Topkapi Palace
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Topkapi Palace

Sultanahmet, Istanbul, 34122 | +212 512 0480
Topkapi Palace in Istanbul
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Mehmet the Conqueror moved into Topkapi Palace—a complex of pavilions, kiosks, kitchens, barracks, and sleeping quarters arranged around a vast courtyard and set on the Seraglio peninsula—in 1453. Succeeding Ottoman emperors followed suit until the 19th century, when royal living quarters were moved to luxurious new palaces on Istanbul's European side. On fine days, it's easy enough to spend a day here taking in the Harem (separate ticket required), with its gorgeous Iznik-tiled walls, gardens, museum, and vast kitchens, which were recently reopened after a multi-year renovation. A café on site serves classic Turkish cuisine (think: artichoke hearts stewed in olive oil and lemon juice, quince in sweet syrup with kaymak, and Turkish-style clotted cream). Don't miss the spectacular view of the Bosporus and European Istanbul from the tip of the peninsula.

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