Bâbüsselâm - Gate of Salutation ( Middle Gate )

The Gate of Salutation (Bâbüsselâm), also known as the Middle Gate (Orta Kapı) leads into the palace proper. With its two grand towers, it served as a symbol of the pomp and majesty of the Ottoman state and has since become an icon for the whole of Topkapı Palace as well. Built during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II, the Gate of Salutation subsequently underwent numerous renovations in the 16th and 17th centuries. According to one inscription on the gate, the large iron door was made by İsa bin Mehmed in 1524 and an additional inscription states that the gate underwent restoration in 1758. On the upper part of the gate, there is a beautiful calligraphic inscription of the Muslim profession of faith: “There is no god but God; Muhammad is the prophet of God” (La ilaha illallah Muhammadu’r-rasulullah). Only the sultan was allowed to pass through the Gate of Salutation on horseback; the grand vizier and all other state officials were required to dismount before entering. However, the women of the palace were allowed to go through the gate in royal carriages. The Gate of Salutation’s two towers were constructed in the time of Sultan Suleiman I (r. 1520-66), known in English as Suleiman the Magnificent and in Turkish as Suleiman the Lawgiver (Kanûnî). The museum visit currently begins at the Gate of Salutation.