I had really high expectations of the Topkapi Palace, but the heat and hoards of tourists did not make it as pleasant as I thought it would be.


Look at all that gold at the #TopkapiPalace! #Istanbul #Turkey #Travel

A photo posted by Monica Wong (@_monicawong) on

The Topkapi Palace is a museum filled with a collection of the Ottoman empire’s porcelains, weapons, armors, calligraphic manuscripts and it’s most prized treasure and jewelry. It should have taken my breath away, but it didn’t. The grandeur and the opulence was expected. The long lines were, as usual, an annoyance.

I bought my entrance tickets and proceeded through the Imperial Gate. It was covered in marble and written with gilded inscriptions. The Imperial Council, with it’s illuminating gilded exterior, instantly caught my eye. The porch and floor was made entirely of marble. The white and green wooden ceiling was decorated in gold.  The exterior walls and entrance was plastered in gold. No other building in the Topkapi Palace matched up to the lavishness of this one.

View of the Galata Bridge from the #TopkapiPalace. #Istanbul #Turkey #Travel

A photo posted by Monica Wong (@_monicawong) on

I wandered in and out of the courtyards to get a feel of the palace. It was grand in size but it didn’t match up to my expectations. Like any other major tourist attractions, swarms of tour groups and visitors filled up the palace as the day progressed. Lines were getting excessively long and visitors were getting impatient in the heat.

The Imperial Treasury was one of the main sites of the palace. The line to enter snaked around and around and it moved at a snail’s pace. When I finally got in, the air was humid and musky. Swarms of people crowded around the glass windows to get a glimpse of the glistening jewels.

The one thing that did amaze me was the view from the balcony. Of course, the photo doesn’t do it justice.

Monica reflects on her travels by sharing her thoughts on A Cup of Moca. She writes about her journey as she experiences the destination to encourage others to marinate in the moment instead of just checking things off a bucket list.