Istanbul, which was known as capital of the capital cities, and created huge peace geographies with reigning to first Roma, and then Eastern Roman (Byzantium) Empire and continents, and was the capital city of Ottoman Empire, is going to a modern future with preserving magnificence of history with proud. Variety in Istanbul is really charming the visitors. It is serving infinite nuances with its museums, churches, palaces, mosques, bazaar places and natural beauties. When you lean against backside at the coast of the strait, you feel Istanbul as "center of the world" and understand why people select this extraordinary place centuries before with watching the reflection of the red at sun set from the houses at the coast.

Area: 5.712 km² Population: 7.309.190 (1990) Traffic Code: 34


Adalar, Avcilar, Bagcilar, Bahçelievler, Bakirköy, Besiktas, Bayrampasa, Beykoz, Beyoglu, Eminönü, Eyüb, Fatih, Gaziosmanpasa, Kadiköy, Kâgithane, Kartal, Küçükçekmece, Pendik, Sariyer, Sisli, Ümraniye, Üsküdar, Zeytinburnu, Büyükçekmece, Çatalca, Silivri, Sile, Esenler, Güngören, Maltepe, Sultanbeyli, Tuzla


Golden Horn: This horn-shaped estuary divides European Istanbul. One of the best natural harbours in the world, it was once the centre for the Byzantine and Ottoman navies and commercial shipping interests. Today, attractive parks and promenades line the shores, a picturesque scene especially as the sun goes down over the water. At Fener and Balat, neighbourhoods midway up the Golden Horn, there are entire streets filled with old wooden houses, churches, and synagogues dating from Byzantine and Ottoman times. The Orthodox Patriarchy resides at Fener and a little further up the Golden Horn at Eyup, are some wonderful examples of Ottoman architecture. Muslim pilgrims from all over the world visit Eyup Camii and Tomb of Eyup, the Prophet Mohammed's standard bearer, and it is one of the holiest places in Islam. The area is a still a popular burial place, and the hills above the mosque are dotted with modern gravestones interspersed with ornate Ottoman stones. The Pierre Loti Cafe, atop the hill overlooking the shrine and the Golden Horn, is a wonderful place to enjoy the tranquility of the view.


Beyoglu and Taksim: Beyoglu is an interesting example of a district with European-influenced architecture, from a century before. Europe's second oldest subway, Tunel was built by the French in 1875, must be also one of the shortest - offering a one-stop ride to start of Taksim. Near to Tunel is the Galata district, whose Galata Tower became a famous symbols of Istanbul, and the top of which offers a tremendous 180 degree view of the city.

From the Tunel area to Taksim square is one of the city's focal points for shopping, entertainment and urban promenading: Istiklal Cadesi is a fine example of the contrasts and compositions of Istanbul; fashion shops, bookshops, cinemas, markets, restaurants and even hand-carts selling trinkets and simit (sesame bread snack) ensure that the street is packed throughout the day until late into the night.



Ortaköy: Ortakoy was a resort for the Ottoman rulers because of its attractive location on the Bosphorus, and is still a popular spot for residents and visitors. The village is within a triangle of a mosque, church and synagogue, and is near Ciragan Palace, Kabatas High School, Feriye, Princess Hotel.

The name Ortakoy reflects the university students and teachers who would gather to drink tea and discuss life, when it was just a small fishing village. These days, however, that scene has developed into a suburb with an increasing amount of expensive restaurants, bars, shops and a huge market. The fishing, however, lives on and the area is popular with local anglers, and there is now a huge waterfront tea-house which is crammed at weekends and holidays.


Üsküdar: Relatively unknown to tourists, the suburb of Üsküdar, on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, is one of the most attractive suburbs. Religiously conservative in its background, it has a tranquil atmosphere and some fine examples of imperial and domestic architecture.

The Iskele, or Mihrimah Camii is opposite the main ferry pier, on a high platform with a huge covered porch in front, often occupied by older local men watching life around them. Opposite this is Yeni Valide Camii, built in 1710, and the Valide Sultan's green tomb rather like a giant birdcage. The Cinili Mosque takes its name from the beautiful tiles which decorate the interior, and was built in 1640.

Kadiköy: Further south along the Bosphorus towards the Sea of Marmara, Kadiköy has developed into a lively area with up-market shopping, eating and entertainment making it popular especially with wealthy locals. Once prominent in the history of Christianity, the 5th century hosted important consul meetings here, but there are few reminders of that age. It is one of the improved districts of Istanbul over the last century, and fashionable area to promenade along the waterfront in the evenings, especially around the marinas and yacht clubs.

