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City Guide

Istanbul Information


"If only one state existed on earth, Istanbul would be the capital"
Napoléon Bonaparte


The signs of first communal settlements in Istanbul and its surroundings date back to long years ago. While the first traces extend back to 6. Century B.C., it was discovered by research that some communities have lived in both Anatolian and European side of Istanbul. These first habitants had first lived as nomads and semi-nomads. Then they adopted a communal way of life based on fishing, agriculture and cattle breeding.

Especially in researches in Fikirtepe, it was found out that back in year 6000 B.C, animals such as dogs, goats, cattle and pigs were domesticated and the habitants took up fishing.

In the advent of 3000 B.C., there is an intense settlement activity starting in Istanbul. This period enabled the arising of small governed city units (beylik). Researches reveal that Sultanahmet Square of today and its surroundings had been center to a major settlement. Istanbul… The main reason of Istanbul’s being a very popular city for which wars are made, lives are lost is its geographical location. Let’s review this location first: In its south stretches Marmara Sea and in its north is Black Sea. Its west part is in Europe and east part is in Asia. The important waterline dividing Istanbul into two is the Bosphorus… The only alternative to reach the Aegean Sea and the Meditteranean Sea, therefore to open sea is to use Istanbul and the the Bosphorus.

Another important feature of Istanbul is that it has a highly sheltered structure. Especially the center which is presently called as the “historical peninsula”, which was made capital city by both Byzantine and Ottoman Empires and its being located on a hill surrounded by three seas made it almost impossible to be conquered… Indeed, Haliç had the quality of being an unparalleled harbour sheltering navy fleets.

Land of the blinds

A famous myth explains very precisely the unmatched location of Istanbul :

Commander Byzas, who gave his name to the empire to be later called as Byzantine, sets off to sail to build a new colony from where Greece is located today. During the long voyage and his searches, he goes to an oracle for advice. The oracle makes this prediction: “You are going to build your city right opposite of the land of the blinds!” Continuing his voyage, Byzas reaches to the banks of Sarayburnu, the Istanbul of today. When he sees this protected peninsula, he thinks that it is just the place that he was looking for; meanwhile he notices the area of residence on the opposite side (Kadıköy at present). Byzas decides that the people who, given the excellent area of residence right before them, do not prefer to reside there are blind. And since it also coincides with the prediction, he builds his colony on this land without hesitation.

Istanbul, still geographically perfect!

Although thousands of years have passed, Istanbul still maintains its geographical importance. Today Istanbul is a huge metropolis connecting continents, cultures, religions and being home to eleven million people; and one of the greatest business and cultural center of the region.


Adam Mickiewicz Museum, (Sakızağacı Road Tarlabaşı, Beyoğlu-Istanbul)

The house in Tarlabaşı where the Polish freedom poet Adam Mickiewicz spent the last years of his life and died in 1855 was turned into a museum in 1955. In the museum can be seen documents and information on the life and works of Mickiewicz, photographs of his years in Istanbul and documents and photographs of the battle for freedom in Poland.

Anadolu Rampart Museum, Istanbul

Anadolu Hisari is located on the Anatolian side of the Boshporus, the area where Göksu River combines with the sea. Anadolu Hisar which was commissioned by Sultan Yıldırım Bayezid who wanted to conquer Istanbul and besieged the city with an aim to obstruct the aid to Byzantine Empire from the Black Sea in 1394, was not given much consideration after the conquest of Istanbul.

Anadolu Hisari was supported in 1452 by Sultan Mehmet the conqueror during the construction of Rumeli Hisar in 1452, by adding of some new sections. The Hisar was used for some time as a prison and this Hisar played an important role in the stopping of Kazakhs attacking Boshporus in the 17th-18th centuries. In the following years, it lost its importance.

Ancient Eastern Archeological Museum, (Osman Hamdi Bey Slope, Gülhane – Istanbul)

Ancient Eastern Archeological Museum was designed and open to service in 1917 by Halil Eldem Bey.

The collection on display is comprised of about 15.000 archeological pieces of Ancient Mesopotamia, Pre-Greek Anatolia, Assyrian, Sumer, Akad, Babel Ancient Egptian and Pre-Islamic Arabic culture.

Archeology Museum, (Osman Hamdi Bey Slope, Gülhane – Istanbul)

Archeology Museum, one of the greatest museums of the world, is located between Gülhane Park and Topkapı Palace. Archeology Museum, which was opened to service with the name of “Mecma-i Esliha-i Atika” and “Mecma-i Asar-i Atika” within St. İrini Church in 1846, got the name “Müze-i Hümayun” (Empire Museum) in 1869. Though most of the works of display were moved to the Tiled Kiosk between the years of 1873-1891, Archeological Museum was rebuilt under the name of “Asari Antics Museum” by Osman Hamdi Bey in its present classical style in 1891.

In the various halls of Archeology Museum, archeological pieces such as sarcophagus, tombstone, epitaph, bust, sculpture, relief, column heads and mosaics from Greek, Roman and Byzantine civilizations are on display. The museum has a resourceful library with the books on history, archeology, numismatics, and fine arts, a chemistry laboratory, a sculpture repair workhouse and photography section.

Aşiyan Museum, (Aşiyan Slope, Bebek / Istanbul)

The house in which the famous poet Tevfik Fikret built in 1906 and spent the last nine years of his life was made a museum in 1945. In the museum, there are personal belongings, works and archives of the Poet Nigar Hanım, and the poet and writers of Edebiyat-i Cedide (a literary period), as well as those of Tevfik Fikret.

Atatürk Museum, (Halaskargazi Road No: 250, Şişli – Istanbul)

The house which Mustafa Kemal Atatürk rented during working for National Freedom Battle, was bought in 1928 by the Municipality of Istanbul and was open for public visit in 1942 as the Atatürk Revolutions Museum.

In the museum which was re-restored by the Municipality of Istanbul in 1991 and reopened for service, the personal belongings of Atatürk, his clothes, uniforms, photos of his military and private life, some documents with his handwriting, his medallions, souvenirs and oil paintings of various artists such as İbrahim Çallı are displayed.

Dolmabahçe Palace Museum, (Dolmabahçe Road. 80680, Dolmabahçe-Istanbul)

Dolmabahçe Palace, whose construction began in 1846 in the province of Beşiktaş was completed in 1856. The palace which was commissioned by Sultan Abdülmecid was built on an area of 250.000 m², and the palace itself and main outhouses were built on sea-filled surface.

The palace is comprised of a main unit, Heir Section, Furniture and Guards’ Room, Operational Mansions, Glass Mansion and other small pavilions. Dolmabahçe Palace which has 8 spacious saloons and 200 rooms, has two main and seven side gates and five gates on the sea front.

