The Old City of Istanbul: History and What to See

The Old City of Istanbul (Turkish: Eski Istanbul, “Old Istanbul”, likewise Tarihi Yarımada, “Noteworthy Peninsula” and Suriçi, “Walled City”) is the most established piece of the city and the area of the greater part of its memorable sights. A considerable lot of Istanbul’s chronicled jewels, generally comprising of Byzantine and Ottoman-manufactured landmarks are inside the Old City. Most are found a short leave, if not promptly on the edges of, Sultanahmet Square. Some different sights are scattered all through the landmass. In this article, we will mention its history and what to see. Keep reading!

To Understand

Being a landmass limited by waterways toward the north, east, and south (the Golden Horn, Bosphorus, and the Sea of Marmara, individually) and by the old city dividers to west, this piece of the city is basically what used to be called Constantinople. The rest, of what is today Istanbul, were autonomous urban communities, towns, towns, fields or even total wild later consumed by the city. This procedure is as yet going on as Istanbul develops with a speeding up.

The development of Yenikapı train and metro station, from 2004 to 2014, on the southern shore of the landmass, uncovered archeological finds that date the absolute first time of Istanbul’s settlement back to around 8000 years prior, which makes the city one of the most seasoned despite everything occupied spots of the world. In any case, custom expresses that Byzantium was first settled by Greek pilgrims from Megara on the Greek territory in 667 BC. As per this convention, they and their pioneer Byzas counseled the Delphi prophet, who said they would make an incredible harbor city “opposite the place that is known for the visually impaired”.

After much cruising, they landed at the deliberately great peninsular site of Seraglio Point (Sarayburnu) and experienced some anglers who revealed to them they lived in Chalcedon, a less favored site over the Bosphorus. (“They are simply the visually impaired!”, said Byzas). This detects the Megarians decided to establish their new state is currently involved by Gülhane Park and the Topkapı Palace. The urban territory was incredibly extended by Constantine the Great for his Imperial capital, introduced on 330 AD: establishments of the Constantine dividers were revealed by the burrows for Yenikapı station.

When the beginning stage of the Hippie Trail, the Sultanahmet region has been the primary traveler region of the city since the 1960s. As the Hippodrome of Constantinople, it was for long one of the fundamental social communities in the city — a job it still incidentally plays for the night feasts during the Ramadan — and subsequently is a piece of the old city with a particularly unbalanced number of notable sights.

The name of the locale gets from the Turkish name of the monumental Blue Mosque on one side of its primary square, which thusly is named after the Ottoman sultan Ahmet I (r. 1603–1617), who had the mosque constructed and is covered in a tomb on its grounds.

To See

Soğukçeşme Street (Soğukçeşme Sokağı)

A vehicle free downhill cobbled road simply behind Hagia Sophia, with remodeled (or revamped) customary wooden houses a few stories tall commonplaces of Ottoman time, inclining toward the external mass of Topkapı Palace grounds/Gülhane Park. Worth a hope to perceive what run of the mill streetscape of Istanbul resembled before the solid came over. While around there, remember to look at Fountain of Sultan Ahmed III, at the square before the external door of Topkapı Palace, a tremendous independent wellspring building worked in a run of the mill Ottoman lavish style in 1728.

History of Science and Technology in Islam Museum

Gülhane Park. 09:00 – 18:45 during summer, and till 16:45 during winter.

The interesting exhibition hall in a reestablished building that was the stables for Topkapı Palace. It contains recreations of authentic instruments and apparatuses including instruments for space science, tickers, and siphons. Advances the view that Islamic science and innovation went before that of Europe.

Sokollu Mehmet Pasha Mosque (Sokollu Mehmet Paşa Camii)

Suterazisi Sk (on a sidestreet downhill from the Hippodrome).

One of the three mosques in the city and its rural areas bearing this name, this mosque was worked in 1571 by the supreme planner Sinan and appointed by Sokollu Mehmet Pasha, the amazing vizier and accepted leader of the Ottoman Empire during part of its brilliant age at the sixteenth century. Once in awhile visited as it is dwarfed by the other supreme mosques in the region, it, in any case, has a captivating arrangement of blue Iznik tiles covering its inside, and passionate Muslim explorers will need to take note of that in three distinct areas of the mosque (none marked, albeit defensive spreads will help to find them), what is said to be unique bits of the Black Stone (Hajar al-Aswad) of the Kaaba can be seen.

