Lonely Planet review for Gülhane Park
Gülhane Park was once the outer garden of Topkapı Palace, accessed only by the royal court. These days, crowds of locals come here to picnic under the many trees, promenade past the formally planted flowerbeds and enjoy wonderful views over the Golden Horn and Sea of Marmara from the Set Üstü Çay Bahçesi on the park's northeastern edge.
Recent beautification works have seen improvements to walkways and amenities, and have included the opening of a new museum, the İstanbul Museum of the History of Science & Technology in Islam.
Next to the southern entrance is a bulbous little kiosk built into the park wall. Known as the Alay Köşkü (Parade Kiosk), this is where the sultan would sit and watch the periodic parades of troops and trade guilds that commemorated great holidays and military victories. It is now the İstanbul headquarters of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Across the street and 100m northwest of the park's main gate is an outrageously curvaceous rococo gate leading into the precincts of what was once the grand vizierate, or Ottoman prime ministry, known in the West as the Sublime Porte. Today the buildings beyond the gate hold various offices of the İstanbul provincial government (the Vilayeti).