Bringing history back to life

2020-04-28 | Corporate

An Anton Paar gas pycnometer supports in the restoration and conservation of historical buildings all around Turkey. One of them is Topkapi, a palace from the Ottoman Empire.


The palace of Topkapi near the Bosphorus strait witnessed the greatest glories and the most heartbreaking tragedies in the history of the Ottoman Empire. Today the Topkapi Palace is no longer a residence. On April 3, 1924, it became the first museum of the Republic of Turkey. The palace now welcomes tourists throughout the year. It has become a center for knowledge about the Ottoman Empire and a calming place for rest for people who want to imagine what life must have been like in this magnificent palace of the past centuries.


A New Life for Topkapi Palace

After a number of scientific reports raised the alarm that Istanbul’s historic Topkapi Palace is sliding steadily toward the sea, officials launched a restoration effort that was planned to take around three decades. Cracks in the walls of the palace structure which emerged in recent years were caused by this sliding, including in the Fatih Mansion, which is home to priceless artifacts. As is at risk of collapse, this part of the museum was closed to visitors for one year.

Movements in the land under the palace are thought to have caused the fractures in the walls, prompting experts to place electronic tools in almost all parts of the historical structure to monitor ground movements.


Anton Paar instruments as a suitable solution

The Turkish General Directorate Restoration and Conservation Laboratory which is located at Topkapi Palace complex is working on the restoration and conservation of the palace as well as many other historical facilities all around Turkey. The Laboratory's main duty is to formulate suitable mortar that will be used in restoring and rebuilding the historical buildings. In order to create the correct formulation and choose the correct material several physical tests on historical specimen are necessary. Density measurement is one of them. As techniques using liquids can destroy the sample, hence, the Laboratory uses an UltraPyc 1200E gas pycnometer from Anton Paar. Our instrument uses inert Helium gas for measuring and hence does not affect the sample. The sample is loaded in the instrument's sample chamber, which is filled with Helium gas. Then the reference chamber's valve is opened. By comparing the pressure values you can get the sample volume and eventually its density.

This also helps to develop new material that resembles the original historic materials as much as possible. Precise characterization techniques are crucial for the development of correct materials in order to maintain the historic structures as they originally were.


Topkapi’s history

The palace was built in Istanbul between 1466 and 1478 by Sultan Mehmet II. It served for four centuries as royal residence for the sultans of the Ottoman Empire, which was stretching from Austria to Iran and from Ukraine to Sahara desert. Topkapi was created on top of ancient ruins from the Byzantine Emperors. This may have been because the Ottomans wanted to be seen as a continuation of the glory of ancient power, not just as creators of a new one. In Turkish, "Topkapi" means "The Gate of Cannons". The palace’s name comes from the huge cannons displayed outside of its gates. They were in use during the conquest of the city.

Female members of the Sultan's family lived in the harem, leading state officials held meetings in the Imperial Council building; it served as imperial treasury and library, as well. During the 400 years of reign at Topkapi, each sultan added a different section or hall to the palace, depending on his taste or on the needs of the time.