The Oldest of the Mosques

Beyazit Mosque This week we visited the second selatin mosque (done by the Sultans after a victory) of the city, Beyazit Mosque, ordered to be built by Sultan Beyazit II, and completed in 1505. Since Fatih Mosque’s original design was changed later on, Beyazit Mosque can be considered as the oldest mosque of the city…

The Mosque, Mustafa IIIrd Couldn’t Name After Himself

Laleli Mosque – Aksaray This week we visited Laleli Mosque that Mustafa III had it be built for him between 1759-1763. Involved in westernization efforts, Mustafa III ordered this mosque to be built by Mehmet Tahrir Agha. The bazaar under the mosque was built in the cellar of the mosque and was discovered in 1950s…

A Symbol of Istanbul

Maiden’s Tower – Uskudar While Istanbulites know and love the Maiden’s Tower, we can’t help wondering how many of us actually visited this landmark. We led the way this week and visited the tower. Known today as a chic restaurant, observation point, and a lighthouse; the Maiden’s Tower’s previous occupations were numerous: customs point, radar…

Peace and Serenity

Fatih Mosque This week we are visiting the first of the selatin mosques. The original Fatih Mosque built in the reign of Fatih the Conqueror was damaged beyond repair from various fires and earthquakes, hence the Fatih Mosque we know today was ordered to be built by Sultan Mustafa III in 1771.  The architect of…

It Served Only One Purpose

Rumeli Fortress Rumeli Fortress was ordered to be built by Fatih the Conqueror in 1452 on the narrowest point of the Bosphorus in an attempt to control the ships passing by and eventually conquer Constantinople. Completed in four months, the plans of the fortress are thought to be designed by Architect Muslihuddin Aga. Located exactly…

Istanbul, I will beat you..

Haydarpasa Train Station In old Turkish movies, when a character would migrate to Istanbul Haydarpasa would usually be the first thing they’d see and perhaps challenge. When you look at its history, the train station was built between 1906 and 1908 with the German intention of reaching Middle East and India through railways. Designed by…

A Treasure in its Composition

Suleymaniye Mosque Ordered to be built by Suleyman the Magnificent, Suleymaniye Mosque is one of the most famous works of architect Mimar Sinan and it was built between 1550 and 1557.       Built on the third hill of Istanbul, Suleymaniye Mosque Complex not only can be seen from many parts of the city, but also…

The Best Way to Enjoy the Bosphorus

How can one start to describe the sentimentality that surrounds Istanbul ferries? The smell of the sea, the sounds, the way the ferry slowly makes its way through the waves, and the seagulls that accompany it…. None of these descriptions do justice to the real thing. Instead, hop on the ferry right now and enjoy the…

A Tour around the Byzantine Cistern

Cibali Tobacco Factory Appearing in the Ottoman Empire in the 17th century for the first time, tobacco production has been monopolized by individuals and different groups through different eras. This beautiful building was built by Hovsep Aznavur and Alexandre Vallaury, and it was owned by a French corporation for processing tobacco and manufacturing cigarettes. Cigars,…

“I am neither inside time, nor completely outside of it…”

Procession Kiosk – Gulhane A wooden building built in Fatih the Conqueror’s reign commenced a new tradition: Sultans would come and watch the processions from this building. The Procession Kiosk is the only Topkapı Palace building that faces the streets of İstanbul. Located on one of the city’s oldest avenues, Alemdar Avenue, the building also…

Holy Trinity in Beyoglu

Three Altar (Surp Yerrortutyun) Armenian Church – Beyoglu In the 16th century, priests from the Austrian Empire buy land on today’s Beyoglu and build a church. After this church burns down in 1762, a new cathedral is built in 1802 for servicing the entire Latin population in the Ottoman Constantinople. Another fire in 1831 damages…

Bills, Bills, Bills

Darphane – Besiktas The amount of security in this building! Of course it is necessary: Darphane is the Turkish Republic’s bank note printing press and this is where gold merchants line up to buy their gold. Years ago (during the UN-Habitat meeting in 1996) Darphane opened its doors for an exhibition about İstanbul in its…

An Ornament of Kadikoy

Moda Pier – Kadikoy A spectacular landmark, once again created by the genius of architect Vedat Tek, Moda pier was completed in 1917. Damaged by a storm in 1937, the pier’s second storey was reconstructed in 2001. Since then this second floor serves as a restaurant managed by Beltur. The pier is located  in Kadikoy, on…

The Center Stage

Hippodrome – Sultanahmet Square Famous for holding chariot races, plays and wild animal fights, the Byzantine Hippodrome was ordered to be built by Septimius Severus in 203 A.D., and was completed during the reign of Constantine the Great in 337. With a seating capacity of 30.000, the hippodrome was modeled after Circus Maximus in Rome….

From Military to Education

Istanbul University Today’s Defence Ministry was known as Harbiye Nezareti in the late Ottoman era and before the Nezaret, this responsibility fell on Serasker. The building that was once used by Harbiye Nezareti is now employed to be used by the Rector’s office. With the declaration of the Republic, the ministry moved to the new capital Ankara, and the building was passed on to Darulfunun which…

Blue Mosque with Six Minarets

Sultan Ahmet Mosque – Fatih   Following Sultan Ahmet I’s order, Sultan Ahmet Mosque was built by architect Sedefkar Mehmet Aga, pupil of famous Architect Sinan.  The land that the mosque stands on today was expropriated through paying large sums to Pashas whose villas stood on the way.      The sixth ‘selatin’ mosque of…

From Port to Emperor’s Palace

Dolmabahce Palace – Besiktas Where Dolmabahce Palace stands today was once a port that later turned into a swamp and then filled in  the 17th century. The palace was ordered to be built by Sultan Abdulmecit, its architects were Garabet and Nigogos Balyan, and the construction started in 1843 and ended in 1856. The palace…

Eying the Vault

The Ottoman Bank Building – Karakoy Transformed into Salt Galata art gallery a few years back, if you still haven’t been to the Ottoman Bank’s building on Karakoy’s Bankalar Caddesi (Banks Avenue) we recommend you do it soon.  As a part of the gallery, the museum on the lower floor depicts the history of the…

Islamic Inventors in Istanbul

Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam – Gulhane Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam is situated at Has Barns near Topkapi Palace’s wall. Relatively new, the museum opened its gates in 2008. The museum’s biggest collection consists of replicas based on works done in medicine, astronomy, physics,…

From Suleiman the Magnificent for his Father

Yavuz Sultan Selim Mosque – Fatih   This week we bring you Yavuz Sultan Selim (Selim I) Mosque that Suleiman the Magnificent had it be made for his father.  This mosque is one of the seven “selatin” mosques that were built on the seven hills of Istanbul, and it is on the fifth hill. Completed…