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About Istanbul

Some places you can visit near by our hotel

ISTANBUL
 
The most important reason why Istanbul has developed as a world metropolis is the geopolitical location of the city.stanbul located where the 48.north latitude and 28.east longitude intersect,is the only city in the world which is established on two continents.
The city consists of three parts in general;On the Europen side.the Historical Peninsula to the south of the Golden Horn and the Galata District to the north,and the New City on the Asian side.
The Europen side of the city is a trade and bısiness center,whereas the Asian side is more of a residential area.Istanbul is established on the both sides of the Bosphorus,which connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara,and separates Asia and Europe.The 7 km.long narrow inlet,named as the Golden Horn,divides the Europen side of the city into two.Because of its location between Asia and Europe,the city always had a great geopolitical importance.
Today,Istanbul is still a political and commercial center for the Balkan and Middle Eastern Countries and the Turkic Republics of Central Asia.
The settlement,known as Byzantium after its founder,took the name Constantinople,the city of Emperor Constantine,during the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great.
It was the known as Istanbul after the conquest of the Ottomans,and became one of the biggest and most crowded city of Europe.
The city is spred over an area of 7,500 km2,long and 50km.wide.
Although its population is not occurately known,it is estimated 12 to 15 million.

THE BOSPHORUS  
Through the city's heart runs the sea channel called the Bosphorus which separates Europe and Asia. It reaches north to The Black Sea and south to the Marmara Sea,
Its shores offer a delightful mixture of past and present, splendor and simple beauty, modern hotels, wooden mansions, marble palaces, rustic stone fortresses, elegant compounds and small fishing villages.

BLUE MOSQUE (SULTAN AHMET MOSQUE)  
Sultan ahmet Mosque,which was constructed by the 14th Ottoman Sultan Ahmet I,who ruled between the years of 1603-1617,is the greatest and most splendid mosque of Istanbul.The constuction of mosque was started in 1609 by architect Mehmet Agha,who was a student odf Architect Sinan and who undertook the architectural works of the structure and the constrution was completed in 1616.The premises consisted of a madrasah,a hospital,an Arasta Bazaar,a school,a mausoleum,a caravansary and a public fountain together with the mosque.The hospital and the caravansary were damaged in 19th century.
Sultan Ahmet Mosque is the last impressive structure of Ottoman religious architecture.Although many other mosques were built after this one,none of them reached to the dimension and to the elegance of the decorations of Sultan Ahmet Mosque.Located in Sultanahmet Area.

HIPPODROME (The Sultan Ahmet Square)  
Hippodrome was built by the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus in 203 A.D. The hippodrome was a stadium which served as a meeting place for the politicians, for chariot races, wrestling, boxing, and other athletic activities that took place. The arena was over 400 meters long and 120 meters wide, In the fourth century the spectator capacity was increased to 100,000,
They organized the games in the hippodrome. Green took their seat to the left, the Blues to the right of the emperor's box. Women were not admitted. After the emperor had appeared in his box and greeted his people, the four gates beneath his box opened and from each raced a chariot drawn by four horses into the arena. The game lasted the whole day. The chariot track was covered with white sand which was brought from Egypt. The winner was awarded a prize which consisted of a crown made of flowers, some presents, bonuses and money,

