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Everything You Need to Know About Istanbul

Istanbul is truly one of the most magical and most impressive cities of all over the world with its tons of historical places,churches,mosques,natural beauties,nightlife,entertainment possibilities,its food and culture.Istanbul has been ruled by a number of empires. If the city is beautiful,there will always be people to own it for themselves that’s no surprise for anyone.So each ruler of Istanbul took prevention for protecting the city from enemies. They built the biggest walls,they made the best archers wait on that walls in case of any enemy threats.But of course while some of the emperors succeded protecting the city,some of them could not.

 

The city was ruled by The Byzantine Empire (395-1453) then in May of 1453,Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered Istanbul and became the new ruler of the city.The ottoman Empire ruled the city of Istanbul for 470 years. Istanbul was ruled by Thirty different Ottoman Emperors during these 470 years.They ruled the city until the date of the establishment of the Republic of Turkey 1923. Since that date Istanbul is a city of Turkish Republic.But of course not just a city,the most beautiful city by far.

 

A quick look at Istanbul

The city of Istanbul consists of 9 islands,39 districts,647 kilometers coastline length,5712 km2 are,population of 15 million people and 2 continents.It combines Asia and Europea together.One of the few cities that combines two continents in the world. Istanbul has 1792 historical places,28 palaces,91 museums,93 Turkish baths,712 hotels,28.650 restaurants,49 universities,36 libraries,227 theatre halls and 882 movie theaters.

It has 2 airports and in city lines:28 ships, 50 scaffolding and 233 kilometers rail transport.

Istanbuls’ woodland consists of 2.380.300 decares and %44 of the floor space of Istanbul is woodland.

Istanbul is a very touristic city and is always the most preffered tourist attraction city in Turkey.In 2018, 13.433.101 tourists visited this beautiful city from all across the world.

Istanbul has three Bosphorus Bridges that connects the two continents.They are:

Boğaziçi Bridge officialy (15 Temmuz Şehitler Bridge)

Opening year:1973

Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge

Opening year:1988

 

Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge

Opening year:2016

 

Istanbul’s Best Tourist Attractions

 

halacoglu-ndan-ayasofya-cami-olsun-teklifi-7976207_x_7691_o 1-Aya Sofya

It’s known that when the Byzantine Emperor Justinian entered his finished church for the first time, he yelled’’Glory to god that i have been judged worthy of such a work. Oh Solomon,i have outdone you!’’ The Aya Sofya(formerly the Hagia Sophia) was the ostentatious statement to the world of the wealth and technical ability of his empire.

Through its conversion to a mosque to its further conversion into a museum,The Aya Sofya has remained one of the most important landmarks of Istanbul.

 

2-Blue Mosque

Sultan Ahmet the firsts’ great architectural gift to his capital was this nice mosque mostly known as the Blue Mosque today.It was Built between 1609 and 1616,the mosque caused a sensation throughout the Muslim world when it was finished as it had six minarets.It was the same number as the Mosque of Mecca. The seventh minaret was eventuaaly given to the Mecca to stem the dissent.The mosque gets its nickname from its interior decoration of tens of thousand of Iznik tiles.The entire spatial and color effect of the interior makes the mosque one of the finest achievements of Ottoman Architecture.

 

59c82faa45d2a027e83b7f0e 3-Topkapi Palace

 It was First built by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in the 15th century,this spectacular palace beside the Bosphorus was where the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire ruled over their dominions up until the 19th century. The vast complex is a dazzling display of Islamic art,with opulent courtyards lined with intricate hand-painted tile-work. Of the many highlights here,the most popular are the Harem. Harem is where the Sultan’s many concubines and children would spend their days.

 

4-The Basilica Cistern1428039f466c0a547fc5f160d736d685-basilica-cistern 

The basilica cistern was built in the city underground during the times of the emperor Justinian when Istanbul was called Constantinople. Was providing water to the palace and houses within this area.In times of the Byzantine Empire,there was not enough water inside the city walls and enemies were destroying aqueducts poisoning the rivers that were carrying the water from Belgrade to Istanbul.So this was a solution to keep drinkable water in case of need.