While the gardens are arranged in four sections, the main building comprises of three sections, namely the State Office (Mabeyn-i Hümayun), Auction Hall and Private Office. The main front of the palace overlooking the sea, Private Office is a two-storey building. Süfera (envoy) Saloon on the upper floor of the palace is one of its most impressive sections. Auction Hall rises between the State and Private Offices as a monumental structure. It is built on a square-like surface, covered with a dome from the inside and a roof from the outside. It is adorned with rich decorations.

The Private Office is made up of Sultan’s Office and harem. Harem is a plain section with grand common-use places and closed private rooms.

Grand Palace Mosaics Museum, Istanbul

Grand Palace Mosaics Museum is located in the south of Sultanahmet Mosque, within the complex of buildings of the mosque. The museum was built in a way to accommodate the mosaics which is partially intact in the northeastern part of the courtyard of the Grand Palace.

While Grand Palace Mosaics, dating back to 450-550 A.D. were masterfully woven, no religious themes can be seen in the mosaics. The themes are from daily life and nature, and there are scented depicting gryphon eating a lizard, fight of an elephant and a lion, breeding of a mare, children feeding geese, man milking a goat, child feeding his donkey, young girl carrying a jug, bears eating apples and fight between a hunter and a tiger.

Grand Palace Mosaics Museum was opened in 1953 as part of the Istanbul Archeological Museums and became a part of St. Sophia Museum in 1979. A restoration of the mosaics started with a project prepared in the framework of a protocol agreement made between Ministry of Culture General Directorate of Monuments and Museums and Austria Academy of Sciences in 1982. These restorational works was completed in 1997.

Kariye Museum, (Edirnekapı / Istanbul)

Kariye Museum which is located in Edirnekapı in Istanbul was originally built as a church of Khora Monastery. While it is known to exist in the 8th century, the monastery is claimed to have been built in the 4th century.

Kariye Mosque which has a kiboion section, whose dome is held by four arches, had a very desolate state during the Latin Invasion in 1204-1261. Towards the turn of 1313, during the period of Andronikos the 2nd (1282-1328), a leading figure of the era, Theodoros Metochites who was a literarian, poet and minister of treasury, commissioned for the repairs of the church and added an appendix to the north, an exonartex to the western, and a chapel (paraecclesion) to the south sides. The paraecclesion, which is a single sided chapel stretching along the south front was built on a cellar.

The above part was partially covered with a dome and the other parts were covered with vault. The building which was used for some time as a church after the conquest of Istanbul, was turned into a mosque by covering the mosaics with whitewashing and by adding of a minaret. At the end of a study carried out by American Byzantine Institute between 1948 and 1958, all mosaics and fresques were revealed and the building was turned into a museum. Today the mosaic depictions of Jesus and St. Mary decorating the walls of Kariye Museum are what most attract the visitors’ attention. These fresques also have the quality of being the only frescos surviving till today in best condition.

Mahmud the 1st Library, Istanbul

Mahmud the 1st Library is located between two stanchions in the south of St. Sophia. The library which was commissioned in 1739 by Sultan Mahmud the 1st is an interesting example of Turkish architecture and decoration.

The library is comprised of a reading hall, Treasury of Books and a hallway in the middle of these two sections. The reading hall is separated from the St. Sophia’s main structure by a glass pane supported by a six columns with diamond shaped heads and a bronze network covering them. The two-wing gate permitting access to the library is also coated with a bronze network decorated with flowers and curved leaves and has two handles with “Ya Fettah” inscription. The walls of the reading hall are adorned with encaustic work and mural inscriptions. On the wall across the gate, monogram of Sultan Mahmud the 1st, bordered in green encaustic artwork can be seen.

The corridor combining the Reading Hall and the Treasury of Books is adorned with sheets of encaustic art with flower, rose, carnation, tulip, cypress motifs. These sheets are invaluable in terms of color and style.

Military Museum, (Valikonağı Road, 80200 Nişantaşı – Istanbul)

The core part of the Military Museum which is located inside the Harbiye Barracks are the display pieces brought from St. İrini. From the conquest of Istanbul to the period of Sultan Ahmed the 3rd, all types of weapons were preserved in St. İrini Church on the back part of St. Sophia Mosque. This warehouse was designed to make it available for public visiting by the order of Sultan Ahmed the 3rd in 1726. With the break of World War II, it was moved to Niğde in 1940 for safety reasons. After the war, these weapons were brought again to Istanbul Maçka Armory. In 1955, the museum was relocated to where it is now, the gym of Harbiye Barracks. The restoration of this building was completed in 1959 and it was turned into a museum. However, the inadequate building was restored again and was partly open to service in 1986, and the building as a whole was finally opened to service in 1993.

The resourceful collection of the museum consists many interesting pieces such as uniforms belonging every period of Ottoman army, various weapons from bow and arrow to triggered guns, seals, armors, tent of the sultan, sultan swords, flags, photos of ministers of defense, Byzantine Cavalry Flag, various warfare pieces used from the Selcuk period to the Republic period, the chain with which Byzantines closed the Golden Horn.

Mosaics Museum, (Arasta Bazaar, Sultanahmet – Istanbul)

Mosaics Museum was built on he ruins of Grand Palace from the Byzantine period and a section of Sultan Ahmed Mosque Complex. As well as the mosaics surviving from Grand Palace to date, some mosaics found in Istanbul and nearby are displayed in this museum.

Museum of Turkish Calligraphic Arts Association, (Beyazıt Square 34490, Beyazıt – Istanbul)

Turkish Calligraphic Arts Association Museum which is presently active in Beyazıt Medresse in Beyazıt Square was originally opened under the name of Turkish Calligraphic Arts Museum in Sultan Selim Medresse in 1968.

The museum which was relocated in 1984 to where it is now, calligraphy works of many famous calligraphers and calligrapher sultans, sheets, sultan monograms and Korans arranged according to type are on display.

Naval Museum, (İskele Road Beşiktaş – Istanbul)

Naval Museum is presently serving across Beşiktaş Pier, under Navy Forces Commandership, as a museum where pieces and information about maritime are kept. Although the naval museum was originally built in Kasımpaşa, upon the decision to move the naval archive to Konya during the Second World War, the collection of the museum was moved to Anatolia. After the war, the museum was open to service in Kasımpaşa and it was moved to Dolmabahçe in 1949. The museum was opened to public in its present location in 1960.

