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Sultanahmet / İstanbul

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Old City İstanbul

Old City

Hagia Sophia Museum (Ayasofya)

Old City

Hagia Sophia Mosque (Ayasofya Cami)

Old City The Hagia Sophia Mosque was built as a church in 532-537 and used as a church for 916 years. After conquering of Constantinople, it was used as a mosque for 481 years. Finally Atatürkwho is founder of Republic of Turkey, decided to be used as a museum since 1935.

Before Hagia Sophia Church which is standing today, there was a wooden roofed basilica way back in 324 A.D. The church was known as Megale Ecclesia(The Great Church) and was burnt in 404 A.D.

Emperor Theodosius built a bigger church, but this church was damaged during Nika Revolt in 532 A.D.

The 4th Crusade came in city and many things were stolen from Hagia SophiaIconoclastic Crusaders eradicated many images in the Hagia Sophia Church, too.

It is a mosque today. If you want to save your time, you can take a local tour guide and learn about the Hagia Sophia Mosque.

Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque)
Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque)

Sultanahmet Mosque was built in 1609-1617. It is known as Blue Mosque, but the official name of mosque is Sultanahmet Mosque. There are 21 thousands of blue ceramic tiles adorning the interior of mosque with 260 windows. When the sunlight came in the mosque, it takes blue colour.

The architect of the mosque is Sedefkâr Mehemed Aga who was student of Architect Sinan. The mosque has 6 minarets, but the only one mosque on earth had same number and it just happened to be the holiest mosque which is the Masjid al-Ḥaram or Great Mosque of Mecca, in the world. Sultan Ahmed ordered a seventh minaret to be built in Mecca later and fand the solution by this way.

It is free of charge to visit Blue Mosque. You can visit Sultanahmet Mosque except for praying hours.

Information:

It is free of charge and open everyday except for praying hours.

Harem in Topkapi Palace
Harem in Topkapi Palace

The Harem meaning is “Forbidden” in Arabic and was a complex of apartments in the Ottoman Palace belonging to the wives, concubines and children of the Sultan, protected by the black eunuchs.

In the Harem, there are rooms belong to the Mother of the Sultan(Valide Sultan), wives of the Sultan(Haseki Sultan), his concubines, turkish baths, circumcision room, apartments of the chief black eunuch, and apartments of the Sultan, in total over 300 rooms.

The Harem is a separate museum within the palace complex. That is why, It is charged extra money. It is located in the Topkapi Palace Museum and you need to visit the Palace before you visit Harem.

Information:

It is closed every Tuesday and costs 70 Turkish Lira(TL).

Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnici)
Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnici)

Basilica Cistern was designed to service the Great Byzantine Palace and surrounding buildings. It was able to store up to 100,000 tons of water delivered via 20 km of Aqueducts from a reservoir around Belgrad Forest.

When Ottoman Empire took over the city, it was not used it for long years. Because the water which stay in the cistern, doesn’t run and smell after a while. That is why it was not used for long time by the muslims and had been forgotton. Petrus Gyllius who was researching Byzantine Antiquities in the city, discovered the Basilica Cistern in 16th century.

The cistern was renovated in 1986 by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and opened to the public in 1988. It is one of the city’s most popular museum today and can be visited every day. It is charged 20 Turkish Lira.

Information:

It is open everyday and costs 30 Turkish Lira(TL).

Istanbul Archaeological Museum
Istanbul Archaeological Museum

The Istanbul Archaeological Museum is one of the most impressive historical museum in the city and consists of 3 main units:

  • Istanbul Archaeological Museum
  • Ancient Orient Museum
  • Tiled Kiosk Museum

The Archaeology Museum houses over one million artifacts belonging various cultures collected from the imperial borders. The Archaeological Museum was founded in 1891-92 under the name of Müze-i Hümayun(The Imperial Museum). You can visit the Sarcophagies of Alexander the GreatKing Tabnit, various valuable objects from the pre-islamic Arabian Peninsula, belonging from archaic period utill late-Roman period, MesopotamiaEgypt and Anatolia in the Ancient Orient Museum as well as some outstanding tile and pottery examples by Seljuk and Ottoman in the Tiled Kiosk Museum.

Information:

It is open everyday and costs 50 Turkish Lira(TL).

Hippodrome of Constantinople
Hippodrome of Constantinople

The Hippodrome originally was built by Roman Emperor Septimius Severus in 203 and a horse-racing track. But it was not only used for Chariot Races during the Byzantine Empire. They used to organize Court Ceremonies, Coronations and Parades also took place at the Hippodrome, too. But it got its final shape with order of Emperor Constantine the Great in 324.

The Hippodrom had U-Shaped Track was around 450 meters long and 130 meters wide, surrounded by a Stadium with a capacity of about 100.000 people. But it was damaged during Crusade in 12th century.

Serpent Column

Constantine the Great ordered to bring the Serpents’ Column from Delphi for Hipppodrome and still stands in between the other monuments: the Obelisk of Theodosius and the Obelisk of Constantine.

It was erected in 479-478 B.C. after the Battle of Plataea, in which the Greeks had defeated the Persians. The Column was 18 feet high and had the shape of three snakes.

