The chambers of the Sacred Relics.

This section of the palace is filled with the relics of the Prophet Mohammed brought here by Yavuz Sultan Selim I, upon the conquest of Egypt in 1517. The complex consist of a group of domed rooms. The walls of the double domed entry room are decorated with 16th century Iznik tiles. In addition to the tiles, the wood work of the doors and the display windows, and the central wishing pool give the area a special charm. This section’s central case exhibits the Prophet’s bamboo bow, and swords of the first four Caliphs and other religious leaders.

Directly opposite is the Door of Forgiveness brought to Istanbul by Murad III, during the reconstruction of the Kaaba in the courtyard of the Great Mosque in Mecca. Quotations from the Prophet, framed in gold attract the attention of the visitor. From here we enter to the left room. The dome of the room is in electric style, and the walls are decorated in 16th century tiles and further quotations of the Prophet. In the central case is what is reputed to be the oldest existing Koran, written on deer skin, and several cases in which have been kept the mantle of the prophet. In addition, several locks from the entrance to the Kaaba are displayed. The golden cover displayed was once the cover of the Hacer-ül Esved stone, the black stone which “fell from heaven” within the Kaaba. Hanging from the ceiling are rain gutters belonging as well to the Kaaba.

As we leave this room, on the right we enter the first room. It is domed, tiled, and decorated with quotations from the Koran. In the central display case the personal holy effects of the Prophet Mohammed are exhibited. These effects include a letter in a gold case, soil from his grave, and several hairs from his beard, his footprint and some of his extracted teeth.

Turning to the left, we come upon the most holy section of the museum, the Pavilion of the Holy Mantle. The room is closed in behind wire screening. In its original use, this was the office of the sultans, used for daily affairs, and was converted to its present use with the move of the residence to the Dolmabahçe Palace.

Directly in from of the visitor is a Sterling Silver chest which has been the reposit of the holy effects for centuries, the chest itself a work of the father of the great Turkish traveler of ancient times, Evliya Çelebi. Beneath this, are two chests, one within the other, containing the mantle itself, made in the tile of Abdülaziz. Along side this are two swords belonging to the Prophet decorated in precious stones. Also in the room is the holy Standard of Mohammed, taken into battle on each occasion when the Ottoman armies took out on campaigns. After so much use, it is now kept, thread-bare, in a chest.

From here, passing through a door, we reach an open terrace surrounding a reflecting pool, alongside which stand the Revan Pavilion and the Baghdad Pavilion, both of which carry a distinctly Eastern Islamic architectural influence reflecting their having been built to celebrate the conquests of Persia (Revan) and Iraq (Baghdad).

Tiles at the entrance of the chambers of the Sacred Relics.
Entrance of the Sacred Relics Chambers.
Entrance door of the Sacred Relics Chambers
Decorated with mother-of-pearl.
Chests containing the Holy Mantle of Prophet Muhammad and the banner ((Sancak-i Serif).
Interior view of the Sacred Relics Chamber.
The gold chest containing the Holy Mantle.
Swords belonging to the Prophet Muhammad.
Letter of the Prophet Muhammad (Name-i Saadet).
Some hairs from the beard of the Prophet Muhammad (Lihye-i Saadet).
Casket containing the soil, from the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad.
Reliquary containing the tooth of Prophet Muhammad (Dendan-i Saadet).
Lock of Kaaba.
Casket containing soil from Kaaba.
The footprint of the Prophet Muhammad.