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Although today the city walls are in ruin, still are splendid and impressive and many of the original gates have survived to our day. As a result of the restoration that began in the 1980’s, the vicinity of the walls has been improved and the some areas turned into public parks.
The most impressive gate in the walls was the “Golden Gate”. That door was build as an triumph arch and when victorious armies returning from a war entering through this door. In Teodosius period the city walls was enlarged and Golden Gate became a part of city walls. During Ottoman period three more towers was added inside the walls connected with four curtain walls to the city walls and formed a five sided inner castle. These added parts in Ottoman period called seven towers but never they were used as a castle, they were used as prison and storage places.
Today seven towers restored in 1959 and serve as a museum. In summer time concerts and other cultural activities take place here
City Walls and Seven Towers on Google MapsHhe mosque although it is popularly known as the Blue Mosque, its real name is Sultan Ahmet Mosque and is one of the “seven wonders of Islamic world” (Researh from youtube with the same capital please). The mosque is visited by all who come to Istanbul and gains their admiration. This imperial mosque is the best example of classical Turkish architecture, and it is the only mosque that was originally built with six minarets.
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque built by Ahmet I between 1609 and 1616, only in seven years inclding its complex. The mosque used to be part of a large complex, including a covered bazaar, Turkish baths, public kitchens, a hospital, schools, a caravanserai, and the mausoleum of Sultan Ahmet. Some of these social and cultural buildings have not survived to our day. Istanbul is viewed best from the sea and the mosque is part of this magnificent scenery.
From the gate opening to the inner courtyard one can view the domes, rising above one another in perfect harmony, over the symbolic ablution fountain in the middle and the surrounding porticoes.
There are three entrances to the mosque interior. The wealthy and colorful vista inside created by the paintings, tiles and stained glass complements the exterior view. The interior has a centralized plan; the main and side domes rise on four large columns that support broad and pointed arches. The walls of the galleries surrounding the three sides of the interior chamber are decorated by over 20,000 exquisite Iznik tiles. The areas above the tiles and the inside of the domes are decorated with paintwork. The 260 windows flood with light the interior space, which is covered by a dome 23.5 m in diameter and 43 m high from ground level.
Blue Mosque on Google MapsExactly it doesn’t known for which reasons used this strange place and when it was constructed. Probabyly used as a temple during reign of Tiberius II or the crypt of a former castle that was associated with the Castle of Galata. Here was the place where one end of the colossal chain extended to other side of Golden Horn to blockade unwanted ships entering to the Golden Horn. Some parts of this chain are on display in the Military museum in Harbiye. According to rumors during the first Arab seige of the Constantinople, some of the martyred soldiers was burried here. When Arap army turned back to Damascus important belongins of soldiers was burried here and then they were sealed, because of that it is also known as the Kursunlu Mahzen Camii (Gunpowder Warehouse Mosque). Inside the mosque can be seen a tomb and two graves of sainted martys killed during the first Cosntantinople siege. The location of these graves was revealed to a Naksibendi dervis in a dream in 1640. Then Murat IV constructed a shrine on the site. Later in 1757, the whole cellar was converted into a mosque by Kose Mustafa Pasa.
The mosque has six rows of nine, totally 54 squat pillars with a low vaulted ceiling. After an eartquake the tower shaped minaret was destroyed then was build by Mahmut I.
Underground Mosque on Google MapsTopkapi literally means “the Cannon Gate”, so called because of the twin towered povilion on the sea side was surrounded with cannons. Topkapi palace is the second palace constructed by Mehmet II. The first one constructed on the district where now stands Suleymaniye Complex which later came to be known as old palace and Topkapi palace as new palace. After the povilion on sea side was fired they began called all palace complex with same name “Topkapi Palace”. The Topkapi Palace was the official and primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans. It was a setting for state occasions and royal entertainments and is a major tourist attraction today. When Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror took Istanbul in 1453, he first ordered the construction of a new palace for this new capital, on a site in the district of Beyazit where Istanbul University stands today. Palace walls was built together with the construction of the palace by Fatih Sultan Mehmed between 1465 -1478 and seperates the palace from the city. Topkapi Palace was home to all the Ottoman sultans from Mehmet the II. until the reign of Abdulmecid I. In the year 1856. Over the years when some buildings destroyed by fire or earthquakes, every sultan according to their taste and ability of their arquitectes added new buildings. Because of that palace buiding reflects Ottoman styles and taste of many periods. The last building constructed in Topkapi palace was commissioned by Sultan Abdulmecid I who abandoned Topkapi and move to Dolmabahce Palace. Up to the year 1924 it was used as state storehouse and in 1924 was converted to museum.