TOPKAPI PALACE
Topkapi Palace which was built by Mehmet The Conqueror between the years 1462 and 1478 was constructed at Seraglio Point surrounded by the Sea of Marmara, the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus . It is located on the first hill of old city. Topkapi Palace is one of the finest examples of the Ottoman civil architecture in existence. After harems were added to it Suleyman moved with all his harem to the new palace. Topkapi Palace, the greatest residence of The Ottoman Dynasty, is one of the best museums in the world. This vast and fascinating complex served as Imperial residence for the Ottoman Empire for more than four centuries.
Topkapi Palace consisted of three courts and a large terrace. The first court was open to the public but the second court requiresd special permission to enter. The third court was reserved for servants, court officials and students, This court had a mint. the Ministry of Finances, a bakery and a hospital.
The second gate, which looked like a fortress with two towers opened into the second court. The Kitchens were located to the right and consisted of ten rooms with three large domes. In each room cooking was done for different ranks-for the sultan, for his mother and his wives. A head cook, ten chefs and 480 cooks worked each day cooking for 5000- 7000 people and during holiday time for 10000- 12000 people. Today Chinese, Japanese, Turkish and European porcelain are exhibited in these former kitchens. This is the world's third largest collection of porcelain after Peking and Dresden.
The complex of the harem has 400 rooms,10 baths, 2 mosques, a hospital and a prison. The most influential person in the harem after the sultan was the sultan's mother. The third most important person in the harem was the Chief Black Eunuch.
In addition, the third court included schools, a summer residence and bath, government buildings and a mosque.
In the first room one can see the armor of Mustafa III, decorated with gems, the ivory throne of Murat IV, a golden music box in the shape of an elephant, pearl trimmed Koran holders, golden water pipes, tobacco boxes, shields, swords, helmets, daggers pistols, and vases of jade.
In the second room is the canopy throne decorated with mother of pearl, emeralds and rubies belonging to Ahmet I, the golden cradle of the princes, precious stones, and the Topkapi dagger with emeralds and 22 uncut emeralds.
The third room contains the 86 carat diamond surrounded by 49 brilliants, two golden candle holders, and an Indian throne trimmed with 250.000 pearls.
In the former government building, built by Mehmet II, the holy relics brought from Egypt by Sultan Selim are kept. The prophet's mantle, Muhammad's sword, his bamboo bow, his letter to the patriarch of Egypt, one of his teeth, a hair from his beard, and his footprint in the marble of Mecca can be seen.
The terrace is decorated with several pavilions, the most beautiful being the Bagdat Pavilion which was built to commemorate the conquest of Bagdat in 1638. Other pavillions include The Revan Pavilion which was built in 1631, The Mecidiye Pavilion built in the 18th century and the Sofa Pavilion built in 1704.

UNDERGROUND CISTERN
The structure was known in Byzantium as the basilica Cistern, Justinian was the founder of the largest underground cistern, built after the Nika Revolt in 532.The number of the inhabitants of Constantinople increased and bring a problem of water supply. Basilica Cistern was used to store water for the Great Palace among the other buildings on the Firth Hill. During the Justinian time, After the Conquest the water in the Basilica Cistern were used for the garden of Topkapi Palace. It is 140 meters long and 70 meters wide. The twelve rows of 28 columns each, 336 altogether, capacity of having eight thousand cubic miters water. Basilica Cistern was restored in 1980.

MOSAIC MUSEUM
Excavations which began in 1935 by Prof. Baxter. The fragments of the mosaic pavements which we will see were once part of the Great palace.
The mosaics belonging to the palace are from the fourth and fifth century A.D. The mosaics are extremely tactile in effect, among them are the figures of a lion devouring a lizard, a stag entwined with a snake, a woman giving breast to a child, the combat of a spear bearing hunter and tiger, a child feeding a donkey, a young girl carrying an amphora, a camel with children mounted on its back, and a monkey pacing a banana from the tree.

TURKISH AND ISLAMIC ART MUSEUM
The Palace of Ibrahim Pasa, the grandest private residence ever built in the Ottoman Empire was completed in 1524.
Ibrahim was appointed grand Vezir and the following year he married Suleyman's sister, Hatice.
Unlike many palaces of the period, it was constricted in stone. The palace was restored 1983.
Considered to be one of the most important examples of Ottoman civil architecture, it is now a museum of Turkish and Islamic art, exhibiting a collection of 40.000 objects including fine oriental rugs, Seljuk and Ottoman woodcarvings, Turkish folk life clothing, rug and kilim looms, showing the weaving and dying techniques. The museum has a conference room and a Turkish coffee house serving coffee or tea.


