Once home to the world's two largest empires, Istanbul, today spans two continents with a population of more than 15 million and the historical sites of Istanbul welcome millions of visitors every year. By providing a living space for different cultural, ethnic, religious identities and lifestyles throughout history, Istanbul also stands out as a global city with a larger population and economy in the world. Not just with its historical beauty, but also with finance, trade, service industry, and even in the recent years series’ industry in the region has increased its influence in the field of tourism, details about two important empires capital city's historical places to visit…
The Center of Istanbul, Sultanahmet
The Sultanahmet area, which is the center of Istanbul, was considered the heart of Byzantine and Ottoman empires because of its administrative center. There are Hagia Sophia and Sultanahmet Mosque which are considered as the iconic symbols of Istanbul. Between these two buildings, the locals are fasting, and tourists are accompanied by the Sultanahmet Park, which is the scene of various activities during the month of Ramadan.
Hagia Sophia Museum
The red-colored exterior, large dome, the museum attracts attention with the description of Byzantine mosaics that defies the years. The church, which was used as a church during the Byzantine period and as a Mosque in the Ottoman period, has been used as a museum since 1934. Among the historical sites of Istanbul, long queues are formed to enter the most visited museum after Topkapı Palace.
Across the Hagia Sophia, there is a six-minaret Sultanahmet Mosque built by sultan Ahmed I of Ottoman Empire to Sedefkar Mehmed Aga to challenge him. It is called Blue Mosque by the Europeans because of the more than 20 thousand blue colored Iznik tiles in it.
The cistern, which is a work of Byzantine engineering, is considered one of the most extraordinary and unforgettable places of the city. Since James Bond “With love from Russia” In 1963 and “Hell ”, adapted from Dan Brown's book in 2016, were casted here, this place became one of the places where tourists always stop by.
In Sultanahmet region, Topkapi palace which was the Ottoman Empire’s palace from 1478 until 1853, is Turkey's most visited museum every year. Inside the palace constructed by Fatih Sultan Mehmet, is 86 carat tear-shaped Spoonmaker's Diamond. It is located on a hill overlooking the Bosphorus in Sarayburnu, the palace contains Harem, the oriental symbol that has been the subject of many paintings in the West.
This place was a race track in the late Roman and Byzantine periods, and was used as an exercise area for horses during the Ottoman period. The Granite Egyptian Obelisk in the region, intertwined bronze snakes and the fountain which was built by German Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II to Sultan Abdulhamit, after visiting the city in 1898, this place attracts the attention of many local and foreign visitors.
Located in the Topkapi Palace, this museum is considered one of the largest museums in the world. The museum, founded by curator and artist, Osman Hamdi Bey, to prevent the smuggling of classical antiques to Europe, is home to nearly one million works spread over three buildings.
Marble carved war scenes, Lycian sarcophagi and the Iskandar sarcophagus in the museum, the original text of the Kadesh Treaty, which is considered as the first written peace treaty, draws attention. Tiled Root in the same garden offers its visitors an extraordinary collection of Seljuk and Ottoman tiles.
Works of the Ascension Period
The Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar, was built shortly after the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1453. With its domed roofs and narrow streets, It is considered as a must among the historical places of Istanbul with its wide shopping opportunities. 550 years old building, which has more than 4,000 shops, includes souvenirs, carpet sellers, gold and leather shops. Previously, the bazaar was illuminated by natural daylight from the ceiling and now electricity is used.
It is considered one of the masterpieces of the famous architect Sinan. It has a huge central dome and four minarets, a caravanserai, a hospital, a madrasah and tombs. It was built in the middle of the 16th century by the order of the Magnificent Sultan Süleyman. The building includes the tomb of Hürrem Sultan, known as Roxelana of Ukrainian origin, together with Suleiman the Magnificent.
From Sulaymaniyah to the Golden Horn
Eminönü New Mosque
Located on the banks of the Golden Horn, the mosque is also known as a place of call for pigeon herds. Blue and turquoise tiles dominate the building with a very domed ceiling. In 1597, The mosque was built by III. Mehmet's mother, Valide Safiye Sultan, and was located in the Jewish quarter. The mosque only completed in 1663 due to the financial crisis brought on by long wars and internal unrest.
The Egyptian Bazaar
It was Built in 1660 to finance the New Mosque, this L-shaped bazaar was the center of regional attraction with fresh black pepper, coriander, henna and dry grass brought from Egypt at that time. Nowadays, you can still find these products even if you are interested in touristic products. Outside the bazaar is the market where local people shop. Here you can buy many products from freshly braided cheeses to dried mulberries, from pistachio to walnut stuffing, from dried fruit to molasses.
From Old Town to New Town
For centuries, transportation was provided by boats from the Golden Horn Old City to the “New” until a bridge was built to connect the Galata and Beyoğlu districts, which are largely non Muslims. When it came to building a bridge in the middle of the 16th century, the famous Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci sent a proposal to the Sultan to build a bridge. However, the first bridge was completed in 1845, but it became its present state in 1994. Galata Bridge, which is approximately 500 meters long, is a suitable alternative for the historical places of Istanbul with fishermen at the top, cafes and restaurants at the bottom.
Enchanting with its view overlooking the Bosphorus, this 62-meter tapered tower was built by the Genoese in 1348 to control the passage of ships in the Bosphorus when the Galata region was actually an autonomous trade colony. For those who don't like heights, when you ride from Karaköy to Tunel which is a 19th century underground funicular, you can reach Galata Tower and reach Taksim Istiklal Street directly.
From Tunnel to Istiklal
While walking on Istiklal Street in Taksim, which attracts people from all around the world, Rumeli Han has one of the most beautiful entrance doors written in Arabic. A little further ahead is the Aga Mosque, a typical Ottoman mosque with a typical domed roof and a cylindrical minaret, dating back to 1594. Among the historical buildings, the modern Demirören shopping center, built recently, attracts the attention of young visitors in particular.
Taksim Istiklal Street is considered among the historical places of Istanbul and is one of the buildings that should not be seen before the Flower mall. It was home to the Naum Theater and Italian operas, which were considered part of the vibrant cultural fabric of the region in the 19th century. After the great Pera fire in 1870, the building became ashes, while Greek-Turkish banker Hristaki Zografos Efendi bought the land and rebuilt it. In the 1940s, florists worked here therefore, known as the Flower mall by all Istanbullites.
Istanbul hosts many places for visitors from Byzantine churches to Ottoman mosques, night clubs, art galleries, cafes, and fish restaurants on the beach. From Turkey, everyone who bought land estates with at least 400,000 USD value can have the advantages of exploring Istanbul, served as the capital of two world empires, and taking advantage of Turkish citizenship.
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