The palace of Topkapi near the Bosphorus strait witnessed the greatest glories and the most heartbreaking tragedies in the history of the Ottoman Empire. Currently the Topkapi palace is a museum but less than 100 years ago it was the home of a sultan, his harem, and his many attendants.
The palace was built in Istanbul between 1466 and 1478 by sultan Mehmet II. After the conquest of the city in 1453, he needed a new place in which to live and rule the empire. Topkapi was created on top of ancient ruins from the Byzantine Emperors. This may have been because the Ottomans wanted to be seen as a continuation of the glory of ancient power, not as just creators of a new one. In the late 15th century the palace became the main residence for sultans.
Topkapi Palace, Istanbul. (muratart /Adobe)
In Turkish, ”Topkapi” means ”The Gate of Cannons.” The palace’s name comes from the huge cannons displayed outside of its gates. They were in use during the conquest of the city.