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Istanbul Tours

Istanbul is the only city in the world that spans over two continents. Europe and Asia. The city embodies mystery, intrigue, and glamour which left most other cities long ago. From the shores of the Bosphorus at sunset, the red evening light reflects in the windows on the opposite shore and you understand what attracts people to this glorious city. It is a city of contrasts, bustling with the cacophony of 21st century life, and is yet achingly beautiful. It is set in a stunning location, surrounded by water, which is the narrow strait of the Bosphorus and the serene sea of Marmara separating Europe from Asia. Istanbul has a foot in each, celebrating the best of both heritages. As Byzantium, Constantinople and finally, Istanbul, it has been the capital of three Empires, each leaving their mark in the form of stunning palaces, castles, mosques, churches and monuments. The legacy of its chequered past can be seen on every turn of the modern city. Some of the majour Sites in Istanbul are :-

Dolmabahce Palace

The site of Dolmabahce, which literally means "filled garden" was in Byzantine times an inlet on the Bosphorus. Mehmed, the Conqueror had the harbour filled and made into a garden. The palace's magnificent marble facade faces the Bosphorus. One enters through the gardens after passing through the main south gate. Taking up the area of 250.000 square meters, the entire palace complex consists of 258 rooms, six of which are hamams and 43 are saloons. Two-thirds of the palace consists of the woman's quarters (haremlik).

Topkapi Palace

After the conquest of Istanbul, Mehmet the Conqueror chose a site on the Forum Tauri - Beyazit Square for his first palace. So called "Old Palace" is referred to in the sources as a walled complex, altough no traces of it now remain. It features, however in some old maps and plans of Istanbul, on the site of the present University Of Istanbul main building. It is though that the walls surrounding the university building follow the original walls of the palace, while the main portal is thought to have been where the present entrance is. Another portal looked out to Suleymaniye Mosque. After the construction of Topkapi Palace, the old palace became the abode of the members of the Sultan's harem who had lost favour of the wives of previous sultans. At one point it is known to have have had a broad eaved Baroque portal. Not long fater the conquest, Mehmet II began the construction of a new palace at Seraglio Point, wich became known as Topkapi Sarayi after a shore palace near the Cannon Gate (Topkapi) of the sea walls.

Hagia Sophia

The most renowned Byzantine cathedral and the bestknown Christian church in Istanbul. The first church was built between 325-360 AD. Construction was begun during the reign of Constantine and completed by his son Constantius (337-361 AD.). Being the largest imperial church in the city it was known as the Megalo Ekklesia. The name Hagia Sophia (Sacred wisdom) was adopted in the fifth century, and it was by this name that the cathedral continued to be known throughout the Byzantine era, being corrupted in the Turkish era to Ayasofya.

Suleymaniye Mosque

Mosque is located in a neighbourhood of Eminonu named after it Suleymaniye. It was built by Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent in 1557 and designed by Achitect Sinan.The Suleymaniye Mosque is an awesome work of art, dating from a time when Ottoman state was at its most splendid. Grandeur symbolised the period. The mosque, which were the most important feature of the silhouette of Istanbul, were not just places of worship. The complexes and neighbourhoods which surrounded them made them into focus of social and cultural life, an institution which characterised city life.

Archaeology Museum

Istanbul Archaeology Museums, which were established as Muze-i Humayun (Empire Museum) by the famous artist and museum director Osman Hamdi Bey at the end of the 19th century, were opened to public on June 13, 1891. Besides its importance as the "first Turkish museum", it has an importance and specialty of being one of the museum buildings that are constructed as a Museum in the World. Today, it still protects its outstanding place in the World's biggest museums with its works more than a million belonging to various cultures.In the museum collections, there are rich and very important works of art belonging to various civilizations from the regions from Balkans to Africa, from Anatolia and Mesopotamia to Arab Peninsula and Afghanistan that were in the borders of the Ottoman Empire.

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