Place of interest in Istanbul
By Seif Kamel
Istanbul has become one of the most marvelous touristic destinations in Europe. The city is among a few in the world that lies between two continents; Europe and Asia, with the Bosporus Strait in the middle.
Istanbul is famous for many Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman monuments spread all over the city. This is beside many markets and remarkable shops. Today we will shed some light on more highlights of Istanbul. A visit to Istanbul is included in almost any vacation package to Turkey.
Despite the fact that the Church we view today was built in the 6th century, this was the third structure to be constructed in the oldest Christian worship site in Istanbul.
With a hundred years after the Moslem conquests of the city, the Church was incorporated with the Topkapi palace and it was used as an arsenal. The Topkapi Palace is one of the highlights of Istanbul and many travelers visit it as part of their Turkey tour.
Today the building that was once served as a Church hosts many musical concerts during the Istanbul Music Festival.
The Hagia Ernie has three magnificent features that never survived in any other Churches in Istanbul; the Synthorone, or the five rows of built in seats were occupied by clergy officiating during services.
This is also the marvelous black mosaic that decorates the inner walls of the Church cross on gold background that dates back to the 8th century.
In the backyard of the church, there was a royal necropolis of many Byzantine emperors was located; however, most of the items found in these tombs were transferred to the archeological museum nearby. This museum is explored by many tourists who spend their holidays in Istanbul.
The Fountain of Ahmed III
The fountain of Ahmed III, built in 1728, is the most beautiful among the several fountains of Istanbul. The fountain was among the few constructions that was built by Ahmed III and was not destroyed by his ancestor, Ahmed II, who demolished many of the achievements of Ahmed III.
The fountain was constructed in the delicate Turkish Rocco style. It has five small decorated domes, a Mihrab shaped niche, and a beautiful floral reliefs.
The Turkish fountains were actually not constructed for beatification, as they served as a sabil, where the public used to come and take their needs of water. Many Sabils are still present in Istanbul, the most popular touristic destination included in any escorted tours to Turkey.
Each sections of the four walled fountain had a tap above a carved marble basin. Above each tap, there is remarkable calligraphy dating back to the 18th century.
The inscriptions were written in the golden color on a blue green background. At each of the four corners there is a sabil, covered with decorated marble grilles.
The Imperial Mint
The Ottomans have opened a mint in that location in 1727 but most of what the visitors view today dates back to the reign of Mohamed II, who ruled over Turkey from 1808 till 1839, and he extended the complex largely adding more structures.
In 1967, the mint was relocated in another building in Istanbul and the structure today houses the state laboratory for restoration and conservation. However, the visitors, who come to Istanbul to enjoy their holidays in Turkey, are welcomed to visit the place and have a look at this historical building.
This park occupies what were once the lower grounds of the Topkapi palace. Today, it is only a public garden with some historical landmarks to be viewed and admired.
The park no longer hosts a zoo, but one can always visit the aquarium. Located at the far end of the park, there is the Goths column, a well preserved 3rd century victory monument that is surrounded by a cluster of teahouses.
Across the main street running on the northeast section of the park, the Kennedy Caddesi Street, there a magnificent viewpoint of where the Gold Horn meets the Bosporus.
The Sublime Porte
Foreign ambassadors to Ottoman Turkey were called the ambassadors to the Sublime Porte, a name derived from this historical structure that once led into the offices of grand viziers during the Ottoman period.
The Sublime Forte played a major role in the political life of the Ottomans as it provided an important counterbalance to the whims of the Sultans.
The most remarkable feature of this structure is the Rocco gateway built in the 1840s. The guarded entrance shields the offices of Istanbul province government nowadays.
The Archeological Museum of Istanbul
Although the Turkish authorities have started only in the middle of the 19th century to collect antiquities, the provinces governors started soon sending marvelous and valuable Ottoman items. The museum welcomes many tourists who enjoy their private tours in Turkey.
The Museum has one of the largest collections in the world of handicrafts and treasures from the pre-classical world.
The main building of the museum was erected by Othamn Hamdi Bey, who lived in Turkey from 1881 till 1910, to host his findings. Afterwards a four floors wing of the museum was opened in 1991. Many Istanbul tours include a visit to the Archeological Museum.
This famous archeologist and painter had great discoveries including the sarcophagi that he has found in the royal necropolis of Sidon in Lebanon.
The main building of the museum hosts the 20 galleries displaying the classical antiquities of the museum. The new wing has some archeological finds from Istanbul and other regions of Turkey and the Children museum as well.
The most remarkable displays of the museum include the sarcophagus of Alexander. This magnificently marble decorated tomb that dates back to the 4th century BC is thought to be constructed for the King of Sidon. It was named after Alexander the Great because it is depicted on it his victory over the Persians. There are many valuable collections in the museum that has been added lately to many private tours to Turkey.
There is also the tablet constituting the first piece treaty in the history of mankind, the Treaty of Qadesh that was signed between Ramses II, the king of Egypt, and the Hittites in 1269 BC.
The Mosaic icon of presentation, dating back from the 6th or the 7th century, is the only surviving item from the byzantine iconoclastic period.
The Sirkeci Railway Station
This magnificent railway station was built to welcome the long anticipated Orient Express train from Europe.
The station was officially opened in 1890, although this deluxe train used to move around Istanbul for a year by then. The Sirkeci Railway station receives numerous tourists today whom come to enjoy their trips in Turkey.
The station was designed by the German architect, Jasmund who was skilful to harmonize many of the architecture styles of Istanbul all together.
The Byzantine style of bricks and stones is mixed with the Seljuk style of portals and the Moslem style is present in the horseshoe arches around the windows.
The cafe of the station is a nice place to rest and escape from the busy city. The station serves many trains coming from Greece, other countries in Europe, and the European section of Turkey.
The Mosaics Museum
This museum was simply created by roofing over a part of the palace of the Byzantine Emperor which was discovered in 1930. The museum has several rooms with magnificence mosaic portraits.
The floor of the museum that survived until today displays a scene including domestic beasts, hunting and fighting scenes. Many travelers spending their tours in Istanbul explore several museums in the city.
It is thought to be the floor for the colonnade that guides from the royal apartments to the imperial enclosure beside the hippodrome and it dates from the 5th or the 6th century.
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