Imperial Gate (Bâb-ı Hümâyûn)

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The Imperial Gate (Bâb-i Hümâyûn) was the first and most accessible of the three main gates of the Topkapi Palace which was designed to be experienced sequentially from public to private access. The Imperial Gate and outer wall were added to the fortress in Ramadan 883 AH, that is between November and December 1478, after the buildings and gardens had been finished.


The Imperial Gate is the first entrance into the palace and thus separates the palace from the city. Additionally, this gate includes Celi-Sülüs style calligraphy (Sülüs: proportioned calligraphic script type; Celi: meaning clear, conspicuous to describe large, monumental versions of script during Ottoman times) with an inscription by Ali bin Yahya Sofi with a date of 1478/883AH placed above the doors. Considering that the signatures, known as tuğrâ (inspect), of the Sultan Mehmet II and Abdulaziz are below the inscriptions could mean that the door may have been repaired a number of times.


circa 1610 CE

Inscriptions of the Facade
The inscription inside the arch is written in mirror Arabic calligraphic (inspect) style of the Qur'anic verses, so you only need to read the right-half starting from top right.
إِنَّ الْمُتَّقِينَ فِي جَنَّاتٍ وَعُيُونٍ -Sura Al-Hijr, Ayah 45
ادْخُلُوهَا بِسَلَامٍ آمِنِينَ -Sura Al-Hijr, Ayah 46
وَنَزَعْنَا مَا فِي صُدُورِهِمْ مِنْ غِلٍّ إِخْوَانًا عَلَىٰ سُرُرٍ مُتَقَابِلِينَ -Sura Al-Hijr, Ayah 47
لَا يَمَسُّهُمْ فِيهَا نَصَبٌ وَمَا هُمْ مِنْهَا بِمُخْرَجِينَ-Sura Al-Hijr, Ayah 48

circa 1610 CE

On each side of the gate are small rooms for gatekeepers and in 1866/1282AH, a fire destroyed the manor style flat used as Beytül mâl (Kapı arası hazinesi or to keep the goods are not yet taken to the Sultan's treasury) which rested above the door and was used by Fatih for himself.


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