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Ottoman Empire

The Topkapi Sarayi is the great palace of the Ottoman Sultans, and the complex was initiated in 1462 at the orders of Al Fatih Mehmet, the conqueror of Constantinople. It remained the seat of the Sultans until 1853. The private quarters of the Sultans were richly decorated in stylized Islamic calligraphy and gold motifs. The Hunkar Odasi (Imperial chamber) in particular is a splendid room built during the reign of Sultan Murat III (1574-95). (Press here for 69K jpg)

The apartments of the Valide Sultan (Dowager Sultana) within the Harem. The Valide Sultan, mother of the reigning Sultan, was the most powerful and influential person in the Harem. (Press here for 39K jpg)