Ermak Travel Guide

 

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Istanbul

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sultanahmet (Istanbul)

 

 

 

Haghia Sophia or Aya Sofya (Saint Wisdom)

 

Ayasofya Meydanı, Sultanahmet

Tel. (0212) 522 1750

Trolley: Sultanahmet

Open: 9:15am– 4:30pm Tue–Sun

Entrance Fee: 25TL

Haghia Sophia also spelled as Aya Sofya is a former Eastern Orthodox Cathedral in the center of Istanbul. Its name is translated from Greek as 'Divine Wisdom'. The first church on this spot was found by ancient Roman Emperor Constantine the Great in 330 on a site of an ancient Greek acropolis. However it burned down just 75 years later. New church was rebuild by Byzantine Emperor Justinian. Construction of the new Haghia Sophia began in 532. It was consecrated in 537 and for almost thousand years it served as the main cathedral for the Byzantine Empire. The last Christian service was held on May 28, 1453. The next day Constantinople fell to the invading Ottoman Turkish forces and Hagia Sophia was turned into a Muslim mosque.

 

 

 

 

Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii)

 

Meydani 21, Sultanahmet

Tel. (0212) 458 0776

Trolley: Sultanahmet

Open: 8:30am- 12pm, 1:45- 4:30pm daily

Closed: prayer times

Son et Lumier May- Sept: after dusk daily

 

Blue Mosque or Mosque of Sultan Ahmed in Istanbul is the most beautiful mosque in the city. It is easily distinguished by its six minarets or prayer towers. Four minarets are at its four corners while another two are at the corners of the outer compound. There is no doubt that Blue Mosque is one of the greatest masterpieces of not only Islamic, but the World architecture.

 

 

 

Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayı)

 

Baths of Roxelana (Haseki Hürrem Hamami)

 

Istanbul Crafts Centre (Mehmet Efendi Medresesi)

Kabasakal Cad 5, Sultanahmet

Tel. (0212) 517 6782

Trolley: Adliye

Open: 9:30am- 5:30pm daily

 

Istanbul Crafts Centre is a former theological college of Koranic studies. Today it houses many Turkish artisans and craftsmen who create beautiful works of art traditional for the country. This include calligraphy and hand made book production as well as elegant painted glaze ceramics. If you want to bring something from Istanbul this is probably the best place to visit. You can both watch the whole process and buy it in the end.

 

Sokollu Mehmet Paşa Mosque (Sokollu Mehmet Paşa Camii)

Şehit Çeşmesi Sok, Sultanahmet

Trolley: Çemberlitaş or Sultanahmet

Open: daily

 

Church of Saint Sergius and Bacchus (Küçük Ayasofya Camii)

Küçük Ayasofya Cad

Trolley: Çemberlitaş or Sultanahmet

Open: daily

  

Bucoleon Palace (Bukoleon Sarayı)

Kennedy Cad, Sultanahmet

Trolley: Sultanahmet

 

 

Constantine’s Column (Çemberlita)

Yeniçeriler Cad, Çemberlitaş
Trolley: Çemberlitaş
Tel. (0212) 511 2535
Open: 6am- 12am daily
 
Constantine's Column is a massive monument that was constructed on this site around 330 AD by Emperor Constantine, shortly after he moved his capital from Rome to Constantinople (modern day Istanbul). It was part of a massive building project of a central forum that was undertaken by Constantine in his new capital. Constantine's Column served as a pedestal for the statues of the first Christian emperor. However in 1106 the statue was destroyed during a massive hurricane. Its alternative name is a "burnt column" due to numerous fires that badly damaged Constantine's Column. Today it is one of the few remains of the original forum. Today it stands along Yeniceriler Cad Street so it can't be missed. It is covered by dozens of pigeons that further damage the integrity of the column.

 

Mosaic Museum (Mozaik Müzesi)

Arasta çarşısı, Sultanahmet

Tel (0212) 518 1205

Trolley: Sultanahmet

Open: 9am- 5pm Tue- Sun

 

Mosaic Museum is one of the last portions of the former Byzantine Imperial Palace. It is situated near Arasta Bazaar and was discovered in 1930's during archaeological digs. It is just one of the many rooms that once made up royal palace, but it given an idea how magnificent and rich was the palace of Byzantine basilisk or rulers. The mosaic surface area measures 1872 sq m. It is one of the largest medieval mosaics in Europe.

