Topkapi Palace, where the Ottoman emperors had lived, is now one of the most magnificient monuments in Istanbul, being visited by thousands of tourists coming all over the world. Located directly behind the St. Sophia, Topkapi Palace was the nerve center of the Ottoman Empire. Built by Mehmet on Istanbul's first hill, overlooking the confluence of the Bosphorus, the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara, the sprawling, eclectic compound reflects no one particular architectural stamp. It was elaborated on by every new sultan according to need. The Topkapi Palace consists essentially of three distinct areas, namely the Outer Palace (or Birun), the Inner Palace, (or Birun), and the Harem, which are further broken down into various avlu or courtyards connected by gates. Over 50,000 people lived and worked on the palace grounds, making it a veritable city within a city, replete with dorms for various craftsmen, gardeners and guards, all with their own distinctive color-coded garb for easy identification.
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