Obelisk of Theodosius

It is the oldest monument of Constantinople and the Hippodrome. The pink granite stone was erected by the Emperor Theodosius I in 390. The Obelisk is originally from Egypt and later shipped to Constantinople.

The Walled Obelisk

It has many names including “Walled Column” or “Constantine Obelisk” and located in the former Byzantine Hippodrome. The Walled Obelisk is built in 10th century and still standing.

The German Fountain (The Kaiser Wilhelm Fountain)

The German emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II visited Istanbul three times at different dates. After his second visit to Istanbul, he decided to built a fountain as a gift to city and to the Sultan. This German Fountain is dated 19 century and still runs, serving to visitors in Sultanahmet Area. It represents friendship of turkish with germans. The Fountain entirely made in Germany and shipped to Istanbul piece by piece to be assembled on Sultanahmet Square. It couldn’t be completed for the 25th anniversary of Abdulhamid II’s succession to the throne. Finally, it finished on the Kaiser’s Birthday, January 27, 1901.

Information:

It is open everyday and free of charge.

Suleymaniye Mosque
Suleymaniye Mosque

It is one of the biggest and most beautiful mosque in Istanbul. Suleymaniye Mosque was built by Architect Sinan who was the most famous and talented of all imperial architects, in between 1550-1557. The Mosque Complex Buildings have been restored and adapted for reuse today.

Sultan Suleyman who was known as “The Magnificent” and the 10th Sultan after the establishment of the Ottoman Empire, gave order to built this beautiful mosque on the top hill.

When you go to Bosphorus Tour, you can see this mosque on the top of the hill. Because Suleymaniye mosque was built on one of the highest hill in Istanbul. That is why, you can see all Istanbul from the courtyard of mosque.

Information:

It is free of charge and open everyday except for praying hours.

Rustem Pasa Mosque
Rustem Pasa Mosque

Rustem Pasha Mosque was built by the famous Ottoman Architect Sinan in 1563. It was designed for Rustem Pasha who was Grand Vizier to Suleyman the Magnificent. The Mosque is famous with gorgeous interior and covered in Turkey’s famous Iznik Tiles.

 

It is a hidden gem of a mosque that some describe as a miniature of the Blue Mosque, but without the crowds. It is a little hard to find, but it is well worth it – the stunning beauty of the interior is matched by the feeling of finding a little oasis in the midst of a hectic area. These blue tiles come in a wide variety of floral and geometric patterns inside mosque.

The Mosque is located in Eminonu district and you can come this area by tram or walk from Sultanahmet area about 15 minutes distance.

Information:

It is free of charge and open everyday except for praying hours.

Grand Bazaar
Grand Bazaar

It was built by order of Mehmet the Conqueror in 1461 and located in the heart of Istanbul’s Old City. The Grand Bazaar was home to 5 Mosques, 1 School, 7 Fountains, 10 Wells, 1 Water Dispenser and 1 Ablution Fountain.

However it has only 1 Mosque and 1 Ablution Fountain are left today. It has 21 Gates, 2 Bedestens, 17 Inns, 56 Streets, nearly 4000 Shops and employs around 30.000 people. You can visit and make deals for good leather items, nice hanmade carpets, gold, silver or souvenirs by bargaining.

It is located in Beyazit district and you can travel to here by Tram or 10 munites walking distance from Sultanahmet.

Information:

It is closed every Sunday and free of charge.

Egyptian Market (Spice Market)
Egyptian Market (Spice Market)

It was built in 1660 and products were shipped to from everywhere within and outside of Ottoman lands. The name “Mısır” meaning Egypt was given to market.

Because the market was built with the funds of incoming egyptian taxes. However foreign visitors called it the Spice Bazaar. Because the structure housed the majority of the city’s spice trade. You can find best spices, sweets, dried goods, teas, and coffees here.

Information:

It is open everyday and free of charge.

Galata Tower (Tower of Christ)
Galata Tower (Tower of Christ)

The Galata Tower is one of the highest and oldest towers of Istanbul and 63 meter high. It provides a panoramic view of the old town today and was built in the 14th century by the Genoese colony as part of the defense wall surrounding their district. The Tower was used for the surveillance of the Harbor in that time and served to detect fires in the city during the Ottoman Empire.

The Galata Tower was restored and opened to the public in 1967. When you visit this tower, you can take a sit in cafeteria on the top and can enjoy view of city from here. Elevators will take you up, but there are still 2 more floors to climb by stairs to get on the panoramic terrace today.

Information:

It is open everyday and costs 35 Turkish Lira(TL).

Beylerbeyi Palace (Lord of Lords)
Beylerbeyi Palace (Lord of Lords)

Beylerbeyi Palace was built with order of Sultan Abdulaziz in between 1861-1865 and used as a place to entertain visiting heads of Ottoman Empire. The Duke, Duchess of Windsor and Empress Eugénie of France visited Beylerbeyi on her way to the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869.

Sultan Abdulhamid II lived in this Palace in between 1912-1918 and it is a museum today.

