Discover the Historical Wealth of Istanbul!
With one foot in Asia and the other in Europe, Istanbul is one of the most unique cities in the world. So that Napoléon Bonaparte once said: "If the world was a single country, its capital would be Istanbul." There are valuable works in the city which was the capital of three great empires such as Ancient Rome, Byzantine and Ottoman Empire. In this blog post we have reviewed for you Istanbul's historical riches from world famous palaces to unique towers, from majestic mosques to remarkable bazaars.
It is not known exactly when Maiden’s Tower, which is a very important part of Istanbul's skyline was made, but it’s history goes back to 341 B.C.. Maiden’s Tower, which was used for many purposes such as tax collection from merchant ships, defense and lantern was opened to visitors first in 2000. Maiden’s Tower has changed a lot of names throughout the history. One of them is Leander's Tower, the name given from the story of Hero and Leandros in Greek Mythology. According to the legend, Leandros and Hero are two young people in love but there is a problem: Hero is a nun assigned to care for the doves in the tower. In one stormy night, Leandros sees a light floating from the tower and begins to swim towards the tower. Hero, with the torch in her hand, shows the location of the tower. However, when the strong wind extinguishes the torch, Leandros disappears in deep waters of Bosphorus. In the morning, when Hero sees Leandros' lifeless body on the shore, she cannot stand the pain and drops herself in the waters of Bosphorus. Many Maiden’s Tower legends described in this way, make the existence of the tower so mystical. Maiden's Tower, which works as a cafe-restaurant today, hosts many special invitations. Transportation to the tower is organized by boats from Salacak and Ortaköy beaches. According to the list prepared by Google Panoramio, Maiden’s Tower was the fifth most photographed place in the world. If you are coming to Istanbul for the first time, we recommend you take off your camera and start taking photos!
Sultan Ahmet Mosque
Sultan Ahmet Mosque, built by Ahmed I in 1617, is one of the symbols of Istanbul. Due to the blue, green and white colored Iznik tiles inside, it is known in the world as a Blue Mosque. When Hagia Sophia was converted from a mosque to a museum in 1935, Sultan Ahmet Mosque bacame Istanbul's main mosque. The most important aspect of Sultan Ahmet Mosque, which is one of the most important architectural and artistic works of Ottoman Empire, is that it is covered with more than 20,000 Iznik tiles. This made the building not just a place of worship but also a very important historical and artistic work. It is the first mosque in Turkey with six minarets. When it was heard that Ahmed I wanted to make six minarets to the mosque, Sultan criticized him for presumption. Because the only mosque with six minarets at that time was the Kaaba in Mecca. The Sultan solved this problem by building the seventh minaret in the mosque of Mecca. Tourists can visit the mosque at 8:30 - 11:30, 13:00 - 14:30 and 15:30 - 16:45. On Friday, the mosque's opening time for tourists is 13:30.
The Grand Bazaar in Beyazıt is one of the largest and oldest covered bazaars in the world. 1461, the year, when Fatih Sultan Mehmet started the work of the Grand Bazaar, is accepted as the establishment date of the bazaar. Despite this, the main bazaar was built during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. Nowadays, the bazaar has 3600 shops and 14 khans situated on 65 streets. In Grand Bazaar, one of the stops that tourists are most interested in many things are sold from clothes to food, from carpets to souvenirs. You can visit Grand Bazaar seven days a week at 08:00 - 20:00.
The Egyptian Bazaar
Another popular bazaar in Istanbul is Spice Bazaar. The bazaar, built by Turhan Sultan in 1660, is located in Eminönü, behind the New Mosque and next to the Flower Market. The bazaar, which survived two big fires in its history, is still important nowadays. In the bazaar famous for its herbalists you can find medicines, spices, flower seeds, nuts and other materials. Along with the Grand Bazaar, it is one of the oldest covered bazaars in Istanbul. You can find everything you need in the Bazaar, everyone who comes to Eminönü should visit.
