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The Ultimate Guide To Istanbul / Istanbul This Magical Meeting Place Of East And West Has More Top-Drawer Attractions Than It Has Minarets (and that’s a lot).Research And Publication Lonely Planet / Janbolat Khanat Almaty Tourism News Office

  • Living History

    İstanbul’s strategic location has attracted many marauding armies over the centuries. The Greeks, Romans and Venetians took turns ruling before the Ottomans stormed into town and decided to stay – physical reminders of their various tenures are found across the city.

    The fact that the city straddles two continents wasn’t its only drawcard – it was the final stage on the legendary Silk Road linking Asia with Europe, and many merchants who came here liked it so much that they, too, decided to stay. In so doing, they gave the city a cultural diversity that it retains to this day.

    Art & Architecture

    The conquering armies of ancient times tended to ransack the city rather than endow it with artistic treasures, but all that changed with the Byzantines, who adorned their churches and palaces with mosaics and frescoes. Miraculously, many of these remain.

    Their successors, the Ottomans, were quick to launch an ambitious building program and the magnificently decorated imperial mosques that resulted are architectural triumphs that together form one of the world’s great skylines.

    In recent years, local banks and business dynasties have reprised the Ottomans’ grand ambitions and endowed an impressive array of galleries, museums and festivals for all to enjoy.


  • Culinary Heritage

    ‘But what about the food?’ we hear you say. We’re happy to report that the city’s cuisine is as diverse as its heritage, and delicious to boot. Locals take their eating and drinking seriously – the restaurants here are the best in the country.

    You can eat aromatic Asian dishes or Italian classics if you so choose, but most visitors prefer to sample the succulent kebaps, flavoursome mezes and freshly caught fish that are the city’s signature dishes, washing them down with the national drink, rakı (aniseed brandy), or a glass or two of locally produced wine.

    Local Life

    Some ancient cities are the sum of their monuments, but İstanbul factors a lot more into the equation. Chief among its manifold attractions are the locals, who have an infectious love of life and generosity of spirit.

    This vibrant, inclusive and expanding community is full of people who work and party hard, treasure family and friendships, and have no problem melding tradition and modernity in their everyday lives.

    Joining them in their favourite haunts – çay bahçesis (tea gardens), kahvehans (coffeehouses), meyhanes (Turkish taverns) and kebapçıs (kebap restaurants) – will be a highlight of your visit…

    TOP CHOICESIGHTS IN SULTANAHMET

    Topkapı Palace

    Topkapı is the subject of more colourful stories than most of the world’s museums put together. Libidinous sultans, ambitious courtiers, beautiful concubines and scheming eunuchs lived and worked here between the 15th and 19th centuries when it was the court of the Ottoman empire. A visit to the palace’s opulent pavilions, jewel-filled Treasury and sprawling Harem gives a fascinating glimpse into their lives.

    TOP CHOICESIGHTS IN SULTANAHMET

    Aya Sofya

    There are many important monuments in İstanbul, but this venerable structure – which was commissioned by the great Byzantine emperor Justinian, consecrated as a church in 537, converted to a mosque by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453 and declared a museum by Atatürk in 1935 – surpasses the rest due to its innovative architectural form, rich history, religious importance and extraordinary beauty.

    TOP CHOICESIGHTS IN THE GOLDEN HORN

    Kariye Museum (Chora Church)

    İstanbul has more than its fair share of Byzantine monuments, but few are as drop-dead gorgeous as this mosaic- and fresco-laden church. Nestled in the shadow of Theodosius II’s monumental land walls and now a museum, it receives a fraction of the visitor numbers that the famous Aya Sofya attracts but offers equally fascinating insights into Byzantine art. The church has been closed in stages for renovation over a number of years; check the website for details of what’s open.

    SIGHTS IN SULTANAHMET

    Hippodrome

    The Byzantine emperors loved nothing more than an afternoon at the chariot races, and this rectangular arena alongside Sultanahmet Park was their venue of choice. In its heyday, it was decorated by obelisks and statues, some of which remain in place today. Re-landscaped in more recent years, it is one of the city’s most popular meeting places and promenades.

    TOP CHOICESIGHTS IN BAZAAR DISTRICT

    Süleymaniye Mosque

    The Süleymaniye crowns one of İstanbul’s seven hills and dominates the Golden Horn, providing a landmark for the entire city. Though it’s not the largest of the Ottoman mosques, it is certainly one of the grandest and most beautiful. It’s also unusual in that many of its original külliye (mosque complex) buildings have been retained and sympathetically adapted for reuse.

    TOP CHOICESIGHTS IN SULTANAHMET

    Basilica Cistern

    This subterranean structure was commissioned by Emperor Justinian and built in 532. The largest surviving Byzantine cistern in İstanbul, it was constructed using 336 columns, many of which were salvaged from ruined temples and feature fine carved capitals. Its symmetry and sheer grandeur of conception are quite breathtaking, and its cavernous depths make a great retreat on summer days.

    TOP CHOICESIGHTS IN SULTANAHMET

    Blue Mosque

    İstanbul’s most photogenic building was the grand project of Sultan Ahmet I (r 1603–17), whose tomb is located on the north side of the site facing Sultanahmet Park. The mosque’s wonderfully curvaceous exterior features a cascade of domes and six slender minarets. Blue İznik tiles adorn the interior and give the building its unofficial but commonly used name.

    SIGHTS IN THE GOLDEN HORN

    Patriarchal Church of St George

    Dating from 1836, this church is part of the Greek Patriarchate compound. Inside the church are artefacts including Byzantine mosaics, religious relics and a wood-and-inlay patriarchal throne. The most eye-catching feature is an ornately carved wooden iconostasis (screen of icons) that was restored and lavishly gilded in 1994.

