If there were ever a home with juicy untold secrets, it would have to be the 15th century BC Topkapi palace in Istanbul city. Covering nearly 600,000 square meters, the Ottoman Empire’s royal Palace was originally the brainchild of Sultan Mehmed, the conqueror. In Topkapi Palace, they courted their concubine slaves, harem fights for power took place, castrated eunuchs served their master, and sibling rivalry over the throne would cut some family members lives short.
Topkapi’s importance existed for nearly four hundred years until the Ottoman family moved into their new home, the Dolmabahce Palace. The 31st Sultan, Abdulmecid the 1st, was desperate to keep up with European royal families. So he decided the Topkapi palace lacked comfort and stylish architecture. Well, he did have a point.
Even today, Topkapi’s architectural style is not a patch on the likes of its western counterparts. But Topkapi palace in Istanbul reflects much more than bricks and mortar. The famous landmark portrays generations of a family whose influence changed world history and millions of lives.
The Ottoman Sultans lived in Topkapi Palace from the 15th to early 20th century. Construction took place after Sultan Mehmed the second’s conquest of Constantinople. Bear in mind; they were, at one point, a powerful family who ruled nearly half the world. They ruled their lands from Topkapi; hence thousands of people lived there, making more of a mini-city within Constantinople rather than a residence.
Ottoman sultans traditionally had more than one wife, and they lived with their children in the harem section. Ottoman sultans’ mothers also lived with them. Add to this their entourage, servants like the eunuchs, cooks, cleaners, and maids. Despite Topkapi’s massive size, you got little privacy unless you were the sultan if you lived there.