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Topkapi Palace.

Topkapi Palace from across the Bosporus, Istanbul. Photo credit: Faraways/Shutterstock.com

Situated in the heart of Istanbul and visible from across the Bosporus, is the Topkapi Palace, an enormous complex that once served as the royal residence and administrative headquarters of the Ottoman sultans. A major part of this complex was dedicated to the Imperial Harem where the females of the royal family lived including the sultan’s mother, his wives and concubines, their children and the servants who attended to them.

Connected to the harem but tucked away behind a high wall was the chamber of the Ottoman princes. It’s a single story building handsomely decorated on the inside with high ceiling, tiled walls and carpeted floors. Ornate stained glass windows looked out across the high terrace and the garden of the pool below. Despite their splendor, this building had a sinister purpose—it was a prison, meant to keep all possible successors to the throne locked up so that they could never challenge the reigning sultan. These chambers were known as kafes, whose literal translation is “cage”.


© Amusing Planet, 2019.



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