Turkey Tours

Greater Istanbul


The Expanding Metropolis of Istanbul spreads along the Bosphorus to the north, beyond the airport to the west and inland from the Asian shore in the east. Its official population is put at a little over 15 million but the actual population is probably much higher. A new, integrated transport system being built to make getting around this vast urban area easier. Most visitors, however, stay in the historical central parts where the major sights are located.

Central Istanbul

This guide divides central Istanbul into four distinc areas, each  with its own chapter. Three areas lie on the southern side of the Golden Horn. Seraglio Point is a promontory on which stands the sumptuous Topkapi Palace. Two architectural masterpieces, Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, dominate the area of Sultanahmet. The pace of life is quite different in the Bazaar Quarter, a maze of narrow streets filled with fenetic commerce. North of the Golden Horn is Beyoğlu, which for centuries was the prefferd place of residence of Istanbul’s foreign communities, and is still markedly cosmopolitan in atmosphere.

Old fashioned trams shuttle up and down the pedestrianized street that form the backbone of this area

The Grand Bazaar, in the Bazaar Quarter

This quaint former coffee house stands at a junction in the labyrinthine old shopping complex at the heart of the city’s Bazaar Quarter

Topkapi Palace, on Seraglio Point

This 18th century marble pavilion, the Library of Ahmet III, stands in one of the courtyards of Topkapi Palace. The walls of the palace grounds now enclose Gulhane Park as well as many other historic buildings

The History of Istanbul

Istanbul was founded in the 7th century BC on a naturally defensive site from which trade along the Bosphorus could be controlled. For 16 centuries it was a great imperial capital, first of the Byzantine Empire and then of the Ottoman sultans. Somoe knowledge of the histories of these two civilizations helps the visitor to appreciate the magnificent monuments found throught the city.

The topography of Istanbul was formed at the end of the last Ice Age, when meltwater created the Bosphorus. The Stone Age Cultures in the area were replaced by Copper Age villages and walled Bronze Age towns The Bosphorus was an important trade route in the ancient world along which ships carried wine and olive oil north form the Mediterranean, and grain, skins, wool, timber, wax, honey, salted meat and salted fish south from regions around the Black Sea.

The area around the Bosphorus was subjugated by a series of peoples, starting with the Mycenaeans (1400-1200 BC). Between 800 and  680 BC the region was controlled by the kingdom of Phyrgia. Later, in 676 BC, Greek expeditionaries founded the city of Chalcedon (on the site where modern Kadıköy now stands)

The Foundation of Byzantion

The foundation of Istanbul is usually dated to 667 BC when, according to legend, a Greek colonist, Byzas, led an expedition from the over


It s shown in the excavations, performed in Yarımburgaz cave, located within boundaries of Küçükçekmece Country that first settlements here go back to Paleolithic Country that first settlements here go back to Paleolithic age. It is found in excavations, performed in Fikirtepe and Pendik in Kadiköy in Anatolian side that settlement places go back to Chalcolithic period. Thracian origin Megarians came and settled in Sarayburnu under the leadership of Byzas in B.C 667. They call their settled place here as Byzantium after their leader. City prospers and develops in a short time thanks to the marine trade. Byzantium and also Anatolia went under Persian soverenignty in B.C. Century VI. Byzantium participates into Attica Delos union, established under the leadership of Athens in B.C. 478 in order to dispose of Persian soverenignty. After Alexander the Great demolished Persian Empire in B.C 333, city enters into Macedonians’ soverenignty. Romans went towards east in B.C 2nd Century so city entered under the soverenignty of Roman Empire in B.C 146. Byzantium was announced as new capital city of the emperorship by Roman Emperor Constantinopolis. City was built to look like Roma with its large avenues, squares, monuments and beautiful structures. Even titles, such as “Second Roma” and “New Roma”, are granted to such new city. After Roman Empire divides into two  parts in 395, Constantinopolis survives as capital city in Eastern Roman Empire. City witnesses the cruel robbery and ravage of Latins during Crusade IV. in 1204, emperorship losses its soveregnity. However, Eastern Roman (Byzantine) gains indepence again 1261. Ater Istanbul is conquered by Ottomans in 1453, Eastern Roman Empire goes out of existence. City becomes capital city of Ottoman State and survives under the name of Constantinopolis. Furthermore, Dersaadet, Darulhilafe, Deraliye and Asitane names are also used in the Ottoman period. After Ottoman State is is collapsed, city losses its title of being capital city. It is named as Istanbul officially in 1925. Name of Istanbul is originated from “eisten poli”, which means “toward city” in Greek language.

