Visiting Istanbul's Crown Jewel, Topkapı Palace

Visiting Istanbul's Crown Jewel, Topkapı Palace
 
 
One reaches greatness through truthfulness.
-Script on display at Topkapı Palace

 

Spoonmaker's diamond (photo credit: famousdiamonds.tripod.com)

Spoonmaker's diamond (photo credit: famousdiamonds.tripod.com)

Upon conquering Constantinople, Ottoman sultans ordered the construction of this exquisite palace in 1460 to serve as their royal residence and administrative center.  The massive complex on the lush Istanbul Peninsula overlooking the Golden Horn, Sea of Marmara, and Bosphorus was named Topkapı, or "Gate of Cannons," in reference to the cannons by the palace gates used during the conquest.  Palace grounds acted as the Empire's center for more than four hundred years, or until the Ottoman Dynasty built their waterside Dolmabahce Palace nearby.  Topkapı Palace has been a museum since 1924 and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Istanbul.  I was fortunate enough to visit Topkapı Palace on a beautiful spring day when everything was green and in bloom, enjoying the fabulous architecture and artifacts despite many buildings being closed for renovation.  One can spend a full day walking the grounds and taking in treasures on display, including the world's fourth-largest diamond, although staycationers are welcome to tour the buildings online.

 

 

Beautiful water views

 

 

Breathtaking architectural details

 
 

 

 

Outside the palace gates