    TOP CHOICESIGHTS IN BAZAAR DISTRICT

    Grand Bazaar

    The colourful and chaotic Grand Bazaar is the heart of İstanbul’s Old City and has been so for centuries. Starting as a small vaulted bedesten (warehouse) built by order of Mehmet the Conqueror in 1461, it grew to cover a vast area as lanes between the bedesten, neighbouring shops and hans (caravanserais) were roofed and the market assumed the sprawling, labyrinthine form that it retains today.

    TOP CHOICESIGHTS IN BEYOĞLU

    Pera Museum

    There’s plenty to see at this impressive museum, but its major draw is undoubtedly the 2nd-floor exhibition of paintings featuring Turkish Orientalist themes. Drawn from Suna and İnan Kıraç’s world-class private collection, the works provide fascinating glimpses into the Ottoman world from the 17th to 20th centuries and include the most beloved painting in the Turkish canon – Osman Hamdı Bey’s The Tortoise Trainer (1906).

    Other floors host high-profile temporary exhibitions (past exhibitions have showcased Warhol, de Chirico, Picasso and Botero).

    TOP CHOICESIGHTS IN SULTANAHMET

    İstanbul Archaeology Museums

    The city’s foremost archaeological museum is housed in three buildings close to Topkapı Palace. There are many highlights, but the sarcophagi from the Royal Necropolis of Sidon are particularly striking.

    Currently undergoing a massive renovation, much of the main building is closed and only the Tiled Pavilion, Museum of the Ancient Orient and Ancient Age Sculpture section (where the sarcophagi are displayed) can be visited. The remaining exhibits are due to reopen in 2020.

    TOP CHOICESIGHTS IN THE BOSPHORUS SUBURBS

    Dolmabahçe Palace

    These days it’s fashionable for architects and critics influenced by the less-is-more aesthetic of Bauhaus masters to sneer at buildings such as Dolmabahçe. However, the crowds that throng to this imperial palace with its neoclassical exterior and over-the-top interior clearly don’t share that disdain, flocking here to tour its Selamlık (Ceremonial Quarters) and Harem. Both are visited on a self-guided audio tour (included in ticket cost). Of the two, the Selamlık is the more interesting.

    TOP CHOICESIGHTS IN KADIKÖY

    Kadıköy Produce Market

    An aromatic, colourful and alluring showcase of the best fresh produce in the city, the Kadıköy Pazarı is foodie central for locals and is becoming an increasingly popular destination for tourists. Equally rewarding to explore independently or on a guided culinary walk, it’s small enough to retain a local feel yet large enough to support a variety of specialist traders.

    SIGHTS IN SULTANAHMET

    Aya Sofya Tombs

    Part of the Aya Sofya complex but entered via Babıhümayun Caddesi, these tombs are the final resting places of five 16th- and 17th-century sultans – Mehmet III, Selim II, Murat III, İbrahim I and Mustafa I – most of whom are buried with members of their families. The ornate interior decoration in the tombs features the very best Ottoman tile work, calligraphy and decorative paintwork.

    TOP CHOICESIGHTS IN BEYOĞLU

    Museum of Innocence

    The painstaking attention to detail in this fascinating museum/piece of conceptual art will certainly provide every amateur psychologist with a theory or two about its creator, Nobel Prize–winning novelist Orhan Pamuk. Vitrines display a quirky collection of objects that evoke the minutiae of İstanbullu life in the mid- to late 20th century, when Pamuk’s novel The Museum of Innocence is set.

    SIGHTS IN THE GOLDEN HORN

    Eyüp Sultan Mosque

    This important complex marks the supposed burial place of Ebu Eyüp el-Ensari, a friend of the Prophet who fell in battle outside the walls of Constantinople while carrying the banner of Islam during the Arab assault and siege of the city (AD 674 to 678). His tomb is İstanbul’s most important Islamic shrine.

    TOP CHOICESIGHTS IN SULTANAHMET

    Museum of Turkish & Islamic Arts

    This Ottoman palace was built in 1524 for İbrahim Paşa, childhood friend, brother-in-law and grand vizier of Süleyman the Magnificent. It now houses a splendid collection of artefacts, including exquisite calligraphy and one of the world’s most impressive antique carpet collections. Some large-scale carpets have been moved from the upper rooms to the Carpet Museum, but the collection remains a knockout with its palace carpets, prayer rugs and glittering artefacts such as a 17th-century Ottoman incense burner.

    TOP CHOICESIGHTS IN THE GOLDEN HORN

    Rahmi M Koç Museum

    This splendid museum is dedicated to the history of transport, industry and communications in Turkey. Founded by the head of the Koç industrial group, one of Turkey’s most prominent conglomerates, it exhibits artefacts from İstanbul’s industrial past and is highly interactive, making it a particularly enjoyable destination for those travelling with children.

    TOP CHOICESIGHTS IN BAZAAR DISTRICT

    Spice Bazaar

    Vividly coloured spices are displayed alongside jewel-like lokum (Turkish delight) at this Ottoman-era marketplace, providing eye candy for the thousands of tourists and locals who make their way here every day. Stalls also sell caviar, dried herbs, honey, nuts and dried fruits. The number of stalls selling tourist trinkets increases annually, yet this remains a great place to stock up on edible souvenirs, share a few jokes with vendors and marvel at the well-preserved building.

    SIGHTS IN BAZAAR DISTRICT

    Rüstem Paşa Mosque

    Nestled in the middle of the busy Tahtakale shopping district, this diminutive mosque is a gem. Dating from 1560, it was designed by Sinan for Rüstem Paşa, son-in-

    TOP CHOICESIGHTS IN BEYOĞLU

    İstanbul Modern

    This lavishly funded and innovative museum has an extensive collection of Turkish art and also stages a constantly changing and uniformly excellent program of mixed-media exhibitions by high-profile local and international artists.

