Istanbul Historical places


The Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque) is the only one which has 6 minarets among mosques in Istanbul. The four minarets with three sherefes each (minaret balcony) were erected at the four corners of the mosque, and the remaining two short minarets with two sherefes each were erected opposite at two corners of the courtyard. The central dome, placed on four piers, is 33.6 meters in diameter and 43 meters high at its central point. It is supported by four semi-domes. The ceiling structure of the Blue mosque is similar to the Şehzadebaşı (Prince) Mosque. The interior of the mosque, which is 64X72 m, is lighted with 260 windows. The outer courtyard, encircled with windowed walls, has eight doors on both sides and in front. The inner courtyard with marble floor coverings is enclosed with 30 domes. The tulip and carnations motifs of the fountain with six columns in the inner courtyard is eye-catching. It is entered by the inner court with three doors. Those three doors and the main door of the outer court are made of bronze. On the pulpit of the mosque with nacre-inlay, the embroidered muezzin mahfil (a gallery/platform for the call to prayer) and the niche were worked with the architectural details. In addition, it has artistic value with carpets, kilims, rahles (reading desks), engravings, and colourful stained-glass windows.


The Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan sarnıcı)

Located opposite of Hagia Sophia, it is the last cistern constructed by Byzantine Emperor Justinianus the first in the 6th century.The cistern having dimensions 70x140m. He Basilica Cistern, located in the crowded Eminönü district of Istanbul next to the Hagia Sophia, was built to provide water for the city of Istanbul during the reign of Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century CE. This cistern is an underground chamber of 138 x 64.6 metres. The large space is broken up by a forest of 336 marble columns, which are aesthetically supported by strong columns and arches. The ceiling vaults, known as Manastır Tonozu (cloister vault), are built without using a mould. The cistern is surrounded by a firebrick wall with a thickness of 3.5 meters and is coated with a special mortar to make it waterproof. Originally, there was a stone-paved circle on the cistern. It was later broken by dense housing construction beginning in the Byzantine period continuing into the Ottoman period. The citizens who settled in the vicinity were provided with their daily water requirements from the large round well-like holes opening from the ceiling structure. In 1940, several of the structures built on and around the Basilica Cistern were nationalized and a neat building was constructed at the entrance of the Cistern by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. It was also exposed to a wide range of cleaning process between 1985-1988. Thus dirty water and tons of mud were removed and a promenade platform was built in the cistern. After the cleaning process was completed, the two Medusa heads, masterpieces of the First Age Art of Statuary were used as pedestals at the bottom of the two columns in the northwest corner of the cistern. It is not known exactly when or for what purpose the were antique Medusa and Gorgon heads were brought to the Basilica Cistern.


The Dolmabahçe is comprised of a Harem, Mabeyn, Clock Tower, and the Dolmabahçe Mosque. There are 285 rooms, 46 sitting rooms, 6 bathrooms, and 68 toilets. The palace was built on a 110 thousand square meter area and was upgraded with electrical and heating (radiator) systems. The banister of the staircase of the Mabeyn is marvelously decorated with crystals. The Throne Hall in the Mabeyn has a crystal chandelier weighing 400 tons and 700 lightbulbs and is hung from the dome of 36 meters. This adds a European tone to the hall as it was a gift by Queen Victoria. The Throne Hall hosted the inauguration of the Ottoman Assembly of Sultan Abdülhamit II on March 19, 1877. Furthermore, there is a corridor in the Harem Section overlooking the Throne Hall. The palace's rooms are used for differnt functions. For example, the Blue Hall is used for ceremonies and the Pink Hall is used for ladies' entertainment. It is said that the 30 meter tall clock tower at the entrance of the palace was only completed in 1895. The Dolmabahçe Mosque was completed in 1853 by the architect, Nikogos Balyan of Balyans, who made many marks on Ottoman architecture. There is also a small mansion, built in 19th century, for the birds of the Sultan located in the backyard of the Dolmabahçe Palace. The Dolmabahçe Palace has since been transformed into a museum.

The one of the most important archeologicial museums in the world. Its collections posses number of unique objects from various past civilisations. There are 50.000 similar items in the collection of the museum. There are twenty large halls on the groundfloor and 16 on the first floor. The lower galleries displays examples of Greek and Byzantine architecture and sculpture. The most famous rooms in the museum are Salon VIII and

The Covered Bazaar, with an area of 31.000 m², resembles a labyrinth. The roof is covered with lead and has numerous domes. Moreover, the Inner Bedesten (İç Bedesten), which is reported to have existed since the Byzantine period, measures 48x36m² with 8 columns and 15 domes. The bazaar, with its architectural style designed specifically for enclosed shopping centers, entertains many visitors who come for both commercial and touristic purposes from different countries speaking different languages every day. This is the largest covered market in Istanbul, In addition to its historical importance, it's a bazaar that will tempt even the nonshoppers with its rich collection of precious handmade carpets, jewelery, leather and souvenirs.


It is estimated that the Topkapı Palace had around 13 gates. Most of these gate have since vanished. The majestic Bab-i Humayun Gate of the Topkapı Palace is located in the direction of the Ayasofya, facing of the sea, and across from the Sultanahmet Fountain. This gate is the main entrance of the palace. It was first built during the period of Sultan Fatih and has gone through several restorations. It is a witnessed to many historical events throughout the Ottoman History, and the gate still preserves its magnificence.
The last structure built within the Topkapı Palace was the Mecidiye Mansion overlooking the Golden Horn, Marmara, and Bosphorus. The building was constructed during the rule of Abdülmecit in 1840.Now transformed into a museum, the Topkapı Palace allows its visitors to witness the history, culture, grandeur, magnificence, and profusion of an Empire which lasted for a very long time.

Hagia Sophia is a great architectural beauty and an important monument both for Byzantine and for Ottoman Empires. Once a church, later a mosque, and now a museum at the Turkish Republic, Hagia Sophia has always been the precious of its time.

The mystical city Istanbul hosted many civilizations since centuries, of which Byzantium and Ottoman Empires were both the most famous ones. The city today carries the characteristics of these two different cultures and surely Hagia Sophia is a perfect synthesis where one can observe both Ottoman and Byzantium effects under one great dome.

The Spice Bazaar, (or Egyptian Bazaar) is one of the oldest bazaars in the city. Located in Eminonu, it is the second largest covered shopping complex after the Grand Bazaar.

There are different accounts regarding the origin of the name of this bazaar. The bazaar was (and still is) and center for the spice trade, and many spices used to be imported from Egypt in the past. On the other hand, in the Byzantine period, the site of the Spice Bazaar was the centre of corn trade. And the word misir has a double meaning in Turkish: "Egypt" and "corn". The building itself is part of the kulliye of Yeni Mosque, and rents from the shops within was intended to help pay for the upkeep of the mosque. The structure was designed by the chief court architect Koca Kasim Aga, but completed by architect Mustafa in 1660.

The monastery church was built outside of the city walls during the 4th century by Constantine It remained within the walls later built by Theodosisus II ( 408-450 A.D )