Topkapi Palace

The biggest Ottoman building complex, Topkapi Palace stands on the first hill of Constantinople. The palace was home to the Ottoman Empire for more than 500 years, and the remnants of old glory are there to be seen.

86-carat diamonds, dark green emeralds, solid gold thrones, a golden cradle, and many more pieces of treasure are exhibited in the palace, as well as the sultans’ dress, including specially designed under clothes, portraits of sultans, miniatures, kitchen materials, weapons, a porcelain collection, and gifts.

Topkapi Palace consists of many different buildings built over different periods, the oldest section of which is the Cinili Kosk (Tiled Pavilion), today part of the Archeological Museum.

The famous harem moved to the main palace in the 16th century at Hurrem Sultan’s request. Before then, the harem was a complex apart from Ottoman palaces. Today you can visit its enigmatic corridors and pavilions. Since we have only limited information about harem life, we can only imagine how life was in this oft-called ‘golden age’ ruled by the ‘Big Mother’ Valide Sultan, the mother of Suleiman the Magnificent.

The palace contains many, many stories, together with fine art pieces and treasure; but there are some items you must definitely see:

The Spoon Maker Diamond
The Topkapi Dagger
The Rock-crystal materials
The Thrones (especially Nadir Shah’s golden throne and the throne designed by Sedefkar Mehmed Aga)