The Visual Language of Power
‘The power of the sultan was often proclaimed quite openly and obviously in visual form.’
The power of the sultan, or of the regional rulers, was often proclaimed quite openly and obviously in visual form. Architecture was most useful towards this end; a grandiose building, dominating the neighbourhood or (even better) the city skyline, makes a bold statement of power. On a smaller scale, the power of the ruler could be announced explicitly in written form, such as by including his name or title in the decoration of a building or even a manuscript. The imperial tughra is perhaps the most memorable example of this aspect of the visual language of power.
Topkapı Palace

Construction began in hegira 9th century / AD 15th century, during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II (his second reign: AH 855–86 / AD 1451–81); the last addition was made under Sultan Abdülmecid ['Abd al-Majid] (r. AH 1255–77 / AD 1839–61) in hegira 13th century / AD 19th century
Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey
For about 400 years the vast Ottoman Empire was administered from the Topkapı Palace. The palace was stoutly fortified and guarded within the magnificent city walls of Istanbul.