Ancient sailor clothes, fleet models and sketches, pictures on maritime history can be found in the museum. Also the materials and souvenirs from the vessels used in the first years of Ottoman Empire and the Republic, pictures of some navy disasters and matyrs, wartime weapons such as hand-bombs, torpedo, fire gun and sketches of several fleet commanders. Sultan’s fleet of Sultan Mehmed the 4th which is featured in the empire fleets section is known to be the most ancient of its kind to be preserved to date. In the courtyard of the museum, cannonballs of various sizes and a part of German Battleship which sunk in our coastline during Second World War are displayed.

Press Museum, (Divanyolu Road, No:84, Çemberlitaş – Istanbul)

The museum is also known as the original building of Darülfünun (University) which was opened in 1871. The restored building was turned into Press Museum in 1988. The museum features information and materials on Turkish press from İbrahim Müteferrika, founder of Turkish publication history, to date.

Rahmi Mustafa Koç Museum, Istanbul

Rahmi M. Koç Museum is in public service in an area of 2 thousand 100 square meters, on the south coast of the Golden Horn. An additional display building is connected to historical Lengerhane, located in the southeast part, with a transparent ramp below the garden brink. The building, which is rated as second class historical structure, is estimated to have Byzantine basis from the 12th century.

In the structure which is estimated to have been built during the period of Ahmet the 3rd and which was used as a foundry, the chain thrown to the sea to hold it in place and its anchor was produced. The building which is known to have undergone repairs in the period of Selim the 3rd, was used by the ministry of finance until 1951. In the Republic period, it was turned into alcohol storage by the Tekel-i Cibali Tobacco Factory. The building whose upper cover system was greatly damaged by the fire in 1984 was bound to be forgotten. The building was purchased by Rahmi M. Koç Museum and Cultural Association in 1991 and was open for display in 13 December 1994, after two years of meticulous restoration work.

While the majority of the pieces of the museum was picked from the private collection of Rahmi M. Koç, the works which are taken as donation or on temporary basis from various institutions and individuals are also on display in the museum. Authentic works of art and their models, scientific and mechanical objects form the basis of the museum collection.

Rumelian Hisar Museum, (Rumelian Hisari - Istanbul)

Rumelian Hisar, was built to obstruct the aid coming from the Strait to Byzantine Empire in 1452 by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror. Rumeli Hisarı is situated in the widest part of the Boshporus across the Anadolu Hisar.

The hisar has three bastions with height of 30 meters and the thickness of the hisar walls reaches to 3 meters and 5 meters in parts. Some time after the conquest, the hisar which lost its significance in defense, was used as a prison where janissaries sentenced to death and some statesmen and foreign representatives prisoned. The hisar which was repaired in 1953 and to which an outdoor theater was appended, is most recently used as a museum.

Sadberk Hanim Museum, (Piyasa Road, No:27-29, Büyükdere – Istanbul)

Sadberk Hanım Museum, which is the first private museum to be built in Turkey, is serving public in a historical seaside residence in the Büyükdere point of the Bosphorus. The museum features materials, encaustic art and ceramics, clothes and calligraphy works from Hitite, Phrygia, Urartu, Mycenae, Hellenistic Age, Roman, Byzantine, Selcuk and Ottoman period, starting from 6000 B.C.

St. Irini Museum, Istanbul

St. İrini Museum is located in the first courtyard of Topkapı Palace as one of the most magnificent and greatest Byzantine churches along with St. Sophia. St. İrini was built during the period of Emperor Justinianus in VI. Since the church was not turned into a mosque after the conquest of Istanbul in 1453, there were no remarkable changes in the building. It was used as a loot from war and a storage of arms for a long time. The first works of Damat Ahmet Fethi Pasha, one of Tophane field marshals, were displayed here in 1846 as the first examples displayed in a Turkish museum. In 1869 St. İrini received the name Müze-i Hümayun (Empire Museum). In time the works displayed here were moved to the Tiled Kiosk in 1875 due to the shortage in places of exhibition. From year 1908 Aya İrini was used as Military Museum. Then the structure which was vacant for a time was repaired and became a unit governed by St. Sophia Museum Management.

St. Sophia Museum, (Sultanahmet Square Istanbul)

St. Sophia Museum (Hagia Sophia), which is among the most significant monuments of world’s architectural history, is considered as the only application in terms of its architectural property, its magnificence, greatness and functionality. St. Sophia has been an inspiration for Ottoman mosques thought in idea, and is reviewed as a product of east-west synthesis. St. Sophia served for 916 years as church and 481 years as mosque since its year of construction. Recently, St. Sophia was turned into a museum in 1935. Byzantine historians Theophanes, Nikephoros and Gramercy Leon claim that St. Sophia was originally built during the period of Emperor I. Konstantinos (324-337). At that time, St. Sophia which had a Basilica planned, wooden domed structure, was burned in a fire and Emperor II. Thedosius re-commissioned St. Sophia for the second time and it was reopened for service in 415. However, St. Sophia burned one more time in 532 during the Nika revolution and rebuilt for the third time by Emperor Justinianus (527-565). When Isidoros of Miletus and Anthemious of Tralles, the most famous architects of the period were building the St. Sophia which survived until today, they used the columns, column heads, marbles and color stones of the antic city remains of Anatolia.

The construction of St. Sophia began in 23 December 532 and it was completed in 27 December 537. From the architectural point of view, it is comprised of a large central section, two side sections (nef), abyss, interior and exterior narthexes. The interior has a size of 100x70, it’s covered by a dome with a diameter of 30-31 m. and a height of 55 m. carried by four big columns. As well as its architecture, the mosaics of St. Sophia are also of worth noting. The most ancient mosaics are the golden glided geometrical and flower-motif mosaic on interior narthex and sides. The figured mosaics were made in IX-XII century, and they can be seen on Emperor Gate, on the abscissas, on the exit gate and upper floor gallery.

St. Sophia had undergone various repairs during Turkish period starting with the conquest of Istanbul. While the framing of mihrab is adorned with the most beautiful examples of Turkish china art and Turkish calligraphic art, the sura from Koran on the dome inscribed by the famous Turkish Calligrapher Mustafa İzzet Efendi and the round sheets with a diameter of 7.50 m are the most remarkable ones. In these frames, the names of Allah, Mohammed, Ömer, Osman, Ali, Hasan, Ebu Bekir and Hussein are written. And on he side walls of the mihrab can be seen the frames written by Ottoman sultans and donated to the museum.

The tombs of Sultan Selim the 2nd, Sultan Mehmed the 3rd, Sultan Murad the 3rd and heirs, the fountain of Sultan Mahmut the 1st, primary school, public kitchen and library, sultan maksoorah of Sultan Abdülmecid, clock room are among the Turkish period works at St. Sophia, and the tombs make up the most precious examples of Ottoman tomb tradition with regard to their interior design, caustic art and architecture.

