The Istanbul is one of the largest European cities, and with its cultural and historical heritage it belongs to the top European cities as Rome, London and Paris.
The Istanbul is the largest and the most important city on the Balkan peninsula. In the Istambul live about 11 million people but it is incredable the fact that daily in the average about 17 milion people (tourists, business people, workers …) visit Instambul.
The Istanbul is the only city in the world situated on two continents. However, it is considetaed to be the European city because its center and two-thirds of its city area are in the Europe. Also, the Asian part of the city is younger and completely different.
The Istanbul occupies an very important role in the world history. It is enough to say that the Istambul was the capital of three big empires: the Byzantine, Roman and Ottoman empires. Today, except in the formal and political meaning, it is in every other sense the capital of Turkey.
It is rarely in the whole world that city is changed its name so many times. In fact, it didn’t have a name that was respected in the world and it is today as well. Although the official name of the city is Istanbul, as the Turkish government insists, in many other languages there are different names of the city: in Greek – Constantinople, in some Slavic languages, for example Slovenian, a city called Carigrad, in Armenian – Bolis, in Hebrew קושטא (Kušta).
Through the history, appeared the following names: Byzantium, New or Second Rome (Roma Secunda), Augusta Antonina, al-Qusṭanṭiniyah etc.
The Istanbul attracts millions of tourists who are interesting to see its cultural and historical heritage,to feel its cosmopolitan atmosphere and to have fun, guaranteed in this city.
Don’t miss opportunity to get know better Istambul in different kind of sightseeing, including an organized tour with guides, or on your own way, cruising Bosphorus etc.
There are so many Istanbul attractions and it is impossible to visit all of them, no matter how long you are staying in Istanbul. That’s why, you will always go back to Istanbul and every visit will be unique and different from previous ones. Therefore, make your own list. We are honestly recommend the following:
The Hagia Sophia
The Hagia Sophia is certainly the biggest attraction in Istanbul. Even many other buildings in this city are more impressive, the beauty and significance of the Hagia Sophia are complete in your eyes after you know more about it and when you enter through its port. More about the Hagia Sophia read here, “Hagia Sophia” .
The Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque known as the Sultan Ahmet Mosque is one of the most recognizable and most beautiful buildings in Istanbul. It was built by famous architect Mehmet Aga, who shocked the Islamic world by placing six minarets around the mosque, which is opposed to Islamic customs. The Blue Mosque is named by the 21,043 blue tiles which were used to covere the mosque. Blue Mosque is magnificient with its beauty, size and significance as well as with its cultural material inside.
The Yerebatan sarniyi
Yerebatan sarniyi, known as the Basilica Cistern, is one of 24 underground palaces, known as „tanks“ . These “tanks” have for centuries served as water reservoirs where the water supply a large royal palace. In this case it was the Royal Palace of Justinian I. In the sixth century in a period of drought or when the city was under blockade, this tank had very important role and purpose. It was discovered just by accident, one century after the fall of Constantinople, while a French diplomat was fishing.
In the area between the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque is situated Hippodrome – the bloodiest Byzantine arena that were once capable of holding up to 100,000 visitors.
Glory of the arena began to decline after the Constantinople fall when ornaments and decoration elements disappeared under the Crusaders robbery. However, even today the Hippodrome impresses visitors.In the Hippodrome there are three pillars / Obelisk: Constantine pillar, Serpentin pillar and Teodosije obelisk.
There is also a fountain of Kaiser Wilhelm II, built in 1898th when he visited Istanbul.
The Mihrimah Mosque
Mihrimah-Mosque or Sulejmanija was built around the 1550th and is the largest high-quality work of the Ottoman architect Sinan, the constructor that has built in honor of Suleiman the Magnificent. This impressive building kept incredable cultural treasure. Now, it is also a library with more than 110,000 manuscripts.
The Topkapi Palace
Topkapi Palace was the royal palace of the sultans from where they ruled the Ottoman Empire from the XV to the XIX century, but in 1924 it lost its function when Abdul Aziz Medzit moved royal palace to Dolmabahce Palace and the Topkapi Palace turn into a museum.
Topkapi Palace was built by Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror. It keeps an impressive treasure collection. In the palace is protected the largest emerald in the world. Here is a valuable collection of crystals, silver and Chinese porcelain.
There are harem, labyrinth of intrigue and centar of argument in the palace which are particularly interesting.
In the Topkapi Palace visitors can see significant relics as hand bones of the St. Jovan as well as broken teeth, hair and footprint of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
The Dolmabahce castle
Dolmabahce castle is extravagant palace built in the Rococo style. Sultan Abdul Aziz wanted to have his own version of Versailles and has built this palace with loans by foreign banks because he could not provide alone such a wealth of material. Here, at the same Sultan has expressed his refined style.
The palace can be visited only in organized group visits and there are two visits: Selamluk (section reserved for men) and Haremluk (the part for women). Besides harem, it can be seen also specially designed bedroom Sultan Abdul Aziz.
Here is not ending description and listing Istanbul sights. On the contrary, we have briefly described only seven of them. It remains for you to explore and visit more and sightsi such as the Bulgarian Church of Sts. Stephen (also known as Bulgaria iron church), the Galata Tower (Galata sarai), the Arab Mosque, the Fatih Mosque, the Mosaic Museum and many other buildings.
There are many attractions you should not miss to visit as well as the walls of Constantinople, street İstiklâl, Spice Market (Egyptian Bazaar), the Grand Bazaar, Taksim Square, the Golden Horn Bay, the Olympic Stadium Ataturk …
Here is not the end of Istanbul landmarks either, places you should see and visit but there is no point any more to describe all of them because this text would never end.
If you love to travel, then plan to visit Istanbul, and if you live in the Balkan Peninsula, a visit to this “capital” city is more like a cultural obligation that you must do at least once in your life. Those who has visited Instanbul, already know that it will be certainly an unforegettable experience.
Photo: Jordana Ficovic
Text: Miroslav Bronzic
Published on: 28.10.2010