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Istanbul's Historical Treasures

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Istanbul's Historical Treasures

Istanbul has very important historical treasures that have left us throughout history. We researched the most important of these for you. You will find this information in our article below.

Topkapı PalaceTopkapı palace

Topkapı Palace is one of the biggest and most popular place to visit in Istanbul. It is include in the Unesco World Heritage List in 1985. Topkapı Palace on the place known as the historical peninsula in Istanbul old city. 

Topkapı Palace has hosted 22 different Sultans and their families and the political center of the Ottoman empire for 400 years. Each sultan added a different section or hall to his palace according to his own need. Topkapı Palace architecture is typical Turkish palace. A distinctive element of his plan is a series of open courtyards with trees to provide shade. Each courtyard serves a purpose and is connected by monumental gates. Functional buildings are arranged at the edges of the courtyards.

At first, Harem remained in the Old Palace. After a while Sultan III. Murad several buildings were added to the palace and moved to its current location. In the harem there were more than 400 rooms dedicated to the sultan's mother, the sultan's wives, concubines, baths and the circumcision room. Today, Harem is a separate museum within the palace complex.

Topkapı Palace was opened to the public as a museum upon the order of Atatürk in 1924. Today, there are many sections that can be visit in Topkapı Palace. The palace's visit will take half a day. In some exhibition halls there are the Treasury, the costumes of the Sultans and the Sacred relics.

Hagia SophiaHagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia means "Holly Wisdom". This is an Orthodox church cathedral dedicated to holly wisdom.  It is a former Byzantine church and former Ottoman mosque. Now located in Sultanahmet neighborhood being one of the most important museums of Istanbul considered as a World Heritage by UNESCO. It is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture.

The first church of Hagia Sophia was built on the same site in the 4th century by Constantine the Great and renovated by his son Constantinus II in 360 AD. It was a small wooden church in Constantinople.

Hagia Sophia, one of the historical architectural wonders that still remains standing today, has an important place in the art world with its architecture, grandness, size and functionality.

Following the capture of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks in On May 29th, 1453, the Ottomans conquered Constantinople and Sultan Mehmet II ordered to convert the church into a mosque. Because he admired the art, the sultan didn't want these great mosaics to be destroyed so he plastered them over and the Ottomans made their own floral designs or geometrical patterns, as well as Coranic calligraphy on top of the plaster. In order to use it as a mosque, Mihrab and Minbar were added inside, a fountain for the ablution was placed in the courtyard, and minarets were built in different periods in the outer corners of the building, and the subsequent pillaging that ensued. As a mosque, it was considered as one of the holiest Islamic temples of the world. 

Under the order of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the Council of Ministers the Hagia Sophia Turkey opened as a museum in 1935. Today, it is visited by nearly 10,000 people per day and the Turkish Ministry of Tourism declared that it received more than 4 million visitors in 2019.

It converted into a mosque again by the Turkish government in August 2020. Daily visits continue. 

Chora Church Chora

The Chora (Turkish Kariye) word mean is derived from the ancient Greek word Chora outside the city. The first Chora Church was built by Justinianus (527-565). Thanks to its proximity to the Blachernae Palace, it served as a court chapel for important religious ceremonies.

After continuing to serve as a church after the conquest of Istanbul in 1453, it was converted into a mosque in 1511. It was converted into a museum in 1945 and during the restoration carried out by the Byzantine Institute in 1948-1959, mosaics and frescoes were unearthed and brought to light.

The mosaics and frescoes in Chora are the most beautiful examples from the last period of the Byzantine painting (14th century). The characteristic style elements in these mosaics and frescoes are the elongation of the figures with their depth, movements and plastic values. The Chora church represents Byzantine art at its most experimental. Most of the interior is covered with mosaics depicting the lives of Christ and the Virgin Mary. On the narthex's left dome is a serenely beautiful mosaic of Mary and the Baby Jesus Surrounded by her. Look at all of the mozaics, you will see best examples of Byzantine art. You will be amazed by the mosaics of Chora church .

Galata TowerGalata

Galata Tower, Turkish meaning ''Galata Kulesi'' is one of the oldest and highest towers in Istanbul. It is 63 meters high. You can watch the panoramic view of the Old city of Istanbul and Golden Horn.

It was built in the 14th century by the Genoese colony as part of the defensive wall surrounding its regions in Galata, opposite the ancient Constantinople. They called the tower "Christea Turris" or "Christ Tower". Genoese entered the trade with the Byzantines, and the tower was used for the surveillance of the Harbor in Golden Horn. Constantinople II. After conquest by Mehmet, it was used as a fire watchtower to detect fires in the city. 

Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi the first Turkish to fly in the 17th century Ottoman Empire. The bird copied its wings and examined the air flows of the throat. He flew from the Galata Tower and landed about 6 kilometers (4 miles) from the district of Üsküdar on the Asian continent across the Bosphorus.