Bagdat Caddesi is one of the most trendy - and label-conscious - fashion shopping streets, and for more down-to-earth goods, the Gen Azim Gunduz Caddesi is the best place for clothes, and the bit pazari on Ozelellik Sokak is good for browsing through junk. In the district of Moda, is the Benadam art gallery, as well as many foreign cuisine restaurants and cafes.

Haydarpasa: To the north of Kadikoy is Haydarpasa, and the train station built in 1908 with Prussain-style architecture which was the first stop along the Baghdad railway. Now it is the main station going to eastbound destinations both within Turkey, and internationally. There are tombs and monuments dedicated to the English and French soldiers who lost their lives during the Crimean War (1854-56), near the military hospital. The north-west wing of the 19th Century Selimiye Barracks once housed the hospital, used by Florence Nightingale to care for soldiers, and remains to honour her memory.

Polonezköy: Polonezköy, although still within the city, is 25 km. away from the centre and not easy to reach by public transport. Translated as "village of the Poles", the village has a fascinating history: It was established in 1848 by Prince Czartorisky, leader of the Polish nationals who was granted exile in the Ottoman Empire to escape oppression in the Balkans. During his exile, he succeeded in establishing a community of Balkans, which still survives, on the plot of land sold to him by a local monastery.

Since the 1970s the village has become a popular place with local Istanbulites, who buy their pig meat there (pig being forbidden under Islamic law and therefore difficult to get elsewhere). All the Poles have since left the village, and the place is inhabited now by wealthy city people, living in the few remaining Central European style wooden houses with pretty balconies.

What attracts most visitors to Polonezkoy is its vast green expanse, which was designated Istanbul's first national park, and the walks though forests with streams and wooden bridges. Because of its popularity, it gets crowded at weekends and the hotels are usually full.Kilyos: Kilyos is the nearest beach resort to the city, on the Black Sea coast on the European side of the Bosphorus. Once a Greek fishing village, it has quickly been developed as a holiday-home development, and gets very crowded in summer. Because of its ease to get there, 25km and plenty of public transport, it is good for a day trip, and is a popular weekend getaway with plenty of hotels, and a couple of campsites.

Sile: A pleasant, small holiday town, Sile lies 50km from Üsküdar on the Black Sea coast and some people even live here and commute into Istanbul. The white sandy beaches are easily accessible from the main highway, lying on the west, as well as a series of small beaches at the east end. The town itself if perched on a clifftop over looking the bay tiny island. There is an interesting French-built black-and-white striped lighthouse, and 14th century Genoese castle on the nearby island. Apart from its popular beaches, the town is also famous for its craft; Sile bezi, a white muslin fabric a little like cheesecloth, which the local women embroider and sell their products on the street, as well as all over Turkey.The town has plenty of accommodationavailable, hotels, guest houses and pansiyons, although can get very crowded at weekends and holidays as it is very popular with people from Istanbul for a getaway, especially in the summer. There are small restaurants and bars in the town.


Kiz Kulesi : Considered to be symbolic of Istanbul, this tiny tower was established on a small island at the entrance of the Bosphorus. In the past, it was used as a watchtower and a lighthouse, until its present purpose of a tourist attraction. Western sources describe this as Leander's Tower, who was drowned while swimming, to reach his lover Hera. Another story suggests that it was a tower where an emperor's daughter put her there for security, having dreamt that she would be bitten by a snake.

Galata Tower : The tower was built by the Genoese in 1348, during their occupation of the area, primarily to prevent attacks. Originally known as the Tower of Christ, it stood above the fortification surrounding the Genoese city-state. There is a spiral rock staircase which ascends to the top viewing platform, which today offers visitors spectacular 360 degree panorama of the entire city. The tower was restored in 1967, and an elevator was installed to offer a less tiring alternative to the steep climb. There is also a restaurant on the top floor.

Beyazit Tower : Within the grounds of the central building of Istanbul's University (formerly the palace of Mehmet the Conqueror) this wooden tower was built for fire watchers, and remains a landmark throughout the city. Mahmud II demolished it in order to construct a better one, and according to the inscription, he ordered a rock-filled tower in 1828 to be built by the Ministry of Defense. The monument is 50m high, and from the upper landing, accessible via wooden staircase, offers a superb overview of the city.