Tanzimat (Period or Reforms) Museum, (Gülhane Park, Sirkeci – Istanbul)

The museum which was opened in 1952 in Ihlamur Summer Palace was first moved the Çadır Mansion in Yıldız Park in 1969 and then in 1983 to its present location in Gülhane Park where the Ferman of Period of Reforms were announced to public.

Period of Reforms Museum features documents and souvenirs of westernization period between the years of 1839-1876.

Topkapı Palace Museum, (Saray içi, Sultanahmet – Istanbul)

When the construction for Topkapı Palace started is still unknown. According to some resources, the foundation dates back to 1460. Topkapı Palace was not constructed based on a definite plan, was expanded in time and underwent several changes. This change was due to necessity of adding of new buildings or the reconstruction in place of the original buildings destroyed by fire or other causes.

Apart from the mansions for residence of sultans and harem section, Topkapı Palace also features many structures such as wards for palace guards, a very spacious kitchen for use of palace residents, dormitories for palace servants, Kubbealtı where Divan meetings were held, Hırka-i Saadet section where belongings of Hz. Mohammed and the Caliphs are kept, Gülhane Hospital, Sultan Ahmed the 3rd Library, Palace School, Treasury Office, a stable for the horses of sultan, and St. İrini Church which was used as a weapon storage for some time.

Topkapı Palace was abandoned in the middle of 19th century and lost its significanc as the state center. Indeed, part of a railroad was built on the outdoor garden of Topkapı Palace which was is a desolate state in the following years. Most recently in 1924 Topkapı Palace was turned into a museum and opened for exhibition.

Turkish Islamic Arts Museum, (İbrahim Pasha Palace, At Square, Sultanahmet – Istanbul)

Turkish Islamic Arts Museum which was originally built in 1914 in Süleymaniye Complex was moved to İbrahim Pasha Palace in 1938. The museum which is one of the rare examples of Turkish-Islamic Art in the world was designed by collecting precious art pieces from many mosques, tombs and libraries.

The museum features ceramic works, glass oil lamps, mural encaustics, plaster reliefs, carpets from Selcuk and Ottoman period and Nomad rugs, silver engravings, funeral arches, jeweled pieces, mother-of-pearl inlaid Koran desks, engraved copper containers, plumes, ornaments, the key of Kabe, oil lamps and candlesticks adorned with precious stones, impressively woven vests belonging to Sultan Yıldırım Bayezid and Sultan Selim the 2nd, a brigantine belonging to Pertevniyal Sultan, Caucasian carpets, containers, drawers, engraved doors, very valuable hand-written Korans, miniatures, volumes, writing instruments, various firmans from the Ottoman Sultans, column heads, epitaphs, sultan monogram.

Yerebatan Cistern Museum, (Yerebatan Road No:13 34410 Sultanahmet – Istanbul)

Yerebatan Cistern was built in the left side of Sultanahmet Square towards St. Sophia-Gülhane Park direction. Yerebatan Cistern which is also called “Yerebatan Palace” was commissioned in about 540 by Byzantine Emperor Justinianus the 1st. The area which was gained by the underground carving of a rocky surface, the cistern which is supported by more than 300 columns, have become the most important water resource supplying water to Istanbul.

The cistern which was cleansed and repaired by the Municipality of Istanbul between 1985-1988, is today one of the open-to-public places of visit with its mystifying and exotic atmosphere.

Yıldız Palace Museum, (Yıldız Beşiktaş – Istanbul)

Yıldız Palace is located inside a 500.000 square-meter woods between Beşiktaş and Ortaköy provinces and is comprised of a mansion, summer palace, administrative and service buildings. The palace got its name from the mansion which was commissioned by Sultan Mahmud the 2nd in this woods. This mansion was decorated by his son Abdülmecid and placed his cerubine named Yıldız. Sultan Abdülmecid’s mother Bezmialem Sultan commissioned for a mansion in 1842 named Dilkuşa Summer Palace (Kasr-I Dilkuşa) and therefore helped expand Yıldız Palace. During the period of Sultan Abdülaziz, Malta, Çadır and Çit mansions were commissioned. But the palace mostly developed during Sultan Abdülhamid period. The palace which was continuously used by Sultan Abdülhamid, was physically improving on one hand, it was becoming a scene to the most politically disputable period of the Empire on the other.

All buildings in Yıldız Palace are arranged in rows, gathering in the north end of the woods bordered by high walls. The rest of the woods is comprised of an exterior garden, in this garden which is open to public with the name of Yıldız Park, there is Çadır and Malta mansions and Yıldız Porcelain Factory.


Ahi Çelebi Mosque, Istanbul

It is located in Eminönü, by the coast of Haliç next to Istanbul Chamber of Commerce. The mosque, whose date of construction and architect is still unknown, was commissioned by Ahi Çelebi who was a head physician in Fatih Darüşşifa (Hospital) in the beginning of 1500s. The mosque, which is in a worn-out state and do not have many architectural highlights, holds an important place in Istanbul folklore for its being the mosque where Evliya Çelebi had his famous dream.

Arap Mosque, Istanbul

It is in Galata, Tersane Road, street of Galata Court House. It is the biggest mosque in Galata side of the Golden Horn.

There is a myth that this mosque was made by the Arabs besieging Istanbul. But this theory conflicts with the historical data. Actually there had been one church there when Istanbul was conquered. This church was turned into a mosque in 1475 by the order of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror and took the name Galata Mosque. After Arabs emigrating from Endulus in 1492 took residence around this mosque, it took the name Arap Mosque. In time, it has gone under maintenance and some changes. During the maintenance in year 1913 the epitaph and armored tombstones of Genoeses found beneath the ground was transferred to Archeology Museum.

The mosque is a rectangular-planned gothic building. The belfry of the old church was turned into a minaret as well. This minaret much resembles the minarets in Endulus.

Ayazma Mosque, Istanbul

It is located in Üsküdar, between Salacak and Şemsipaşa on a hill before Marmara overlooking Kızkulesi. It was commissioned by Sultan Mustafa the Third in 1760-1761 for his mother Mihrişah Emine Sultan and his brother Şehzade Süleyman. It is a work of Architect Mehmet Tahir Ağa. It got this name since the mosque is where once Ayazma Palace and Gardens were located.

It is one of the mosques under influence of European artistic style. One can take the stairs to go up to the mosque from a three-gate courtyard. The minaret has single balcony. Central dome which has 20 windows is situated on four elephant legs. The floor is paved with marble. It has a total of 86 windows. The mimbar is made of engraved colour marble and the interior of the mimbar is made of red porphyry. There is Italian encaustic tiling on the walls of the sultan maksoorah on the east side of the building. There are inscriptions made by Calligrapher Seyyid Abdullah and Calligrapher Seyyid Mustafa inside the mosque. It treasures many graves. The fountain on the left corner is adorned with an epitaph by Zihni the Poet.