    Its permanent home is next to the Bosphorus in Tophane, but the massive Galataport redevelopment project currently under way has led to it temporarily relocating to this site in Beyoğlu. A move back to a new building in Tophane is expected some time in 2021.

    SIGHTS IN THE GOLDEN HORN

    Yavuz Sultan Selim Mosque

    The sultan to whom this mosque was dedicated (Süleyman the Magnificent’s father, Selim I, known as ‘the Grim’) is famous for having killed two of his brothers, six of his nephews and three of his own sons in order to assure his succession and that of Süleyman. He did, however, lay the groundwork for his son’s imperial success and, to this day, İstanbullus love his mosque.

    SIGHTS IN SULTANAHMET

    Little Aya Sofya

    Justinian and his wife Theodora built this little church sometime between 527 and 536, just before Justinian built Aya Sofya. You can still see their monogram worked into some of the frilly white capitals.

    The building is one of the most beautiful Byzantine structures in the city despite being converted into a mosque in the early 16th century and having many of its original features obscured during an extensive restoration in 2007.

    SIGHTS IN SULTANAHMET

    Gülhane Park

    Gülhane Park was once part of the grounds of Topkapı Palace, accessible only to the royal court.

    These days crowds of locals come here to picnic under the many trees, promenade past the formally planted flowerbeds, and enjoy wonderful views of the Bosphorus, Sea of Marmara and Princes’ Islands from the park’s northeastern edge. The park is especially lovely during the İstanbul Tulip Festival, when thousands of tulips bloom.

    TOP CHOICESIGHTS IN BEYOĞLU

    İstiklal Caddesi

    Once called the Grand Rue de Pera but renamed İstiklal (Independence) in the early years of the Republic, Beyoğlu’s premier boulevard is a perfect metaphor for 21st-century Turkey, being an exciting mix of modernity and tradition.

    Contemporary boutiques and cutting-edge cultural centres are housed in its grand 19th-century buildings, and an antique tram traverses its length alongside crowds of pedestrians making their way to the bustling cafes, bistros and bars for which Beyoğlu is known.

    SIGHTS IN SULTANAHMET

    Museum of Great Palace Mosaics

    When archaeologists from the University of Ankara and Scotland’s University of St Andrews excavated around the nearby Arasta Bazaar in the 1930s and 1950s, they uncovered a stunning mosaic pavement featuring hunting and mythological scenes. Dating from early Byzantine times, it was restored between 1983 and 1997 and is now preserved in this museum.

    SIGHTS IN THE GOLDEN HORN

    Mihrimah Sultan Mosque

    The great Sinan put his stamp on the entire city and this mosque, constructed in the 1560s next to the Edirnekapı section of the historic land walls, is one of his best works.

    Commissioned by Süleyman the Magnificent’s favourite daughter, Mihrimah, it features a wonderfully light and airy interior with delicate stained-glass windows and an unusual ‘birdcage’ chandelier.

    SIGHTS IN BEYOĞLU

    Museum of Turkish Jews

    Housed in a building attached to the Neve Shalom synagogue near the Galata Tower, this museum was established in 2001 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the Sephardic Jews in the Ottoman Empire.

    The imaginatively curated and chronologically arranged interactive collection comprises photographs, video, sound recordings and objects that document the history, language and culture of the Jewish people in Turkey. Visitors must have a passport to enter.

    SIGHTS IN SULTANAHMET

    Spiral Column

    Coming up out of a hole in the ground, this strange column was once much taller and was topped by three serpents’ heads. Originally cast to commemorate a victory of the Hellenic confederation over the Persians in the battle of Plataea, it stood in front of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi (Greece) from 478 BC until Constantine the Great had it brought to his new capital city around AD 330.

    SIGHTS IN BAZAAR DISTRICT

    Hünkâr Kasrı

    Built over a grand archway attached to the New Mosque, this small kasrı (pavilion) or mahfili (loge) dates from the same period and functioned as a waiting area and retreat for the sultans. It comprises a salon, bedchamber and toilet and is decorated with exquisite İznik tiles throughout.

    Entry is via an extremely long and wide staircase that is now ulitised by the İstanbul Ticaret Odası (Chamber of Commerce) as a temporary exhibition space.

    SIGHTS IN ISTANBUL

    ARTER

    Opened to great fanfare in September 2019, the new home of the Koç Foundation’s collection of contemporary art – one of the most impressive in Turkey – was designed by London-based Grimshaw Architects and is located 1km northwest of Taksim Sq, in the Dolapdere district.

    It incorporates exhibition spaces, a sculpture terrace, performance halls, a library, an arts bookstore and a cafe, and its exhibition program is sure to be as impressive as its six-floor building, which has a shimmering facade of glass-fibre mosaics.

    SIGHTS IN SULTANAHMET

    Obelisk of Theodosius

    In the centre of the Hippodrome, this immaculately preserved pink granite obelisk was carved in Egypt during the reign of Thutmose III (r 1549–1503 BC) and erected in the Amon-Re temple at Karnak.

    Theodosius the Great (r 379–95) had it brought from Egypt to Constantinople in AD 390. On the marble podium below the obelisk, look for the carvings of Theodosius, his wife, his sons, state officials and bodyguards watching the chariot-race action from the kathisma (imperial box).

    SIGHTS IN SULTANAHMET

    Kaiser Wilhelm’s Fountain

    Near the northern end of the Hippodrome, this little gazebo with beautiful stonework was presented to the sultan and his people as a token of friendship by the German emperor in 1901, following his state visit to Sultan Abdül Hamit II in 1898.

    The monograms on the dome’s interior feature Abdül Hamit’s tuğra (calligraphic signature) and the first letter of Wilhelm’s name, representing their political union.

