Situated on one of Istanbul's seven hills, Topkapi Palace was built by Sultan Muhammad II after conquering the city in 1453. It served as the seat of the Ottoman Empire until 1856.

Home to as many as 40,000 people, the palace grounds were arranged into 3 sections. The Outer Palace, the Inner Palace and the Harem. The buildings of the complex represent a broad range of styles as additions were made over the centuries. At one point, the palace even included its own zoo.

The name "Topkapi" means "Cannon Gate," after the cannons which guarded the gates of the palace. The palace eventually encompassed 700,000 square meters of real estate.

In 1856, the court of the Sultan was moved to the Dolmabache Palace by the order of Sultan Abdülmecid I, and it was curtains for Topkapi. Today, portions of the grounds have been converted into a museum.