Topkapi Palace

One of the most astounding and popular places to visit in Istanbul is Topkapi Palace, the symbolic and political centre of the Ottoman Empire between the 15th and 19th centuries. It stands on the tip of land where the Golden Horn, the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus come together, and is a maze of buildings centered around a series of courtyards, typical of Islamic tradition. Such is the complexity of each building, it will take many hours in order to be explored properly.

Dolmabahçe Palace

Built in the reign of Sultan I Abdulmecit during the 19th century, this over-ornate palace lies along the European coast of the Bosphorus. Dolmabahce Palace was constructed between 1843 and 1856, mixing different European artistic influences and built by Abdulmecit's architect, Karabet Balya. It was built over three levels, and symmetrically planned, with 285 chambers and 43 halls. It has a 600m long pier along the river, with two huge monumental gates. The palace is surrounded by well-maintained and immaculate gardens, with an immense 56-columned greeting hall, with 750 lights illuminated from 4.5 tonnes of crystal chandelier. The entrance was used for meeting and greeting Sultans, and opposite the ceremonial hall was the harem. The interior decoration, furniture, silk carpets and curtains all remain with little defect.

Çiragan Palace


The most picturesque spots along the Bosphorus and Golden Horn were reserved for the palaces and mansions for the Sultans, and other important dignitaries, most of which have now gone. The huge palace was constructed by architect Serkis Balyan in 1871, as appointed by Sultan Abdul Aziz, from the ruins of the old palace.

The interior was rebuilt, at a cost of four million gold coins, beginning with covering the ceiling with wood and the walls with marble. The rooms were decorated with rare carpets, furniture, gold and silver. The sides of the building were decorated with coloured marble, and monumental gates connected it to Yildiz Palace, via a bridge, which is how the harem women went between the two, in total privacy.

It briefly housed the Turkish Parliament from 1908, but was destroyed by a fire two years later, and was only rebuilt in 1991. Now, it is Istanbul's premier luxury hotel, and has retained something of its former glory.

Beylerbeyi Palace


Beylerbeyi, in which the Asian Tower of Bosphorus Bridge was constructed, is a beautiful district allotted for palaces since the Byzantium era. Sultan Abdulaziz built the Palace, to replace the older, wooden palace, between 1861 and 1865. Eastern and Turkish motifs are used with Western design elements, on the sides and for internal decoration, and the atmosphere is something resembling that of Dolmabahce Palace.

The building comprises of three floors, and contains 26 rooms and six halls, which includes the harem and men's greeting rooms. The interior is decorated with Bohemian chandeliers, valuable tiles and ceramic vases. Silver-edged furniture and luxurious carpets add something to the beauty, and even till today the authentic furniture, carpets, curtains and other property have been well preserved.

Yildiz Porcelain Factory

Yildiz Porcelain Factory was established under the patronage of Sultan Abdülhamid II in the grounds of Yildiz Palace in 1894. The intention was to rescue traditional Turkish porcelain from decline due to competition from the porcelain industries of Europe. Known as the Yildiz Fabrika-i Hümâyûn, its outstanding early products were commissioned for the royal palaces and kösks.

This factory made a key contribution to the synthesis between European and Turkish art. Production here has continued uninterrupted, and its high quality products have helped to preserve the art of Turkish porcelain and acquaint people all over the world with its traditional designs.

Today the Yildiz Porcelain Factory is a museum-factory which produces both items in modern designs and reproductions of its exquisite early ware, so that the public can enjoy the art of a bygone age in their homes as well as in museums.

Fatih Mosque: The Imperial Fatih Mosque, constructed between 1462 and 1470, bears the name of the Ottoman conqueror of Istanbul, Fatih Sultan Mehmet, and is the site of his mausoleum. Standing atop another of Istanbul's hills, its vast size and great complex of religious buildings - medreses, hospices, baths, a hospital, a caravanserai and a library make it well worth a visit.

