Topkapı Palace is a palace with an important place in history as the former main residence and administrative centre of the powerful Ottoman sultans in the 15th century. Topkapi Palace is also known as the Top Gate Palace. Topkapı Palace was converted into a museum in 1924 and houses a rich collection reflecting the history and culture of the Ottoman Empire.
The history of Topkapi Palace begins in the late 15th century when Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, who conquered Constantinople in 1453, ordered the construction of the palace. Construction began in 1460 and lasted almost two decades. The palace was completed in 1478 and Mehmet the Conqueror settled here. After Fatih's death, successive sultans expanded and renovated the palace. The architectural style and decoration of the palace reflects Islamic, Ottoman and European influences.
Topkapi Palace is a large palace complex consisting of four consecutive courtyards and numerous smaller buildings. Each courtyard serves different purposes and is separated by a gate restricting access. The most exclusive courtyards, the third and fourth, were only accessible to the sultan and his inner circle. One of the most interesting parts of the palace was the harem. The sultan's wives, concubines and children lived in the harem. The harem has more than 400 ornate rooms.
Topkapı Palace was home to about 30 sultans during the 600-year reign of the Ottoman Empire. After the 17th century, Topkapi Palace began to lose its importance. The sultans of that period preferred to spend more time in their new palaces on the Bosphorus. In 1856, Sultan Abdülmecid I moved the palace to Dolmabahçe Palace. Topkapi Palace retains some of its functions, but is no longer the residence of the sultans. In 1923, after the end of the Ottoman Empire, Topkapı Palace was converted into a museum by a government decree issued in 1924.
The Topkapi Palace Museum has many interesting collections, such as Ottoman clothes, weapons, armour, miniatures, religious relics and the treasury section, where valuable items such as the Spoonmaker's Diamond and the Topkapi Dagger are exhibited. There are also many books and manuscripts in the palace library. Topkapi Palace Museum is one of the most important museums in the world, both for its architecture and its collections.