The Golden Way

The Golden Road is the Harem’s longest, oldest, and most important passageway. It is a vaulted road running the length of the wall that separates the Harem from the Inner Palace Courtyard. The most noteworthy feature of the Golden Road is the colonnaded section in the Harem that passes through the Hall of the Sovereign, defining the edges of the Central Courtyard and the Harem Garden. Before it became known as the Golden Road in the 19th century, this passageway was variously known as the Long Road (Uzun Yol), the Sultan’s Path (Rah-ı Pâdişâhî), and the Avenue of His Excellency the Sultan (Sokak-ı Hazret-i Pâdişâhî), and was generally used by the sultan as a shortcut to the Harem apartments. The name “Golden Road” does not come from the road’s appearance (which is quite unadorned with its plastered walls and stone pavement) but rather from the fact that when the sultan would pass through here on certain special days, he would throw gold coins to the Harem’s inhabitants who would be standing all along the road.