Beylerbeyi Mosque, Istanbul

It is located in the Anatolian side of the Boshporus near Beylerbeyi Pier, by the seaside. It was commissioned by Sultan Abdülhamid the first in 1778 for the memory of his mother Rabia Sultan. It is a work of Architect Tahir Ağa. The mosque has baroque style and built of hewn stone. It is an edifice with 55 windows, two minarets and level with an octagonal ground. It has one dome and the field before the mihrab is covered with a semi-dome. The interior is spiced with calligraphic artwork. The mosque treasures both Ottoman and European encaustic tile work. Within this framework, the mosque is almost like an exhibition of different cultures.

Dolmabahçe Mosque, Istanbul

It is located in the south of Dolmabahçe Palace, on the coast. It was originally commissioned by the mother of Sultan Abdülmecid, Bezm-i Alem Valide Sultan, but on her death it was continued by Sultan Abdülmecid. The mosque was completed in 1855; its architect is Garabet Balyan. It is one of the ornamented mosques constructed in Baroque style. Since the mosque is adjacent to the palace, a two storey Sultan maksoorah was constructed on the front part where the Sultan and statesmen can perform their prayers and where public processions and meetings could be accommodated. Circular window design which is rarely seen in our mosque architecture gives the building a different look with its peacock-tail design. It has two minarets with a single balcony. The interior has a decoration having a mixture of baroque and ampere styles. From the dome hangs a precious chandelier. Mihrab and mimbar is made of red porphyry.

Hırka-ı Şerif Mosque, Istanbul

It is located in Fatih County, in the province with the same name, in Muhtesip İskender district. It was commissioned by Sultan Abdülmecid in 1851 for the preservation and visiting of Hırka-i Şerif (mantle of the Prophet kept as a relic) given by Prophet Mohammed to Veysel Karani. And that’s how it got its name.

The mosque has an important place in the religious folklore of Istanbul. The vest (mantle) being preserved was taken in the beginning of 17th century by the firman of Sultan Ahmed the 1st from Şükrullah Üveysi of the family el-Karani, and after being preserved in several places, it was finally placed in its place in the mosque which was built for this purpose. From the fifteenth day of the month of Ramazan to religious night of Kadir, Hırka-i Şerif is open for visit in the breaks of noon and midafternoon prayers. During the construction of the mosque lots of buildings nearby were publicized, along with the mosque, a mortmain for the eldest member of the Üveysi family, an office for the deputy, barracks for the soldiers (the building which is presently used as Hırka-i Şerif Primary School), and rooms for the persons on duty.

One can enter the yard through three gates looking like monuments. They are made of hewn stone of kefeki. The mosque had two minarets each with a single balcony. The eight edged mosque is covered by a dome with eight windows. Above the gate in the right hand side of the yard there is an epitaph by the calligraphic art of Kazasker Mustafa İzzeddin, under Sultan Abdülmecid’s monogram. Below the dome, can also be seen 8 framed verse inscriptions made by the very same calligrapher. 8 framed inscriptions which are Abdülmecid’s own work and bearing his signature are displayed above the mimbar. Preacher desk, mihrab and mimbar are made of red porphyry.

Ortaköy Mosque, Istanbul

It is in Boğaziçi (Bosphorus) in Ortaköy district, by the coast. The mosque was commissioned in 153 by Sultan Abdülmecid to Architect Nigoğos Balyan. The mosque which has a rather elegant structure is of Baroque style. It is placed in an unparalleled location in Bosphorus. As in all mosques built by the sultan, it is made up of two parts of harem and sultan’s office. Wide and high windows are arranged in a way to carry the changing lights of Bosphorus inside the mosque. The stair cased building has two minarets with single balcony each. The walls are made of white hewn stone. The walls of the single dome are made of pink mosaics. The mihrab again is made of mosaics and marble and the mimbar is made of porphyry coated marble, all products of an elegant workmanship.

Selimiye Mosque, Istanbul

It is in Üsküdar, opposite the Selimiye Barracks. It was commissioned by Sultan Selim the 3rd in 1805. Its minarets destroyed from a strong gale were rebuilt in 1823. It underwent a restoration work in 1964. It is surrounded by a wide courtyard with four entrances. It is one of the mosques built in Baroque style. The rectangular planned building is made of hewn stone. The great dome of four walls and 24 windows is supported by one small tower on each edge. The interior is adorned by verses and calligraphic works. The interior of the mosque is rich in marble and wood engravings. The mihrab and mimbar is made of porphyry marble. The latest congregational area is sheltered by 5 domes over 6 marble columns. There are two minarets with single balcony with two storey sultan offices. It also treasures the graves of Zibifer Kadın, wife of Sultan Selim the 3rd and Minister of Finance Mehmed Hasip Pasha.

Small St. Sophia Mosque, Istanbul

It is located in Eminönü Province, between Cankurtaran and Kadırga, at the end of Küçük Ayasofya Street. It is one of the converted mosques from church. It was built in the period of Justinian the 1st. Its original name was “Sergios and Bacchos Church”. Stated in the epitaph above the lower columns were commissioned by Justinian the 1st for saints named St.Sergios and St. Bacchos. During the period of Sultan Bayezid the 2nd, it was turned into a mosque by adding a minaret by Chief Black Eunuch Hadım Hüseyin Ağa. It has undergone repairs in various periods and its present minaret was completed in 1955.

It’s a rectangular building made of brick. The minaret rising on the right hand side has a single balcony. Its dome with the height of 19 m is situated on eight legged arches. 16 of the 34 green and red marble columns are on the lower and 1 is on the upper side. The latest congregational area having five domes and six columns was added just recently. Hüseyin Ağa’s tomb is located in its yard on the left-hand side.

Sultanahmet Mosque, Istanbul

It was commissioned by Sultan Ahmet the 1st on the square with the same name in Istanbul between 1609 and 1616. Its architect is Sedefkar Mehmet Ağa. It’s the only mosque in Turkey with six minarets. The mosque part has dimension of 64x72. The diameter of its central dome has a diameter of 33.4 m and a height of 43 m and is 2.6 m greater than that of St. Sophia. The interior of the mosque is illuminated by 260 windows. Since it is beautifully adorned by blue, green and white encaustics, it was named by the Europeans as “Blue Mosque”. The inscriptions are made by Seyyid Kasım Gubari of Diyarbakır. It makes up a complex with the surrounding buildings.

The Süleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul

The Süleymaniye Mosque is located in the historic quarter of İstanbul. Süleymaniye mosque built in the 16th century and is considered to be the most beautiful of the imperial mosques in İstanbul.

It includes 6 madrasas, a poor house-tabhane, an imaret-soup kitchens, a caravanserai, mental hospital, baths, a school and shops, as well as the mausoleums of Süleyman I and the Sultana Hürrem Sultan.

What is most noticable about this grand complex is that, although the mosque may be monumental the structure and its annexes are built so as to blend with the urban landscape, a remarkable acheivement on taht scale. It was completed in a comparatively short time between 1550 and 1557 which illusturates, beyond all else, the might and organisation of the Ottoman state at the time.

Yıldız Mosque, Istanbul

It is in Beşiktaş province, Barbaros Boulevard on the Yıldız Palace road. It was commissioned by Sultan Abdülhamid the 2nd between 1885 and 1886. It is an unprecedented example of last period of Ottoman Empire. It is said that the plan was made by Sultan Abdülhamid the 2nd himself. The interior decorations have the richness that is not ever seen in any of the mosques.

There are rooms on right and left sides which are accessed by climbing up the staircase. On the right hand side, there is an adorned Envoy room for the diplomatic envoys, and on the left side there is a very ornamented sultan maksoorah where the ceiling is covered with oil paintings. Its minaret with a single balcony is adorned with many engravings. The eaves of its dome, which is situated on four thick iron columns and which is surrounded by 16 windows is surrounded by engraved stars.

The interior also has similar rich decorations. There are 17 windows in the mosque. On the each of the four sides, there are beautifully written verses of impressive calligraphic work. The mural inscriptions which are true masterpieces are made of mother-of-pearl inlaid ebony.

Zeyrek Mosque, Istanbul

It is located in Fatih district, Zeyrek, in İbadethane Street in a spot overlooking the Golden Horn. The building which is presently used as a mosque was originally the church of Pantocrator Monastery, one of the greatest monasteries of Istanbul at that period, which was commissioned by Ionnes Comnenos’s wife Eirene. Its construction was completed in 1136. During Latin invasion, this monastery was captured by Catholic priests. And after the conquest of Istanbul, the monastery was transformed to a medresse and its church to a mosque by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. It got its name from its first professor Molla Zeyrek Mehmet Efendi. The mosque which underwent serious repairs at the end of 18th century was restored for the most part from 1966. However, presently it is in need of maintenance and repairs again.

The building which is comprised of three adjacent structures is made of tile. The roof of the building is covered with five domes. It has a minaret with single balcony. The floor tiling which were discovered during restoration is one of the unequalled examples reaching from that period to date and is of amazing beauty.


Anglikan Church, Istanbul

It is in Beyoğlu, Serdanekrem Street No: 83. The architect of this building, which is also known as the Crimean Church is G.E. Street. The church was built in memory of English soldiers who attended to Crimean war, and the land was provided by Sultan Abdülmecid. The construction started in 1858 and it was only completed ten years later. The church which was closed in 1971 due to its decreasing congregation was re-opened for religious use in 1991.

All stone building material of the church, which has a neo gothic architectural style, was brought from Malta.

Aya Yorgi Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchy Church, Istanbul

It is in Fener, between Sadrazam Ali Paşa Road and İncebel Street. Greek Orthodox Patriarchy is located in the yard of this church. The patriarchy was moved into Aya Yorgi, which was used as a monastery in 16th century, in 1602. From that date, it was destroyed in parts due to many causes and repaired. Last time it was greatly destroyed during the fire in 1941 and the repairs which began in 1989 was completed in 1991.

The church is not a very valuable and impressive by means of architecture. However, it has very valuable things on display. The patriarch throne, which is said to have a history dating back to 5th century, three mosaic icons which is one of the rare examples in the world, a column to which Jesus is claimed to be tied and whipped and tombs of three female saints are the most important ones.

Neve Shalom Synagogue, Istanbul

The synagogue is in Beyoğlu Kuledibi on Büyük Hendek Road. The name which means “oasis of peace” was built with the restoration of a Jewish primary school. This hall was first turned into a prayer room, but was unable to be opened for use because the necessary approvals weren’t obtained.

This approval was granted in 1949, and the project was designed by two Jewish men named Elio Ventura and Bernard Motola, recently graduated from Istanbul Technical University. Neve Synagogue was opened for religious service in 1951. Its dome carrying a chandelier of 8-ton weight, its glassware specially imported from England, and marble sections are very impressive.

The synagogue which was attacked by a terrorist in 1986, was reopened to service in May 1987 with its repairs being completed.

Saint Antoine Church, Istanbul

It is in Beyoğlu, on İstiklal Street, on the left hand side from Galatasaray to Tünel. The construction began in 1906 and it was completed and opened to service in 1912. Its architect is Giulio Mongeri, who was born in Istanbul. The church which was governed by Italian priests is the greatest Catholic Church in Istanbul with the biggest number of congregation.

The church which is located in the center of a courtyard is entered through the gate on the roadside between two apartment buildings which were built to provide funding for the church. The church was built by concrete, and has neogothic style.

Saint Mary Syriac Kadim Church, Istanbul

It is in Beyoğlu, Karakurum Street in Tarlabaşı. It is the only church in Istanbul commisioned by Syriac minority. Syriacs either borrow the other churches they use from other religious sects or they hire them. Saint Mary Church was built in 1960 by the stones brought from Mardin, the center of Syriac sect in Turkey. It is a big stone building. Apart from the church, it has sections such as administrative building and school.

Stephan (Bulgarian) Church, Istanbul

This church which belongs to Bulgarian minority is may be the most interesting church of Istanbul. Bulgarian residents of Ottoman Empire previously performed their religious rituals in the churches of Fener Orthodox Patriarchy. And probably under the influence of nationalism, Bulgarian people received permission from the state to have their own churches. At first, a small wooden church was built on the area between Balat, where the church is located today and Fener, by the Golden Horn coast. Later, an activity began to build a larger church. Since the ground was weak, iron frame method was preferred for being lighter, rather than concrete.

The project of the church was made by Hovsep Aznavur who was an Armenian born in Istanbul. There was an international competition for the production of prefabricated parts of the church and an Austrian company named R Ph Wagner won this competition. The parts manufactured in Vienna were carried to Istanbul by vessel through the Danube River and Black Sea. It was finally situated on its present place in 1898 after a work of 1.5 years.

The supporting profiles of the church was made of steel and they were covered with sheet iron sheets. All parts were joined with each other by bolt, screw nut, rivet or welding. As for the architectural style, it has neogothic and neobaroque elements.

