The Landmark of Istanbul: Topkapı Palace

The imperial enclave of the Ottoman emperors for four centuries. Lavishly decorated, with four courts of increasing grandeur. In the second court of the entrance to the Harem and the State Treasury, housing a weaponry display. The third court has the Imperial Treasury. Both Islamic and Christian relics, rugs, porcelain. The views from the Fourth Court over the Bosphorus are spectacular. You can also see Prophet Mohammed’s belongings. The Palace exhibits the imperial collections of the Ottoman Empire and maintains an extensive collection of books and manuscripts in its library.

About 30 sultans ruled from the Topkapı Palace for nearly four centuries during the Ottoman Empire’s 600-year reign, beginning with Mehmed II. He ordered the construction of the palace in the late 1450s, several years after conquering Constantinople (Istanbul), the capital of the Byzantine Empire, in 1453. Mehmed took up residence in 1478, and after his death three years later, successive sultans renovated and expanded the palace frequently, resulting in the palace’s medley of changing Islamic, Ottoman, and European architecture styles and decoration.

The immense Topkapı Palace housed 1.000-4.000 inhabitants, including up to 300 in the harem. One of the palace’s most famous collections is that of the imperial jewels, housed in the Pavilion of the Conqueror, also in the third courtyard. The holdings include the so-called Spoonmaker’s Diamond, one of the largest cut diamonds in the world, and the emerald Topkapı Dagger, the subject of intrigue in the 1964 caper film Topkapi.Like the other parts of the museum’s collection, the jewel collection attests to the great wealth of the Ottoman Empire.


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