built on a rectangular plan, a two-storey symmetrical structure with a vaulted section between the exterior and interior sides. This section recalls the monumental portals of medieval castles; the two niches on either side are reminiscent of Seljuk structures. The upper floor (royal lodge) was used by the sultan to observe various ceremonies and pageants. Inscribed in marble on the interior and exterior facades, the Koranic verses, the imperial signature (tuğra) of Sultan Abdülaziz and an Arabic inscription signed by Ali b. Yahya es Sufi are dated 1478.