Approaching Uskudar when you're in a ferry, you'll get to see the Kiz Kulesi (or Leander's tower) which used to be a prison and a lighthouse. Now, it's a fine dining restaurant.
The asian side of Istanbul is modern with lots of western-style houses, although you may still find some old wooden houses with balconies and bow windows. Nevertheless, it's quiet and less touristic than the european side.
Karacaahmet Cemetery is one of the highlights of Uskudar, go behind and you'll find the Carnhca hills where a fabulous view of the Bosphorous can be seen along with Princes' Islands.
Visit at least for once is recommended.
Passed by the sign "Yerebatan" twice while going to Hagia Sophia and Topkapi but can't seem to figure out what's in there. Third time, I got inside and it was the exit so tha security asked me to go up about 50 meters to get to the entrance, pay 10YTL and get in.
It's a bit dark with just enough lightings to see the marvelous columns and the water beneath. As you descend through the stairs you'll feel the place to be a little creepy, quiet with the lightings and the sound effect and water dripping from the ceiling... falls on your shirt at times. It was once a water reservoir for the city residents.
Walk through the platform, watch school of fish swimming on the partly litted water, follow the signs up to the end and you'll find the two medusa heads, don't stare too much or you'll turn into another rock column inside the cistern... just take shots....I'm not kidding :)
Imagine yourself wandering around the courtyard and the many chambers of the grand residence of the Sultans.... Amazing!
Topkapi Palace is a very huge complex of museums and palace buildings of great architecture. The buildings itself are so majestic. Check out the collections of porcelain, silverware, brasswares, glass collection and picture the royal family and his court wearing those colelction of imperial costumes. Majestic!
Check out the fascinating islamic collections where you are not allowed to take photos (I myself was almost kicked out of the premises for not noticing the signs with camera and an red X over it!). Some of relics belonging to the Prophet Mohammad, felt shivers looking at it.
Don't miss the 4th Courtyard which is at the back of the Treasury Halls, used to be the section that is exclusively for Sultan's own pleasure. Go at the back of the small mosque and whoala! a beautiful sight of the Bosphorous, you can see the bridge that links asia & european Istanbul and the Princes Island, fantastic view where most visitors take lots of photos.
Worth the entrance fees...well... I guess, of course, after all it's one of Istanbul's highlights, so go for it!
Hours: Wed-Mon 0900 – 1700 Summer until 19:00 and possibly open 7 days a week. The museum is closed to visitors in the morning of the first day of religious holidays.
Admission: YTL10 for the Topkapi Palace Museum
YTL10 for the Harem
The first aviator to have flewn with artificial wings launched his first attempt at the Galata Tower, passing the bosphorous and landing at Uskudar... sounds like a movie?
It was not my plan goin' to Galata tower (originally known as the Tower of Christ). I took a tram from Sultanahmet got down Eminonu and walk along the bridge and watch people trying to catch fish along the Bosphorous straits, twas an awesome sight, stand there for quite sometime and didn't see any big catch from anyone. I wonder if they're doin' that as a hobby or ...well... I guess it's the fun of it! Standing at the bridge I turned my head up right and saw this imposing tower, so I walk to it's direction, passing traffic lights and going up the road... believe me, it's a deal of a sweat. I climbed the atypical-looking stairs with an old man standing selling those round bread that looks like huge pretzels and walk some more winding road going up and the sight of the 67meters high tower is just marvelous! Go up the tower to see the whole of Istanbul or dine at it's restaurant & cafe.
You can also take the way coming from Taksim to the tunnel going to the tower.
Hours: 09.00 - 20.00 Daily
Admission: YTL10 (YTL5 for locals)
Just at the opposite side of the Blue Mosque is the grand church - the Hagia Sophia or "The Church of the Holy Wisdom" was once a Byzantine church transformed to an Ottoman mosque and then a museum in 1934 under President Kemal Ataturk.
It's a fascinating historical architeture of the Byzantine era, and splendid mosaics display. All the Byzantine emperors were coronated here.
Considered as one of the world's great building or structure and a UNESCO world heritage.
A must-see? ... but of course.
Hours: Tues-Sun 9am-5pm
Admission : YTL10
It's fun, refreshing and most of all it's free!
