TOPKAPI PALACE: The ornate decor of some of the rooms in the Imperial residential quarters is reminiscent of the splendor of Louis XIV's Versailles; and indeed, some of the later decoration was influenced by European examples. Both the Byzantines and Ottomans kept their rulers in isolation with their families. The Harem was forbidden to all adult males except the Sultan (the Nubian eunuchs who guarded it were kept outside its doors and passed food and supplies in without entering). It was no Playboy Mansion, but the Imperial residence. Of course it's true that most of the Ottoman rulers wildly exceeded the Qur'anic limit of four wives as well as keeping numerous concubines--a fact that endlessly intrigued Europeans. They never married Turkish women, not wanting to create ambition in rival famiies which might marry into the Imperial line. The consequence was that the later Ottoman sultans were essentially non-Turkish in ancestry.