4 - Topkapi Palace- Turkey

The official residence of the Ottoman Sultans in Turkey from 1465 to 1856, the Topkapi Palace, which was built by the conqueror of Constantinople Mehmed the II, is a shining example of the Ottoman Empire.  The palace complex, consisting of four courtyards and various low buildings, housed as many as 4,000 people, including the sultan, the Queen Mother, and the sultan’s harem, children and slaves.  The architecturally unique palace was designed in neither a European nor Islamic style. As the center of administration for the Ottoman Empire, the Topkapi Palace had mosques, bakeries, a hospital, a library, a pharmacy and a mint within its walls.  By 1856, Sultan Abdul Mecid I moved the court to the Dolmabahce Palace and in 1924, after the empire’s fall, Topkapi Palace became a museum filled with Ottoman artifacts, miniatures, treasures, jewelry, armor and art. Importantly, the Topkapi Palace contains holy Islamic relics, like the Prophet Mohammed’s clock and sword, footprint and seal.

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