Alay Square between the second gate and the third gate is the administrative center of the state. Courtyard especially XVI. It was a square with few trees due to the ceremonies held here in the century. According to the stories of those who came with these pancakes and ambassadors acquired from miniatures, gazelles and roe deer were wandering around the square. There were thin stone-paved roads in the garden, which leads from Bâbüsselâm to the main parts such as divanhane, Bâbüssaâde and matbah. The statesmen, who went to the council on the way called as the way of the vizier towards Kubbealtı, would go back to the side of Bâbüssaâde without entering the court and salute the ruler in his absence. The third monumental gate across the square, the Kubbealtı on the left, the kitchen porches on the right turn the central courtyard into a unique square. The top of the benches on both sides of Bâbüssaâde was covered with carpets. Bâbüssaâde agası, Dârüssaâde agası, Enderun aghas used to wait here on divan days. Sergeant and janitors were among the people who had the most duties in the middle courtyard. They would greet each of the statesmen when they came to the palace and accompany them to their destination. The janitors and sergeants affiliated with both would ensure the security of the palace and especially the central courtyard, and were held responsible for performing the ceremonies on meeting days.
When you enter the middle courtyard from Bâbüsselâm, there were special stables at the end of the road that descends from the left before the council house. In this section called Istabl-ı âmire, officials such as imrahor, eminence, kethüdâ, clerk, saddlery and grooms and patrons who were responsible for horses worked. Only the very precious horses of the ruler were found in the special barn. Jewel-decorated harnesses of horses were kept here in the raht treasury. When the Sultan went out of the palace for the regiment, some of the horses here were included in the ceremony as reserve. In addition, horses were taken to the middle courtyard and walked during the arefe ceremony.
Kubbealtı. Councill members hall.
The most important structure of the middle courtyard is the divanhane (Kubbealtı). This building on the upper left of the courtyard was the center in the palace where state affairs were discussed and decided. Built during the reign of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, the building was renovated by İbrâhim Pasha, the vizier of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. The old divanhane, which is located at the end of the porticos leading to the left in front of Bâbüssaâde, was pulled forward during this restoration. The section where the council officers worked and the bookhouse were located right next to the council house, and the outer treasury building was located on the upper part towards the Bâbüssaâde porches. When the council meeting started, the sergeant would open the sealed door in front of the vizier and the treasurer and lock it in the same way after the daily work was over. During the council meetings, the acceptance of the ambassadors, and the distribution of the ulupah, the statesmen were present here. During the divan meetings held on average four days a week, the studies that started right after the morning prayer ended after the lunch coming from the matbah-ı âmir two days a week, and the state affairs were transferred to the grand vizier’s palace. On the other two days, after lunch, the dignitaries who were members of the council and the janissary lord sultan would meet in the Supply Room in order of honor.
During the reign of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, sometimes every day of the week, and after a while, four days a week, the vizier, viziers, custodians, treasurers, marksman, captain pasha and beylerbeyiler, as well as the principal members such as the janissary lord and the Sheikh-ul-Islam attended. In addition, in a larger group, chiefly the reîsülküttâb, sergeant and chief officers who were the chiefs of the council pens, chief of the janitors, would come. This situation shows that the Alay Square is used by statesmen at least four days a week. The two most important ceremonies were held here, such as religious ceremonies and feasts. During these ceremonies, a throne was established in front of Bâbüssaâde and a ceremony of allegiance, acceptance and congratulation was performed with the participation of state officials, ulama and army representatives. One of the ceremonies held in the second courtyard is the acceptance of the ambassadors. The envoy and some of his entourage were welcomed from the middle door and brought to the council house, the envoy and his close entourage were taken to the part where the council meeting was held. A large crowd of soldiers would gather both in the outer courtyard and in the middle courtyard on this day, which was usually the days when soldiers were paid their salaries and were coincided with a victorious council. Some observers who came to the entourage of the apostles detailed the soldiers waiting in the middle courtyard of the palace, the envoy of the envoy in front of the council house, and the dishes carried for the feast from the kitchen on the right.
The Justice Tower (Justice Pavilion), rising behind the latticed window on the opposite wall of the first room-hall of the council where the meeting was held, is one of the most striking structures of the Topkapı Palace. The pedestal of the Justice Tower, which was understood to have been designed together with the palace during the reign of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, remained from the first years of its construction, and its upper part changed over time during the repairs. Today’s image is largely II. It belongs to the Mahmud period. The most important factor in the construction of the Tower of Justice is that the council meetings are given to the vizier’s administration and the ruler follows the council whenever he wants. A door of the tower opening to the Harem from the back would allow the ruler to pass here without being seen by anyone. The building can also be regarded as an indicator of the importance Ottoman rulers gave to justice.
Although the matbah-ı amire, which is located on the right of the square, was basically built together with the first building, the distinctive image of the palace in its present picture belongs to the post-fire that emerged in 1574. Kitchens were rebuilt by Mimar Sinan, preserving the main building. When viewed from the outside, wards for cooks were built opposite the kitchens, which immediately draw attention with their chimneys on conical domes. When entering through the doors opening to the central courtyard, stoves on one side and wards on one side of a long corridor formed an independent area. While the cookers are still standing in their original form, some of the cook wards have been completely renovated and some have disappeared. The kitchen staff, who could prepare meals for 1500 to 3000 people a day, could cook much more during the council meeting and the acceptance of the ambassador. The kitchen consisted of nine stoves and a halvahne section. In addition, the kilâr-ı amire, the chicken house and the parts where vegetables were grown in the palace garden were related to the matbah-ı âmire. The small kitchen (Kuşhane), where food was cooked for the ruler, was located in the left front of the third courtyard (see MATBAH-ı ÂMİRE).
The official state ceremonies attended by the rulers were held in front of the part of Bâbüssaâde overlooking the square. This matter made Bâbüssaâde one of the important parts of the palace (see BÜBÜSSA )DE). When entering the Bâbüssaâde, there is the Enderun Library, behind the Supply Room, opposite. The third courtyard, where the wards belonging to the Enderunids were opened, was therefore called Enderun Square. The Supply Room, which was built during the reign of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, was later renovated many times and today the main pedestal part is XV. It is thought to have remained from the century. Like the Tower of Justice, which is placed behind the Divanhan, the Supply Room is about the elevation of the sovereign’s position in the state together with the Conqueror, the enactment and expansion of the powers of the vizier and Dîvân-ı Hümâyun. As a matter of fact, in the Leysîzâde Kanunnâmesi dictated by the Conqueror, it was stated that the Supply Room was mentioned and some issues discussed in the council should be given to the authority of the vizier.