    SIGHTS IN SULTANAHMET

    Arasta Bazaar

    This historic arcade of shops was once part of the külliye (mosque complex) of the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii). Mosques built by the great and powerful usually included numerous public-service institutions, including an arasta (row of shops) such as this, as well as hospitals, soup kitchens and schools. The arasta is now home to some of Sultanahmet’s most alluring boutiques.

    SIGHTS IN SULTANAHMET

    Rough-Stone Obelisk

    After sacking Aya Sofya in 1204, the soldiers of the Fourth Crusade tore all the plates from this obelisk, at the Hippodrome’s southern end, in the mistaken belief that they were solid gold (in fact, they were gold-covered bronze). The Crusaders also stole the famous Triumphal Quadriga (team of four horses cast in bronze) and placed them atop the main door of Venice’s Basilica di San Marco.

    SIGHTS IN SULTANAHMET

    Sphendone

    The only remaining built section of the Hippodrome hints at how monumental the arena was. The level of galleries that once topped this section was damaged during the Fourth Crusade and totally dismantled in the Ottoman period – many of the original columns were used in construction of the Süleymaniye Mosque.

    SIGHTS IN BAZAAR DISTRICT

    Galata Bridge

    To experience İstanbul at its most magical, walk across the Galata Bridge at sunset. At this time, the historic Galata Tower is surrounded by shrieking seagulls, the mosques atop the seven hills of the city are silhouetted against a soft red-pink sky and the evocative scent of apple tobacco wafts out of the nargile cafes under the bridge.

    SIGHTS IN THE BOSPHORUS SUBURBS

    Rumeli Hisarı

    Prior to construction of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge in the 1980s, this massive fortress was the major landmark on this part of the Bosphorus. Built by order of Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452 at the narrowest point of the strait, it and Anadolu Hisarı, the castle that had been built on the opposite shore in 1393–1395, enabled the Ottomans to control all water traffic, cutting the city off from resupply by sea and contributing significantly to the Ottoman defeat of Byzantine Constantinople.

    SIGHTS IN ÜSKÜDAR

    Atik Valide Mosque

    This is one of the two great İstanbul mosque complexes designed by Mimar Sinan. Though not as spectacular as the Süleymaniye, it was designed to a similar plan and built in a similarly commanding location. Its extensive külliye (mosque complex) includes a now decommissioned hamam on Dr Fahri Atabey Caddesi and, closer to the mosque, an imaret (soup kitchen), medrese (Islamic school of higher studies), darüşşifa (hospital) and han (caravanserai). All were being restored at the time of research.

    SIGHTS IN ISTANBUL

    Atatürk Arboretum

    With serene lakes and nearly 2000 different kinds of trees and plants from all over the world, this 730-acre oasis of green in the north of the city is a welcome

    SIGHTS IN BAZAAR DISTRICT

    New Mosque

    Only in İstanbul would a 400-year-old mosque be called ‘new’. Constructed between 1597 and 1665 and closed at the time of research as it undergoes a long-awaited restoration, its design references both the Blue Mosque and the Süleymaniye Mosque, with a large forecourt and a square sanctuary surmounted by a series of semidomes crowned by a grand dome. The interior is richly decorated with gold leaf, İznik tiles and carved marble.

    SIGHTS IN BEYOĞLU

    Galata Mevlevi House Museum

    The semahane (whirling-dervish hall) at the centre of this tekke (dervish lodge) was erected in 1491 and renovated in 1608 and 2009. It’s part of a complex including a meydan-ı şerif (courtyard), çeşme (drinking fountain), türbesi (tomb) and hamuşan (cemetery).

    The oldest of six historic Mevlevihaneleri (Mevlevi tekkes) remaining in İstanbul, the complex was converted into a museum in 1946. Displays include Sufi artefacts including clothing, turbans and ceremonial accessories, as well as traditional musical instruments.

    SIGHTS IN THE GOLDEN HORN

    Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople

    The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is the symbolic headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Church, and one of the most significant sites in the larger Eastern Orthodox Church. It has been led by 270 Ecumenical Patriarchs since its establishment in 330 AD. This compound of buildings nestled behind the sea walls fronting the Golden Horn includes the beautiful 19th-century Patriarchal Church of St George.

    SIGHTS IN BAZAAR DISTRICT

    Aqueduct of Valens

    Rising majestically over the traffic on busy Atatürk Bulvarı, this limestone aqueduct is one of the city’s most distinctive landmarks. Commissioned by Emperor Valens and completed in AD 378, it linked the third and fourth hills and carried water to a cistern at Beyazıt Meydanı before finally ending up at the Great Palace of Byzantium.

    SIGHTS IN SULTANAHMET

    Carpet Museum

    Housed in an imaret (soup kitchen) added to the Aya Sofya complex in the 18th century, this museum is entered through a spectacular baroque gate and gives the visitor an excellent overview of the history of Anatolian carpet making. The carpets, which have been sourced from mosques throughout the country, date from the 14th to 20th centuries.

    SIGHTS IN BEYOĞLU

    Fish Market

    Located opposite the grandiose entrance to the 1868 Galatasaray Lycée, one of the city’s most prestigious educational institutions, this much-loved historic produce market is an essential stop when exploring İstiklal Caddesi.

    At its entrance are stands selling midye tava (skewered mussels fried in hot oil), kokoreç (seasoned lamb or mutton intestines wrapped around a skewer and grilled over charcoal) and other snacks. Further inside are shops selling fish, caviar, fruit, vegetables and other produce.

    SIGHTS IN NIŞANTAŞI, BOMONTI & HARBIYE

    Maçka Park

    On a sunny weekend afternoon, you’ll find this slender green oasis in central İstanbul full of picnicking families, canoodling couples and slackline-balancing teens. Year-round, it’s beloved by neighbourhood dog-walkers, joggers and anyone else seeking a bit of open space and fresh air as a respite from the city’s crowds and chaos. The park’s facilities include a well-equipped children’s playground, some outdoor exercise machines, a small dog run and a public toilet.