Surp Krior Lusarovich Armenian Orthodox Church, Istanbul

It is in Karaköy, Sakızcılar Street No:3. It the oldest Armenian Church in Istanbul. A text from 1360 mentions another church with the name of Surp Sarkis in the place of the present church. The present church was built in 1431.

The church which has undergone repairs many times through its history was first partly then completely destroyed during the road construction between Karaköy and Tophane in 1958. After that, in 1965, it was reconstructed by Architect Bedros Zobyan a little further from its previous location.

Krikor Lusarovich, which is one of the churches built in Republic period has a special place among Armenian churches with its cone-shaped dome. It is one of the few churches in Istanbul with a dome in this shape. The bell tower adjacent to the entrance has traces of classic Armenian church architecture style. In the church whose interior is adorned with the china which belonged to the destroyed church, few paintings were used for decorating purposes. The interior lighting is made by few number of narrow windows peculiar to Armenian church style.


Beyazıt Square, Istanbul

The square which was formed as the greatest square of the city in 393 A.C. during period of Emperor Teodosius, was known with the name of Form Tauri Square in that period because of the bronze bull heads situated over a giant victory inscription in the center.

Only several marble blocks and columns have survived from the victory inscriptions to date, however the huge fountain on the north side does not exist anymore. This huge and monumental fountain, the greatest fountain of the city was used to be fed by Valens aqueduct.

The gate of Istanbul University and Beyazıt Fire Tower which are in the square now are structures of 9th century. A medresse, hamam and some shops are the only remains of the complex of 15th century work of Beyazıt Mosque, which adorns the square and which gave its name to the square.

Çemberlitaş, Istanbul

Çemberlitaş or Constantin column is known and regarded as the center and the symbol of Byzantine Empire. It used to be a sign of the conquest of Byzantine by Constantin (18 September 324) and its being blessed (8 November 324). It also was a point of mystery where relics were kept together. According to Byzantine belief, Constantin buried on the base of the column a wooden statue of goddess Pallas Atina of Troja, the crook of St. Noah, the stone which Moses squeezed into water, the crumbs of seven breads left on the day when Jesus gave out breads and closed the base with his own hands.

There is also a belief that the Constantin statue, rising on the top and resembles Apollon, contains a part from the crucifix of Jesus. In 1105, the statue falls down in a storm by crushing over a couple of people and in the following years the column is repaired on command of Manuel Comnenos.

In 1779, the rings are renewed on command of Abdülhamit the First. One of the comments on Çemberlitaş, and the inner quarter said to exist beneath it comes from Haluk Egemen Sarıkaya : “Like every holy structure built in conformity with a shrinal prototype, Çemberlitaş is probable to have relation with an underground division system”. He adds that, related to this theory, vestibules in shape of a labyrinth were discovered in an archeological excavation around Çemberlitaş in 1930s, and based on this finding, Çemberlitaş is serving as a gate, an entrance, indeed a point of energy providing access to the galleries beneath Istanbul.

Dikilitaş, Istanbul

Dikilitaş, which is located in Sultanahmet Square in Hipodrome is the very monument which was built in 1450 B.C. as a memorial of the victories in Asia of Thutmosis (1502-1448 B.C), one of the Egyptian Emperors. Some “sisters” of this stone monument still survive to date.

Dikilitaş is thought to have been built by the Pharoah between 1457-1448 B.C in front of Amon Ra Temple in Heliopolis as a memorial of the victory he achieved in Naharin against Mitandi State in the east of Euphrates River in 1457 B.C. The stone which was kept in Egypt for many years was first passed to the possession of a half-Hellen half Egyptian state founded in this region, later to the possession of Romans. In this period, Romans used to use the monuments in Egypt to decorate their cities. Constantin the First used to move various monuments to here to decorate the Hipodrome. His son Constantin the Second (337-361 A.C), wanted to move the monument to İskenderiye to be transferred to Istanbul, however he failed to do this. Later, Iskenderia people built a special ship for the monument on order of Emperor Julianus (361-363 A.C). It is unknown when nor by whom the monument was taken from Iskenderia to Istanbul nor how was it transported.

Dikilitaş, which was brought to decorate the Hipodrome, was situated on the wall called “Spina” in the centre of the Hipodrome, its present location in the period of Theodossius the First in 390 A.C. It is also said that an iron track was built from Marmara coast to the Hipodrome to transfer this monument which is 19, 59 m. high to Sultanahmet Square.

Today Dikilitaş lacks a part of six meters long. Though the reason is unknown, the theory is that the monument was previously situated in another part of the city and after it was damaged in earthquake the upper part was appendixes on the monument… Another possibility is its getting broken while being transferred to Istanbul. Dikilitaş is situated on four bronze trigs over a marble base of six meters high with reliefs on four sides. The relief on the base is themed on the wars of Emperor I. Theodossius and his life in the Hipodrome. The bronze sphere on the top of Dikilitaş monument which symbolizes the world fell during an earthquake in 865 and was never replaced again.

The lower side reliefs tell about process of situating the monument. One of the two epitaphs on one side of the base is in Greek and the other one is in Latin. The inscription in Latin states that Dikilitaş was erected in thirty and the other in Greek states that it was erected in thirty two days. The Latin inscription tells : “First I resisted; but it was commanded to me to yield to my almighty master and carry the wreath of his achieved victory over tyrans. Everything obeys to Theodossius and his long-to-last dynasty. That’s how I was beaten and I was forced to rise three times in ten days under the rule of Proclus.”

The inscription in Greek on the northwest side is shorter: “The courage to erect the four sided pole which had laid on earth for a long time fell to Emperor Theodossius’ lot. To achieve this, he asked for the help of Proklos and therefore the stone monument could be erected in thirty two days.”

The hieroglyph on Dikilitaş depicts Thutmosis’ victories as well. On the very top of the stone monument, on the pyramid-shaped carved end, there are Pharoh Thutmosis the Second and the god Amon-Ra on each side hand in hand within a rectangular frame. Beneath this, on all four sides there are depictions of god and the Pharoh again. Below them, there is holy Horus. The main inscription starts below this depiction: “Thutmosis the Third, from 18th descendance who is rich, mighty and talented, and who has these qualities thanks to god Amon scattering the golden rays of the sun to the world presents his gift to pay his deep gratitude to God Amon. Thutmosis the Third conquered the lands between two rivers, getting over seas. He erected this monument in the 30th year of his sovereignty.”

On each of the four sides, Amon-Ra and Horus of the Egyptian gods are continuously remembered and supremacy of Thutmosis is mentioned.