The Palace entered by a door called Bab-i Humayun was built in the time of the Mehmet II. Around the first courtyard there were numerous service buildings, including a hospital, bakery, mint, armoury and accommodation for palace servants. This courtyard was open to the public like today.
The central gate known Babusselam is the main entrance to the museum. On rigth side of the second courtyard can be seen the kitchen buildings. They houses some of the original kitchen equipment and enormous collection of porcelain. On the left side of that courtyard we can see Imperial Council Hall and The Weapons Sections.
From felicity door entered to the third courtyard. The first building behind it is the Audience Chamber, behind Audience Chamber, the elegant library built by Ahmed III can be seen. On the rigth side of courtyard there are four rooms houses Treasury where jewelled thrones, baskets of emeralds, inlaid daggers and other valuable objects are exhibited. On the left side of third courtyard a mosque and Holy reliques section can be seen. Rest of buildings at that courtyard belong to the Imperial Enderun, an institution where the most intelligent kids were trained for administrative posts in various state departments.
In the fourth courtyard there are series of exquisite pavilions built by various sultans. The Bagdat and Revan Pavilions built for Murat IV, The Sofa Pavilion laid out during the reign of Ahmet III, The pavilion of Sultan Abdulmecit on the right by Abdulmecit I.
The Harem is a vast labyrinth of rooms and corridors, and only some part of it are open to the public. The visitor’s entrance is via the Divan Hall in the second courtyard. An extra charge is made for visiting the Harem at Topkapi Palace.
Topkapi Palace on Google MapsTophane or Tophane-i Amire is the cannon foundry from which the district takes its name. The district was a harbor since Genoese were occupantsof the region. When the people coming by sea, Tophane was the first place they had to land. During siege of Constantinople, Mehmet II chose Tophane as the place to position cannons in order to shoot the Byzantine city walls. After the city captured by Ottomans the Cannon foundry was built on a high ground by Mehmet II, then it was extended and improved by Beyazit II. According to Evliya Celebi, Suleiman the Magnificent period the old foundry was pulled down and reconstructed new one. The actual domed building was constructed by Selim III period in 1803. The building with its harmonious windows and beautiful domes is an architectural work of art. The building was under the auspices of the Ministry of Defence until 1992, then restored and transferred to Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. Today the building is one of the most important exhibition, concert, receptions and meeting place in Istanbul.
Tophane District on Google MapsTophane District on Google Mapsekfur Palace in Byzantine period was known as the Palace of the Porphyrogeitus. It is not known exactly when it was constructed. Probably end of XIII or early years of XIV century constructed and probably as an annex of grater palace complex of Blachernae Palace. The palace was used as one of the imperial residence last two century of Byzantine empire. It is unique Byzantine palace survived in the city and one of the few examples of late Byzantine secular architecture in the world.
The Palace was a large three-story building located between the inner and outer walls of of Theodosian fortifications. On the ground floor an arcade with four arches opens into the courtyard which is overlooked by five large windows on the first floor. The top floor of the structure project above the walls has windows on all sides.
The palace in Ottoman period used for diferent purposes. During the 16th and 17th century, it used as menagerie for large animals such as elephants and giraffes. Then as a brotel, from 1719 pottery workshop, poorhouse for jews and at the end as bottle factory. Later periods the roof and all the floors of the structure have disappeared. The remaining walls are elaborately decorated with geometrical designs in red brick and white marble.
Tekfur Palace on Google MapsTaksim literally means division or distribution. The Taksim square was originally the point where the main water lines from the north of Istanbul were collected and branched off to other parts of the city (hence the name). The square takes its name from the stone reservoir which is located in this area.
Taksim Square is a very popular destination for both tourists and the native population of Istanbul. It is famed for its travel agencies, restaurants, bars, nigth clubs, shops and hotels including some of Istanbul’s grandest hotels including Hilton, Ceylan Intercontinental, Marmara and Ritz Carlton.
It is one of the main transportation terminal for buses, metro and finicular. The square is considered the heart of modern Istanbul. The nostalgic tram runs from the Taksim square along the Istiklal Caddesi and ends near the Tunel (1875) which is the world’s second-oldest subway line after London Underground (1863).
