Basilica of Hagia Sophia
Basilica of Hagia Sophia (Holy
Wisdom), now called the Ayasofya Museum, is unquestionably one of
the finest buildings of all time. Built by Constantine
the Great and reconstructed by Justinian
in the 6th century, its immense dome rises 55 meters above the ground and its
diameter spans 31 meters. Linger here to admire the building’s majestic
serenity as well as the fine Byzantine mosaics.
Archeological Museums are found just
inside the first court of the Topkapı Palace. Included among its
treasures of antiquity are the celebrated Alexander
Sarcophagus and the facade of the Temple to Athena
from Assos. The Museum of the Ancient Orient displays artefacts
from the Sumerian, Babylonian, Assynan, Hatti and Hittite civilizations.
Fortress, was built by Mehmet the Conqueror
in 1452 prior to his capture of Constantinople
Completed in only four months, it is one of the most beautiful works of military
architecture in the world. In the castle is the Open-Air Museum amphitheater
that is the site for some events of the Istanbul Music Festival.
built in the 15th century as a kiosk, or pavilion, by Mehmet the
Conqueror, the Çinili
which houses the Museum of Turkish Ceramics, contains
beautiful l6th-century specimens from Iznik and fine examples of Seljuk
and Ottoman pottery and tiles.
the Ayasofya Museum, the St.
Irene Museum was originally a church. It ranks, in fact, as
the first church built in Istanbul. Constantine
commissioned it in the fourth century and Justinian
later had the church restored. The building reputedly stands on the site of a
dark stone building that houses the Museum of
Turkish and Islamic Art was built in 1524 by the Grand Vizier
to Süleyman the Magnificent, Ibrahim Paşa, as his
residence. It was the grandest private residence ever built in the Ottoman
Empire. Today it holds a superb collection of ceramics, metalwork, miniatures,
calligraphy, textiles, and woodwork as well as some of the oldest carpets in the
the street from the Ibrahim Paşa residence is the Museum
of Turkish Carpets which contains exquisite antique carpets and kilims
gathered from all over Turkey.
Hagia Sophia is the sixth-century Byzantine cistern known as the Yerebatan
Sarnıcı. Three hundred and thirty-six massive Corinthian
columns support the immense chambers fine brick vaulting.
The Mosaic Museum
situ exceptionally fine fifth and sixth-century mosaic pavements from the
Grand Palace of the Byzantine emperors. (Open every day except Tuesday).
The Kariye Museum,
church of ‘St. Savior” in the Chora
complex, is, after Hagia Sophia, the most important Byzantine monument in Constantınople.
Unremarkable in its architecture, inside, the walls are decorated with superb
14th-century mosaics. Illustrating scenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin
Mary, these brilliantly colored paintings embody the vigour of Byzantine art. In
restored wooden houses in the area surrounding the church you can enjoy tea and
coffee in a relaxed atmosphere far removed from the city’s hectic pace.
The Aviation Museum
traces the development of flight in Turkey.
the Military Museum the great field
tents used by the Ottoman armies on campaigns are on display. Other exhibits
include Ottoman weapons and the accoutrements of war. The Mehter Takımı
(Ottoman military band) can be heard performing Ottoman martial music between
3:00 and 4:00 p.m.
former residence in Şişli now serves as the Atatürk
Museum and displays his personal effects.
grand imperial caiques used by the sultans to cross the Bosphorus are among the
many other interesting exhibits of Ottoman naval history that can be seen at the
Naval Museum located in the Beşiktaş
in Beşiktaş is the Museum of
Fine Arts that houses Turkish paintings and sculptures from the end
of the 19th century to the present. (Open every day except Monday and
City Museum, located within the
gardens of the Yıldız Palace, preserves and documents the
history of Istanbul since the Ottoman conquest. Also within the gardens are the Yıldız
Palace Theatre and the Museum of Historical
Stage Costumes, with its richly decorated scenery and stage, and its
Rahmi KOC Industry Museum, in the
suburb of Hasköy on the coast of the Golden Horn, was an
Ottoman-period building, formerly called Lengerhane, for iron and steel
works. Today it houses exhibits on industrial development.
the Bosphorus in the picturesque suburb
of Büyükdere, the collections of the Sadberk
Hanım Museum fill two charming 19th century wooden
villas. A private museum which originally displayed only Turkish decorative
arts, it has recently been expanded for a new collection of archaeological
something different try the Caricature and
Cartoon Museum in Fatih on Atatürk Boulevard under the Bozdoğan
Aqueduct in the 16th century Gazanfer Ağa Medrese.