Istanbul Wallsand Yedikule Fortress

City, located within the Historical Peninsula, is surrounded with extant walls, constructed during emperor II. Theodosios’s (408-450) time. Walls, 21 km lenth, are composed of three parts as Land Walls, Sea of Marmara Walls and Golden Horn Walls. The walls in the direction of Golden Horn Walls. The walls in the directiolon of Golden Horn  are destroyed completely; the walls in the direction of Sea of Marmara are standing partially. Land walls are preserved substantially. There are more than 50 gates and about 300 bastions on the walls. There  are monumental gates such as Golden Gate (Porta Aurea), Belgrade Gate (Porta Xylokerko), Silivri Gate (Porta Selevria), Mevlana Gate (Myriandrion), Topkapi (Porta Hagios Romanos), Sulukale Gate (Porta Pempton), Edirne Gate (Porto Charsius) on the Land Walls.  Yedikule Fortress is constructed adjacent to walls during the reign of Mehmed The Conqueror in 1470. State treasury and weapons are protected here in the first times. Afterwards, it is used as jailhouse. Sultan Osman II is killed here. Yedikule Fortress is open for visitation as monumental museum in these days.

Topkapi Palace Museum

Topkapi Palace, situated in the acropolis hill, which is known as the first establishment place of the city and seeing Istanbul Strait, Golden Horn, Sea of Marmara from a very scenic place, is in the position of citadel, bordered with walls, 5km lenth, apart from the city along Hagia Sophia to Sarayburnu and is composed of four courtyards and Real Garden (Gülhane Park). Wall, surrounding Topkapi Palace is called Sur-u Sultani and is constructed during the reign of Fatih and combined with Byzantine Walls in the coast. Topkapi Palace is constructed during the reign of Mehmed The Conqueror between 1472-1478 years. Palace is enlarged with outbuildings, built during the reign of subsequent sultans. It becomes center of state administration and residince of the sultans for a period of about four centuries. After Sultan Abdülmecit is moved to Dolmabahçe Palace, which he ordered to be constructed in Bosphorus shores in 1856, Topkapi Palace is abandoned, however palace never losses its importance. It is the oldest and largest palace among the extant palaces due to its covered area in the worldwide. It is opened to public visits under the name of Topkapi Palace Museum in April 3, 1924 by the order of Ataturk. Topkapi Palace is entered through I. Courtyard, composed of four courtyards, through splendid Bab-i Hümayun (Imperial Gate) near Hagia Sophia. There are Saint Irene Church, which is open for public visits as monumental museum presently, Darphane-i Amire buildings and some store-houses and a small pavilion in the left in this field, which is called Alay Meydanı (I. Courtyard). There were buildings, constituting water treatment plants, belonging to the palace, called Gülhane Hospital, Has Fırını and Dolap Ocağı in the right of courtyard. II. Courtyard is entered through the monumental Babu-s Selam with two towers. This area, which is called Divan Square, is the ceremonial area, where the emperorship is managed and represent. There are divan-ı hümayun, called Kubbealtı with three domes and cloisters and Justice Tower on the left side. The treasury building with eight domes is situated adjacent to this building. Armor and weapons, used by Sultans and weapons of Ottoman, Memluk and Iran period, are exhibited in this building.. and other our Topkapi Palace articles: https://anascreccatravel.com/tag/topkapi-palace

Harem : Read

Golden Horn (Haliç)

According to a Greek legend, Io disguised as cow, passing Bosphorus (Istanbul Strait), hides herself in a sheltered place of Keras (current name: Haliç) and gives birth to her daughter Keroessa there. As you see, Keras (horn in Greek), name of Haliç, is derived from Keroessa. Then, Keroessa is married to god of seas, Poseidon and their child, Byzas establishes city of Istanbul. Haliç, which is called Golden Horn by Westerns, starts from Sarayburnu and in the other side, Galata and extend to the place, where Kağıthane and Alibeyköyü streams flow into the sea. New Galata Bridge, Unkapanı Bridge and Atatürk Bridges, connecting two sides to each other, are situated on Haliç. Old Galata Bridge is also protected on Haliç. Haliç was the natural harbor of the city. There were factories, workshops, shipyards on its two sides for the convenience of marine tranportation previously. Most of them were eliminated in the last thirty years and surrounding of Haliç  was opened. Now, lets try to know historical structures around Haliç by starting from the side of historical peninsula. Sepetçiler Pavilion, located on the shore between Sarayburnu and Sirckeci Railway Station, is constructed by the order of Sultan Ibrahim on the place of an old kiosk, which is destroyed in 1643, in order to enable harem peoples to watch marine festivals. Kiosk, which is renewed during the reign of I. Mahmut, serves as International Press Centre at the present time.