The square has been an important meeting place for political protests for groups from all sides of the political spectrum in Turkey. Because of many violent incidents like in1969 and 1977 it was banned to all forms of group protests until 2010. But for gatherings for events such as New Year’s Eve, Republic Day celebrations or mass-screenings of important football matches are excluded from the ban.
Taksim Square on Google MapsThe Suleymaniye Mosque is the biggest mosque located on the second hill. It was built on the order of Suleyman the Magnificent and was constructed by the great architect Sinan. Sinan accepted the grattest architect of Ottomans period. During his more than 50 years of career, he constructed more than 300 monuments. The mosque construction began in 1550, finished in 1557.
The Hagia Sophia served as a model to many Ottoman mosques in Istanbul. However, Sinan’s Suleymaniye is a more symmetrical, rationalized and light-filled interpretation of earlier Ottoman precedents, as well as the Hagia Sophia.
The mosque an inner and an outer courtyard surrounding the mosque from four side. The inner courtyard is a monumental colonnaded courtyard. At the four corners of the inner courtyard are the four minarets with a total of 10 balconies which by tradition indicates that Suleyman the Magnificent was the 10th Ottoman sultan.
The interior of the mosque is almost a square, 58.5 meters in length and 57.5 meters in width, forming a single vast space. The main dome is 47 meters high and has a diameter of 27.5 meters. The dome is flanked by two semi domes to the east and west; typana filled with windos to the north and south which supported by enormous porphyry monoliths. To hide the butresses Sinan find very good solution by incorporating the buttresses into the walls of the building. Half of the butrresses was projecting inside and half projecting outside. Then hide the projections by building colonnaded galleries. Inside building can be seen only a single gallery, outside the building two story gallery. Inside decoration of mosque is very simple. Very few tile decoration embellish the walls when compare with Blue Mosque.
The Suleymaniye complex consisted of a mosque, a hospital, a primary school, public baths, a Caravansaray, four medrasas, a specialized school for learning of Hadith, a medical college, and a public kitchen which served food to the poor. In the garden behind the main mosque there is a cemetory and two mausoleums include the tombs of Suleyman I (the Magnificent), his wife Roxelana, Suleyman II, Ahmed II and others belong to the royal family. Sinan Tomb is outside, to the north side of mosque seems a seal of Architect.
Suleymaniye Mosque on Google MapsSt. Anthony of Padua Cathedral or locally as Sent Antuan, is the largest cathedral Roman Catholic church in Istanbul and is run by Italian Catholic priests.
The original St. Anthony of Padua Cathedral was built in 1725 by the local Italian community of Istanbul, but later was demolished and replaced when it needed to widen the street with the current building.The current St. Anthony of Padua, along with its adjacent buildings on Istiklal Avenue was built between 1906 and 1912 in the Neo Gothic style, and was commisioned by the local Italian community of the city. The building was designed by the architect Giulio Mongeri. The Church was built in a courtyard, and the entrance of the church is on the main street between two apartments which were built to unkeep of money for the church expenses. In 1932 the church was honoured and accepted as basilica by Pope pius 11th.
When Pope John 23th was the Vatican’s ambassador to Turkey before being elected as pope, for 10 years preached in this church. The Pope is known in Turkey with the nickname “The Turkish Pope” because of his fluent Turkish and his often expressed love for Turkey and the city of Istanbul.
St. Anthony Of Padua Cathedral on Google MapsThe Spice Bazaar or Egyptian Bazaar is one of the oldest and the second largest covered shopping complex after the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul..
In Ottoman period because of many spices were imported via Egypt, the name “Misir Carsisi” “Egyptian Bazaar” was given by the public. The Bazaar was constructed as a part of New Mosque complex and rents from the shops used for the unkeeping of the mosque and other buildings. The building construction completed in 1663 and has an “L” shape. The main entrance of the Bazaar facing the “Yeni Camii” is on the southeast corner. Once all of the shops in the bazaar used to sell spices, but over the time some have turned into jewelers, dried fruit, grocery, carpet, ceramic, trinket shops. Around the Bazaar there is a popular flower market and cafes on the Yeni camii side; fish, vegetable and grocery stores occupy the other side. Spice Bazaar is one the most attractive site in Istanbul.
Spice Bazaar on Google Maps