According to legend; Byzas, the founder of Byzantion wanted to found a city and went to find the perfect place for his city. At that time, everyone went to an oracle for his advice at Delphi in the temple of Apollo. Byzas also went to the oracle, he asked the oracle where he should found a city. The oracle said he should build his city facing the land of the blind people. Byzas created his city in Sarayburnu, the area opposite Kadıköy. The people who live in Kadıköy were blind because they didn’t see the beauty of İstanbul. It is just a legend of course but the beauty and location of İstanbul can not be ignored. The city is the only place situated on two continents. The Bosphorus divides the city in two sides, one is the Asian side and the other side is the European. The city is home to many people who have different languages, realigions, races. Here in İstanbul, many cultures live together.
Istanbul’s historical buildings, hospitable people and location enrich the city. It breathes history and culture, you can feel it when you visit the Ottoman and Byzantion structures. The city was home to the Roman Empire, Eastern Empire, Latin Empire, Byzantine, Ottoman and now is Turkish Republic. We can see the effects of the people came and went here throughout history. We are sure you heard Istanbul has seven hills, it is on the seven hills. Don’t you wonder what are these hills and where?
Istanbul’s ancient heart is a treasure trove of beautiful buildings, ancient art and colourful people. These days the population of Istanbul exceeds 13,000,000 people however in Sultanahmet time seems to have stood still. Regardless of large flashy tour buses the area hosts some amazing sights but interspersed between these almost as if they themselves were anchors to the past are the winding narrow sidestreets inhabited by locals and their families. On this amazing journey through Istanbul’s ancient heart you will visit some of the finest examples of Byzantine and Ottoman architecture all in close proximity to each other and accessible mainly on foot from your hotel.
Hagia Sophia: Hagia Sophia, also known as The Holy Wisdom, was built by Iustinianos 1400 years ago. First it was used as the cathedral of Constantinople during the 9th century and became the center of realigion. After the conquest of Constantinople, it was used as a mosque for 470 years. During the first years of Turkish Republic it was still a mosque until 1935 when it was turned into a museum. Now you can see the signs of both Christianity and Islam in Hagia Sophia.
Blue Mosque: The Mosque was built between 1609 and 1616 by order of The Sultan Ahmet I, after whom it is named. He is buried in the mosque’s precincts.
Named as the Blue Mosque by tourists because of it’s blue tiles, locals know it as Sultanahmet Mosque. Sultan Ahmet was an Ottoman sultan and the mosque was built by Mehmet Agha for Sultan Ahmet. But Sultan died before the end of the construction, he was only 27 years old. You can know the mosque from it’s six minarets because there is not another mosque which has six minarets in Istanbul. Do you know legends of the minarets?
The Hippodrome:The Hippodrome of Constantinople was a horse-racing track that was the spotring and social activity centre of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire.
The Hippodrome is a park in front of Blue Mosque. It is also known as horse square because historically horce racing was done but today this place holds the obelisks. The first monument is the obelisk of Theodosius from Egypt. It’s height is 20 m. The second monument is serpentine column. It consisted three snakes twisted together but we don’t have their heads now only a chin of one snake was found and it is in Istanbul archeology museum . this column was built for a victory of the Greeks against of the Persians. It was kept in the temple of Apollo at Delphi. Constantine carried it to Istanbul in 324. It was believed that this column protected the city from insects. The third monument is obelisk of Constantine VII seen on the Hippodrome. You will also see The German Fountain . It was a present from the king of German, Wilhelm II for the Sultan Abdülhamid II.
Grand Bazaar: One of the largest covered bazaars in the world with more than 58 streets and 4000 shops, it has 250,000-400,000 visitors daily. It is well known for its jewellery, pottery, spice, and carpets.
Topkapi Palace: The Administrative centre of Ottoman Empire from 1465 to 1853. The Construction of the Palace was ordered by Sultan Mehmet II in 1459 and completed in 1465.
Topkapı Palace has three main gates called Bab-ı Humayun, Babu’s Saade and Babu’s Selam. It has four courtyards, Harem-i Humayun, garden of the palace Gulhane. There is a sultan and a palace. This palace is home to the sultan and his family but on the other hand and it is a center of government. The palace is located on the most beautiful point of the historical peninsula. The area covered by the palace is 700.000 m2 .
Closed: Hagia Sophia on Monday, Topkapi Place on Tuesday, ( replaced with Underground Water Cistern ) Museum, Grand Covered bazaar on Sunday.