 

5-Galata Tower

At 67 meters high,the Galata Tower rules over the Istanbul skyline,offering great views of the old city and its surroundings.The medieval stone tower which is known as the Tower of Christ was the tallest building in Istanbul when it was built in 1348.It still stands tall over Istanbul today.The tower has been modified since centuries, at one time being used as an observation tower to spot fires. Today,its upper reaches include a cafe,restaurant and a night club.The Galata is also famous for its beauiful pubs.If you are looking for a place to drink,this might suit you really well.

 

6- Dolmabahce Palace

Luxurious,stupendous,puissant are just some of the adjectives used to describe Dolmabahce Palace.Turkey’s most charming palace mixes traditional Ottoman architecture with the European styles of neoclassical Baroque and Rococo.It’s home to the world’s largest Bohemian crystal chandelier.The Dolmabahce Palace’s setting is amazing:It was built along the Bosphorus coastline.

 

7-Istanbul Archaeological Museum

This museum is one of the most important museums in Turkey.This museum actually consists of three museums:the archaeological museum,the Ancient Orient Museum and the Tiled Kiosk Museum.These three museums contain more than 1 million objects from civilizations around the world.It was founded in 1891 and Istanbul Archaeological Museum is the first Turkish Museum.

 

8-Grand Bazaargrand-bazaar-istanbul-turkey 

If you are a traveller who loves shopping, you should not leave out on a visit to Grand Bazaar.With 5000 shops in it,it is one of the largest indoor marketplaces in the world. It receives more than a quarter-million visitors a day. The bazaar features carpets,jewellery,spices and antiques.The bazaar was founded in 1461 and it is now home to 2 mosques,2 steam baths and 4 fountains.

 

9-Suleymaniye Mosque

If you choose to visit this beautiful Suleymaniye Mosque,it surely will give you an inspiring sense of spirituality by its beauty and peacefulness.Suleymaniye Mosque is located on the Third Hill of Istanbul. Sultan Suleyman The Magnificent ordered building the mosque in 1550.The mosque is indeed magnificent,mixing the best of Islamic and The Byzantine architecture.Suleymaniye Mosque was broadly damaged during the World War I when a fire broke out while the gardens were used as a weapon depot. The mosque was restored in the mid 20th century.The mosque is in a good shape now and it is one of the most visited tourist attracions in Istanbul.

 

10-Chora Museum61cbaa751367f8f693bc3537c02dff66-kariye-museum-chora-church

The Chora Church has one of the best examples of Byzantine mosaic art.It used to be a Christian church but it was converted into a mosque after Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered The city of Istanbul and it was named ‘Kariye Mosque’. After the establishment of Turkey Republic,the mosque was converted into a museum. After the republic,experts on the Byzantine art came to Istanbul to work on the restorations of the Chora in order to uncover fantastic mosaics and frescoes.It was opened to the public as a museum in 1958.

 

11-Maiden’s Tower180100,kiz-kulesijpg

Maiden’s tower was built on a rocky island near Üsküdar.It has been used as a variety of of purposes since its first construction. This unequalled tower has a huge history that goes back to 2500 years ago. It has eye witnessed everything that the city of Istanbul has encountered until this day.This unique tower was erected during the ancient age and constructed by renovations from the ages of the Byzantine Empire,the ancient Rome and the Ottoman Empire.The tower has reached today with its mystic appearance.Today, the Tower’s first floor serves as a restaurant and the second floor of the tower serves as a cafe. You can go to the tower by scheduled boats.It’s really nice to eat a meal or drink a hot Turkish coffee there with your beloved ones.And Maiden’s tower is used in almost every scene transition in Turkish soap operas.It’s like a tradition in Turkey.This is also an interesting fact.There are also good songs about Maiden’s Tower you can also search for them and check them out.

