Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey (April 25-27, 2008)

Topkapi Palace sits on the hillside of Sarayburnu, with a commanding view of the Sea of Marmara and the Golden Horn. The palace was built in the 1460s during the rule of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror and served as the official residence of the Ottoman sultans, and as the administrative, educational and cultural center of the Ottoman Empire for 400 years.
The palace has an impressive collection of Ottoman documents, clothing, silver, armor and stunning jewels (including the 86-carat Kasikci diamond). The museum also holds a number of sacred relics, including the arm of John the Baptist, Moses' staff, David's sword, and the beard and sword of Prophet Muhammed.
The Babus-Selam, or main entrance to the palace
Inside the palace, this white marbled terrace overlooks the Golden Horn
Inside the Imperial Harem at Topkapi Palace. The Harem served as the private living quarters for the sultan and his family, and the only people allowed within the Harem's walls were the sultan himself, the sultan's mother, the sultan's consorts and favorites, the princes, the concubines and the eunuch guards. The Harem consists of approximately 300 rooms, 9 baths, 2 mosques, 1 hospital and many dormitories.
An elaborate fountain in Topkapi Palace
One of the many silver tea sets in the palace collection

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