It had its fairy-tale palace, too. Set on the first of the city’s seven hills, overlooking the Bosphorus and the Asian coast, Topkapi was home to the Ottoman sultans from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century. Neither a castle, nor a stately home, its courtyards and kiosks created an encampment in stone, a collection of fossilised tents and open spaces. A wit once remarked that it looked as if it had been shaken out of a bag. In olden days the rows of immobile janissaries standing guard around the walls of the Court, the silent servants, the bowing slaves, bore witness to the sultan’s absolute authority.