The Sublime Porte, also known as the Ottoman Porte or High Porte (Ottoman Turkish: باب عالیBab-ı Ali, from Arabic: باب, bāb "gate" and Arabic: عالي, alī "high"), is a metonym for the central government of the Ottoman Empire, by reference to the gate giving access to the block of buildings that housed the principal state departments in Istanbul. Today, the buildings house the provincial Governor of Istanbul.
Porte is French for "gate". When Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent sealed an alliance with King Francis I of France in 1536, the French diplomats walked through the monumental gate or Bab-ı Ali in order to reach the Vizierate of Constantinople, seat of the Sultan's government. French being the language of diplomacy, the French translation Sublime Porte (the adjective being unusually placed ahead of the word to emphasise its importance) was soon adopted in most other European languages, including English, to refer not only to the actual gate but as a metaphor for the Ottoman Empire.