Süleymaniye Mosque and Kulliye: The cascading domes and four slender minarets of the Imperial Suleymaniye Mosque dominate the skyline on the Golden Horn's west bank. Considered the most beautiful of all imperial mosques in Istanbul, it was built between 1550 and 1557 by Sinan, the renowned architect of the Ottoman Empire's golden age. Erected on the crest of a hill, the building is conspicuous for its great size, emphasized by the four minarets that rise from each comer of the courtyard. Inside are the mihrab (prayer niche showing the direction to Mecca) and the mimber (pulpit) made of finely carved white marble and exquisite stained-glass windows coloring the incoming streams of light. It was in the gardens of this complex that Suleyman and his wife, Hurrem Sultan (Roxelane), had their mausolea built, and near here also Sinan built his own tomb. The mosque complex also includes four medreses, or theological schools, a school of medicine, a caravanserai, a Turkish bath, and a kitchen and hospice for the poor.

Beyazit Mosque: It is at the square, which is mentioned with its name. This great mosque and its kulliye, (theology school, school, imaret, caravansary and hamam), is constructed by son of Fatih, II. Bayezit on 1501 - 1506. It has two minarets which are 87 meters away from each other. Plan of the Bayazit Mosque is similar to Hagia Sophia. But it is separated from it with especially a perfect architectural application which includes a different characteristic having worship order of a culture.

Sultanahmet Mosque: This mosque was built by Sultan Ahmet I during 1609-1616 in the square carrying his name in Istanbul. The architect is Sedefhar Mehmet Aga. It is the only mosque in Turkey with six minarets. The mosque is 64 x 72 m in dimensions. The central dome is 43 m in height and is 33.4 m in diameter. 260 windows surround the mosque. Due to its beautiful blue, green and white tilings it has been named the "Blue Mosque" by Europeans. The inscriptions were made by Seyyid Kasim Gubari.



Sokullu Mehmet Pasa Mosque: It is at Kadirga. It is constructed to Mimar Sinan on 1671 by III. Selim's daughter, Esmehan Sultan, in memory of her husband, Vizier Mehmet Pasa. Inside of the mosque is adorned with the most beautiful tiles of the period till to the feet of the dome. Balcony cone is also tiled.

Yeni Valide Mosque: It is at Üsküdar. It is constructed as a kulliye by III. Ahmet's mother, Gülnuz Sultan on 1710. It has two minarets and double niches.

Kapali Carsi (Covered Bazaar) : The oldest and biggest closed bazaar in the world, also known as the Grand Bazaar, has around 4000 shops and over 60 alleyway, covering a huge labyrinth in the city centre. The original two structures, covered with a series of domes and remains of the 15th century walls, became a shopping area by covering the surrounding streets and adding to it over the following centuries. In Ottoman times this was the centre of trading, and a vital area of town. The Sandal Bedesten was added during Suleyman's reign, to cope with the rising trade in fabrics, during the 16th century.

Misir Çarsisi (Egyptian Bazaar) : Also known as the Spice Market, this is Istanbul's second bazaar, constructed in the same complex as Yeni Camii (or New Mosque). There are six gates, which make it an attractive exterior. The L-shaped market, together with the mosque, were built for the mother of Mehmet IV, a powerful woman who ruled the harem and, some would say, much of the empire.

Although no longer the prime spice trading area of the city, there is still the aroma of ginger, cardamom, pepper and saffron from the piles of spices sold from many stalls. These days it is also popular for great varieties of lokum (turkish delight), small souvenirs, flavoured teas and local delicacies - including the dubious sounding "Turkish Viagra". Locals come here to shop for bed linen and towels, as well as for fruit and vegetables, coffee, clothes, pots and pans in the surrounding cramped backstreets. Outside the market on the Galata Bridge end, is this is the best place to choose olives from huge barrels, and many varieties of beyaz penir (white cheese).

Anadoluhisari and Rumelihisari : On the Asian side of the Bosphorus, Anadolu Hisari is a small castle built during the 1390s by Sultan Beyazit. Together with Rumeli, on the European side built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452, the two fortresses had complete control of passing transport between the Black Sea and the Marmara. Rumeli, an early Ottoman fortress built in only four months, before the Ottoman conquest of the city, to prevent the aides of Byzantine from the north.

Anadolu is always open to explore the walls, and Rumeli has a small open-air theatre showing concerts and plays in summer. There is also a café perched on the top, a popular place in summer evenings for tea, served from great samovars, and light meals. Both fortresses have, of course, a great panoramic view of the Bosphorus.

Anadoluhisari, Rumelihisari and Yedikulehisari


The establishment purpose of Directorate of Hisarlar Museum in 1968 was to maintain and introduce Rumelihisar museum which was mainly repaired during 1952-1958 and Yedikulehisari museum which was mainly repaired during 1962-1968 as monument-museum, and also to repair Anadoluhisari in the same way and take it into service.


