Edible Landscape: Agricultural and Social Gardens in Topkapı Sarayı, 1453-1800
White, Marita Rachelle
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This paper uses Topkapı Sarayı as a case study to assess how the Ottoman elite transformed built-spaces and green spaces into social and culinary spheres. Topkapı Sarayı was divided into four courtyards, with each courtyard fulfilling a specific function. By examining the layout of Topkapı Sarayı, this paper identifies specific gardens and determines their function based on their proximity to other structures. The gardens of the First Courtyard were the most accessible to the public and were therefore used for receiving officials and as a venue for ceremonies that involved feasting and displaying exotic animals. The Second Courtyard, which contained the Imperial Kitchens, was used for growing edible produce. The Third Courtyard housed the sultan’s private chambers as well as gardens for socializing and eating daily meals. The Fourth Courtyard, which extended all the way to the shore, was filled with kiosks used for entertainment, socialization, celebration, and feasting. By utilizing travel accounts, Ottoman book paintings, maps, and an analysis of the existing structures, this paper seeks to define Ottoman gardens as social, culinary spaces.