Topkapi Palace was the first Ottoman palace to be built (1466-1478) in the newly conquered capital of the Empire by sultan Mehmet II. Located on the spot where the foundations of the city were first laid in ancient times by Megarian Chief Byzas in the 7th century BC, the palace boasts one of the most beautiful views of Istanbul, incorporating the Bosphorus strait, the Golden Horn, the two shores and the sea of Marmara. Unlike the European palaces, Topkapi is not a single monumental structure but a more organic complex made up of various kiosks, gardens and areas spread over the tip of the historical peninsula at the entry of the Golden Horn. Topkapi Palace served as the residence of Ottoman sultans for about 400 years, until Abdulmecid built the Dolmabahce Palace. In its hey-days, there were between 8-10 thousand people living in the palace, mostly being the Janissaries.
It was turned into a museum in 1924 and has become one of the most attractive palace-museums in the world. The most attractive exhibition halls of the palace are: treasury, Islamic holly relics, costumes of the sultans, divan, harem, Chinese porcelains in the kitchens and several kiosks such as the Baghdad, Revan, Sofa and Mecidiye. There are appealing eating and resting facilities for visitors on the palace grounds with a breathtaking views of the city.