Rustem Pasha Mosque

Mosque, which is located in Eminonu district and is a part of Rustem Pasha Social Complex, is constructed by Sinan The Architect in 1560. Inner space and last prayer place of the mosque are covered with 16th Century İznik tiles thorougly and mosque appears almost as a tile museum. There are 41 different tulip ornament images on the tiles.

New Mosque

Safiye Sultan, mother of Sultan III. Murat, initiates the construction of mosque in Eminönü in 1597. Architect of the mosque in Eminönü in 1597. Architect of the mosque is Davut Ağa. After death of Davut Ağa, works are maintained by Dalgıç Mehmet Ağa.

Construction of the mosque is ceased upon death of  Safiye Sultan in 1603. Csonstruction of mosque can be completed by Head of Architect Mustafa Ağa, by the order of Hatice Sultan, mother of Sultan IV. Mehmet in 1664. Inner space and last prayer place of the mosque are coverd with tiles thoroughly. New Mosque and Social Complex is the last model of classical Ottoman architecture style. Spice Bazaar and tomb of Turhan Sultan are located within the structure group, constructed as Social complex.

Topkapi Palace

The first palace, of which there is not a trace to be seen today, was built by the Ottoman Turks after the conquest of Istanbul (1453) in the present city region of “Beyazıt”, where the Istanbul University complex is situated today. The “new palace”, the present Topkapi Palace, was erected in 1467, and the sultan of that time, Mehmet II, immediately moved into it. The reason for this change in residence was probably the sultan’s need to be based at a geographically convenient location. To begin with, the new palace was only used for offical receptions and state affairs. The harem ladies lived in the old palace at that time. At the end of the 16th century however the Harem section was added to the new palace remained the official residence of the sultans, when Sultan Abdülmecit I moved to new palace of “Dolmabahçe”, built on the Bosphorus.


During the heyday of the Ottoman Empire approximately 4000 people lived in the Topkapi Palace confines. The total complex of this palace, now functioning as a museum, is composed of the palace itself, four huge courts and a harem section.

In this book, I will not only describe the presebt structure of Topkapi Palace in its new function as a museum, but the entire area within the palace walls.

We will visit the palace in the following order:

  • The First Court
  • The Second Court
  • The Third Court
  • The Fourth Court
  • The Harem
  • Around Topkapi Palace
  • Through the outer gardens of the palace

“Bab-i Hümayun” (Imperial Gate)

This gate is situated behind Saint Sophia And stands near the beautiful fountain of Sultan Ahmet III. The palace area begins with this huge gate. According to the inscription above the gate, it was erected in 1478 during the reign of Sultan Mehmet II, and was reconstructed later during the reigns of Sultan Mahmut II and Sultan Abdulaziz. According to documents dating from 15th century, above this gate there used to be a pavilion with a tower, but this has not been in existence for the past century. Previosly, on both sides of the gate, there stood the gate keepers’ quarters.. Read more…

Fatih Mosque

Mosque, located in Fatih district, is stuated within the social complex, which is constructed between 1467-1470 by the order of Mehmed the Conqueror for his own name. Architect of the mosque is Atik Sinan. Mosque is ruined substantially in the earthquake in 1765 and Sultan III. Mustafa gets the mosque repaired by arhictect Mehmet Tahir Ağa. There are architectural structures, composed of 16 madrasahs, soup kitchen, hostel old Turkish hospital, library, muvakkithane (time adjusting house), hamam, Ottoman elemantart-primary school and two tombs within the social complex other than the mosque. It is possible to see many mosques, churces and synagogues and civil architecture models in Cibali, Fener, Balat and Ayvansaray districts. Furthermore, Center of Orthodox Rum Patriarchate is also situated in Fener. Anemas dungeons and extant and standing Feudal Landlords2s Palace from Byzantine period, are the important structures, which are required to be visited. Building of Fez Factory, constructed for production of fez during the reign of II. Mahmut in 1835, is located in Defterdar district in the right side of Ataturk bridge.

