This is the story of the House of Osman, the imperial dynasty that ruled the Ottoman Empire for more than seven centuries, an empire that once stretched from central Europe to North Africa and from Persia to the Adriatic. The capital of this empire was Istanbul, ancient Byzantium, a city that stands astride Europe and Asia on the Bosphorus. And it was in the great palace of Topkapi Sarayi that the sultans of this empire ruled. Inside the Seraglio a classic of Ottoman history takes us behind the gilded doors of the Topkapi and into the heart of the palace: the harem, where the sultan would surround himself with his wives, concubines, eunuchs, pages, dwarfs and mutes and where all the tempestuous events of empire were so often played out. This is the history of a remarkable palace in all its colour and opulence and the story of its influence on a great empire.
John Freely (1926-2017) was born in 1926 in Brooklyn. In 1944, at the age of 17, he enlisted in the US Navy and spent the last two years of World War II serving with a commando unit in Burma and China. In 1960 John and his family moved to Istanbul, where he taught physics and the history of science at Bo?azici University. Aside from his travels across the world, he has lived there ever since. He is the author of over 40 acclaimed travel and history books, including Strolling through Istanbul, The Western Shores of Turkey, Strolling through Venice, Inside the Seraglio, Children of Achilles, Light from the East, Celestial Revolutionary and The Grand Turk (all I.B.Tauris Publishers).