Architecture of Turkey. Must see and must visit landmarks

Beylerbeyi Palace, Istanbul

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» Beylerbeyi Palace was built in 1861 as a summer residence and a place to entertain heads of state. Translated from the Turkish, its name means ‘Lord of lords’.
» Beylerbeyi Palace was visited by famous rulers as Nasreddin Shah of Persia, the Russian Prince Nicholay, the Duke of Windsor. French Empress Eugenie was so delighted with the splendor of the palace, that she ordered an exact copy of windows for her bedroom in the Tuileries in Paris.
» There are 26 rooms and three floors in Beylerbeyi Palace. It’s divided into separate sections for men and women, including the harem.
» The wooden base of Beylerbeyi palace was partially destroyed by fire. After a while, the new sultan ordered to destroy the old structure completely and build a new palace.
» Floor of Beylerbeyi is covered with reeds specially brought from Egypt. In winter it has to protect from moisture and humidity, and from heat in summer.

Church of St Sergius and Bacchus, Istanbul

Location on the map:   Interesting facts: » The Church of St Sergius and Bacchus is one of the oldest surviving churches in Istanbul built in 527-529 years.
» The Church of St Sergius and Bacchus served as the prototype for the Basilica of San Vitale and the Cathedral of St. Sophia (hence the second name of the church, the small Hagia Sofia).
» The church is dedicated to St. Sergius and Bacchus, who were soldiers of the Roman Empire and occupied important positions, until it became clear that they were secret Christians. The soldiers were severely tortured. Then Bacchus was killed, and Sergius was beheaded.
» During the Balkan Wars, thousands of refugees have found shelter here at the church.
» Serious damage to the construction was caused by the immediate vicinity of the railway. For this reason, UNESCO has included the church of St Sergius and Bacchus in the World Heritage List, where endangered objects are mentioned.

Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» Ceilings and walls of Dolmabahce are decorated with hundreds of kilograms of gold. Interior chambers are decorated with antique French furniture. The palace has the room completely made of crystal. The bath here is of marble and carpets of silk.
» All clocks in Dolmabahce Palace show 9.05 am. This time is a time of death of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (Ottoman and Turkish reformer). He died there November 10, 1938.
» The name of the palace translates as ‘filled garden’.
»  The ceiling of the main hall of Dolmabahce is decorated with the chandelier weighting four and a half tons. It was a gift of Queen Victoria.
» Dolmabahce Palace is adorned with paintings of the Russian artist Ivan Aivazovsky. Sultan Abdul Hamid II ordered about 40 works depicting the Bosphorus, the sea, and views of the city. The artist received the highest Turkish award, Osmani order, decorated with diamonds.

Eyup Sultan Mosque, Istanbul

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» Eyup Sultan Mosque is built on the place of burial of the standard-bearer of the Prophet Muhammad, Eyup Ansari, who was killed at the siege of Constantinople.
» There is a tradition concerning the throne succession. According to it, the future ruler certainly must visit Eyup Sultan Mosque, where he will wear the legendary blade once belonged to the founder of the dynasty of Osman Gazi and, only then, he will be declared the ruler of the Muslims.
» Today, the holy Muslim relics are carefully preserved inside the mausoleum; the footprint of the Prophet Muhammad stands among them.
» It’s simply impossible not to notice shadyrvan, the ritual ablutions fountain, at the entrance of the mosque. It’s intended for the girdling the sword ceremony.
» The mosque was often subjected to destruction and reconstruction. The most devastating was an earthquake of 1766. Sultan Selim the Third decided to demolish the almost destroyed mosque and rebuild it anew.

Galata Tower, Istanbul

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» Galata Tower was built in the mid-14th century. Then, it had a different name, the Tower of Christ, and its structure was designed to perpetuate the expansion of the Genoese colony of Constantinople.
» During the reign of Sultan Selim II, Galata Tower was used as an observatory tower.
» Since 1874, it was used as a watchtower. The tower, which was called Big Bastion by the Byzantines, and the Tower of Jesus by the Genoese, has changed its appearance several times during Ottoman era.
» On the seventh floor, you can see the relief image of Hazerfena Ahmet Celebi. He was the first person who managed to fly using homemade wings.
» Galata Tower provides the best view of the Golden Horn, the historic peninsula, the Bosphorus and the Asian coast.