Get down at Eminonu tram station and decide if you want to take the ferry to Uskudar or ...well......why don't you take a little walk along the bridge and watch the locals trying their luck to catch fish? The breeze is refreshing while watching vessels cruise the mighty Bosphorous.... then you could go to the Asian side after couple of minutes, or continue crossing the bridge up to Galata... your choice!
An ottoman imperial mosque.
Commissioner: Sultan Ahmet I
Architect: Sedefhar Mehmet Aga
Years Built: 1609–1616
There are two entrances that I know of - the one facing the Hagia Sophia and the other facing the Obelisk at the Hippodrome side. Around the mosque itself are prominent edifices. So a visit to the mosque means a visit to its surroundings which includes the hippodrome which is now a lovely park and the Obelisques beside it.
Bring your camera along inside the mosque, taking shots are allowed, but observe silence as there are people praying inside the mosque. Entrance is free.... if your heart desires to share a meager amount, donate it while getting out of the mosque.
Go to the side of the mosque where you'll find some benches and beyond that there's a great view of the whole mosque for nice shots.
Built by the Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I between 1609 - 1616 facing Hagia Sophia, in order to compete with it. Its architect was Sedefkar Mehmet Aga, a poet and inlayer as well, and a student of the greatest architect Sinan.
When Ahmed I died in 1617, he was buried near the mosque and a mausoleum was built over his tomb.
Women entering the mosque should wear decent clothes - decent in mid-east culture term means you have to cover your legs until beyond the knees or safer if you will wear pants or ankle length skirts.
Plastic bags are provided at the entrance to put your shoes as it is not allowed to wear shoes or sandals inside the mosque.
Hours: Open Daily except during prayer times.
There are lots of things to see at the museum of Topkapi Palace but I won't post it here cuz I'll leave that up to you to check out otherwise you'll lose the thrill, plus those photos that were prohibited to be taken shots that almost caused me big deal of trouble can't be posted too, though I have some regular stuff that I really like posted here.
Porcelain collections are too ordinary, something you've already seen, but check out the imperial costumes, especially for budding couturier!
The Dolmabahce Palace, a blend of various European architectural styles, was built between 1843-1856 by Karabet Balyan, the court architect of Sultan Abdulmecid. The Ottoman sultans had many palaces in all ages, but the Topkapi was the official residence until the completion of the Dolmabahce Palace.
The ballroom is the largest of its kind in the world. A 4.5 ton colossal crystal chandelier hangs from the 36 m high dome.
In the Republican era, Atatürk (the founder of Türkiye,the man of the 20th century ) used to reside in this palace when he visited Istanbul. He died here in 1938 and before his body was taken to Ankara, it was laid in state while the public poured in to pay him their last respects.
Open everyday except mondays and thursdays;
between 09.00-15.00 dates between 01 October and 28 February
between 09.00-16.00 dates between 01 March and 30 September
Check out my SHOPPING page for the Grand Bazaar!
Geez! Can't help it, it's just almost in front of the hotel where I stayed and I come here all the time to wait for bus no. 61B going to Taksim. I just want to see the inside of the bazaar but I did check the prices and well... they're a bit on the high-end compared of course to other places in Asia, but of course there are lots of stuff too that you can only find there, and I was not able to resist buying... walking at the many chambers of the bazaar itself is a great experience... so go!
Grand Bazaar is open from Mondays to Saturdays, 9:00am to 7:00 pm, and is located in the Beyazit section of Istanbul, near Istanbul University.
The terrace of the restaurant offers a panoramic view of the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara and the Asian side. Most tourists come here to take pictures of the sea and the city.
The Sea of Marmara and in the context of classical antiquity as Propontis is the inland sea that connects the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea, thus separating Turkey's Asian and European parts.
Serkis Balyan (those days famous architect) built todays Beylerbeyi Palace between 1861-1865 by Sultan Abdulaziz's command by crushing down the wooden coastal palace of II.Mahmud.Th palace was usually used for guesting foreign presidents.Serbian prince,king of montenegro,shah of Iran and Eugenie the empress of France are one the guests.The Sultan II.Abdulhamit also lived his last six months and died in this palace in 1918.
By the cafes and sales offices which were built in the gardens and in the tunnel the palace present museum-palace duty,and cardpostals,posters,gifts,representative books that are certified by national culture-represent center are sold here.
