Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace has been the highlight of the sights in Istanbul – not so much the Palace itself, but also the collection of relics and treasures.

The Sultans of the Ottoman Empire lived here for around 400 years. Istanbul is unique in having been home to three empires – the (eastern) Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman.

The palace was built for Sultan Mehmed II, who conquered Constantinople at the age of 21.

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This is the main entrance into Guilhane Park, leading into the Palace.

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A view from the cafe at the Palace. Worth eating there just for the view, but be warned the prices are outraegous.

The highlight was the relics and treasures. You can’t take photos of them but you can slobber as you gaze on the Spoonmaker’s Diamond – an 86 carat diamond, surrounded by 49 smaller diamonds. In terms of relics, they don’t get much more holy (for Muslims) than the sword and cloak of Muhammed. For Christians there is the (claimed) forearm and hand of John the Baptist.

They also have a general arms collection, with around 400 weapons. The total amount of wealth in the treasures is probably incalculable. There are also two golden candleholders. Each weighs 48 kgs and has 6,666 cut diamonds. They’d look good in my apartment I concluded – definitely impress the girls 🙂

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This is from inside the Circumcision Room. This is where the Princes had it happen!

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Photo from Wikimedia showing part of the Palace.

You can easily spend half a day looking around. I did.

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