Topkapi Sarayi, which literally means “Palace of the Cannon Gate” or famously known as Topkapi Palace was once the home of Ottoman sultans. It was built in the mid-15th century on a 400,000 square-metres area. Harems, beautiful concubines and their children and hundreds of servants also lived here. Nearly 4000 people lived here during the palace’s zenith.
Topkapi Palace was the seat of the Ottoman Empire for nearly 400 years.
The Harem is decorated with beautiful and ornate tiles from ceiling to floor that are preserved from their original form. It has 400 rooms and it was the place where (as many as) 300 concubines were kept.
Don’t miss the Imperial Treasury when you plan to visit. It keeps the Palace’s treasures and many rare beautiful gems including an 86-carat, teardrop-shaped diamond, one of the world’s most largest and valuable diamonds. A tale of the origin of the diamond says that it had been picked up by a poor fisherman among the rubbish. Not knowing what it was, he brought it to a jeweler in town and exchanged it for three spoons. Hence dubbed as the Spoonmaker’s Diamond. Just take note, photography is not allowed inside.
Topkapi Palace was eventually transformed into a museum in 1924 by the order of President Ataturk.