Dolmabahçe Palace, located between Beşiktaş and Kabataş, was established in one of the most beautiful places in Istanbul. In the 19th century, the modernization wave of the era started to be seen in Ottoman Empire as well and it influenced the construction of the magnificent Dolmabahçe Palace. Dolmabahçe Palace, completed in 1856, was built by Sultan Abdülmecid. Even not actually being around in the 18th century in 1856 Dolmabahçe Palace took the place of Topkapı Palace, which was considered to be abandoned. Six sultans lived in Dolmabahçe Palace, new center of power with sultan's settlement. The last person who lived in Dolmabahçe was the founder of the Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Western style is clearly based in the interior and exterior decorations of the palace. Also this palace, unlike Topkapı Palace, was built as a single building. In the architecture of the palace, Rococo, Baroque and Neo-classical architectural styles have been adopted, which is quite different from Topkapı Palace. In interior decorations, such as tables and chairs, cedar and mattresses are used compared to old styles. One of the most impressive parts of the palace is undoubtedly its gardens. Geometric plans, vases and sculptures can be seen in the construction of the garden. We definitely recommend you to see Dolmabahçe Palace, which is one of the important monuments of the Ottoman on the way of modernization.
Located in Fatih district of Istanbul Yedikule Fortress is one of Turkey's oldest open air museums. Yedikule Fortress is not actually a fortress, it was built to welcome kings who came to Byzantium as guests. After four towers built during the Byzantine period, Fatih Sultan Mehmet added three more and it became seven towers (Tur: Yedikule). Throughout history, sometimes it was used as a guest house, sometimes as a concert area and sometimes as a dungeon. Especially during the Byzantine and Ottoman periods, prisoners were tortured here. Each tower in the area has a name. One of them is Young Osman Tower. It was named after the murder of Young Osman, one of the youngest of the Ottoman sultans, on the second floor of this tower. The bloody well of Yedikule Dungeons is also located in this tower. It is known that the cut heads were thrown into this well. Yedikule Dungeons, which has many legends about it, still attracts attention with its history and atmosphere.
Haydarpaşa Railway Station
Haydarpaşa Railway Station located in Kadıköy district on the Anatolian Side, was built by Abdulhamid II. in 1908. It is the main railway station in Turkey. The station, which attracts attention with its architectural structure, is an example of classical German architecture. Light pink colored granite stones were used in its construction. Its roof is made in the form of a steep roof, which is frequently used in German architecture. You can see geometric patterns on the outside. Circular towers can be seen on the sea side of the building. The station was completely closed to train services in 2013. However, it is still one of the structures that attract attention in Istanbul with its location in the Bosphorus and its architecture.
Çırağan Palace, located in Beşiktaş, was built by the order of Sultan Abdülaziz. The palace, which is made of marble, covers a very large area, and during its construction Beşiktaş Mevlevihanesi was destroyed. Upon rumors that it will bring bad luck, Sultan left this palace and settled in Dolmabahçe Palace. The name of the palace comes from the Tulip Age entertainment. Çırağan Palace, which is adorned with gilded furniture and mother-of-pearl decorations, is one of the most luxurious spots in Istanbul with its interior, exterior and garden. The palace, which has a very central location in terms of transportation, today serves as Çırağan Palace Kempinski Hotel. The palace, which is operated as a hotel, also has restaurants. Also it hosts many social activities today and offers an unforgettable experience to its visitors with its Bosphorus view.
Süleymaniye Mosque, one of the important examples of Ottoman architecture, was built in 1557. Mosque which is located in Fatih district consists of madrasahs, library and Turkish bath. The magnificent tiles and ornaments of the mosque turn this structure into an aesthetic wonder. This mosque, which turns simplicity into magnificence, is one of the architectural wonders of Istanbul. Those who want to see the mosque are accepted inside all the time except the prayer hours.
The Rumeli Fortress, which is one of the important places in Istanbul, was built by Fatih Sultan Mehmet before the Anatolian Fortress to prevent attacks that might come from the north of the Bosphorus before the conquest of Istanbul. It was built as the first step of the conquest of Istanbul. The fortress, which was completed in a short period of four months, was used as a prison where prisoners of war were held after the conquest of Istanbul. Rumeli Fortress is used for various events today. While watching Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridge you can take a photo of the fortress. You can also see cannons from the Ottoman period.