Gate of Salutation

Found in scenarios: Topkapi Palace

The large Gate of Salutation (Bâb-üs Selâm), also known as the Middle Gate (Orta Kapı), leads into the palace and the Second Courtyard. This crenelated gate has two large octagonal pointed towers. The date of construction of this gate is not clear, since the architecture of the towers is of Byzantine influence rather than Ottoman. It is speculated that the gate emulates the Gate of St. Barbara (Cannon Gate), which used to be the royal seaside entrance to the palace gardens from the shore of the Bosphorus. An inscription at the door dates this gate to at least 1542. In a miniature painting from the Hünername from 1584, a low-roofed structure with three windows above the arch between the towers is clearly visible, probably a guards’ hall that has since disappeared. The gate is richly decorated on both sides and in the upper part with religious inscriptions and monograms of sultans.

No one apart for official purpose and foreign dignitaries were allowed passage through the gate. All visitors had to dismount by the Middle Gate, since only the sultan was allowed to enter the gate on horseback. This was also a Byzantine tradition taken from the Chalke Gate of the Great Palace.

The Fountain of the Executioner (Cellat Çeşmesi) is where the executioner purportedly washed his hands and sword after a decapitation, although there is disagreement if this is indeed that particular fountain. It is located on the right side when facing the Gate of Salutation from the First Courtyard.