    SIGHTS IN THE GOLDEN HORN

    Fethiye Museum

    Not long after the Conquest, Mehmet the Conqueror visited this 13th-century church to discuss theological questions with the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church. They talked in the southern side chapel known as the parecclesion, which is decorated with gold mosaics. This part of the building, which functions as a museum and is overseen by Aya Sofya, was closed for restoration at the time of research for an indefinite period.

    SIGHTS IN BEYOĞLU

    Galata Rum Okulu

    With works displayed under glass on top of worn wooden desks or lecterns, and exhibition titles written on blackboards, the historical atmosphere of the former Greek Primary School – now a venue for shows by local contemporary artists – often becomes part of the visual experience. The space also hosts big art events, occasional conferences and lectures.

    SIGHTS IN THE GOLDEN HORN

    Fatih Mosque

    The Fatih was the first great imperial mosque built in İstanbul following the Conquest. Mehmet the Conqueror chose to locate it on the hilltop site of the ruined Church of the Apostles, burial place of Constantine and other Byzantine emperors. Mehmet decided to be buried here as well; his tomb is behind the mosque and is inevitably filled with worshippers.

    SIGHTS IN BEYOĞLU

    Anna Laudel Contemporary

    Contemporary Turkish and international artists are featured in the shows at this gallery space, opened in late 2016 in one of the historic buildings in İstanbul’s old finance district. Though the gallery covers five floors, each is small, making for an intimate viewing experience. A shop sells jewellery, prints and other small artworks.

    SIGHTS IN BAZAAR DISTRICT

    Nuruosmaniye Mosque

    Facing one of the major gateways into the Grand Bazaar, this large mosque complex was built in Ottoman baroque style between 1748 and 1755.

    Construction was started by order of Mahmut I and finished during the reign of his successor, Osman III. Meticulously restored in recent years, it has a central prayer hall topped by one of the largest domes ever built in an Ottoman mosque, a unique polygonal rear courtyard and a külliye comprising medrese (seminary), imaret (soup kitchen), kütüphane (library) and türbe (tomb).

    SIGHTS IN NIŞANTAŞI, BOMONTI & HARBIYE

    Bomontiada

    Now a bohemian arts, music and entertainment hub, this section of the old Bomonti beer factory hosts workshops, exhibitions, live performances, screenings and markets. It’s home to the much-loved Babylon Bomonti music venue and Populist brewpub.

    TOP CHOICESIGHTS IN THE BOSPHORUS SUBURBS

    Beylerbeyi Palace

    This opulently furnished 1865 building was designed by Sarkis Balyan, brother of Nikoğos (architect of Dolmabahçe Palace). It delighted both Sultan Abdül Aziz (r 1861–76), who commissioned it, and the many foreign dignitaries who visited. Its last imperial ‘guest’ was former Sultan Abdül Hamit II, who spent the last five years of his life under house arrest here.

    Look for the whimsical marble bathing pavilions by the water’s edge; one was for men, the other for women of the harem.

    SIGHTS IN HEYBELIADA

    Hagia Triada Monastery

    Perched above a picturesque line of poplar trees in a spot that has been occupied by a Greek monastery since Byzantine times, this 1896 complex of buildings housed a Greek Orthodox theological school until 1971, when it was closed on the government’s orders; the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchate is waging an ongoing campaign to have it reopened.

    There’s a small 17th-century church with an ornate altar on the site, as well as a library housing many old and rare manuscripts.

    SIGHTS IN THE BOSPHORUS SUBURBS

    İstanbul Naval Museum

    Established over a century ago to celebrate and commemorate Turkish naval history, this museum’s architecturally noteworthy copper-clad exhibition hall opened in 2013 and showcases a spectacular collection of 19th-century imperial caiques, ornately decorated wooden rowboats used by the royal household.

    Temporary exhibitions take place in the downstairs gallery.

    SIGHTS IN SULTANAHMET

    Soğukçeşme Sokak

    Running between the Topkapı Palace walls and Aya Sofya, this picturesque cobbled street is named after the Soğuk Çeşme (Cold Fountain) at its southern end.

    It is home to the Carpet Museum, to a row of faux-Ottoman houses functioning as a hotel and to an undoubtedly authentic restored Byzantine cistern that now operates as the hotel’s restaurant.

    SIGHTS IN THE GOLDEN HORN

    Tomb of Sokullu Mehmet Paşa

    Designed by Mimar Sinan and constructed around 1572, this türbe was part of a külliye (mosque complex) commissioned by Ottoman statesman Sokullu Mehmet Paşa (c 1506–79). Assassinated after 14 years as grand vizier, he was buried here next to his wife Ismihan, the daughter of Sultan Selim II. Inside, the stained glass is particularly noteworthy.

    The külliye also includes a medrese (seminary), which was under restoration when we last visited.

    SIGHTS IN THE BOSPHORUS SUBURBS

    Borusan Contemporary

    Housed in an eccentric-looking turreted building known locally as the Perili Köşk (Haunted Mansion), this cultural centre tucked under the western approach of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge is home to the contemporary art collection owned by Borusan Holding, a local steel, energy and logistics conglomerate.

    The centre hosts a multi-platform program of art exhibitions, events and site-specific installations, with a particular focus on digital and video arts. It also has a cafe with magnificent Bosphorus views.

    SIGHTS IN THE BOSPHORUS SUBURBS

    Hıdiv Kasrı

    Set in a gorgeous garden where masses of tulips and other flowers bloom in spring, this palatial art nouveau villa was built in 1906 as the summer residence of the

    SIGHTS IN BÜYÜKADA

    Museum of the Princes’ Islands

    Relegated to an isolated site next to Aya Nikola Beach on the southeastern side of the island, this excellent museum is often overlooked by visitors but we highly recommend making the effort to get here.

