Tower of Justice

The Tower of Justice (Kasr-ı Adl) Visible from much of Istanbul, the Tower of Justice symbolizes the grandness and majesty of the Ottoman Empire. The tower is, in fact, tall enough to bear comparison even with the minarets of such monumental structures as Hagia Sophia and the Mosque of Sultan Ahmed (the “Blue Mosque”). The tower was built during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II as a symbol of the imperial court. Following the 1665 fire in the palace, the tower was rebuilt in stone. Similar towers were ubiquitous in Ottoman palaces, such as those at the Han Palace in Bahçesaray and at the Edirne Palace. During the 18th century, similar towers could even be found at the mansions of some of the landed gentry. The sultan would enter the Tower of Justice from the Harem and proceed to a small room from which he would listen in on the meetings of the Imperial Council. The council members were well aware of his hidden presence behind the grille that separated the Domed Chamber from this room in the Tower of Justice, and so would take care to conduct the proceedings with the highest degree of seriousness and discipline. The Tower of Justice takes its name from this supervisory activity of the sultan. The top floor of the Tower of Justice (which was also known as the Royal Tower (Kasr-ı Sultânî))afforded a wide view of the palace’s environs and as a result, was used to monitor the development and progress of revolts and to observe the surrounding area.