At its peak, some 5,000 people lived and worked in the wonderful Topkapi palace. Its name means "palace of the cannon gate," because the gate with the same name that faces the Bosphorus is located next to the palace.
For 400 years the palace served as the official palace of the Ottoman sultans. The magnificent palace is adorned with wonderful tiles and beautiful mosaics, laden with rich gold ornaments, precious gems and exquisite diamonds.
In the 19th century it was also the administrative center of the entire Ottoman Empire. The various buildings were designed to serve the needs of the empire and those of the Sultan and his family.
The popular part of Topkapi is the Harlem. This is the "palace" where the family lived. This building is 300 rooms and the one that stands highest. This is the region where the Sultan lived, alongside his wives and mistresses. "Haram" in Turkish means "forbidden," since the area was forbidden to enter for anyone who was not the Sultan and his family. By the way, what the Sultan did here, we will not say, but whoever ruled the harem was... his mother!
Today, the Topkapi Palace houses a monarchy museum, showing the sultans' treasures, weapons and a host of precious objects left behind. There are also great museums, such as the archaeological museum with ancient artifacts from Istanbul and the city of Constantinople, the Byzantine capital that preceded it.
Inside the Topkapi Palace, you can see a host of interesting things, from the magnificent collection of royal jewels, through diamond-encrusted crowns, a host of precious stones, fancy costumes, ancient sultanate weapons, a canopy and diamond chairs.
Take note of the huge palace kitchen, where 20,000 meals were prepared each day for the residents and guests of the palace. Pay attention to the Chinese china, the belief here was that in the case of poisoned food - their color will change.
See the "Diwan" in which the Imperial Council was convened, the one with whom the Sultan consulted on his decision-making and the administration of the mighty Ottoman Empire.
In addition, you will also see a large Ottoman-style library, an impressive banquet hall and more. From the windows of the huge palace you can see the Sea of Marmara and the city.
After seeing the vast collection of dishes in the palace, with more than 15,000 Chinese porcelains, look for the karatishki diamond weighing 86 carats!
From the balcony of the palace you can look, just like the sultans in the past, to the Bosphorus, the ancient city walls, the 1300-year-old walls, and the houses of the surrounding Old Town.
There are four main courtyards in the palace, including a variety of buildings, which were then intended to serve the needs of the empire, the 4,000 inhabitants of the palace and the Sultan family:
The first courtyard includes an extensive park with the local ticket office. On the left is the church of Aya Irini, preserved here from the Byzantine period. The entrance gate to the museum is also the gate that separates this courtyard from the second courtyard.
The second courtyard includes the palace kitchens and the china and glass display. Next to them are the entrance to the women's harem and the Imperial Council Hall.
The third courtyard - the library, the treasury of the famous diamond, the costume hall, the reception room and the hall of the sacred remains.
The fourth courtyard - the Baghdad House, the prayer room, the doctor's house and an expensive restaurant, with a magnificent view.
The palace, which is actually a large complex, with 4 main courtyards and several buildings, was designed and developed to be a "city within a city." It continued to serve as the Sultan of Turkey, expanded, burned, restored and abandoned when the Sultan moved to the Palace of the Dolmabachs in the 19th century, which he built for himself as a more modern and fashionable European palace.
In the 20th century, the palace became a historical museum, displaying various aspects of life in the Ottoman Empire, with an emphasis on its sultanate and nobility. The museum exhibits Ottoman royal jewelry, along with archaeological artifacts and ancient treasures. There is also Pavillion, the most sacred pavilion for Muslims, showing the remains of the Prophet Muhammad, his teeth and hair, as well as the remains of some of the caliphs that accompanied him and continued him.