Topkapi Palace: General Outlines

Suha Arin
MTV Inc. (Istanbul)
Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Dynasty extended over three continents. It survived 600 years from the Middle Ages until the beginning of the 20th century. Twenty-four of its thirty-six Sultans ruled the Empire from Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, for a period of 400 years. The royal residence, which has witnessed moments of great joy and great sorrow, became a museum after the founding of the present day Turkish Republic in 1923 by Kemal Ataturk. Until it opened its doors to visitors and scholars from all over the world, the Topkapi Palace had always been a mysterious, shuttered world. The Topkapi Palace series represents the widest-ranging project of its kind ever to be undertaken. It was in 1990 that all the doors of the Topkapi Palace were opened to a film crew for the first time. Their lights probed parts of the palace still closed to visitors and, and indeed, into places that had never seen the light of day. This documentary series is based on the latest available historical documents. Miniatures, engravings and illustrations produced by the domestic and European artists of the Ottoman Period were also used as further documentation and illustration of the fascinating life that existed behind these locked doors. The series consists of seven separate cassettes: General Outlines, The Inner Palace and its Pavilions, The Harem-1, The Harem-2, The Sacred Relics, The Treasury, and The Collections. General Outlines is self-explanatory. It offers viewers general information about the history of the Palace, the various parts of the buildings and their functions, new buildings and additions commissioned by some of the Sultans who ascended the throne and the customs and ceremonies of the Palace.