    Multimedia exhibits focus on the history and culture of the Adalar and cover every aspect of island life, including geology, flora, religious heritage, food, architecture, music, festivals and literature. Interpretative panels and videos are in both Turkish and English, and there are objects galore to admire.

    SIGHTS IN BAZAAR DISTRICT

    Şerefiye Cistern

    When an unremarkable 1950s municipal building on this site was demolished in 2010, the construction crew made an exciting subterranean discovery: a Byzantine cistern dating from the reign of Emperor Theodosius. Research has found that the structure was built between 428 and 443 and was known as the Constantinus or Theodosius Cistern. Now restored, a wooden walkway allows visitors to easily admire the water-covered marble base, vaulted brick ceiling and 32 massive marble columns (unfortunately marred with modern metal braces).

    SIGHTS IN BAZAAR DISTRICT

    Şehzade Mehmet Mosque

    Süleyman the Magnificent built this square-shaped mosque between 1543 and 1548 as a memorial to his son Mehmet, who died of smallpox in 1543 at the age of 22. It was the first important mosque to be designed by Mimar Sinan and has a lovely garden setting, two double-balconied minarets and attractive exterior decoration. Inside, the central dome is supported by four semidomes (one on each side of the square).

    SIGHTS IN THE BOSPHORUS SUBURBS

    Sadberk Hanım Museum

    Named after the wife of the late Vehbi Koç, founder of Turkey’s foremost commercial empire, this museum is housed in two late-19th-century yalıs and is a showcase of both Turkish-Islamic artefacts collected by Mrs Koç and antiquities from the noted Hüseyin Kocabaş collection.

    Objects include İznik and Kütahya ceramics; Ottoman silk textiles and costumes; glass from the early Greek, Hellenistic and Roman periods; and an exquisite collection of jewellery and diadems from the Mycenaean, Archaic and Classical periods.

    SIGHTS IN BAZAAR DISTRICT

    Turkish Hamam Culture Museum

    Constructed by order of the mother of Selim I and one of the wives of Beyazıt II, this now-decommissioned early-16th-century hamam is one of the largest in the city.

    Also known as the Hamam-ı Kebır (Old Bathhouse), the square-planned building with its original male and female domed sections now functions as a museum of the hamam, with displays explaining the rituals and practicalities associated with this much-loved Turkish tradition.

    SIGHTS IN THE BOSPHORUS SUBURBS

    Ortaköy Mosque

    This elegant baroque-style structure was designed by Nikoğos Balyan, one of the architects of Dolmabahçe Palace, and built for Sultan Abdül Mecit I between 1853 and 1855.

    The modern Bosphorus Bridge (aka Bridge of the Martyrs of July 15) looms behind the restored mosque, providing a fabulous photo opportunity for those wanting to illustrate İstanbul’s ‘old meets new’ character.

    SIGHTS IN THE GOLDEN HORN

    Church of St Mary of the Mongols

    Consecrated in the 13th century and saved from conversion into a mosque by the personal decree of Mehmet the Conqueror, this is the only church in İstanbul to remain in Greek hands ever since Byzantine times.

    It was named after Princess Maria Paleologina, an illegitimate daughter of Emperor Michael VIII Paleologos.

    SIGHTS IN SULTANAHMET

    Sokullu Şehit Mehmet Paşa Mosque

    Mimar Sinan designed this mosque in 1571 at the height of his architectural career. Besides its architectural harmony, the mosque is unusual because the medrese (seminary) is not a separate building but part of the mosque structure, built around the forecourt.

    The interior walls and mimber (pulpit) are decorated with spectacular red-and-blue İznik tiles – some of the best ever made.

    SIGHTS IN ÜSKÜDAR

    Şakirin Mosque

    One of the few architecturally notable modern mosques in İstanbul, this 2009 building was designed by Hüsrev Tayla and its interior is the work of Zeynep Fadıllıoğlu, best known for her glamorous restaurant and nightclub fit-outs.

    The building itself has a wonderful transparency, but the highlight is the interior, which features a gorgeous turquoise-and-gold mihrab (niche indicating the direction of Mecca) and a magnificent ‘dripping glass’ chandelier.

    SIGHTS IN SULTANAHMET

    Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar Literature Museum Library

    Built into the wall of Gülhane Park, the 19th-century Alay Köşkü (Parade Kiosk) is a polygonal building where the sultan would sit and watch the periodic parades of troops and trade guilds that commemorated great holidays and military victories.

    Beautifully decorated inside, with painted walls, stained-glass windows, chandeliers and highly polished wooden floors, it is now open to the public as a literature museum and library named in honour of novelist and essayist Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar (1901–62).

    SIGHTS IN THE BOSPHORUS SUBURBS

    Küçüksu Kasrı

    This ornate hunting lodge was built in 1856–57 by order of Sultan Abdül Mecit. Earlier sultans had built wooden kiosks in this idyllic spot where the Bosphorus mets the Göksü Deresi (Creek), but architect Nikoğos Balyan designed a rococo gem in marble for his monarch.

    You’ll see its ornate cast-iron fence, boat dock and wedding-cake exterior from the ferry. Visits to the furnished interior are enriched by an informative audiotour (included in ticket cost). There’s a cafe in a nearby pavilion.

    SIGHTS IN THE BOSPHORUS SUBURBS

    Palace Collections Museum

    Occupying the warehouse-like Dolmabahçe Palace kitchens, this museum exhibits items used in the royal palaces and pavilions during the late Ottoman Empire and early Turkish Republic. It is a fascinating hotchpotch of some 5000 objects, including palace portraits and photos, tea sets, tiled Islamic wall inscriptions, prayer rugs and embroidery. Hereke carpets and Yıldız Porselen Fabrikası porcelain are also here.

