For a stratified symplectic space, a suitable concept of stratified Kahler polarization encapsulates Kahler polarizations on the strata and the behaviour of the polarizations across the strata and leads to the notion of stratified Kahler space which establishes an intimate relationship between nilpotent orbits, singular reduction, invariant theory, reductive dual pairs, Jordan triple systems, symmetric domains, and pre-homogeneous spaces: the closure of a holomorphic nilpotent orbit or, equivalently, the closure of the stratum of the associated pre-homogeneous space of parabolic type carries a (positive) normal Kahler structure. In the world of singular Poisson geometry, the closures of principal holomorphic nilpotent orbits, positive definite hermitian JTS', and certain pre-homogeneous spaces appear as different incarnations of the same structure.The closure of the principal holomorphic nilpotent orbit arises from a semisimple holomorphic orbit by contraction. Symplectic reduction carries a positive Kahler manifold to a positive normal Kahler space in such a way that the sheaf of germs of polarized functions coincides with the ordinary sheaf of germs of holomorphic functions. Symplectic reduction establishes a close relationship between singular reduced spaces and nilpotent orbits of the dual groups.Projectivization of holomorphic nilpotent orbits yields exotic (positive) stratified Kahler structures on complex projective spaces and on certain complex projective varieties including complex projective quadrics. The space of (in general twisted) representations of the fundamental group of a closed surface in a compact Lie group or, equivalently, a moduli space of central Yang-Mills connections on a principal bundle over a surface, inherits a (positive) normal (stratified) Kahler structure. Physical examples are provided by certain reduced spaces arising from angular momentum zero.