Topkapı Sarayı (Topkapi Palace) was the official and primary residence in the city of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years (1465-1856) of their 624 year reign. The palace was a setting for state occasions and royal entertainment.
Initial construction began in 1459, ordered by Sultan Mehmed II. The palace is a complex made up of four main courtyards and many smaller buildings. At the height of its existence as a royal residence, the palace was home to as many as 4000 people.
After the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1921, Topkapı Sarayı was transformed, by government decree, into a museum of the imperial era. The palace complex has hundreds of rooms and chambers, but only the most important are accessible to the public today. The palace is full of examples of Ottoman architecture and contains large collections of porcelain, robes, weapons, shields, armour, Islamic calligraphic manuscripts and murals, as well as a display of Ottoman treasure and jewellery.