The Topkapı Palace
is a large palace in Istanbul
, that was the primary residence of the Ottoman sultans
for approximately 400 years (1465–1856) of their 624-year reign.
As well as a royal residence, the palace was a setting for state occasions and royal entertainments. It is now a museum and as such a major tourist attraction. It also contains important holy relics of the Muslim world, including Muhammed's cloak and sword (photography prohibited). The Topkapı Palace is among the monuments contained within the "Historic Areas of Istanbul
", which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site
in 1985, and is described under UNESCO's criterion iv as "the best example[s] of ensembles of palaces [...] of the Ottoman period."