A building that was once the main residence of the sultan and his court, also initially the seat of governments and imperial residence, is the Topkapi Palace. The palace functioned as an autonomous entity which can be described as a city within a city.
It is located in the very center of Istanbul with the Palace and park stretching over a vast terrain. It includes porcelain collections from Chinese and Japanese origin as well as medieval collections. The harem and sultan rooms are situated on the left of the main entrance. Here you find previous stones, magnificent jewelry, furniture, clothing and the treasury room. There is a fast collection of portraits of the Sultans and religious relics. These relics include a tooth of the Prophet Muhammed, the staff of Moses and King David’s sword.
It is said that the court could gather up to one thousand people back in the day. Although small compared to the palaces in Europe, the architecture and attention to details sets the Topkapi Palace on par with the European counterparts.
It is packed with history not only of Turkey, but of the Ottoman Empire. It is recommended to make use of a professional guide for a visit here. There is so much to see and know about what is hosted in the palace that a guide book would not suffice.
Women should pack a scarf for the day as the Quran is recited in parts of the palace so by covering their shoulders they will be showing respect for the religious acts taking place. The park that surrounds the Topkapi Palace is breathtaking in its own right. In spring the hyacinths bloom which adds to the beauty of the green scenery.
Entrance to the Topkapi Palace is somewhat expensive and it is recommended to pay for both the palace and the harem, seeing both will be more satisfying than attempting to return on another day.