Topkapı Palace chamber opened to public for first time

Brought to İstanbul following Sultan Selim I's conquest of Egypt, the Mukaddes Emanetler (Sacred Trusts) have been carefully preserved in the Topkapı Palace for long years but are only now viewable by the public at large. Among the most important of these articles is the Hırka-i Şerif, considered an important relic left behind from the Prophet Muhammad. It is said that some Ottoman sultans would bring this garment with them whenever they traveled. For example, Ahmed I built a special suite to house the Hırka-i Şerif on the grounds of the Istavroz Palace in Beylerbeyi where he took up residence from time to time. When the sultan moved to the palace, the garment was transported there in a special silver case and placed in the suite. The silver case that used to accompany Ahmed I is among the items on exhibition for the first time at the Topkapı Palace.
The case is only one of a dozen articles of historical and religious significance being introduced to the public for the first time this Ramadan. The other items include a silver candlestick belonging to Mahmud II, a silver box from the 15th century, early 19th century candlesticks used to light the Sacred Trusts chamber, a cover draped over the case of the Hırka-i Şerif that is embroidered with silver and as long as a man is tall, a gold-gilded silver box from the era of Ahmed I and the 18th century silver keys to the Hırka's protective case. These articles, which have accompanied the Hırka for centuries, will be exhibited for the first time in a public venue. As is normal procedure during Ramadan, a letter sent by Prophet Muhammad to the Egyptian ruler Muqawqis and a copy of the Quran that belonged to the Muslim Caliph Uthman will be on display as well.

Yahya Kemal’s enthusiasm

When you pass through the entrance of the room housing the Sacred Trusts, a humble chamber within the palace walls, you have moved into the Arzhane section, where officers ready to be received by the sultan used to await his order and permission. You can almost feel the excitement once shared by Yahya Kemal, a renowned Turkish poet who was surprised when he heard the recitation of the Quran in the room upon the insistence of a friend, a recitation that had been continued for four centuries. There are relics attributed to the Prophet Muhammad in this room: swords, garments and many others. The Hırka-i Şerif and a case of special flags can be visited after passing through Arzhane through a glass door.

The division housing the temporary exhibition is stunning, beginning with the cover preserving the Hırka-i Şerif, which shines gloriously and is an artistic masterpiece. Next to this are the Hırka-i Şerif's protective box and the silver candlesticks that provide lighting for the room. A display case here features other special articles, including a silver box to hold incense and fragrance and the broomstick and dustpan once used to clean the room. Each of the 12 articles in the room, through their preservation to the present day, demonstrate the great respect held for the Prophet Muhammad.

Musa İğrek, İstanbul
Today's Zaman
24/08/2009

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