Okay last set of holiday photos! On our last day in Turkey we visited the Topkapi Palace, the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for over 400 years from 1465-1856. The complex includes courtyards, summer houses, and ornamental pools. The palace buildings house various museums. There's a collection of armaments covering over a millenium, which includes (supposedly) St. Stephen's sword. The imperial treasury comprises bejewelled golden and mother-of-pearl thrones, jewellery and turban ornaments set with diamonds, emeralds and rubies, rock crystal goblets oramented with precious stones - basically everything you could possibly require from an imperial treasury and more. There's also a selection of holy relics ranging from the arm and a bit of skull of St. John the Baptist (possibly) to belongings and beard hairs of the prophet Mohammed. I was quite looking forward to seeing the prophet's stuff, but to my great disappointment after queuing and shuffling around the rooms all you get to see is "the golden box containing the cloak of the prophet", "the box containing a letter written by the prophet", "a box containing beard hairs of the prophet", and so on. We did get to see his sword - sort of - with a 17th century Ottoman hilt and 17th century Ottoman scabbard.
Anyway, just about every surface in the palace is covered in either marble, or Turkish ceramic tiles with gorgeous designs, or baroque style painted trompe l'oeuil - it's wonderful. I want to do all my outfit posts there forever.