FATIH MOSQUE  
This was the first Turkish mosque built after the conquest. The main building was completed in seven years (1463-1470).
The architect Atic Sinan built the largest kulliye in Ottoman Art History. The kulliye consisted of medreses, Kervansaray, hamam, a hospital, baths, a kitchen for the poor, a library, and a Koranic school. The Kulliye has been preserved in its original form. The original mosque was destroyed in the great earthquake of 22 May 1766. Mustafa II undertook its reconstruction and the present building was completed in 1771.
The mosque has a very large central dome 26 meters in diameter. The painted decoration is fussy in detail and dull in color. The mihrab is from the original building. In the graveyard, behind the mosque, are the tombs of Sultan Mehmet and his wife Gulbahar.

SULEYMANIYE MOSQUE  
The Suleymaniye is one of the finest and most magnificent imperial mosque complexes in the city. Suleymaniye Mosque crowns the third hill of the old city and adds a great deal to the unrivalled beauty of the city's skyline. Suleyman was the tenth sultan of the Ottoman dynasty after thirty years of rule, Suleyman The Magnificent decided to have a mosque built and Sinan, the greatest of Ottoman architects, was commissioned.
Sınan was born ın Kayserı ın 1489. After his schooling in Istanbul he served in the army, He was promoted to the position of the head architect by Suleymaniye in 1539. Until his death in 1588 he built 334 edifices. among them were 132 mosques, 26 libraries, 17 hospitals, 33 palaces, 7 aqueducts and many tombs and fountains.
The construction of the Suleymaniye began in 1550 and the mosque was completed in 1557.The generous sultan gave the honor of opening the Suleymaniye to his architect Sinan, the creator of the finest mosque in Istanbul.
The mosque stands in the center of the courtyard surrounded on three sides by a wall with grilled windows. There are 24 marble and granite columns which carry the weight of 28 domes. In the four corners of this courtyard there are four minarets rising with ten balconies. The interior is approximately 58.5 by 57.5 meters.The dome with height of 47 meters and diameter of 26.5 meters, joined to the central dome in the east and the west where two semi domes are supported by smaller domes. It can be said that Sinan rarely succeeded with the interior of his west walls. In almost every case there is a tendency to squeeze the portal.
Suleymaniye suprises visitors with its solid architecture and modest decorations with the exception of magnificent stainglass windows, made by master Ibrahim. Fine 16th century Iznik tiles decorate the mihrap area of the mosque.
The tombs of Suleyman the Magnificent and his wife Roxalena are in the cemetery of the mosque. All these parts of the Suleymaniye mosque are surrounded by a wall with a number of grated windows,

HIGHA SOPHIA  
Hagia Sophia is the most renowned Byzantine cathedral and the best known Christian church in Istanbul. The church of the Divine Wisdom, the first church of Hagia Sophia was planned by Constantıne the Great, but it was built by his son and heir, Constantius . For almost a thousand years Hagia Sophia served as the cathedral of Constantinople of the Byzantine Empire.The name, Hagia Sophia, means sacred wisdom.
The first church, Hagia Sophia, was built between the years 337-361 A.D. Construction was begun during the reign of Constantius, son and successor of Constantine The Great. The church was destroyed by a fire on 20 June in the year A.D. 404.
The second church of Hagia Sophia was rebuilt by Emperor Theodosius. It was completed in the year A.D. 415. The second church was burnt down during the Nika revolt in the year A.D. 532.
The third church of Hagia Sophia was rebuilt between the years 532 and 537 by the Emperor Justinian . An earthquake damaged the structure in A.D. 558. It was rebuilt by the young Isidoros.
Hagia Sophia has been restored several times during the Byzantine and Ottoman period. On the Turkish Conquest of Istanbul. Sultan Mehmet The Conqueror entered the city on 29 May 1453. The Conqueror lead the first Friday prayers and ordered it be converted into a mosque. Four minarets of the building were placed at different times after the Conquest. The southeastern minaret was added during the reign of Sultan Mehmet II,the northeast minaret by Beyazit II and the two minarets were added by Murat III. The major restoration to the building was done during Sultan Abdulmecit's reign in 1847, by a Swiss architect Gaspar Fossatio. Mehmet the Conquerer added the mihrab and Suleyman the Magnificent donated the two gigantic candles on each side of the mihrab. The building was used as a mosque until 1934.
For almost five hundred years after the Turkish Conquest it served as the imperial mosque of Istanbul. Hagia Sophia served as a mosque during the early years of the Turkish Republic, then declared a national monument and converted into a museum by the order of Atatuk on 24 October 1934.