    SIGHTS IN SULTANAHMET

    Tomb of Sultan Ahmet I

    The türbe (tomb) of Sultan Ahmet I, the Blue Mosque’s great patron, is on the north side of the mosque facing Sultanahmet Park. Ahmet, who had ascended to the imperial throne aged 13, died in 1617 aged only 27; his türbe was constructed between 1617 and 1619 and like the mosque, features fine İznik tiles.

    SIGHTS IN BAZAAR DISTRICT

    Hatice Turhan Valide Sultan Tomb

    Reopened in 2019 after a decade-long restoration, this 17th-century imperial türbe (tomb) with its gorgeous İznik tiles and mother-of-pearl inlaid woodwork was commissioned by Turhan Hatice Sultan, mother of Sultan Mehmet IV, and is part of the New Mosque complex. It is the final resting place of Turhan Hatice Sultan, Mehmet IV, Mustafa II, Ahmet III, Mahmut I and Osman III, as well as many princes, princesses and valide sultans (mothers of reigning sultans).

    SIGHTS IN THE BOSPHORUS SUBURBS

    National Palaces Painting Museum

    The Veliaht Dairesi (Apartments of the Crown Prince) in Dolmabahçe Palace are now home to the palace’s collection of paintings. Highlights include the downstairs ‘Turkish Painters 1870–1890’ room, which includes two Osman Hamdi Bey works, and the upstairs ‘İstanbul views’ room, which is home to 19th-century street scenes by Germain Fabius Brest.

    The gallery can be accessed from the palace grounds (turn left when exiting the Selamlık) or from Dolmabahçe Caddesi just before it turns into Beşiktaş Caddesi.

    SIGHTS IN THE BOSPHORUS SUBURBS

    Sakıp Sabancı Museum

    Located in the wealthy suburb of Emirgan, this museum has a permanent collection showcasing Ottoman manuscripts and calligraphy, but is best known for its blockbuster temporary exhibitions.

    The permanent collection occupies a 1925 mansion designed by Italian architect Edouard De Nari for the Egyptian Prince Mehmed Ali Hasan and the temporary exhibitions are staged in an impressive modern extension designed by local firm Savaş, Erkel and Çırakoğlu. The Çınaraltı bus stop is in front of the museum.

    SIGHTS IN THE BOSPHORUS SUBURBS

    Vehbi Koç Büyükdere Evi

    Housed in the Koç family’s former summer house, this museum houses a notable collection of 36 Anatolian kilims (pileless woven rugs) that was compiled by American photographer and ethnographer Josephine Powell (1919–2007), the first foreigner allowed to travel across Turkey and explore the country after the founding of the Republic.

    Most of the rugs date from the 19th century and are displayed alongside informative panels in both English and Turkish that explain the motifs used in their designs.

    SIGHTS IN SULTANAHMET

    Caferağa Medresesi

    This lovely little building tucked away in the shadow of Aya Sofya was designed by Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan on the orders of Cafer Ağa, Süleyman the Magnificent’s chief black eunuch.

    Built in 1560 as a school, it now houses a cultural organisation that teaches and promotes traditional Turkish handicrafts. The courtyard is home to the unassuming Caferağa Medresesi Çay Bahçesi where it’s possible to enjoy a glass of tea or simple meal.

    SIGHTS IN THE BOSPHORUS SUBURBS

    Beşiktaş Çarşı

    The beating heart of Beşiktaş, this bustling backstreet area packed with shops, restaurants, bars, cafes – and the neighbourhood’s youthful crowd – is known simply as ‘çarşı’ (market). Its hubs are the fish market, covered by a distinctive steel canopy and lined at the back by meyhane (tavern) restaurants, and the small square centred around a statue of a black eagle, the symbol of the Beşiktaş football club and a rallying point on match nights.

    SIGHTS IN BAZAAR DISTRICT

    Beyazıt State Library

    Occupying the former imaret (soup kitchen) and kervansaray (caravanserai) of the Beyazıt Mosque’s külliye, this library has recently been the subject of a

    The Ultimate Guide To Istanbul / Istanbul This Magical Meeting Place Of East And West Has More Top-Drawer Attractions Than It Has Minarets (and that’s a lot).Research And Publication Lonely Planet / Janbolat Khanat Almaty Tourism News Office

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    Exclusivelifestyle / Top 10 Sunglasses Brands In The World

    Exclusivelifestyle / Top 10 Sunglasses Brands In The World / www.globalbrandsmagazine.com / Sedat Karagöz / Janbolat Khanat Almaty Tourism ,Culture,Art News Office

    Sunglasses are an essential accessory for many people, not only for fashion but also for protecting the eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. With so many brands and models available on the market, choosing the right pair of sunglasses can be overwhelming. In this guide, we will introduce you to the top 10 sunglasses brands in the world, highlighting their unique features and designs.

    Ray-Ban:

    Free Sunglasses in Close Up Photography Stock Photo

    Ray-Ban is an American brand of sunglasses and eyeglasses founded in 1937. It is known for its iconic Aviator and Wayfarer styles. It is considered one of the world’s most popular and recognizable brands. Ray-Ban offers a wide range of sunglasses in different styles, materials, and colors, from classic models to more trendy designs. They also provide polarized and gradient lenses, perfect for outdoor activities.

    Oakley:

    Free stock photo of adult, african, afro Stock Photo

    Oakley is an American brand of sunglasses, sports equipment, and clothing. Founded in 1975, Oakley is known for its high-performance sunglasses and cutting-edge technology, such as polarized lenses, high-definition optics, and lightweight materials like O-Matter. Oakley’s designs are often geared toward athletes and sports enthusiasts. Still, they also have a wide range of stylish sunglasses for everyday wear.

