When you step onto the shores of Istanbul, you are walking in the ancient footsteps of the Persians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks and the Ottoman Turks. The official history of Istanbul dates back to 633 B.C. when the site was chosen due to the great location at the tip of a peninsula with a commanding view and access to three waterways.
Then fast forwarding 2,000 years when in 1453, a young Sultan, Mehmed II, gave the orders for the construction of the Topkapi Palace on the breathtaking scenic point overlooking both the Marmara and Bosphorus Rivers surrounded by olive groves. Subsequently, the Topkapi Palace was home to all the Ottoman sultans for nearly four centuries.
If you’ve been to the European castles in Germany, France and England you will note that the Topkapi is nothing like them at all. It is asymmetric, with a look of being continually added to by the many residents. However, to the Sultan apparently it was considered to be “paradise" on earth.
While in the palace remember to look from ceiling to floor and experience true opulence. Note every inch is decorated with beautifully hand crafted tiles and calligraphy.
The impressive Imperial Treasury is where the vast collection of "invaluable" works of art, gifts, coins, jewelry, and incredible treasures accumulated over 600 years by the Ottoman sultans.
There were actually several treasure areas. The collection we are allowed to see presently, in four salons, consists of gifts of ambassadors, commissioned works, spoils of war, enthronement gifts and actual purchases of art of the Sultans themselves. Closed on Tuesdays.