Maıden's Tower

Maiden's Tower (Turkish: Kız Kulesi), also known in the ancient Greek and medieval Byzantine periods as Leander's Tower (Tower of Leandros) sits on a small islet located in the Bosphorus strait off the coast of Uskudar in Istanbul, Turkey.

Maiden's Tower was first built by the ancient Athenian general Alcibiades in 408 BC to control the movements of the Persian ships in the Bosphorus strait. Back then the tower was located between the ancient cities of Byzantion and Chalcedon. The tower was later enlarged and rebuilt as a fortress by the Byzantine emperor Alexius Comnenus in 1110 AD, and was rebuilt and restored several times by the Ottoman Turks, most significantly in 1509 and 1763. The most recent facelift was made in 1998. Steel supports were added around the ancient tower as a precaution after the 17 August 1999 earthquake.

Used as a lighthouse for centuries the interior of the tower has been transformed into a popular café and restaurant with an excellent view of the former Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman capital. Private boats make trips to the tower several times a day.

Galata Tower

The Galata Tower (Turkish: Galata Kulesi), also called Christea Turris (Tower of Christ) by the Genoese and Megalos Pyrgos (The Great Tower) by the Byzantines, is located in Istanbul, Turkey, to the north of the Golden Horn. One of the city's most striking landmarks, it is a huge cone-capped cylinder that dominates the skyline on the Galata side of the Golden Horn.

The Galata Tower was built as Christea Turris in 1348 during an expansion of the Genoese colony in Constantinople. It was the apex of the fortifications surrounding the Genoese citadel of Galata. The current tower should not be confused with the old Tower of Galata an original Byzantine tower, named Megalos Pyrgos, which controlled the northern end of the massive sea chain that closed the entrance of the Golden Horn. This tower was on a different site and was largely destroyed during the Fourth Crusade in 1204.

The 66.90 m tower (62.59 m without the ornament on top) was the city's tallest structure when built. In 1638, Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi flew as an early aviator using artificial wings from this tower over the Bosphorus to the slopes of Uskudar on the Anatolian Side.

Hagıa Sophıa Museum

Hagia Sophia was an Eastern Orthodox Cathedral and the seat of the Patriarchate of Constantinople between 537 and 1453. The building was changed into a mosque from 1453 until 1931. It started to serve as a museum on 1 February 1935 by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk who was the founder of the Turkish Republic.

The church included some holy relics and silver iconostasis which have 49 feet length. During the times of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the building witnessed the excommunication of Patriarch Michael I. Cerularius on the part of Pope Leo IX in 1054 an act which is also known as the start of the Great Schism. In the date of 1453, Constantinople was conquered by Sultan Mehmed II who converted the building into a mosque. Until that time, the Church had a necessity to be restored. Despite the Christian Cathedral which made a strong pressure over the Ottoman rulers, they decided to change it into a mosque. All the things which can show a symbolic feature of Christianity were removed. Instead of those, some Islamic features and four minarets were added. It remained as a mosque until 1931. Then, it was close to the public for four years. However, the building was reopened in 1935 as a museum by the Republic of Turkey.

The Hagia Sophia was a source of inspiration for the other Ottoman Mosques such as the Blue Mosque, The Sehzade Mosque, The Suleymaniye Mosque, The Rustem Pasha Mosque and The Kılıc Ali Pasa Mosque.

This building is so magnificent that many artists created works whose content is related to The Hagia Sophia, such as paintings mostly.

Grand Bazaar

The colourful and chaotic Grand Bazaar is the heart of İstanbul's Old City and has been so for centuries. Starting as a small vaulted bedesten (warehouse) built by order of Mehmet the Conqueror in 1461, it grew to cover a vast area as lanes between the bedesten, neighbouring shops and hans were roofed and the market assumed the sprawling, labyrinthine form that it retains today. When here, be sure to peep through doorways to discover hidden hans, veer down narrow lanes to watch artisans at work and wander the main thoroughfares to differentiate treasures from tourist tack. It's obligatory to drink lots of tea, compare price after price and try your hand at the art of bargaining. Allow at least three hours for your visit; some travellers spend three days...

Spıce Bazaar (Egyptıan Market)

The market was constructed in the 1660s as part of the New Mosque, with rent from the shops supporting the upkeep of the mosque as well as its charitable activities, which included a school, hamam and hospital. The market's Turkish name, the Mısır Çarşısı (Egyptian Market), references the fact that the building was initially endowed with taxes levied on goods imported from Egypt. In its heyday, the bazaar was the last stop for the camel caravans that travelled the Silk Road from China, India and Persia. Vividly coloured spices are displayed alongside jewel-like lokum (Turkish delight) at this Ottoman-Era marketplace, providing eye candy for the thousands of tourists and locals who make their way here every day. Stalls also sell caviar, dried herbs, honey, nuts and dried fruits. The number of stalls selling tourist trinkets increases annually, yet this remains a great place to stock up on edible souvenirs, share a few jokes with vendors and marvel at the well-preserved building.

Blue Mosque

To best grasp the mosque's design, enter the complex via the Hippodrome rather than from Sultanahmet Park. Once inside the courtyard, which is the same size as the mosque's interior, you'll appreciate the building's perfect proportions. İstanbul's most photogenic building was the grand project of Sultan Ahmet I (r 1603–17), whose tomb is located on the north side of the site facing Sultanahmet Park. The mosque's wonderfully curvaceous exterior features a cascade of domes and six slender minarets. Blue İznik tiles adorn the interior and give the building its unofficial but commonly used name. With the mosque's exterior, the architect, Sedefkâr Mehmet Ağa, managed to orchestrate a visual wham-bam effect similar to that of nearby star Aya Sofya's interior. Its curves are voluptuous; it has six minarets (more than any other mosque at the time it was built); and its courtyard is the biggest of all of the Ottoman mosques. The interior has a similarly grand scale: the İznik tiles number in the tens of thousands; there are 260 windows; and the central prayer space is huge.

10 Thıngs To Do In Istanbul

1-Take Cruise Tour on Bosporus.
2-Buy a Turkish traditional muffin which is “simit” from street sellers.
3-Enjoy the outdoor concert at Harbiye Acik Hava.
4-Taste fish and bread at Haliç or Karakoy.
5-Walking at the Galata Part of Istanbul and visit the retro boutiques around.
6-Visit most historical Grand Covered Bazaar.
7-Wise up to many different type of spices also what was as medicine people use in the past them at the Egyptian Bazaar.
8-Order Turkish traditional coffee at Kuru Kahveci Mehmet Efendi.
9-Invite to watch sunset at the Asian part of Istanbul in Uskudar.
10-Make shopping on Istiklal Avenue which is most famous walking, shopping and entertainment district of Istanbul.

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