Dikilitaş has been a scene to various political events, car races, uprisings and murders that occurred in the Hipodrome. In Ottoman period, many phenomena occurred around the monument in the Hipodrome and the earth level rose and the lower part of the base was buried. In 1857, C.T. Newton reopened the base by digging around it. Since that time, Dikilitaş is situated on a hole surrounded by round and iron railings. In the first half of 20th century, the mossy side of the monument was cleaned and renewed.

Hipodrome (Sultanahmet Square), Istanbul

Sultanahmet Square, or the Hipodrome, was commisioned by Roman Emperor Septimius Severius at the end of 2. century. Hipodrome was later hugely extended by Great Constantin.

In the long, east side of this U-shaped hipodrome, there used to be an emperor lodge in the balcony where there were 4 bronze horses. In the center, there used to be a shallow wall which divides the sand covered hipodrome field into two, around which cars raced, and over this wall there used to be monuments brought from many parts of the empire and statues of horses.

Snake Column, Istanbul

This column which was transferred from Delphy city to Istanbul by Great Constantin, is the most ancient of monuments of Hellenistic period… The bodies of the snakes, which are tied to each other on a monument with a snake head of 8 meters high and having 29 wrenches, were separated after a height of 6.5 meters. It is said that on the top of the snakes’ heads there is a golden vase with three legs. Though various resources tell different things about this, there is sure to be something here! It used to be a belief that this column with a shape of three-headed dragon kept animals like scorpions, bugs and snakes away from the city… Evliya Çelebi explains how the object on the top lost its power: One of the heads was broken by a janissary sword. At that moment, the magic of the column was gone and Istanbul was besieged by animals like snakes, bugs, and scorpions. According to the rumour, half of its height was buried underground while Sultanahmet Mosque was being constructed.

Taksim Monument and Square, Istanbul

In Taksim Square, Republic Monument, Atatürk Cultural Center and a heavy human traffic welcome you. Taksim is the point of intersection for roads flowing to Dolmabahçe, to Maçka, to Şişli, to Şişhane, to Tunel and Cihangir. Or, in another words, Taksim distributes the way of life to the rest of the city... (In Ottoman Turkish, taksim means to distribute, to apportion. The reason for the district having this name is the water used to apportion within İstanbul from here...)

The most important monument in the center of Taksim Square is Taksim Cumhuriyet (Republic) Monument. Poet Sunay Akın, a lover of Istanbul, tells the monument with this words:

“If you happen to ask the passers-by the name of the statue, the answer is usually ‘Taksim Monument’ or ‘Atatürk Monument’. However, its real name is Republic Monument. Presence of an Armenian citizen of ours, Berç Keresteciyan in the board for the building of the monument, a work of Italian sculptor Kanonika, makes the word “Republic” even more meaningful. Of the monument having four sides, the side overlooking Sıraselviler district symbolizes republic period while the side overlooking Harbiye symbolizes National War of Independence. In the other two sides, you see soldiers hanging flags. On the top of these each soldier figure, the face of a woman does not fail to catch the eye. On one side, her face is covered with a veil, which symbolizes the woman living in slavery before the republic period. The woman face on the other side does not have a veil on her face. This smiling woman face symbolizes the modern woman after republic period”.


Kapalıçarşı (Grand Bazaar)

Kapalıçarşı is a great bazaar in Nuri Osmaniye and Beyazid Mosques and Mahmutpaşa Bazaar, made up of streets of various shops sheltered by roofs and domes. Though not very regularly shaped, it holds and area of about 31 thousand square meters. It has hundreds of domes which are covered with lead and windows. The nucleus of Kapalıçarşı is a Byzantine building which is today called Old Bedesten. The section of the bazaar where valuables and jewellery are bought and sold was commissioned by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror and the main great bazaar itself was commissioned during Kanuni Sultan Suleyman, on a wooden basis. Kapalıçarşı, today has a surface of 30.7 hectares, 61 streets, 10 wells, 4 fountains, 2 mosques and over 3 thousand shops, managed to claim its present look within 250 years.

Kapalıçarşı, which burned in years of 1546, 1618, 1652, 1660, 1695, 1701, 1750 has always been repaired after each disaster. After all this, it had undergone great damage in the earthquake of 1766. It is partially burned in fires of 1791 and 1826. The bazaar which had just regain is composure was again shaken by an earthquake in 1894 this time. It catches fire again in 1954 at the latest and could only be repaired in five years. The major sections of Kapalıçarşı are :

Inner Bedesten : It was the first building to rise in Kapalıçarşı, actually it is Old Bedesten which forms the backbone of the bazaar. The gates’ names are as follows : Bouquinistes, Hat Shops, Jewellery Shops and Costume Shops.

Sandal Bedesten : It is the one with most number of domes in Kapalıçarşı. At present it can be accessed through two gates, one is through Kapalıçarşı and the other is through Nuruosmaniye district.

Other Sections : The architectural design of roads making up other sections apart from two bedestens is not symmetrical and geometrical, it has a scattered nature due to reflect its formation and the catastrophes it has gone through. In this way, it stays away from the closed bazaar style of the West and has a character of an Eastern bazaar. This laid back settlement; this scattered nature prevents the bazaar from being dull and at the same time gives it a romantic flavor. Such a complicated structure and settlement not only maintains the monumental state of the bazaar, but also makes it a palace for shopping.

Hans : Four adjacent sides of Kapalıçarşı is surrounded by hans which are separate units by themselves. Today the hans which are directly connected to the bazaar, that is, which can be accessed through the bazaar and not through an outside entrance are : Astarcı Han, Büyük and Küçük Safran Hans, Evliya Han, Sarraf Han, Mercan Ağa Han, Zincirli Han, Varakçı Han, Rabia Han, Jewellers’ Hani Yarım Taş Han.

Spice Market

It is in Istanbul, Eminönü. It was commissioned by Mehmet the Fourth’s mother, Hatica Turhan Sultan as a donation for Yeni Mosque. The construction was initiated with Architect Kasım Aga and was completed in 1660 by Architect Mustafa Aga. It has six gates and 86 shops. It has gained its recent look after 1943 restoration.

Though being smaller in surface than Kapalıçarşı, it still is a place of interest where especially foreign tourists cannot afford to miss. Like in Kapalıçarşı, two main gates of Mısır Bazaar connect Eminönü and Sultanhamam districts. Its gates at the side grant access to Yani Mosque, Tahtakale, Mercan, Yemiş Dock and Süpürgeciler.

While the world was just in the wake of turning to natural products, Anatolia, which has raised Herbalists, has been distributing for centuries the healing power of the plants through Mısır Bazaar.

Mısır Bazaar which has “ranch-made” or “village-made” cheese for those who cannot adapt to a change is taste, sausages and beans on display, does not seem to be losing this traditional capacity for many more years to come.