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By: FZ AZ

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Sunday, 7-Aug-2005 00:00 Email | Share | Bookmark
Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Home of the Ottoman sultans for nearly 400 years, Topkapi ("Palace of the Cannon Gate") was the seraglio, the heart of the vast Ottoman Empire, ruled by the monarch who lived in Topkapi's hundreds of rooms with hundreds of concubines, children, and white and black servants.

Because Topkapi is No. 1 on everyone's list of Istanbul sights, get there when it opens (usually 9 am; closed Tuesday) and go straight to the Harem, which can only be seen by guided tour, and the tours fill up early.

After the Harem tour you can stroll the palace's spacious grounds and four courtyards at your leisure.

Don't miss the Treasury in the 3rd courtyard, with its incredible gems, gold, and works of art.

(For a bittersweet romantic scene that actually happened at Topkapi, see my Bright Sun, Strong Tea excerpt entitled "Tears at Topkapi.")

When you're done at Topkapi, head for Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia), right next door, and the Blue Mosque, next door to Ayasofya on the Byzantine Hippodrome.



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