Topkapi Palace was one of the top historical sites on my list for our Istanbul stay. Construction began in 1460 and was completed in 1478, and thereafter the palace served as the center of the empire for 400 years. As I’ve mentioned before, I love old places; it was exhilarating walking through a luxurious building that the most important people in the empire called home for centuries on end. Though I would recommend checking it out in the off-season as it was quite crowded when we were there in August, it was a stunning structure with incredible tile work, beautiful views of the Bosphorus, and an amazing history (I suggest paying for the audio tour! You learns so much about each room you go into).
The Francophile in me still prefers Versailles as the best palace I’ve ever entered, but Topkapi is certainly a worthy rival. The style was so very different from the grand European structures I’m used to, but equally gorgeous. Just look at the architecture, those signature tiles, the gold accents everywhere. It was jaw-dropping. This was easily one of the highlights of our two days in the city and would urge anyone visiting Istanbul to save a 3-5 hours for Topkapi Palace.