Topkapi Palace was the primary residence of the Ottoman sultans in Istanbul. It was built in 1453 following the capture of Constantinople by Mohammed the Conqueror, who lived there until his death. Moreover, at least 26 of the 36 sultans of the Ottoman Empire lived here.
Topkapı Palace was the administrative, educational, and artistic center of the Ottoman Empire for nearly four hundred years, until Sultan Abdül Mecid I moved the court in 1856 to the newly built Dolmabahçe Palace, the first European-style palace in the city.
It contained mosques, a hospital, bakeries, and a mint, and was home to as many as 4,000 people.
After the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, Topkapı Palace was transformed into a museum on April 3, 1924, the first of the Republic of Turkey. It contains large collections of porcelain, robes, weapons, shields, armor, Ottoman miniatures, Islamic calligraphic manuscripts, and murals, as well as a display of Ottoman treasures and jewelry.
The palace comprises an immense building, a heterogeneous collection of kiosks, a harem, courtyards, corridors and observation points that came about from the continuous changes and additions introduced by the numerous sultans.
Surrounded by gardens and squares, the palace, with its main gate located on the Hagia Sophia side, has four courtyards with passages between them.
The Topkapı Palace became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
Spice Bazaar Misir Carsisi
Generally known as the Spice Bazaar, the bazaar is officially called Misir Carsisi, that is, the Egyptian Bazaar, although it is actually situated in the heart of Istanbul.
The Spice Bazaar is the second largest covered shopping complex after the Grand Bazaar.
The Spice Bazaar’s name is of uncertain origin: what is certain is that the spices arriving in Turkey came from Egypt. It was probably built with revenues from the Ottoman eyalet (a primary administrative division of the Ottoman Empire) of Egypt in 1660.
The Spice Bazaar was built in 1660 in the new mosque complex directly overlooking the Golden Horn, one of the most beautiful views of the city.
The revenues obtained from the rented shops inside the bazaar building were used for the upkeeping of the mosque.
The Spice Bazaar has a total of 85 shops, which sell spices, jewellery, souvenir, dried fruits-nuts, and sweets.
Galata Tower, called Christea Turris (Tower of Christ) by the Genoese, is a medieval stone tower in the Galata quarter of Istanbul. It is a high, cone-capped cylinder that dominates the skyline of the city. It was built in 1348 during an expansion of the Genoese colony in Constantinople.
Galata Tower was the tallest building in Istanbul when it was built.
The upper section of the tower with the conical cap was slightly modified in several restorations during the Ottoman period, when it was used as an observation tower for stopping fires.
During the Ottoman Empire, the top of the tower and its conical roof were modified as a result of numerous renovations.
During its final restoration in the 1960s, the wooden interior of the tower was replaced by a concrete structure, and was then commercialized and opened to the public.
It actually contains a restaurant and café on its upper floors, which command a magnificent view of Istanbul and the Bosphorus.
Located in the Beyoglu distric, the chaotic Taksim Square is one of the largest and busiest squares in Istanbul.
Originally the square was a large tank that collected water for the entire city. Even today you can see the cistern built in 1732 by the sultan Mahmut I. The word Taksim means distribution in Arabic.
Today Taksim Square is the heart of modern Istanbul, with its restaurants, shops, hotels, and central metro station.
The Monument of the Republic, designed by the Italian sculptor Pietro Canonica, is located here, having been inaugurated in 1928.
The monument commemorates the 5th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, following the Turkish War of Independence.
Opened in 1924 and located on the European side of the city, the Ataturk international airport is the main international airport serving Istanbul, and the biggest airport in Turkey in terms of number of passengers.
The name of the airport is in honor of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey.
The Bosphorus is the strait uniting the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara, and separating parts of Asian Turkey from European Turkey.
The strait is 31 km long; the depth of the Bosporus varies from 13 to 110 m (in midstream).
As part of the only passage between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, the Bosporus has always been of great commercial and strategic importance.
The strategic significance of the strait was one of the factors in the decision of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great to found in 330 AD his new capital, Constantinople, which came to be known as the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire.
For the defense of Constantinople (Istanbul), straddling the southern end of the strait, the Byzantine emperors, and later the Ottoman sultans, constructed fortifications along its shores, especially on the European side.
The Bosphorus has 620 waterfront houses built along the strait’s European and Asian shorelines during the Ottoman period.
Bosporus literally means “ox ford” and is traditionally connected with the legendary figure of Io, who, in the form of a heifer, crossed the Thracian Bosporus in her wanderings, where she met Prometheus.
Two bridges have been built across the strait: the first, the Bosporus Bridge, was completed in 1973; the second, the Fatih Sultan Mehmed, was completed in 1988 about 5 km north of the first bridge.
Here some guided tours of Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, and other places in Istambul offered by GetYourGuide.
Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey, by zloris.blogspot.com
The Bosphorus, Istanbul, Turkey, by www.crociereroyalcaribbean.it