It is built by Fatih Sultan Mehmet, the conqueror of Istanbul and completed in 1478. It was used as an administrative center for 400 years of 600-year history of Ottoman Empire, and was also the official residence of Ottoman sultans. The Imperial Council, Harem, Hagia Irene Church and Royal Mint are the architectural buildings that are worth seeing.
HAGIA SOPHIA MUSEUM
Being one of the most important monuments that have survived through the global architectural history, Hagia Sophia has an important place in the world of history in terms of its architecture, magnificence, greatness (31 meters wide, 56 meters high). It is the biggest church built by East-Roman Empire in the capital Istanbul and is built three times at the same place. Hagia Sophia is the sanctuary where many rulers are crowned throughout the Byzantium Empire history. Today’s Hagia Sophia was built by the Emperor Justinianos in five years and became a place of religious service. The Emperor sent a message to all states under his rule and commanded that the most beautiful architectural works will be collected and used in building Hagia Sophia. The columns and marbles used in the building were taken from the antique city ruins in Anatolia and Syria, such as Aspendos, Ephesus, Baalbek and Tarsus. It is converted to a mosque when Istanbul was conquered by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1453, and became a museum in 1935 with the command of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the Cabinet decree.
Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I had it built between 1609-1616 by the Architect Sedefkar Mehmet Ağa. Named after its blue, green and white Iznik tiles, Blue Mosque is one of the most important architectural works of 17th century. It is the first mosque with 6 minarets and constitutes the peak of Ottoman mosque architecture and Byzantium church architecture’s syntheses of 200 years.
The building foundation was laid in 1461. Like a giant labyrinth with 66 streets and 4.000 stores in 30.700 square meters, the Grand Bazaar is one of the must-see places in Istanbul. The bazaar is crowded and alive at any time during the day and welcomes nearly half a million people at the most busy times. The hand-made carpets and jewelry exhibited in the stores are among the most beautiful examples of traditional Turkish art.
THE BASILICA CISTERN
It is one of the most magnificent historical buildings in Istanbul. It was built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinianus I (527-565) in order to meet the water storage demands of the palace and other residents in the region. It was used for some more time after Istanbul was conquered by the Ottomans in 1453 and the gardens of Topkapı Palace were supplied with water from here. It is a giant structure which is 140 meters long and 70 meters wide. Medusa Heads at the northwest of the cistern are among the most remarkable works and there are many myths about them in history.
Galata Tower is one of the most ancient towers in the world, and although the exact time is not known, it is claimed that it is built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinianos in 507. There have been some fires that broke out in this tower throughout the history and the Genoese put the Tower in its todays form in 1348. It was severely damaged by the earthquake in 1509 and repaired by the famous Ottoman architect Hayrettin. It is the famous tower where Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi wore wings on his arms and flied to Üsküdar. There is a restaurant at the roof of this 9-floor tower which is 67 meters high and there is a spectacular balcony where you can see Bosphorus and the Golden Horn from 360-degree angle.
Dolmabahçe Palace was built by the 31st Ottoman Sultan Abdulmecid and opened to service in 1856. The main structure of the palace consists of 3 sections. Mâbeyn-i Hümâyûn (Selâmlık – the section reserved for men) was the part where the administrative works of the government were carries out, Muâyede Hall (Ceremony Hall) was the place where the Sultan exchanged bairam greetings with the members of government and some important state ceremonies took place, Harem-i Hümâyûn (Haremlik – the place reserved for women) was the private place for the Sultan and his family. The palace had hosted 6 sultans until 1924 when the caliphate was abolished and also the last Ottoman Caliph Abdulmecid Effendi. It was used as the Presidency office between 1927- 1949. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of our Republic, had been in Dolmabahçe Palace during his works in Istanbul in 1927-1938 and deceased here. The palace was partially open to protocol and visits until 1984 and became a museum in that year.