UNDERGROUND CISTERN  
The structure was known in Byzantium as the basilica Cistern, Justinian was the founder of the largest underground cistern, built after the Nika Revolt in 532.The number of the inhabitants of Constantinople increased and bring a problem of water supply. Basilica Cistern was used to store water for the Great Palace among the other buildings on the Firth Hill. During the Justinian time, After the Conquest the water in the Basilica Cistern were used for the garden of Topkapi Palace. It is 140 meters long and 70 meters wide. The twelve rows of 28 columns each, 336 altogether, capacity of having eight thousand cubic miters water. Basilica Cistern was restored in 1980.

MOSAIC MUSEUM  
Excavations which began in 1935 by Prof. Baxter. The fragments of the mosaic pavements which we will see were once part of the Great palace.
The mosaics belonging to the palace are from the fourth and fifth century A.D. The mosaics are extremely tactile in effect, among them are the figures of a lion devouring a lizard, a stag entwined with a snake, a woman giving breast to a child, the combat of a spear bearing hunter and tiger, a child feeding a donkey, a young girl carrying an amphora, a camel with children mounted on its back, and a monkey pacing a banana from the tree.

TURKISH AND ISLAMIC ART MUSEUM  
The Palace of Ibrahim Pasa, the grandest private residence ever built in the Ottoman Empire was completed in 1524.
Ibrahim was appointed grand Vezir and the following year he married Suleyman's sister, Hatice.
Unlike many palaces of the period, it was constricted in stone. The palace was restored 1983.
Considered to be one of the most important examples of Ottoman civil architecture, it is now a museum of Turkish and Islamic art, exhibiting a collection of 40.000 objects including fine oriental rugs, Seljuk and Ottoman woodcarvings, Turkish folk life clothing, rug and kilim looms, showing the weaving and dying techniques. The museum has a conference room and a Turkish coffee house serving coffee or tea.

ARCHAELOGICAL MUSEUM   
The Archrological Museum, the jewel of the city with antiquities collected from all over the country and stored in one building, was constructed between the years 1891-1908 by the architect, Valaury. It is one of the most important arceological museums in the world and it was Turkey's first museum,. Before its opening all valuble antiquities were brought to Istanbul and exhibited in the church of Hagia Eirene.
The collection consists of archeological pieces from the period 2500B.C. to 500A.D. On display are Greek, Roman and Byzantine architecture and sculpture, earthware, bronz and glassware. coins and medaillions. The most valubable object of the collection is The Alexander Sarcophagus which originates from the 4th century B.C.
Alexander Sarcophagus Discovered at Sidon by Hamdi Bey in 1887. The sides of Sarcophagus are decorated with interesting almost round relief showing Alexander in a lion hunting. The battle scene with the Macedonians are sculptured in a sportive fashion.
Sarcophagus of the Mourning Women
Mourners grieved for their loved ones in an interesting fashion.Professional mourners were hired and these eighteen women can be seen on the sides of the Sarcophagus .You will notice the figure of a child which gives additional importance to the deceased.
Alexander's Tomb
This amazing monument is decorated with reliefs on all four side. Greco Persian wars are represented. Alexander is shown with a lion's pelt over his head, mounted. On the other side there is a scene of a lion with a stag in combat and a hunting scene on the other. This sarcophagus is also in the form of a Greek temple dating from the last quarter of the fourth century B.C.

Sidmara Sarcophagus
During the Roman period in groups of reliefs showing gods of mythology.

The Lykian Sarcophagus
Lykia was located in soutwest Anatolia. It shows reliefs of two carved sphinxes and a lion hunt is shown .

The Tabrit Sarcophagus
Tabrit, King of Phoenikia died after the conquest of Egypt. Tabrit's corpse was mummified and laid into the coffin.

