"A miniature Topkapi"
Topkapi Palace
GNU Free Documentation LicenseTopkapi Palace - Credit: Radomil

The Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, was the official and primary residence in the city of the Ottoman Sultans for 400 years, from 1465 to 1856.  Today, it contains the most holy relics of the Muslim world, including the Prophet Muhammed's cloak and sword.  Construction began in 1459.  At the height of its existence as a royal residence, it was home to 4,000 people. The palace complex includes mosques, a hospital, bakeries, and a mint, together with hundreds of rooms and chambers. 

After the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1921, Topkapı Palace was transformed by government decree in 1924 into a museum of the imperial era. The palace today is full of examples of Ottoman architecture and also contains large collections of porcelain, robes, weapons, shields, armor, Ottoman minatures, Islamic colligraphic manuscripts and murals, and Ottoman treasure and jewelry.