Sunday, October 22, 2006

At the Topkapi Palace

This is the palace of the Ottoman Empire. It was occupied in 1299 and remained in their control until after WWI, although they did not live there all that time. The rooms are beautifully decorated, many with tile and mosaics. I saw a throne made of ebony, one of mother of pearl and tortoise shell, with emeralds for decoration, and another with more than 3,000 identical-size pearls. I couldn't take pictures in that room, of course. The youth that would become administrative or military leaders were educated in the palace. I saw their library and the areas where they lived. As many as 10,000 guests would be served in the palace by the kitchens. They had quite an area of chimneys from the old ovens. And there was the Harem where the sultans lived with their families, the several hundred concubines, and almost as many eunuchs brought from Africa.

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