The Topkapi Palace was the official residence of the Ottoman sultans between 1465 and 1853. It was home to all the extravagant fancies and grandiose banquets of the empire. These days, it's a museum open to the public.
Only around 20 rooms are open to visitors. You start the visit at the ablution fountain at the entrance before moving on to the eunuch's courtyard, the quarters of the Queen Mother, the harem, and the gardens. The magnificent palace also offers some excellent views of the river.
The harem consists of around 300 rooms, several chapels and is the private area of the apartments of the Sultan, the forbidden. You may only visit a few rooms, but that is enough to get an idea of the beauty of the building. It has several courtyards and gardens. By paying 15 lira (about 7 €) you can see all of Topkapi, it is the prettiest.
In Istanbul we took several trips, one was a Bosphorus cruise, where we visited Beylerbeyi Palace, under the intercontinental bridge linking Asia and Europe. It was the summer palace of the sultans and illustrious guests, such as Eugenia de Montijo, the Shah of Persia, etc. stayed here. The best thing about the palace is its situation - in the middle of the Bosphorus with outstanding views and surrounded by gardens. Inside, the palace is a Baroque overloaded and all the furniture and decor are very well preserved (you're not allowed to take pictures). One of the things that struck us was a pool in one of the halls, at first we thought it was a giant fountain, but the guide said it was for bathing sultans and guests. He also told us something quite macabre, the brothers of the sultans, when they reached the age of 40, were killed without exception, so they could not survive the reigning firstborn. They also said one of the sultans was a fan of woodwork, in fact some of the furniture in the rooms, they say, are the work of this sultan. It's a visit that I recommend, definitely worth it.
The imperial palace was built to provide accommodation for the retired sultans. Around many gardens were built, Jewish and Greek .... However, in the mid-twentieth the whole area deteriorated with little forest or village. The Turkish government has made great efforts towards renovation. The Aynalikavak palace remains a testimony of an earlier era where the Golden Horn was the exclusive preserve of the upper class. Now it is open to all
The current eighteenth century and were brought here the most important embajadors and foreign officials to have an audience with the Sultan. He was waiting seated on couches with cushions embroidered with thousands of pearls. As the guests were entering through the small door, Sultan was inspecting the gifts and if they were to their liking, they could talk to him. To me it was a lot of "grace" that seems to go on are really locked in a glass display case you are, the visitor. It's a strange feeling, as if you yourself were a museum piece, an object which is also within a few centuries will photograph and point the finger.
The tiles of Topkapi Palace are the result of the close relationship of Sultan Mohamed II with the artisans of the time, based in Iznik (Nicaea). Previously, the tiles had been used only in mosques and tombs, but the Sultan demanded that the decoration of the palace consisted of artisans creating their own style. The best example is this palace and the mosques including the Blue Mosque.