Following Sultan Ahmet I’s order, Sultan Ahmet Mosque was built by
architect Sedefkar Mehmet Aga, pupil of famous Architect Sinan. The land that the mosque stands on today was
expropriated through paying large sums to Pashas whose villas stood on the way.
The sixth ‘selatin’ mosque of the city, Sultan Ahmet I himself swung the first
pickaxe blow symbolizing the start of the construction, and this pickaxe is still in Topkapı Museum. Built in the 17th century, the mosque
has been appropriately nicknamed “Blue Mosque” for being decorated with more
than twenty thousand pieces of porcelain, mostly in shades of blue.
One of the most unique features the mosque
holds is its six minarets. While Mecca Mosque was the only other mosque with
six minarets in the world, after the completion of Sultan Ahmet, another
minaret was added to Mecca Mosque.
Sultan Ahmet I’s mausoleum can be found in the graveyard in the
mosque’s grounds. You can find 3D visuals of the mosque here.
The easiest route reach Sultan Ahmet Mosque would be to take either
the ferry, bus or Marmaray to Karakoy, Eminonu or Sirkeci and then take to tram
Where Dolmabahce Palace stands today was
once a port that later turned into a swamp and then filled in the 17th century. The palace was
ordered to be built by Sultan Abdulmecit, its architects were Garabet and
Nigogos Balyan, and the construction started in 1843 and ended in 1856. The
palace is known for its aesthetically pleasing details and it attracts tens of
thousands of tourists each year.
With the completion of the construction,
the former headquarters of the empire Topkapi Palace was abandoned (You can
read our entry on Topkapi Palace here)
Once again taking pictures are not allowed inside the palace, so instead you can click here to view
photos of the palace.
Dolmabahce houses world’s largest ballroom,
and the crystal chandelier in this room weighs 4.5 tons. Radiators were added
and electricity was connected to the Palace in 1910. The palace is famous for
being the spot Sultan Vahdettin boarded the ship that took him away from the
Ottoman Empire, and that it was where Mustafa Kemal Ataturk passed away. As
Ataturk passed away at 09.05, the clocks in the palace permanently stay at this
Another important landmark, Dolmabahce Clock Tower stands in between
Dolmabahce Palace and Bezmi Alem Valide Sultan Mosque. Ordered to be built by
Sultan Abdulhamit II, this clock is the most famous clock tower in the city.
To get to Dolmabahce Palace, just head
towards Kabatas from Besiktas and the palace will be on your left.
Transformed into Salt Galata art gallery a
few years back, if you still haven’t been to the Ottoman Bank’s building on
Karakoy’s Bankalar Caddesi (Banks Avenue) we recommend you do it soon.
As a part of the gallery, the museum on the
lower floor depicts the history of the Ottoman Bank from its start to the end.
The museum is unique in housing vaults made by the era’s famous vault-maker
Sameul Chatwood. The best part is that visitors get to go inside these vaults
and view old Ottoman bills. You can find more information on the
museum from here.
Salt Galata quickly became famous for its
temporary exhibitions in contemporary art and we recommend you go pay a visit.
The building also houses a restaurant, bookstore and a library. Even the
restrooms are result of special design. You can find more details about Salt Galata through this link.
Architect Alexandre Valluary’s design, the
building’s construction ended in 1892. While the Ottoman Bank moved to this
building from another location, we are choosing to keep this former location a secret
for now. We promise that a new post on this topic will come later, and we
promise it will be good! Here is a little preview.
Museum of the History of Science and
Technology in Islam - Gulhane
Museum of the History of Science and
Technology in Islam is situated at Has Barns near Topkapi Palace’s wall.
Relatively new, the museum opened its gates in 2008.
The museum’s biggest collection consists of
replicas based on works done in medicine, astronomy, physics, chemistry and
geography fields. The founder of the museum Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin is known for
founding an even larger museum of like in Frankfurt in 1980s. Museum of the History of Science and
Technology in Islam is the result of the Professor’s, Culture Ministry’s, the
Governor’s and Istanbul Municipality’s joint initiative.
The museum shines a light on the way in
which the Islamic world has contributed to different fields through out history
by making discoveries and inventing technologies. The replicas that the museum
houses are based on books, illustrations, and projects written and drawn by
these scholars. You can get more information about this museum through this link.
To get to Museum of the History of Science
and Technology in Islam just take either the Hagia Sophia Museum or the
Sarayburnu entrance to Gulhane Park.
This week we bring you Yavuz Sultan Selim (Selim I) Mosque that
Suleiman the Magnificent had it be made for his father. This mosque is one of the seven “selatin”
mosques that were built on the seven hills of Istanbul, and it is on the fifth
Completed in 1529, the architect of the mosque is Acem Ali. A special shroud from Mecca hangs on the wall
facing qibla. Built as a an Ottoman social complex, the mosque grounds
additionally housed a mausoleum part, an elementary school and a poorhouse,
unfortunately the poorhouse did not make it to modern times. Alongside Yavuz
Sultan Selim’s mausoleum, the graves of many famous historical figures reside
here: Hanim Sultan’s, Hatice Sultan’s, Hafsa Sultan’s, Sultan Abdulmecit’s and
even mausoleums of princes. Another interesting detail on the grounds is the
entrance to a cistern through the mosque’s garden. To get more information on
the mosque and do a 3D tour click here.
Behind the mosque lays a park that once was used as a cistern. The
cistern was built during Byzantine times through the excavation of the ground
and covering around the hole with bricks; basically building an underground
room The name of the cistern, Aspar Cistern, came from the famous ethnically
Goth Byzantine general Aspar and the cistern was built around 450 A.D. Ottomans
used the cistern as a vegetable garden and named it Cukurbostan (holegarden).
To this day this neighborhood is known as Cukurbostan. You can check out the
modern usage of this historical site from here and perhaps try to reimagine
what it once used to be.
And if you are
wondering about how to get to Yavuz Sultan Selim Mosque, it is located in Fener
neighbourhood of Fatih, on the left side of Tabakyunus street. We would also
like to remind you that if you choose to reach the Mosque by the shore route
you will have to walk up a quite steep hill.
Walking down Yuksek Kaldirim hill from the center of social life in
1870s Pera to the heart of finance and commerce Bankalar Caddesi was perhaps
easy, but climbing up was an effort. For this reason the French engineer Eugene
Henri Gavand designed an elevator inspired railway project “Tunel” (tunnel) and
got Sultan Abdulaziz’s permit to build and operate the funicular system for 42
Opened on January 17th, 1875, Tunel is the second oldest metro in the
world after the London metro system. The first cars used were open-top, and
lack of electricity meant the usage of gas lamps through out the system.
To get to Tunel you can either enter through Beyoglu Tunel square or
Karakoy IETT (Istanbul Electricity, Tramway and Tunnel General Management)
Building. You can get more information on the Tunel metro here.
It is astonishing that we still get to experience one of the most
pleasant journeys available in the city today, and moreover that the metro
itself still connects Beyoglu’s social life and Karakoy’s commerce as it did in