KARIYE(CHORA) MUSEUM   
The Church of the Holy Savior of Chora, called in Turkish, Kariye Camii, is, after Hagia Sophia, the most interesting Byzantine church in the city. Not so much for the building itself, pretty as it is, but because of the superb series of mosaics and frescoes which it preserves and which have been magnificently restored and cleaned by the Byzantine Institute of America. The name of the church,"in Chora" means "in the country" because the very ancient monastery to which it was attached was outside the walls of the Constantinian; later when it was included within the Theodosian walls, the name remained the Holy Savior of Chora.
The church of The Holy Savior in Chora (Kariye Camii) is the most important monument of the Palaeologan age. Its unique iconographic programme, the quality and beauty of the mosaics and wall paintings, make it one of the outstanding masterpieces of Byzantine art.
The origin of the monument cannot be traced with certainty. The earliest reference is found in the Synaxarion (Legendary) of 4 September by Symeon Metaphrastes, according to which the relics of St. Babylas who was martyred in 298, were removed from the Golden Horn to the northwest part of the City, at a place outside the walls where there is a monastery called Chora.

An anonymous 9th century biographer assigns the foundation of the monastery to St. Theodore, uncle of the Empress Theodora, whom Justinian had called to Constantinople to help the Church in the struggle against the sect of the Theopaschites (536). Theodore settled outside the walls at Chora, where there was a small church.

With the assistance of the Emperor and Empress, Theodore founded the monastery. Destroyed by an earthquake in 557, it was rebuilt by Justinian, this time larger, with a domed church revetted in marble, consecrated to the Holy Virgin. At the same time were built three parecclesia, dedicated to St. Anthemius, the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste and the Archangel Michael, and also a bath and a hospice, i.e. a wholecomplex of buildings (Gedeon).

Tradition has it that St. Savvas (439-532) travelled from Palestine to Constantinople and was given hospitality at the monastery in Chora. Thenceforth, monks from Palestine were always welcome.

Nicephorus Gregoras, who lived at the monastery and wrote its history in the 14th century, records that it was founded by Justinian. On the other hand, the historian Procopius remains silent on this point.

Be that as it may, it would appear that the origins of the monastery in Chora can be traced back to the 3rd century, and this is why the site was considered sanctified.

The name of Symeon, abbot of the monastery in Chora, appears among the participants in the 8th Ecumenical Council of Nicaea (787), which restored the veneration of icons.

GRAND BAZAAR  
The Grand Bazaar, is probably the largest market of its kind in the world, It was originally founded by Mehmet II in 1461.The bazaar was enlarged during the reign of Suleyman I in 1701.A small city in itself.There are more than 3500 shops of various kinds, storehouses, workshops, stalls, hans, restaurants, lunch counters, cafes and tea houses, mosques, mescid and fountains. There are a total of 65 streets totaling 30.702 m², altogether employing more than 20.000 people.
Members of the same trade set up their shops in the same area, still reflecting in the names of the street's tassel makers, cobblers, purse makers, belt makers, skullcap makers and so on. Today these divisions are less clear but they still remain in principle.
The grid is centered on the Old Bedesten, one of the original structure surviving from the time of Mehmet II. It was used to house the most precious wares, for it can be securely locked and guarded at night. There is another building of similar type known as the Sandal Bedesten, a lofty hall covered with twenty domes supported on twelve great stone piers.

EGYPTIAN(SPICE)BAZAAR  
It was built in 1660 by the architect Kasim Aga for the mother of Sultan Murat IV, Hatice Turhan Sultan. The Egyptian Bazaar is Istanbul's second covered bazaar. It is L shaped in plan, a building that borders two sides of the park beside Yeni Cami. The structure was restored in 1943. There are eighty eight vaulted shops in all, along with a tiny mosque at the inner corner of the L.
The structure of the building is dressed stone with alternating brick courses, fine examples of Ottoman Architecture.
Merchants selling various herbs and spices such as saffron, mustard, mint, thyme, cinnamon, aniseed, garlic, Indian tea, honey, apple tea, henna, jujube, eucalyptus, mahlep, cloves ,etc can be seen throught.

   (c)May 2006, Hotel Yunus Emre