 

Vakıflar Carpet Museum (Vakıflar Halı Müzesi)

Imperial Pavilion, Blue Mosque, Sultanahmet

Tel.0212) 518 1330

Trolley: Sultanahmet

Open: 9am- 12pm, 1- 4pm Tue- Sat

Closed: holidays

 

 

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art (Türk ve İslam Eserleri Müzesi)

Atmeydanı Sok, Sultanahmet

Tel. (0212) 518 1805

Trolley: Sultanahmet

Open: 9am- 4:30-m Tue- Sun

www.tiem.org

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art hold a massive collection of over 40,000 items from different time period and geographical location of the Islamic World. It is located in the former home of Ibrahim Pasa (1493- 1536), most prominent vizier or adviser of sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. They both grew up together and Ibrahim Pasa even married sultan's sister. However new favourite wife of Suleiman Roxelana ordered him assassination. Collection of the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art started in the 19th century and its collection covers time period from the earliest Omayyad caliphate to current times.

 

Hippodrome (At Meydani)

 

Cistern of 1001 Columns (Binbirdirek Sarnici)

Klodfarer Cad, Sultanahmet

Tel. (0212) 638 2238

Trolley: Cemberlitaş

 

Tomb of Sultan Mahmut II (Mahmut II Türbesi)

Divanyolu Cad, çemberlitaş

Trolley: Çemberlitaş

Open: 9:30am- 4:30pm daily

 

 

 

Seraglio Point (Istanbul)

 

Topkapi Palace

 

Archaeological Museum (Arkeoloji Müzesi)

 

Osman Hamdi Bey Yokuşu

Tel. (0212) 520 7740

Trolley: Gülhane

Open: 9am- 4:30pm Tue- Sun

Archaeological Museum of Istanbul is located in the city center near Gulhane Park and Topkapi Palace. It was found in the 19th century. At present Archaeological Museum holds its historical collection in three buildings: central building, tiled pavilion and the Museum of the Ancient Orient. Central Neo- Classical builds was constructed for the Archaeological Museum in 1881- 1902, although it was open in 1891 half way through its construction. Later in 1935 adjacent School of Fine Art was turned into the Museum of the Ancient Orient. Tiled Pavilion was added to the museum complex in 1981. This part of Archaeological Museum is the oldest structure of the complex. It was constructed by the order of Mehmet II in 1472 just few decades after Constantinople fell to the Turkish forces.

 

Collection of Archaeological Museum holds numerous priceless objects that were discovered in Istanbul and other parts of Turkey. Artifacts cover the whole history of the country starting with objects discovered during excavations in Troy to modern times.

 

 

Cafer Ağa Courtyard (Cafer Ağa Medresesi)

Caferiye Sok

Tel. (0212) 513 18 43

Trolley: Gülhane

Open: 8:30am- 8pm daily

 

Gülhane Park

Alemdar Cad

Trolley: Gülhane

Open: daily

 

Sublime Porte

Alemdar Cad

Trolley: Gülhane

 

Fountain of Ahmet III (Ahmet III Çeşmesi)

Junction of İshak Paşa Cad and Babıhümayun Cad

Subway: Gülhane and Sultanahmet

Cağaloğlu Baths (Cağaloğlu Hamamı)

Prof Kazım İsmail Gürkan Cad 34, Cağaloğlu

Tel. (0212) 522 2424

Trolley: Sultanahmet

Open: 8am- 8pm

www.cagalogluhamami.

com.tr

 

Sirkeci Station (Sirkeci Gari)

Sirkeci Istasyon Cad, Sirkeci

Tel. (0212) 527 0050 and 520 6575

Bus: Sirkeci

Open: daily

 

Imperial Mint (Darphane- i Amire)

First courtyard in Topkapi Palace

Subway: Gülhane and Sultanahmet

Imperial Ottoman Mint was established here in 1727. During reign of sultan Mahmut II (1808- 39) the building was further increased in size. Imperial Mint was moved to a new location in 1967.

 

Haghia Eirene (Aya Irini Kilisesi) Saint Irene Church

First courtyard in Topkapi Palace

Tel. (0212) 522 1750

Subway: Gülhane and Sultanahmet

Haghia Eirene or Church of Saint Irene is a medieval Byzantine structure that date back to the 6th century.