 

12-Istanbul Aquarium 

Istanbul Aquarium is the world’s biggest thematic aquarium of the world.Istanbul Aquarium holds a leading position among other aquariums all over the world thanks to its volume,variety of fish species.It is a project that makes ‘first’ and ‘most’ in its field.It has a visitor area of 6.000 square meters.Istanbul Aquarium has aproximately 1500 species, 17.000 land and sea creatures in total,which are interesting from each other.A special-themed 1,2 km long travel route originating in the Black Sea towards the Pacific.Istanbul Aquarium has one restaurant having the Panama Canal view on one side and the sea view on the other.

 

1028095223 13-Taksim Square

Taksim Square in Beyoğlu is one of Istanbul’s most dynamic and iconic places.During the Ottoman Period,this site was a collection and distribution center for water coming from Belgrade Forest.For this reason,Taksim means ‘distribution’ or ‘division’ in Turkish.

 

Istanbul’s Best Districts

1- Kadıköy

With its history dating back to B.C 675,Kadıköy was built by Phoenicians and a trading colony was established here.Located in the Anatolian side of Istanbul,Kadıköy is especially famous for its historical Haydarpasa Station.Besides it is one of the oldest settlements in Istanbul,the district that still keeps the traces of history keeps up with the pace of development.It has a crowded population because of the the fact that it is a very suitable district for residence. Kadıköy is home to Fenerbahçe football club.And Kadıköy’s most iconic thing is the bull statue in the center of Kadıköy.That area is realy special for Fenerbahce fans.

 

2- Beyoğlu2420533_810x458 

Beyoğlu is one of the districts of Istanbul in European side. It is a 8.76 km2 area surrounded by Sişli, Beşiktaş and Kağıthane districts in the north and Golden Horn and Bosphorus in other directions. The district is composed of 45 quarters and has no rural settlements.Beyoğlu is in European side of Istanbul. It is one of the first settlements of Istanbul. It is also known as “Pera” which means “the other side”. Galata which was within the borders of Beyoğlu in the history was an area inhabited by Genoese in Byzantine times. When the foreigners coming from Galata and Christians settled in Istiklal Street known as “Grand Rue de Pera” by that time around the embassies it became a settlement with a European look. There are several rumors about the origin of Beyoğlu name.According to one of the rumors,it originates from Luigi Giritti, the son of Venice, the Venetian Baylo during the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent, not the Pontus Prince.  This man called by Turks “Bey Oğlu” (literally Son of Governor) was born when the Baylo got married to a Greek woman.

 

27cdeedc1a16ed5ee925e38d92ecff3b 3- Beşiktaş

Beşiktaş is a suburb of Istanbul situated on the European side of the city within the boundaries of the Grater Istanbul Municipality. It ıs surrounded by Bosphorus on the east, the suburb of Sariyer on the north, Sisli on the west and Beyoğlu on the south. Directly across the Bosphorus is the municipality of Üsküdar. It covers area of 1520 hectares with an 8375 cost line along the Bosphorus Although it is a small district in terms of its surface area (11 km²), Beşiktaş is located at the junction of arterial roads of Istanbul and therefore features the most outstanding district of the city with its central location. Since both of the bridges (Bosphorus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet) connecting two sides of the city are within the boundaries of Beşiktaş, it stands out as a major transportation nexus.Beşiktaş is famous for the football club that took its name from this district.And that football club has a great slogan ‘’Come to Beşiktaş!’’.Beşiktaş football team’s stadium Vodafone Park also locates in Beşiktaş and Beşiktaş fans meet at an area in Beşiktaş that called Beşiktaş Downtown before the mathces and they walk to the stadium together to watch the match and support their childhood love and their biggest passion together.

 

4- Üsküdar

Üsküdar was founded in the 7th century BC by ancient Greek colonists from Megara as "Chrysopolis".A few decades before Byzantium was founded on the opposite shore. According to an ancient Greek geographer, the city received the name Chrysopolis because the Persian empire had a gold depository there or because it was associated with Agamemnon and Chryseis' son Chryses., while according to an 18th-century writer it received the name because of the excellence of its harbor. The city was used as a harbor and shipyard and was an important staging post in the wars between the Greeks and Persians.It is the district where the Maiden’s Tower is located.

