Palace in Istanbul, TR
The whole of Istanbul, especially the spot where the Topkapi Palace now stands is near the waters of the strait of the Bosporus, a very narrow body of water allowing ships to travel from the Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea. This is the only sea access to Russia. Istanbul spans both sides of this strait, one side being Europe, the other being Asia. This location is a very, very strategic location; it splits the town into two main sections. Controlling the nautical traffic but also the crossing across the Bosporus by land, made, and continues to make, this an ideal spot for controlling traffic. Long before the Ottomans, the Byzantines, the Romans and the Greeks, people knew this was a great location. The Ottoman Sultans knew exactly why they had to be in Istanbul at the exact spot of the Topkapi Palace. This location, this Istanbul, was a Toll Booth. Heavy tolls were issued for any ship to pass through the Bosporus. Heavy tolls were charged to cross the Bosporus on land, too. Nobody could just cross the river via a bridge like Carol and I did. Only in the last century was it possible to build a bridge spanning Europe and Asia. You can see on the map how important a location Istanbul really is.
Even the Greeks established a town in this spot and some evidence suggests that the exact spot where today’s Topkapi Palace stands was the exact spot the Greeks had their town. We had to make a choice what to see first, or what was the most desirable item on the list to visit. When we finally came to the last day in Istanbul and wanted to visit this Topkapi Palace, we found it to be closed for the day. At first I was upset at not being able to see the Topkapi Palace, the seat of the Sultans of the Ottoman, but then…. It is a great excuse to return to Istanbul again. I mean, how can we not see this Palace with the harem and all?