The Topkapi Palace in Istanbul: approximately 200 acres surrounded by over 3 miles of walls. Built between 1470 and 1478, the palace was inhabited for nearly 400 years by the sultans of the time, from Mehmet the Conqueror to Abdülmecid. Afterwords they moved into the Dolmabahçe Palace.
It may have been damaged by fires and earthquakes, but the palace is still magnificent. However, the only buildings dating from the 15th and 16th centuries that still exist are now home to the Topkapi Palace Museum. It can take several hours, and even days, to really discover the Topkapi Palace. The harem alone is a monument in itself. 1,200 women lived within its walls, as did the crown princes, who were educated on-site until the age of 11. The victim of a fire in 1666, some parts of the harem had to be rebuilt. The promenade makes it notably possible to pass through the Golden Way corridor, thus called because the sultan would throw gold coins here to get the attention of his servants.
Flanked by two octagonal pointed towers, the crenellated Gate of Salutation is more Byzantine in style than Ottoman.© Dario Bajurin
It is the entrance to the interior courtyard, or the third courtyard, where the Sultan's apartments begin.© Ahmet Ihsan Ariturk
From the mid-16th century to the end of the 17th century, the queens took on such power that historians speak of the Sultanate of Women.© Emilie Jusot / EASYVOYAGE
The largest mosque in the palace currently holds a collection of 13,500 Turkish, Arabic, Persian and Greek books and manuscripts assembled by the Ottomans.© Emilie Jusot / EASYVOYAGE
The paintwork with panoramic views in the upper rooms is in the Western European style of the 18th century.© Emilie Jusot / EASYVOYAGE