Richard & Stacy's Round the World Trip 2001

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The Harem
The Fourth Courtyard
The Arms and Armour Exhibition
The Divan
The Hellenic Collection
The Ancient Orient Collection

The Divan was where the viziers of the imperial council would meet. The Divan is adjacent to the Harem, the sultan could easily come to the Divan through the Hall with Fountain, and listen to the council through a grill. Presumably the existence of this grill put pressure on the council to always behave as if the sultan was listening - they would be unable to see the sultan through the grill.

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Stacy entering the Divan through ornate gates.   The ceiling of the first room of the Divan.
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Walls of the first room of the Divan.   The inner (council) room of the Divan. The center seat is where the Grand Vizier would sit. Above his seat is the sultan's grill.
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Detail view of the sultan's grill - through the grill the sultan could listen to the council when it met.   A gilded cage that covered the sultan's grill in the 19th century.

The Divan is only two rooms, although very ornate and beautiful. It is also adjacent to the Inner Treasury (where the Exhibition of Arms and Armour is), which makes a lot of sense: decisions about the empire were made in the council and then the money to pay for those decisions next door. 

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