Except Mondays and Thusdays open everyday;
Between 09.30-16.00 at dates between 01 October-28 February
Between 09.30-17.00 at dates between 01 March-30 September
The galata tower was built in1384it was the highpoint in the city walls of the Genoese colony called Galata
During the first centuries of Ottoman era the Galata tower was occupied by a detachment of Janissaries, the elite corps of the Turkish Army. In the sisteenth century the tower was used to house prisoners of war, who were usualy consigned as galley slaves in the ottoman arsenal at Kasimpasa on the golden horn.
During the reign of Selim 2nd (1566-1574) the Galata Tower was used as an observation point by the renowed Turkish astronomer Takiuddin, who had his main observatory in Pera. In the following century, during the reign of Mustafa 2nd (1695 - 1703) the seyhulislam Feyzulah efendi tried to set up an astronomical observatory in the tower with with the aid of a Jesuit priest, but the effort was cut short when he was killed in 1703.
The Galata Tower was reconstructed on a number of occasions in the Ottoman period, most notably, after a great fire that destroyed much of Galata in 1794 (during the reign of Selim III) and by Mahmut II in 1832. the tower's conical cap was blown off during a storm in 1875, and it was not replaced in the subsequent restoration. The tower was used as a fire- control station until 1964, when it was closed for restoratiom before being opened in 1967 as a tourist attraction. The conical cap was replaced in this restoration, giving the tower much the same appearance as it had in Genoese times, though retaining the changes in fenestration and other structual aspects done in the Ottoman period.
The beautiful Dolmabahçe Palace was the first European-style palace in Istanbul thanks to Karabet Balyan , court architect of Sultan Abdulmecid. They started building it in 1842 and finished in 1853. It has an impressive 600 meter frontage on the European side of the Bosporus strait. You may not visit it as an individual as it is only open for group tours, our Tour Guide said, and it is open on weekdays from 9:00 to 15:00, except Mondays and Thursdays.
The palace is very impressive. It is said that fourteen tons of gold in the form of gold leaf were used to gild the ceilings of the palace. But what will attract your attention are the impressive crystal chandeliers (Bohemian and Baccarat), carpets and wooden staircases. The world's largest Bohemian crystal chandelier, with 750 lamps and a weight of 4.5 tons, is at the center hall.
Dolmabahçe when translated, means filled garden. I noticed the beautiful gardens in front and at the sides of the palace.
How big is this 3-story palace, you may ask. It has an area of 45,000 square meters, has 285 rooms, 43 halls, 6 Turkish baths (one of which is made of beautifully carved alabaster) and 68 toilets. You won’t have time to see all of the rooms nor all of the painting, let alone the 68 toilets. Just enjoy the feeling when you stand in the largest room while staring at the ceiling.
The picture is what you'll see when you just finish visiting the Palace. Aren't you glad that you're going to enjoy this view?!
Topkapi is the largest and oldest palace in the world to survive to our day. In 1924 it was turned into a museum at Atatiirk's request. Situated on the acropolis, the site of the first settlement in Istanbul, it commands an impressive view of the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara. The palace is a complex surrounded by 5 km of walls and occupies an area of 700,000 sq. m at the tip of the historical peninsula.
Following the conquest of the city in 1453, the young Sultan Mehmet moved the capital of the empire to Istanbul, His first palace was located in the middle of the town. The second palace, which he built in the 1470's, was initially called the New Palace, but in recent times it came to be known as the Topkapi Palace. Topkapi is a classical example of Turkish palace architecture. It consists of tree- shaded courtyards, each serving a different purpose and opening onto one another with monumental gates. The courtyards are surrounded by functional buildings. From the time of its construction, the palace developed constantly with alterations and additions made by each sultan.
When the sultans moved to the ostentatious Dolmabahce Palace in 1853, Topkapi lost its importance as the official royal residence and was left to deteriorate. It finally regained its former unpretentious beauty after fifty years of continuous restoration in the Republican era. Most of the objects exhibited in the palace today are unique masterpieces.
When it was used as a palace, it served more functions than one usually associates with royal residences. Although it was the residence of the Sultan, the sole ruler of the empire, it was at the same time the center of the administrative affairs, the place where the council of ministers met, and the treasury, mint, and state archives were located there. The highest educational institution of the empire, the university of the sultan and the state was also here.
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