The castle covering seven acre area and giving its name to the location was built by Sultan Beyazid I (Yildirim) as the front military station of Ottoman in 1395. The building was added "Hisarpençe", storehouse and some residental buildings by Mehmed II. In 1928 some repair works were made by kandilli Municipality. Some repairs were made by Ministry of Culture in 1991-1993. Today Anadolu Hisari is within borders of Beykoz Municipality. There is no movable cultural assets in the castle. It has not been opened for visits.


Located within borders of Sariyer district and gave its name to the location, covering 30.000 m2 area. There is a monument-art built in the narrowest and flowing(600m) section of the Istanbul Bosphoreus just opposite Anadoluhisari. Although it is known that the region was called "Hermaion" in ancient ages, historian Dukas does not mention this and indicates the location of the castle hill side of mountain known as Fonea down "Sostenion(Istinye). The names of Rumelihisar are : Kulle-i Cedide in Fatih Charities; Yenice Hisar in Nesri period history; Bogazkesen Castle in Kemalpasazade, Asikpsazade and Nisanci histories. Although Dukas confused about the names and used as Kefalokoptis, no one else except him used this name.

According to two inscriptions in Büyük Zaganos Tower and Küçük Zaganos Pasha Tower, the castle was built in about four month period which is a considerably short period. The art book called "Serh-i Tecriiyd-i Ataik" in süleymaniye Library, it is said that the building had been completed in (139) days.

The timbers used in building were from Izmit and Black sea Eregli; the stones were from various plces of Anatolia and spolis are from destroyed Byzantine buildings located around.

In some histories it has been stated that 1000 masters, 2000 workers and many transporters were employed in building but Architect E.H. Ayverdi states that approximately 300 masters, 700-800 workers and 200 transporters, boats, vehicles etc were employed.

Mortary volume of the building covering 60.000 m2 area is about 57.700 m3. Mountain Gate, Dizdar Gate, Hisarpençe Gate and Sel Gate are four main gates and it also has a secondary gate called Mezarlik Gate.

It has Saruca Pasha, Halil Pasha and Zaganos Pasha, three old and junior Zaganas Pasha, one small and totally four towers; 13 castles in various sizes.

It has two water ducts, one is blocked, three fountains two of which are lost. Only one destroyed minarette from the mosque remained until present time.

The building was considerably damaged from 1509 earthquake but repaired promptly. It is known that it was also repaired during Selim III(1789-1807). But essential repair was made by architect Mrs Cahide Tamer, Mrs. Selma Emler and Mrs. Mualla Arhegger-Eyüboglu upon directive of President Mr. Celal Bayar in 1953.

Open exhibition is made in the museum, but there is no exhibition hall and store house. Artilleries, shot and the chains which was claimed be used in blocking o Haliç(Golden Horn) are exhibited in the garden.

Rumelihisari Museum

Open between 09.00-16.30 everyday except Wednesdays.

Yahya Kemal cad. No: 42 80830 Rumelihisari-Istanbul
Tel: 0-212-2635305
Fax: 0-212-2650410

Yedikule hisari

Yedikule hisari or shortly Yedikule, being one of important architectural arts of Istanbul is on the south of city land water and under authority of Directorate of Hisarlar Museum in the same town.

The land part of Hisar was built during reign of Theodosios II (408-450) as the most important entrance of the city walls and also an additional construction was made behind Porta Aurea having an important place in Byzantine history. 4 years after conquer of Istanbul, an inner castle was built by Sultan Mehmet II in 1457-1458. Thus Byzantine and Ottoman Period buildings combined.

The walls of Yedikulehisar are in shape of stars.

There is one door on city side. No building was made adjacent to walls.

There one disdar(castle guard), dizdar assistant, 6 officer and 50 soldiers. There was a disdar's house and 12 guards' houses. Even the traces of shelters and store houses not reaching today can be seen at present. Only a minaret of the mescid remained until 1905 located in the centre of the courtyard and fountain in the front can be seen. The mescid had a quarter which was pictured in a picture of 17th century, and the time of destruction of the quarter is not known either.

There are stone artillery shot, marble column head, column part and baked soil cubic, totally 17 parts now exhibited in open exhibition.

Yedikulehisari Museum

Open between 9.00-16.30 everyday except Wednesdays.

Kule Meydani No:4 Yedikule-ISTANBUL
Tel: 0-212-5858933