Extract

Stony Heart of Empire

The Topkapı Palace

Within the deepest reaches of the palace lies the very seat of the sultans’ power. Claire Karaz shows the way.

Mehmed II started building the Topkapı, on the site of the old Byzantine acropolis overlooking the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara, in 1459, sixe years after his conquest of Constantinople. Known as the New Palace until the 19th century, when it acquired the name of Topkapı (Cannon Gate), it is not a palace in the traditional European sense but a complex of low buildings and pavilions, kiosks and courtyards, to which Mehmed II’s successors continued to add.

For almost 400 years it was the principal residence of the Ottoman sultans, as well as the seat of government and setting for state occasions and royal entertainments. It was a self-contained city that most of the inhabitants rarely left.

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Issue 50, Autumn 2013 Istanbul Unwrapped: The Sultan’s City
£12.00 / $16.53 / 63.20 TL
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Issue 50, Autumn 2013 Istanbul Unwrapped: The Sultan’s City
£12.00 / $16.53 / 63.20 TL
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