Palace Kitchens

The Palace Kitchens also referred to as the Main Kitchen (Mâtbah-ı Âmire) serving the Sultan, the people of the Enderûn and the Harem open onto the Second Courtyard through the doors of the Main Pantry (Kiler-i Âmire), the Privy Kitchen (Has Mutfak) and the kitchen section where desserts and candies were made, the Helvahâne which are situated in the rear of the cloisters.  Placed on three sides of an elongated inner courtyard are the Sherbet & Jam Room (Şerbethane / reçelhane), the Dessert and Candy Room (Helvahane), the kitchens proper, the prayer facility for the kitchen chefs and cooks, the oil house, the pantry which is used today as palace archives, and located across from those is the ward for the chefs and cooks. The Palace Kitchens were also serving food to the high state officials, members of the Imperial Council in session and various other groups forming part of the Palace hierarchy.

The kitchens consisting of ten sections were built in the 15th century and developed and enlarged during the 16th century under the reign of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. They were restored after the fire of 1574 by Chief Architect Mimar Sinan. The low-domed structures located to the south of the kitchens date from the 15th century. The walls are built of stone and the covering system is made of brick.

The Dessert and Candy Room (Helvahane), dating from the time of Süleyman the Magnificent, has four sections. There is a foundation inscription dated 1767 to the right of the entrance, and a fountain. This fountain and the Kelime-i Tevhid (The Word of Unity: Islamic declaration of faith in the oneness of God) inscription on the door are believed to date from the repairs carried out ulterior to 1574. One accedes from the Dessert and Candy Room (Helvahane) into the Sherbet & Jam Room (Şerbethane / reçelhane) situated on the short edge of the courtyard. There is an inscription on this gate regarding a repair work conducted at the structure, mentioning Hadji Mehmet Agha's name and the date of 1699.  The doors in kündekâri style, i.e. made of wood carvings with geometrically designed motifs and the concatenated Iznik tiles belong to the same period.  The 18th century built Mosque of the Cooks is endowed with a wooden loge. The wooden porches of the kitchens’ service roads and the wooden ward structures have been removed in the framework of the 1920 renovations.