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Today tourist groups throng the palace, but we opted for an expensive private tour guide and had most of the rooms of the harem (imperial residential quarters) to ourselves between the groups that were admitted at half-hour intervals. Guides'fees can often be divided between the members of a party, so to save money you can try to assemble a group of a half-dozen or so like-minded folks to hire a guide. The trained and offically licensed guides wear laminated credentials around their necks and hang around just outside the Palace entrance.