Eyup Sultan Mosque and Tomb

Mosque is located in Eyup district, and mosque and a tomb are constructed in the place where Eyyub El-Ensari, who is martyr during blockade of Istanbul by Arabians in 669, is burie d, by the order of Mehmed The Conqueror after the conquest of Istanbul in 1458. Mosque is destroyed during the reign of Sultan III. Selim and extant and current mosque is constructed between 1789 -1800. Eyup Sultan Tomb is repaired reatedly and outbuildings are constructed until it reaches today from Ottoman period. It is embellisged with the most beautifull tile boards of Iznik and Kutahya. Eyüp Sultan Tomb gains great importance because it is the location, where putting on sword ceremony of Ottoman Sultans is organized. Here is turned into a sacred place since establishment of Eyüp Sultan Mosque and tomb. This case attracts attention of Western travelers. Pierre Loti is one of the western travelers, who are interested in the oriental mysticisim. The Place where Pierre Loti sits and watches the sunset is called “Pierre Loti Cafe” or “Pierre Loti Hill” nowadays. Eyüp is a district of tombs at the same time. There are tombs of Mihrisah Valide Sultan, mother of III. Selim, Sokullu Mehmet Pasha and Husrev Pasha and many people at degree of government man in Ottoman period here other than Eyüp Sultan tomb. We can tell the following things by beginning from Galata in the opposite shore of Haliç. Beyoğlu, which is called Pera by Westerns, is modern European side of Ottoman in 19th Century. There were foreign country embassies, churches and quarters in Beyoğlu and there were business places of foreingn businessmen, merchants, bankers in Galata.

Galata Tower
Tower is constructed as the main tower of Galata Walls by Genoesses in 1348. Tower, which is damaged substantially due to earthquake in 1509, is repaired again. It is used as dungeon and fire tower in the miscellaneous periods. Tower with cylindrical body and covered with conical roof is in the height of 68m and has 12 floors.

Museum of Divan Literature

Structure, which is located in Tunel district and used of Mevlevi Lodge, is constructed instead of Mevlevi Lodge, which is burned during the reign of III. Mustafa in 1766. Mevlevi Lodge, which is constructed in the form of Social Complex is composed of semahane, dervishes’ celles, sheikh chamber and sultan mess, women’s section library, public fountain, muvakkithane (time adjusting house), kitchen, tombs and graveyard. It is turned into a museum, in which divans of Divan poets, manuscripts, musical instruments and mevlevi objects exhibited, in 1975.

Aynalıkavak Pavilion

It is situated within a large garden behind Haliç Shipyard. It is constructed during the reign of Sultan III Ahmet (1703-1730). It is turned into the pavilion lastly during the reign of Sultan III. Selim (1789-1807). Sultan III. Selim makes his compositions here. Pavilion is arranged as Museum of Classical Turkish Musical Instruments.

Rahmi Koc Museum

Museum, which is located in Hasköy and opened for public visits in 2001, exhibits the vehicles, reflecting development history of land, air, railyway and marine transportation and extant industrial and engineering works, belonging to various periods.

The Bosphorus

According to myth, Byzas was the son of Keroessa, who is daughter of god of seas Posedion and head god Zeus and he was born in a place, close to this city. Name of current Haliç was Keroessa. Byzas surrounded the city which he established with assistances of god Apollo and Poseidon, with walls. Bosphorus, which is the name of Istanbul Strait, is used with the meaning of “Cow passage”, “Ox passage” or “Calf passage”. It has its own myth as follows. According to myth, god of the gods Zeus falls in loce with Io, who is daughter of Argos king. As Io also falls in love with Io, who is daughter of Argos king. As Io also falls in love with Zeus, Io becomes pregnant. However, Zeus is afraid of evil action of his wife Hera and disguises his lover as cow and hides her. Hera is aware of the case and she causes cow disguised Io bother with the horse fly. As horse fly disturbs the cow, cow can’t grass and escapes continuosly, it passes from Istanbul Strait. Therefore, Istanbul Strait is called Bosphorus.

Dolmabahce Palace

It is constructed between 1843-1856 during the reign of Sultan Abdülmacit. The architect of the Palace is Garabet Balyan. Palace, having an area with 110000 square meters with its garden, is composed of three main buildings as Selamlık, Reception Hall and Harem. Unlike other sultan palaces, Selamlık and Harem of the palace are in the same building. The most important section of the palace is Reception (Ceremony) Hall. This hall is famous with the droplight in the weight of 4,5 tons. Dolmabahçe Palace is a version of baroque and rococo art nouveau, developing in Europe in 19th Century in terms of the ornamentation and decoration… Read More…

Sakıp Sabancı Museum

Ottoman period calligraphy samples decorative article, porcelain, furniture, picture, carpet and pictures of Turkish painters for Ottoman and Republic period and also, works of European painters, who şive within boundaries of Ottoman and Republic period and also, works of European painters, who live within boundaries of Ottoman boundraies are exhibited in the museum, located in Emirgan.

Sadberk Hanım Museum

The most excellent works of Anatolian ethnography  and archaelogy are exhibited in the museum, located in Emirgan.

Adalar (Princes’s Islands)

Also you can look our princes’s islands tour

Adalar is the place where princes were exiled in Eastern Roman period and called Princes’ Islands and known as Kınalıada, Burgazada, Heybeliada, Büyükada ve Sedef Islands nowadays and there are some houses, kiosk and church structures, which are the most beautiful samples of civil architecture. Cappadocia Tours