 

The Bazaar Quarter (Istanbul)

 

Sülemaniye Mosque (Süleymaniye Camii)

 

 

Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı)

 

Çarşıkapı Cad, Beyazıt

Trolley: Beyazıt (Çarşıkapı Gate), Çemberlitaş (Nuruosmaniye Gate)

Bus: 61B

Open: 9am–8pm Mon–Sat


Grand Bazaar or simply Great Market of Istanbul is a landmark of its own. It was originally found in 1455 shortly after Istanbul was captured by the armies of Ottoman sultan Mehmed II. Grand Bazaar was opened for the first time in 1461 for traders and visitors. Over subsequent centuries Grand Bazaar grew in size and complexity. Today it is occupied by more than 4,000 small stores with over 400,000 customers, visitors and tourists that come here daily. The main gate that leads to Grand Bazaar that is known as "Nuruosmaniye" bears an inscription: "God has mercy on the one who devotes himself to trade". You don't really need to buy anything while you visit Grand Bazaar. The atmosphere has not changed for centuries despite changing times. It is still loud, rushing and constantly moving market as its was in the past. It is as much heart of the Turkish capital as Top Kapi Palace or Saint Sophia Cathedral.

 

 

New Mosque (Yeni Cami) (Istanbul)

 

Spice Bazaar (Mısır Çarşısı) (Istanbul)

 

Rüstem Paşa Mosque (Rüstem Paşa Camii) (Istanbul)

Hasııcılar Cad, Eminönü

Trolley: Eminönü

Open: daily

Church of Saint Theodore (Kilise Camii)

Vefa Cad, Cami Sok, Vefa

Bus: 28, 61B, 87

 

Kalenderhane Mosque (Kalenderhane Camii) (Istanbul)

16 Mart Şehitleri Cad, Saraçhane

Trolley: Üniversite.

 

Prince’s Mosque (Şehzade Camii) (Istanbul)

Şehzade Başı Cad 70, Saraçhane

Trolley: Laleli

Tombs: 9am–5pm Tue– Sun

 

Tulip Mosque (Lâleli Camii) (Istanbul)

Ordu Cad, Lâleli

Trolley: Lâleli

 

Book Bazaar (Sahaflar Çarşısı) (Istanbul)

Sahaflar Çarşısı Sok, Beyazıt.

Trolley: Üniversite

Open: 8am–8pm daily

 

Çorlulu Ali Paşa Courtyard (Çorlulu Ali Paşa Külliyesi) (Istanbul)

Yeniçeriler Cad, Beyazıt

Trolley: Beyazıt

Open: daily

 

Nuruosmaniye Mosque (Nuruosmaniye Camii) (Istanbul)

Vezirhanı Cad, Beyazıt

Trolley: Çemberlitaş

Bus: 31B

Open: daily

Golden Horn (Halic) (Istanbul)

Trolley: Eminönü

Bus: 55T, 99A

Golden Horn Bay is part of the Bosporus Straight that connects Black Sea with Marmara Sea and dived European and Asian continents. Golden Bay dives Istanbul into Old and New Town.

There are two theories why Golden Horn Bay of Istanbul got its name. One legend states that after the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul in 1453 Turkish forces threw away so many golden items into bay's water that it began to sparkle with gold. However second and more plausible theory states that Golden Horn got its name from golden glow that spreads on the surface of the Gulf at the sunset.

 

Golden Horn Bay is the largest natural harbor in the World. It measures 12.2 km in length, width of 122 meters and depth of 47 meters. The whole Golden Horn bay is covered by numerous ships of various sizes. Two of the stream flow into the Gulf in the western part of Ali Bey-su (ancient name is Kidaros) and Kiat Khan- su (Barbizes).

 

First human settlements on the shores of the Golden Horn Bay date back to the 7th century. Later Greeks established their own colony here that became known as Byzantium, that later gave the whole Eastern Roman Empire its name. Byzantine and later Ottoman fleets of military and trade ships began to use these waters as a harbor. Today it kept its commercial importance with numerous ships coming and going from Istanbul harbor. Four bridges connect the opposite shores of the bay including Ataturk, Golden Horn, Galata and Old Galata Bridges.


Forum of Theodosius (Ordu Cad, Beyazıt) (Istanbul)

Trolley: Üniversite and Beyazıt.

 

Valens Aqueduct (Bozdoğan Kemeri) (Istanbul)

Atatürk Bulvarı, Saraçhane

Trolley: Laleli

Bus 28, 61B, 87

Valens Aqueduct is located on the Ataturk Boulevard in the old Historic part of Istanbul. It is part the ancient Roman water system of Constantinople that was build in the 3rd century during the rule of the emperor Valens, hence the name. Valens Aqueduct joined two hills of Constantinople thus becoming an important element in the development of water supply system. Today only portions of the original Valens Aqueduct were preserved. This includes a portion that measures 971 meters with a maximum height of 20 meters, although the original water system extended for almost a mile with a maximal height of 26 meters. The construction of Valens Aqueduct was made from stones quarried from the ancient buildings from an ancient city of Chalcedon. Lead pipes that supplied water to Istanbul were laid on top of the structure. Today Valens Aqueduct lost its primary function, but it is still a popular tourist destination.

