Built in the 17th century by Sultan Ahmet I, the ornate Aynalikavak Palace (Aynalıkavak Kasrı) served as royal hunting grounds. Today, the regal pavilion is an oasis of calm in the middle of bustling Istanbul and functions as a preserved museum. It’s decorated with mirrors and luxurious furniture showcasing the Ottoman-era palace style.
As one of several carefully preserved urban Ottoman palaces, Aynalikavak offers visitors the opportunity to see what a 17th-century sultan’s residence looked like. The lush grounds of the palace are open to the public and offer a break from the busy streets of Istanbul. There is a small museum of Turkish music and musical instruments inside the palace.
Sightseeing tours that take in Aynalikavak Palace often also stop by Dolmabahce Palace and include a Bosphorus cruise past other Ottoman-era palaces.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Aynalikavak Palace is a must-visit for Ottoman history buffs.
- There is a fee to enter the museum, but access to the grounds is free.
- Wear comfortable shoes for walking around the palace.
How to Get There
Aynalikavak Palace is a brief walk uphill from the Haskoy ferry pier. Public buses pass by the palace, and taxis are a convenient way to arrive directly at the palace entrance.
When to Get There
The palace is open from morning to evening on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday through Sunday. Turkish and Muslim holidays can affect opening hours, so check with the palace ahead of time. Arrive in the morning to beat the crowds and explore at your leisure.
Istanbul’s Ottoman Palaces
Aynalikavak Palace is just one of the Ottoman-era residences that dot the city. Continue your exploration of the lavish palaces by visiting Dolmabahce Palace on the shores of the Bosphorus. Then cross to the Asian shore to visit Beylerbeyi Palace and continue up the coast of the strait to Kucuksu Palace.