It is located in Beylerbeyi district and you need to travel to asian side of Istanbul to visit this Palace.

Information:

It is closed on Monday and costs 50 Turkish Lira(TL).

Topkapi Palace Museum
Topkapi Palace Museum

The Topkapi Palace is the biggest and one of the most popular museum in Istanbul. It was built in between 1465-1478 by the Sultan Mehmet II on top of a hill in Historical Peninsula. The Palace was the political center of the Ottoman Empire from the 15th till 19th century. After constructing of Dolmabahce Palace by the Bosphorus, Sultan and his family moved to there.

Mehmet II ordered to built his Palace in its present location on top of the old Byzantine Palace. Topkapi means “Gate of Cannons” in turkish because of huge cannons displayed outside of its gates. There were around 5,000 residents of the Palace at normal days and around 10.000 during festivals. Topkapi Palace became one of the largest in the world in that time. The walls surrounding Palace are about 5 kilometers long and the Palace was built around 700,000 m2 of area during the foundation year.

Ottoman Sultans lived in the Topkapi Palace around 380 years and each Sultan added a different section or hall to the Palace, depending on his taste or on the needs of the time. The main gate is called Bab-i Humayun (Imperial Gate), the second gate Bab-u Selam (Gate of Salutation) and the third gate Bab-u Saade (Felicity Gate).

Topkapi Palace was opened to the public as a museum in 1924 by the order of Ataturk. There are many sections in the Topkapi Palace for visitors. You can visit Exhibition Hall which doesn’t contain any furniture for today, Treasury, Sultans’ Costumes and the Holly Relics.

It is located in Sultanahmet district and walking distance from Hagia Sophia Museum and Blue Mosque.

Information:

It is a museum and closed every Tuesday.

Entrance fee is 100 Turkish Lira(TL).

Ciragan Palace
Ciragan Palace

The Ciragan Palace was built with the order of Sultan Abdülaziz in between 1863-1867 and the architects of palace were Nigogayos Balyan, his sons Sarkis and Hagop Balyan.

The Palace was built on the bosphorus like other palaces as well. But the Palace was burnt during a big fire in 1910. Finally a Japanese corporation company bought the burned Ciragan Palace and made a big restoration to use a hotel.

So it is used as a five start hotel today and one of the most expensive hotel in Istanbul.

Information:

It is not allow to visit this palace as a museum. Because it is a five star hotel now. But if you like you can make reservation for dinner, lunch and breakfast in one of palace restaurants.

Dolmabahce Palace
Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahce Palace was built on the Bosphorus and used as administrative center for Ottoman Empire after Topkapi Palace. Ottoman Sultans used to lived in Topkapi Palace which was built with classical style and largest palace of Empire in Istanbul.

Sultan Abdulmecid I wanted to build a modern, luxury and comfort palace for her mother and finally decided to construct it on the Bosphorus in between 1843-1856. The Architects of Palace were Garabet Balyan and his son Nigogayos Balyan who were originally Armenian.

The architects used around 34 tonnes of gold for the construction of Palace. The Palace has around 285 rooms, 46 halls, 6 baths and 68 toilets and comprises an area of 45,000 square meters. The Dolmabahce Palace was built with BaroqueRococo and Neo-Classical Styles and mixed with traditional Ottoman Architecture Style. But only six of Ottoman Sultans liked to live in Dolmabahce Palace.

The last Ottoman Sultan Abdulmecid who was the last Caliph at the same time and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk who was first president of the Turkish Republic, lived here, too.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk died on November 10, 1938 in this Palace and it is only museum today.

Information:

It is closed on Monday and Thursday. It costs 120 Turkish Lira.

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Istanbul Tours

Manolya Travel Agency

Istanbul is very big and busy city in Turkey. The population of city is offically 15 million and unoffically 20 million. If you want to discover Istanbul city, you should take a private guide with you to not lost in city.

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Turkey is officially the Republic of Turkey and a transcontinental country located mainly on the Anatolian Peninsula in Western Asia, with a smaller portion on the Balkan Peninsula in Southeastern Europe.

Fast Track Tour

Manolya Travel Agency

skip waiting line in museum with professional and licensed guide speak your language. Learn the Turkish history in better way and more enjoyable. Join our tours for Basilica Cistern – Topkapi Palace – Hagia Sophia

Turkey is officially the Republic of Turkey and a transcontinental country located mainly on the Anatolian Peninsula.

The city has great nature and its totally green.

Istanbul is very big and busy city in Turkey. It is one of biggest cities in the world and the biggest in Turkey.

If you like to explore Ephesus, you need a local tour guide with you.

If you want to explore the area, you should join one of our cappadocia tours.

If you want to explore the city, it is better to have a car or rent a car with driver.

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As Manolya Travel Agency, we will be glad to support you through your visits to Istanbul and Turkey with 15 years of experience.
We will make your visits memorable and invite you to join one of our Daily and Fast Track Tours with our professional and licensed tour guides. Furthermore you can choose one of our Tour Packages.

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Address: Binbirdirek Mah. Klod Farer Cad. Güven Apartmanı No:2/302 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey. E-mail: info@manolyatour.com

 

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