On special days and national holidays, light shows are held in the Galata tower. Those who see the tower from the outside watch this visual with interest. It has a very nice light show.

Dolmabahce PalaceDolmabahce

Dolmabahce Palace started its construction in 1843, was opened in 1856 after the surrounding walls were completed.

The palace mainly consists of the Imperial State Apartments, the Ceremonial Hall and the Harem. The main building has three floors, basement on the side parallel to the sea, and four floors, on the land side, containing the garret floors and the Harem neighborhoods. Significant Western influences observed in style, details and ornaments are reflections of the changing aesthetic values ​​in the last period of the Empire. It is a building complex where traditional Turkish style is applied in a wide scale in terms of the organization of the space and the relations between the rooms and the halls. It seems that this hall differs from the other parts of the palace with its area exceeding 2000 square meters, 56 columns, a dome 36 meters high and a 4.5-ton chandelier.

Although the Dolmabahce Palace was under the influence of the West and was built to model European palaces, Harem was built as a separate section, although not as in the past. However, unlike Topkapı Palace, Harem is no longer a separate building or complex of the Palace; however, it is a special living unit located under the same roof within the same building complex. Dolmabahce Palace hosted 6 sultans at intervals and the last Ottoman Sultan Abdulmecid Efendi from 1856 to 1924, when it was put into service.

Blue MosqueBlue Mosque

Sultan Ahmed Mosque, which is known as the Blue Mosque by many tourists due to its bluish interior decoration tiles, is one of the most important mosques in Istanbul standing next to the Byzantine Hippodrome in the old city center. It was built between 1609-1616 by the Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I. Its architect Sedefkar Mehmet Aga was the student of the greatest architect Sinan.

Like all the major and important mosques of that time, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque was built as a complex like a theology school, an imperial mansion, a kitchen for the poor, arcade shops and a small library to raise money for maintenance. The mosque has an outer courtyard that can be accessed through several doors, an elevated inner courtyard with marble floors and surrounded by a portico with a small dome. In the center of this courtyard is a beautiful fountain for dry ablution that is dry today. It is the only mosque in Istanbul with 6 minarets. Four of them have three balconies each, and two have two balconies, each with a total of 16 spiral staircases. The top of the minarets and the domes are covered with lead.

There are 3 entrances to the mosque. After entering inside, the flower and geometric interior decoration and beauty of 21 thousand Iznik tiles, about 260 windows with stained glass and calligraphy of the Quranic verses appear. The 34-meter-high central dome is surrounded by smaller domes and semi-domes to disperse the heavy weight of the main dome, and they are all supported by 4 large columns. The marble niche called mihrap, indicating the direction of Mecca, is aligned with the axis of the mosque. To the right of the mihrap, there is a marble pulpit where the Imam rised and preached. On the other side of the mosque, in the left corner, is the hut where the sultan specially prayed away from the crowd.

Grand Bazaar Grand Bazaar

It opens at 9am in the morning and closes at 7pm in the evening. It is very crowded at all hours of the day. It is the world's largest indoor bazaar with more than 60 streets, 4,000 shops and 18 doors. Although it is over 550 years old, it still operates very actively.

When you step inside, you will feel an authentic oriental atmosphere. In general, all streets are similar but all have different beauty.

There are small shops where you can find all kinds of souvenirs, leather clothing, rugs and carpets, antiques, gold, silver, jewelery, crafts, spices and Turkish delight. Traveling here gives people different feelings.

In addition there is various other amenities for the merchants who working there; restaurants, a hamam,  and a mosque, plus at least ten smaller mescits or prayer rooms. Today, this is as like city, contains a police station, a health dispensary, a post office, branches of banks, change offices and a tourist information center.

You can find it in restaurants that serve traditional Turkish cuisine. Guests from all over the world travelers come here for shoping. Turkish people usually come to the Grand Bazaar for gold shopping. There are small streets and small shops outside around the Grand Bazaar. Here trade is made for handicrafts. 

Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Markets) Spice Bazaar

The Spice Bazaar is built between 1597 and 1664, it is also the second oldest covered bazaar in the city. The bazaar is constructedas part of the New Mosque, with rent from the shops supporting the upkeep of the mosque as well as its charitable activities, which included a school, hamam and hospital. The Spice Bazaar has 6 doors.

It is a place where the people of Istanbul for shopping. It has been a shopping mall of the people with its 400 years old history. Spice bazaar is one of the most vibrant spots of Istanbul for centuries. 

The interior and surroundings of the Spice Bazaar has been a region where many people shop. When you enter the Spice bazaar, you feel that old historical smell. Here you can find exotic flavors and a wide variety of spices. It contains a wide variety of shops such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, Turkish delight, gold, silver, flowers, honey, cheese, olives, olive oil, Turkish tea, Turkish coffee and textiles. It is a very interesting and must-see historical place for everyone. 

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