Topkapi Palace was not only the residence of the Ottoman sultans, but also the administrative and educational center of Ottoman Empire. Initially constructed between 1460 and 1478 by Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Constantinople, and expanded upon and altered many times throughout its long history, the palace served as the home of the Ottoman sultans and their court until the middle of the19th century.
In the early 1850s, the palace became inadequate to the requirements of state ceremonies and protocol, and so the sultans moved to Dolmabahce Palace, located on the Bosphorus. Despite this move, the royal treasure, the Holy Relics of the Prophet Muhammad, and the imperial archives continued to be preserved at Topkapi, and since the palace was the ancestral residence of the Ottoman dynasty as well as the place where the Holy Relics were preserved.
Following the abolishment of the Ottoman monarchy in 1922, Topkapi Palace was converted into a museum on 3 April 1924, on the order of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
On exhibitions are the imperial collections of crystal, silver and Chinese porcelain; imperial handmade costumes worn by the sultans and their families, the famous jewels of the treasury; the richest collection of clocks in the world; the sacred relics of Islam including the swords of Muhammed, his bow and his mantle; priceless collection of miniatures and many other priceless objects. One of the largest diamonds in the world, the Spoonseller Diamond, is displayed in a special showcase in the hall. The rooms are exquisitely decorated and tiled.
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