Originally conceived as a summer residency and headquarter of the government, Topkapi Palace housed harem, state and military administration with a total of 3000 inhabitants in the 16th century. It is located at the place where the Bosporus unites with the Marmara Sea. The palace is divided into four courtyards. On one side of the Divana yard there is a harem, a labyrinth of nearly 400 apartments, halls, rooms and terraces grouped around two large rooms. Magnificently decorated throne hall with a stunning collection of precious stone covered dresses made of gold and silver threads worn by Sultans only and Ahmed III library with a unique collection of Arabic and Greek manuscripts are in the third yard.
The Topkapi Palace was transformed into a museum in 1924. Palace has one of the 3 largest collections in the world. A total of 65 000 different exhibits are registered in the museum's inventory, like Topkapi dagger, Gilded Sultan Murat III throne, gun hall, ceremonial silk clothes for ceremonies, Chinese ceramics and a collection of manuscripts.