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» One of the largest covered markets in the world, Grand Bazaar, is situated in the old part of Istanbul. It covers a huge area, which is 30,700 square meters. There are more than 4,000 shops in 66 street of the market.
» Until the mid-19th century Grand Bazaar was the center of the slave trade.
» The labyrinth of the Grand Bazaar has everything, including ceramics, gold, silver, jewelry, shawls, scarves, charms, carpets, kilims and much more.
» The number of visitors reaches half a million a day.
» You can bargain there, like at any other bazaar. Initial price will certainly cause a shock in unexperienced buyers, but you shouldn’t hesitate to bargain, as this situation is observed in many places. So if the owner of the shop sees that person is really interested in a certain product, he probably will lower the price.

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The name of the cathedral comes from the Greek word ‘sophia’ that means ‘knowledge’ and ‘wisdom’.
» Before looting Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204, the Shroud of Turin was kept in the Hagia Sophia.
» There is the famous Crying Column in the Cathedral of St. Sophia; it’s believed that you can fulfill your wishes after touching it.
» For more than a thousand years St. Sophia Cathedral in Constantinople has remained the largest church in Christendom.
» Throughout its history, the Hagia Sophia suffered from earthquakes seven times. Every time after the destruction it was carefully restored.

Maiden Tower, Istanbul

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» Maiden's Tower in Istanbul was built on the rocks and covered with legends. One legend says that the seer foresaw the death of Sultan’s beloved daughter on her 18th birthday. The Sultan immediately ordered the construction of the tower, as he wanted to protect his daughter. Once the building was ready, the girl was settled to live in the tower. In the eighteenth birthday a basket of fruit was sent to the Sultan's daughter. There was a poisonous snake that bit the girl, so she died.
» Maiden's Tower of Istanbul can be seen on 10 lira bill of 1966-1981 years.
» Earlier the Maiden’s Tower was a prison, but today there is a restaurant.
» There are several versions describing construction of the tower. According to one version, the Maiden’s Tower was built by order of the Athenian general Alcibiades to control the advent of the Persian ships in the Bosphorus Strait. According to other, the tower was built during the reign of Emperor Constantine the Great as a watchtower.
» After the capture of the city by the Ottomans, it was decided to build a lighthouse in the tower facing the Sea of Marmara.

New Mosque, Istanbul

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The New Mosque is one of the biggest mosques of Istanbul.
» The mosque is decorated with 66 domes and two minarets. The height of the main dome is 36 meters.
» Minaret’s height is 52 meters.
» The New Mosque is well lit and decorated with colorful stained glass windows.
» The mosque has a monumental courtyard in the center of which there is an elegant fountain for religious ablutions. The gallery is built around the courtyard.

Ortakoy Mosque, Istanbul

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» Ortakoy Mosque is the stunning mosque in the amazing city of Istanbul. Officially, the mosque is known as the Great Mosque Mecidiye.
» Padishahs swam in boats to participate in namaz at Ortakoy.
»  The mosque is located on the cape called by the Byzantines the Key to the Bosphorus.
» Ortakoy Mosque consists of the harem of the Sultan and the personal space. The prayer niche is made of marble and mosaics. One of the features of this mosque is its high and wide windows that let in plenty of sunlight reflected by waters of the Bosphorus, creating a magnificent effect.
» The area adjacent to the mosque had a rather dubious reputation, as frivolous people have lived there.

Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» While constructing this mosque, architect Sinan uttered the famous phrase, "The mosque will stand for eternity."
» Lamps in the mosque are made of ostrich eggs. They became home to a huge family of spiders, which are bred because of herbs, incense and spices in an oil lamp.
» There are many legends associated with the Suleymaniye Mosque. It’s said that a piece of black stone of the Kaaba was placed inside its dome. According to another legend, gems could be found in the minarets of Suleymaniye. Persian Shah has sent gems as a sponsorship to build the mosque; those were meant to gode Sultan Suleiman. The Sultan in anger has ordered to lay these treasures in the masonry of one of the minarets.
» Previously Suleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul was not only a religious institution, as there were hospital, madrassa, shelter, baths, and a caravanserai.
» Suleymaniye Mosque also houses the tomb of Suleyman the Magnificent and his wife Roxelana.

Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Istanbul

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» Sultan Ahmed Mosque is the largest and one of the most beautiful mosques of Istanbul. The name ‘Blue Mosque’ it owes to a huge variety of blue and white ceramic tiles used in interior decoration.
» Construction of the mosque has being carried out for 7 years and was completed in 1616.
» The most unusual part of the Blue Mosque is a niche for prayers carved from a huge piece of marble with a black stone, which was brought here from Mecca.
» The mosque has a separate entrance for the Sultan, who came here on a horse. Before the entrance there was a low-strained chain for the passage, so he had to bend down. Thus, he gave praise to God and demonstrated the insignificance of the Sultan before the Almighty.
» When construction of the Blue Mosque was completed, it was found that the most sacred mosque in Islamic world, Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, was caught up in the number of minarets (there were six of them) by Sultan Ahmed Mosque. It was treated as sacrilege, so it was decided to attach another minaret to the Masjid al-Haram to make it to surpass all existing facilities once again.

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» Topkapi Palace can be considered the whole city located on the territory of Istanbul, because the total area of the palace is more than 700 thousand square meters, and the length is about 5 kilometers.
» Topkapi Palace houses a vast collection of treasures including jewelry, costumes, weapons and sacred artifacts. Major exhibits include cape and sword of the Prophet Mohammed and his collection of porcelain, which is the third most important in the world.
» The fifth largest diamond in the world, which is set in silver and surrounded by 49 smaller diamonds, is kept in the Treasury of the Palace.
» One of the main attractions of the Palace, Harem, is a protected and prohibited place. Only people, which were very close to the Sultan, including his family, wives, concubines, eunuchs and servants had access there. Entrance to the Harem was strictly forbidden to outsiders; all inside was run by the mother of the Sultan.
» The Palace has being the official residence of the Ottoman Sultans for almost 400 years.

Yavuz Selim Mosque, Istanbul

Location on the map:   Interesting facts: » Yavuz Selim Mosque is the Ottoman imperial mosque built in honor of the Ottoman sultan Yavuz Selim.
» The mosque is located at the top of the fifth city hill. Its terrace offers a magnificent view of the Golden Horn.
» Dimensions and geographic location of the mosque make it an important place and a landmark of Istanbul.
» Yavuz Selim Mosque is the second oldest imperial mosque in Istanbul.
» The shrine was built by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in memory of his father, Selim, who died in 1520.
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More to see in Turkey
East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet... wrote Rudyard Kipling in one of his poems. However, there is a place on Earth, where this wise statement simply doesn’t work, and where East and West not only meet, but also co-exist peacefully. This place is Istanbul, which lies literally on the border between Europe and Asia. Istanbul is one of the oldest cities in the world. This is the city with a rich history. During different periods of time the city was the capital of three empires - Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman. Its past is depicted in numerous monuments of history and culture, which are so numerous and widespread in Istanbul. Topkapi Palace. Topkapi is a palace complex located on the cape bordering the Bosporus. This fact guarantees that visitors will be amazed with wonderful panoramic views. Inner premises of the palace are used to exhibit collections of several museums. The most interesting among them is the Museum of Archaeology. In addition to numerous wonderful items the museum exhibits sarcophagi, pottery, and other valuable artifacts of the Ottoman period. The main building of the complex also hosts a museum, the collection of which consists of war trophies, gifts and everyday use items. The palace’s harem can be entered only with a guide. …

What to see in top cities of Turkey

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