 

Public transportation in Istanbul

Metro Istanbul: Metro Istanbul, an affiliate company of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality operating the tramway, metro, light rail, funicular and aerial cable cars in Istanbul, was establishe in 1988 by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality to operate the rail system network in the city.Founded by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality for operating the urban railway network in the metropolitan area, the company currently operates 12 urban railway lines of 154,25 km, carrying over 2 million passengers on a daily basis. Winning the UITP’s (International Association of Public Transport) best practice award in meeting high passenger demand with its T1 Kabatas-Bagcilar Tram Line.

 

Metrobus: It has a line length of 50 kilometers and passenger capacity of 800.000 per day.The metrobus contributes to reducing traffic jam and emissions of harmful gasses.It is really environmentally. Its route is separated by ordinary cars and it has its own lane.That is much more safer.

 

Tramway:Tramway works through a rail spread on the ground and it helps to reach the most modern areas and a lot of historical places of Istanbul.Tram and Metro users together in Istanbul reaches 2 million passengers a day.

 

Public Buses: There are 400 bus lines in Istanbul, the majority work until midnight every night.  With the exception of Sultanahmet (accessible by tram) buses go all over the city. Destinations and major stops are marked on yellow signs on the sides of buses.

 

Boats: They allow you to move from Europe to Asia, and save a lot of time because the bridges over the Bosphorus are constantly congested . Once on the ferry you will truly understand the huge size of the city, it is also a good way to see the city from the water .The main piers on the European side are Eminonu, Beşiktaş and Kabatas and on the Asian side Üsküdar and Kadikoy .

 

Dolmus:A medium and small size bus with a shuttle transfer is dolmus.Dolmus drivers can stop anywhere they want and pick and drop passengers without any fine.Dolmus is a fast an common way of public transportation in Istanbul.

 

Taxi: Turkish taxis are always yellow, with a lighted sign on the top which reads taksi. Their identification numbers are on the front and back license plates, on the sides, and on the roof. Besides simply walking up to one or waiving one down, you can also call the local taxi stand and have a taxi come and pick you up. There may also be taxi "call buttons" strategically placed near popular locations, just press the button and wait.

Canal Istanbul Project3-8 

During the Montreux Straits Agreement, which was signed in 1936, 3,000 ships passed through the straits annually.However, over the years this number has increased gradually.Both the increase in Bosphorus traffic and the search for alternative routes for cargo ships' transit routes and planning have triggered the project. Currently, the number of ships that reach 50 thousand annually, passes through the Bosphorus.This number is expected to reach 100 thousand by 2050.

 

Some of the Major Universities in Istanbul

Istanbul University:The oldest university in Turkey,Istanbul University’s history dates back to the Sahn-ı Seman Madrassa,which was opened by order of Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1453.The madrassa was later taken over by an educational foundation and operated unter the name of the Darulfunun, and became the first university to offer modern education on the European model in the Ottoman Empire.The university continued to function after the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey. Over the course of 1933, it was reorganized and on the 18th of november of that year officially reopened as the first and only university in the country.Listed as one of the 500 best universities in the world since 2006,Istanbul University is home to around 73.000 undergraduate,graduate and preparatory students and around 12.000 faculties

 

Bogazici University’s little history:

Dr. Cyrus Hamlin, an ingenious New Englander of versatile talents, came to Turkey in 1839 to start a seminary for boys where he taught until 1860. He met Mr.Robert in 1856 during the Crimean War. As Robert's steamer was pulling into the Port of Istanbul, he noticed a boat full of delicious looking white bread. His curiousity aroused, he found out that this bread had been baked by Cyrus Hamlin for the wounded British soldiers hospitalized at the Selimiye Barracks near Üsküdar. Subsequent meetings of these two men, oddly enough both of Huguenot descent, brought about the founding of the oldest American College outside of the United States.Robert agreed to carry the greates part of the financial burden while Hamlin was to raise funds in the United States and take over the responsibilty of founding the college. A curriculum was drawn up, and Hamlin insisted that English should be the language of instruction. According to the stipulations made by the newly established Board of Trustees, the College was to open its doors to students of all races, nationalities and religions without prejudice or discrimination. In addition, at Robert's request, the College was under no circumstances to become politically involded or show any political inclinations.After considering several possibilities, Hamlin finally found what he thought was the ideal location for a college. It was a plot of land with a stone quarry belonging to Ahmet Vefik Pasa. The same quarry had been used by Fatih Sultan Mehmet (Mehmet the Conqueror) when he built his mighty fortress, Rumelihisari, on the European shore of the Bosphorus in 1453, just before conquering Constantinople. This blue limestone was used for all the College buildings constructed until the First World War.At first Ahmet Vefik Pasa did not want to sell the land but, after being recalled from Paris where he had been the Sultan's Ambassador to the court of Napoleon III, he was obliged to start negotiations and in 1861 decided to sell. The payment was to be made as soon as the ministry of education granted the permission to build.

 

Hearts of the City

In Turkey,Football is the most favorite sport and people are really divided between football clubs.Istanbul city has three big clubs and there are millions of fans of these teams all around Turkey and almost all over the world.These big clubs are: Beşiktaş,Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray. These three clubs have won almost all of the trophies in Turkey. There are a big competition between these clubs and unfortunately in Turkey football matches can be so dangerous for the fans because of the hooliganism. Turkish Football Federation are doing all they can to stop this bad situation. Now,football fans must have a card named Passolig on which they have their names,photos and ids to watch a game at a stadium.This measure reduced the hooliganism in stadiums and made it more possible for fans to enjoy a beautiful game with their friends and family.Let us get back to the biggest clubs and meet them closely.

 

Beşiktaş

Beşiktaş was founded in 1903 and it is the oldest football club of Istanbul.Beşiktaş’s team colors are black and white. It was red and white but during the Independence war in Turkey in 1914-1918 Beşiktaş team changed its red color to black to give a message of mourning.The team’s symbol is Black eagle.Beşiktaş has 15 league championships.

 

Galatasaray

Galatasaray was founded  in 1905 and is the second oldest football club in Turkey. Team colors are red and yellow and the symbol of the team is lion.Galatasaray is the only football club in Turkey that has won an European championship. Galatasaray won the Uefa cup and Uefa Super Cup in 2000. They have 22 league championships in Turkey.

 

Fenerbahçe

Fenerbahçe was founded in 1907 and the last biggest football club of Istanbul. Team colors are yellow and navy blue and the symbol of the team is canaria.Fenerbahçe has 19 league championships.

 

Best Places to take photos in Istanbul

Most of us use at least one of the social media platforms. We upload photos there and we always want to take nice photos for memories or just to share them with our friends. Istanbul is a beautiful place to take photos and I’d like to give you some good spots to be taken photos with.

1-Galata Tower

2-The Maiden’s Tower

3-The bull statue in Kadıköy

4-The eagle statue in Beşiktaş Downtown

5-Blue Mosque

6-Fishers on the Galata Bridge

7-Rumeli Fortress

8-Basilica cistern(it has extraordinary lightings and you can take great photos)

9-Ortaköy Mosque

10-Haydarpasa Station

11-Taksim Square

12-Beyoğlu

 

Lastly we would like to recommend you some beautiful songs about Istanbul

Özer Atik-Ver elini İstanbul

Brianna-Lost in Istanbul

Teoman-İstanbul’da sonbahar

Sema Moritz- Sana dun bir geceden baktim

Gripin-Sensiz Istanbul’a dusmanim

Edip Akbayram-Bekle bizi Istanbul

Brooklyn Funk Essentials-Istanbul Twilight

Sezen Aksu-Ah Istanbul