Fethiye Museum (Pammakaristos Church)

Fethiye Cad. Çarşamba. It was worked as the Church of Theotokos Pammakaristos (“All-Blessed Mother of God”), between the eleventh and the twelfth hundreds of years. After the fall of Constantinople, the seat of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate was moved from the Church of the Holy Apostles in 1456 to the Pammakaristos Church, which stayed as the seat of the Patriarchate for a long time, until the Ottoman Sultan Murad III changed over the congregation into a mosque and renamed it to pay tribute to his Fetih (Conquest) of Georgia and Azerbaijan, subsequently the name Fethiye Camii.

The parekklesion, other than being one of the most significant instances of Constantinople’s Palaiologan engineering, has the biggest measure of Byzantine mosaics in Istanbul after the Hagia Sophia and Chora Church. While the primary structure stays a mosque, the parekklesion has from that point forward been a historical center.

Walls of Constantinople

The old city dividers, which were worked during the rule (408–450) of Byzantine sovereign Theodosius II and encase the whole western limit of the promontory from the Golden Horn to the shore of the Sea of Marmara, are generally flawless albeit somewhat frail, experiencing fight harm of 1453 and unattractive reclamations of mid-1990s, and at times punctured by wide roads into the old city. For a total and point by point strolling course along with the dividers, see Theodosian Walls Walk. Those too languid to even consider doing the whole course may look at effectively available areas around Chora Church, Pazartekke station of T1 cable car line, or Yedikule Fortress.

Valens Aqueduct (Bozdoğan Kemeri)

(over Atatürk Boulevard, north of Aksaray, south of Unkapanı).

A twofold story Roman one worked during the rule of Valens (r. 364-378) to give the city crisp water originating from the encompassing timberlands, this 921-m long reservoir conduit traverses the valley involved by what is currently Atatürk Boulevard (Atatürk Bulvarı), which lies in the promontory, associating Aksaray with Unkapanı on the bank of Golden Horn and afterward Taksim Square, behind the contrary shore of Golden Horn. The water channel is one of the images of the city and it will probably invite you to the city on your way from the air terminal to the inn on the off chance that you are going to remain around Taksim/Beyoğlu.

Yedikule Fortress (Yedikule Hisarı)

This stronghold in the southwest of the old city was Porta Aurea (“Golden Gate”) in Byzantine occasions when it was a fundamental formal passageway into the capital, utilized particularly for the triumphal section of a sovereign on the event of military triumphs. During Ottoman time, the entryway was ventured into its present shape (“the Fortress of Seven Towers”, direct interpretation of its present Turkish name) and during the late Ottoman period, it filled in as a state jail for significant level prisoners like envoys or pashas.

Zeyrek Mosque (Turkish: Zeyrek Camii, additionally Molla Zeyrek Camii)

Sinanağa Mah. Ibadethane Sokak, Zeyrek (west of Atatürk Bulvarı/Unkapanı). Situated in the area of Zeyrek near Fatih, Zeyrek

The mosque is made by joining two previous places of worship and a house of prayer all situated alongside one another. It speaks to the most run of the mill case of engineering of the Byzantine center time frame and is, after Hagia Sophia, the second biggest strict structure worked by the Byzantines still surviving in Istanbul. An extremely beautiful spot so set up your camera! It is in a to some degree harsh neighborhood, so better visited when there is still light.

Rüstem Pasha Mosque (Rüstem Paşa Cami)

Hasırcılar Cd 74-88 (7-min stroll for Tramway T1 Eminönü stop, the mosque is on a porch open from road level through staircases.).

Worked in 1564 by eminent designer Sinan for Rüstem Pasha, Grand Vizier of Suleiman the Magnificent, this little mosque is the paradigm of Ottoman craftsmanship. The inside dividers are completely secured by lovely Iznik earthenware, at that point at its tallness of complexity.

Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya)

Ayasofya Meydanı (By cable car T1: Sultanahmet), ☏ +90 212 522-1750, [email protected]

Day by day, except Monday during winter season 09:00-19:00 during summer, and till 17:00 during winter. Dating from the sixth century, it was worked as a basilica for the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I. A masterwork of Roman building, the enormous 30-m measurement arch spreads what was for more than 1000 years the biggest encased space on the planet. The congregation was plundered by the fourth Crusaders in 1204 and turned into a mosque in the fifteenth century when the Ottomans vanquished the city.

It was changed over into an exhibition hall in 1935. Try not to miss the magnificent mosaics, incorporating those in the display, came to by a stone incline to one side of the passageway. You can enlist a guide at the passageway of the historical center. As of October 2017, there is broad remodel work happening inside the structure, with a platform filling a significant part of the north side of the inside. Outside brief obstructions halting access toward the north side of the structure.