 

Vefa Bozacısı (Istanbul)

Katip Çelebi Cad 102, Vefa

Tel. (0212) 519 4922

Bus: 61B,90

Open: 8am–5:30pm daily

 

Bodrum Mosque (Bodrum Camii) (Istanbul)

Sait Efendi Sok, Laleli

Trolley: Lâleli

 

Museum of Calligraphy (Türk Vakıf Hat Sanatları Müzesi) (Istanbul)

Beyazıt Meydanı, Beyazıt

Tel (0212) 527 58 51

Trolley: Üniversite

Open: 9am–4pm Tue–Sat

 

Atik Ali Paşa Mosque (Atik Ali Paşa Camii) (Istanbul)

Yeniçeriler Cad, Beyazıt

Trolley: Çemberlitaş

Bus: 61B

Open: daily

 

Mahmut Paşa Mosque (Mahmut Paşa Camii) (Istanbul)

Vezirhanı Cad, Beyazıt

Trolley: Çemberlitaş

Bus: 31B

Open: daily

 

 

 

Beyoğlu (Istanbul)

 

Church of Saint Peter and Paul (Sen Piyer Kilisesi) (Istanbul)

Galata Kulesi Sok 44, Karakoy

Tel. (0212) 249 23 85

Open: 7am- 5pm Mon- Sat and 10:30am- 12pm Sun

 

Pera Palas Hotel (Pera Palas Oteli) (Istanbul)

Meşrutiyet Cad 98–100, Tepebaşı

Tel (0212) 251 45 60

www.perapalas.com

 

Mevlevi Lodge (Mevlevi Tekkesi) (Istanbul)

Galip Dede Cad 15, Beyoğlu

Tel (0212) 245 4141

Open: 9am–4pm Wed–Mon

 

Pera Museum (Pera Müzesi) (Istanbul)

Meşrutiyet Cad 141, Tepebaşı

Tel (0212) 334 99 00.

Bus: From Taksim Square

Open: 10am–7pm Tue– Sat, 12–6pm Sun

Closed: 1 Jan, first day of Religious Holidays

 

Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi) (Istanbul)

Büyük Hendek Sok, Beyoğlu

Tel. (0212) 293 8180

Open: 9am- 7pm daily

Restaurant and Nightclub

Open: 8am- 12am daily

www.galatatower.net

Galata Tower of Istanbul is one of the prominent symbols of the city. It is situated on a high hill of Galata on the European side, hence it gets its name. According to archeological and historical records first tower was built on Galata Hill in the 5th century AD. It was used as a giant pendulum. However current Galata Tower was constructed in 1348- 49 to keep an eye on surrounding lands. Today Galata Tower is opened to the public. Balcony at the top level offers a great view of Istanbul below. You can either walk 143 stairs to the top or simply take and elevator. Galata Tower is also part of tourist complex that contains restaurant and cafes.

 

Arab Mosque (Arap Camii) (Istanbul)

Kalyon Sok 1, Galata

Open: only during prayers

 

 

 

Constantinople City Walls

Constantinople City Walls (Istanbul)

Location: Hisaraltı Cd 19-25, Sümbül Efendi Mh.

 

Constantinople City Walls are early medieval military fortifications that were constructed by the Byzantine Emperors to defend medieval Istanbul against attacks. Constantinople was protected by several defensive walls, however most famous were constructed in the 5th century by Byzantine Emperor Theodosius. Constantinople City Walls were built in 408- 13 AD under supervision of architect Anthimius. Destructive earthquake of 447 AD badly damaged parts of the wall, but it was subsequently renovated. For additional protection of a wall Byzantine engineers dug a massive ditch around the defenses. Constantinople was protected by three layers of city walls. The inner city wall was the largest and the tallest of the three. It was strengthened with over 100 towers that have six to eight corners. Its semi round layout was intended to deflect projectiles thrown by the enemy. Istanbul grew significantly in the late 19th and early 20th century. In 1980 it forced UNESCO to put Constantinople City Walls under its protection. Whole regions of the original medieval wall were reconstructed to its original form and appearance.