Hagia Irene (Aya Irini)

Indistinguishable working hours from Topkapı Palace.

Hagia Irene, which you will notice to one side after entering the external yard of Topkapı Palace, is one of the not many Byzantine-time churches which was never changed over to a mosque during the Ottoman time frame. The spot is currently open all year, which is an oddity, however, requires an alternate section charge from Topkapı royal residence.

Basilica Cistern

Yerebatan Cad 13 (By cable car T1: Sultanahmet). 09:00-17:30.

A mammoth underground reservoir worked by Justinian in 532 to give water to the city in instances of attack. Wooden walkway twists between the 336 segments, a large portion of which were re-utilized from different destinations and are exceptionally enhanced. The gigantic underground space merits a visit just to wander about the size of working on old occasions. Lights and channeled music add to the spooky climate. Bring some kind of fish nourishment as you’ll see gigantic fish swimming beneath your feet. The Medusa stone heads are noteworthy.

Theodosius Cistern (Şerefiye Sarnici)

Player Loti Cd (By cable car T1: Sultanahmet). 09:00-18:00.

Even though littler than Basilica storage, Theodosius Cistern is your alternative of the decision if you need to maintain a strategic distance from the groups, yet absorb the climate of an underground reservoir. The lighting of the sections is superior to in Basilica Cistern. Free.


This was the focal point of Roman and Byzantine Constantinople and is an extraordinary spot to start one’s visit and to watch individuals. The structure never again stands, yet the Egyptian monolith, and the Serpent Column from the Delphi prophet, remaining here since Theodosius’ time in the fourth century, remain.

The four bronze steeds that used to be over the Emperor’s case in the Hippodrome were plundered by the crusaders in 1204, and are currently on the façade of St. Imprint basilica in Venice. While you are headed to the hippodrome, remember to look at German Fountain (Alman Çeşmesi), a neo-Byzantine style wellspring working at the square prompting Hippodrome. It was a blessing sent by German Kaiser Wilhelm II to the Ottoman Sultan.

The Museum of Archeology (Arkeoloji Müzesi)

Osman Hamdi Bey Yokuşu, Gülhane (Tram T1: Gülhane; take the principal directly in the wake of entering Gülhane Park), ☏ +90 212 520-7742. Tu-Su 9:00-19:00, and till 17:00 during winter.

An absolute necessity to see! Truly outstanding, including an incredible assortment of Sumerian tablets, bits of the mass of Babylon and Roman marble statues. It contains some extremely acclaimed bits of antiquated workmanship, for example, the Alexander Sarcophagus, once accepted to be simply the stone casket of Alexander the Great that is decorated with bass-alleviation carvings of Alexander the Great; one of the Serpent Column’s missing heads; a twin sister leader of the Medusas inside the Basilica Cistern; and a few red porphyry Imperial stone caskets on the patio.

Great Palace Mosaics Museum (Büyük Saray Mozaikleri Müzesi)

Arasta Çarşısı, Sultanahmet (inside Arasta Bazaar, only south of Blue Mosque), ☏ +90 212 518-1205, fax: +90 212 512-54-74. 9:00-19:00 (15 Apr-25 Oct); 9:00-17:00 (25 Oct-15 Apr).

This exhibition hall has the asphalt mosaics of the Byzantine-time Great Palace of Constantinople, which extended from the Hippodrome to the shoreline of the Sea of Marmara.

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art

Binbirdirek Mh. Atmeydanı Sk. No: 12. Day by day 9:00 – 19:00 (summer), Tu-Su 9:00 – 17:00 (winter).

Floor coverings, mats, calligraphy, stoneware. With a similar ticket, you can visit additionally the Ethnographic Museum first floor where you can find out about the way of life of the Turks and their progenitors.

Gülhane Park

This park was regal chasing grounds previously. Today it’s an open park with bunches of occasional roses, remembering immense patches of tulips for early April, and enormous plane trees (Platanus orientalis)— which means heaps of shade also. The high dividers on one side of the recreation center isolate it from Topkapı Palace.

The recreation center has two doors, one close Sultanahmet (in the city between Sultanahmet Sq and Sirkeci, the road on which cable cars run), and the other on the road lying on the coastline. To find a workable pace/from the last mentioned, turn left in the wake of leaving the recreation center.

Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I love Istanbul. I have been to 10 different countries. Istanbul is in the top 3 cities. I like to play soccer too :)

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