    Gucci: 

    Free Black Framed Sunglasses on White Table Cloth Stock Photo

    Gucci is an Italian luxury brand that offers a wide range of sunglasses in various styles and designs. Gucci sunglasses are known for their high-quality materials and craftsmanship. They are considered a status symbol among fashion-conscious consumers. Gucci’s sunglasses range from classic and elegant to bold and colorful designs, often featuring the brand’s signature logo or patterns.

    Prada:

    Prada is an Italian luxury fashion house that produces different sunglasses in various styles and designs. Prada sunglasses are known for their high-quality materials and craftsmanship. They are considered a status symbol among fashion-conscious consumers. Prada’s sunglasses designs are often sleek and minimalistic, focusing on high-quality materials and craftsmanship.

    Versace:

    Special Project Aviator Sunglasses - A4 Sunglasses

    Versace is an Italian luxury fashion house that produces different sunglasses in various styles and designs. Versace sunglasses are known for their bold and colorful designs and are considered a status symbol among fashion-conscious consumers.

    Versace’s sunglasses often feature the brand’s iconic Medusa logo and are known for their bold and glamorous designs. They offer a wide range of sunglasses that cater to both men and women and are suitable for different occasions.

    Persol: 

    PO3292S

    Persol is an Italian brand of sunglasses and eyeglasses founded in 1917. It is known for its high-quality materials and craftsmanship. It is considered one of the most popular luxury brands in the world. Persol’s sunglasses are crafted with attention to detail and are designed to provide maximum comfort and protection. They offer a wide range of models, from classic designs to more modern and trendy styles.

    Dior:

    MissDior B1U Front view

    Dior is a French luxury fashion house that produces different sunglasses in various styles and designs. Dior sunglasses are known for their high-quality materials and craftsmanship. They are considered a status symbol among fashion-conscious consumers. Dior’s sunglasses range from classic and elegant designs to bold and colorful styles, focusing on high-quality materials and craftsmanship.

    Tom Ford: 

    Tom Ford is an American luxury fashion brand that produces different sunglasses in various styles and designs. Tom Ford sunglasses are known for their high-quality materials and craftsmanship. They are considered a status symbol among fashion-conscious consumers. Tom Ford’s sunglasses are designed with a focus on luxury and style, and they offer a wide range of models that cater to both men and women.

    Maui Jim:

    Maui Jim is an American sunglasses brand founded in 1980. It is known for its high-performance polarized lenses. It is considered one of the world’s most popular and recognizable brands. Maui Jim’s sunglasses are designed for outdoor enthusiasts. They offer a wide range of models that provide maximum protection and comfort, with polarized lenses that reduce glare and enhance color.

    Carrera:

    Carrera is an Austrian brand of sunglasses and eyeglasses founded in 1956. The company is known for its sporty and elegant designs, focusing on high-quality materials and craftsmanship. Carrera’s sunglasses are suitable for a wide range of sports and outdoor activities. They offer a wide range of models catering to men and women.

    It’s important to note that this list is not in any particular order and is based on market share, customer reviews, and popularity. Many other brands also produce quality sunglasses. It is always recommended to research, compare different models and features, and read customer reviews before making a purchase.

    When purchasing sunglasses, you must consider your personal needs and preferences. If you’re an athlete or outdoor enthusiast, look for sunglasses with polarized lenses and high-performance features. If you’re looking for sunglasses as a fashion accessory, look for brands known for stylish designs.

    Another essential factor to consider is the UV protection provided by sunglasses. Look for sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.

    Additionally, it’s also recommended to choose a brand with a good reputation for customer service and warranty. This ensures that you’ll have a positive experience with the brand and that you can get help if you have any issues with your sunglasses.

    In conclusion, the top 10 sunglasses brands are Ray-Ban, Oakley, Gucci, Prada, Versace, Persol, Dior, Tom Ford, Maui Jim, Carrera, and many other brands that produce quality sunglasses. Always research and compare different models and features before making a purchase.

    Choosing Your Preferred Sunglasses – Definitive Guide

    When shopping for sunglasses, there are several important factors to consider to ensure you make the best purchase for your needs.

    Lens Material: 

    The lens material is an essential factor to consider when purchasing sunglasses. Some of the most common lens materials include glass, plastic, and polycarbonate. Glass lenses are the most durable and scratch-resistant but are also the heaviest. Plastic lenses are lightweight and affordable, but glass is less stable than Polycarbonate lenses are lightweight, durable, and shatter-resistant, making them ideal for sports and outdoor activities.

    Lens Color: 

    The color of the lens can also affect the level of protection and the type of activity for which the sunglasses are best suited. For example, grey or green lenses reduce glare and provide accurate color perception, making them ideal for driving or water sports. Brown or amber lenses enhance contrast and depth perception, making them perfect for golf or hiking.

    Frame Material:

     The frame material is another vital factor when purchasing sunglasses. The most common frame materials include plastic, metal, and titanium. Plastic frames are lightweight and affordable but less durable than metal or titanium frames. Metal frames are durable and can be adjusted for a better fit, but they can be heavy. Titanium frames are lightweight, durable, and hypoallergenic, making them ideal for sensitive skin.

    Frame Size and Shape: 

    The frame’s size and shape are also essential when purchasing sunglasses. The structure should fit comfortably and securely on your face. The shape of the frame should complement the shape of your face.

    UV Protection:

     Look for sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. The level of UV protection is often indicated on the sunglasses’ label or packaging.

    Polarization:

    Polarized lenses are specially coated lenses that reduce glare and improve visibility, making them ideal for activities such as water sports, fishing, and driving. These lenses block intense reflected light, which can cause glare and make it difficult to see. Polarized lenses can be made from various materials, including glass, plastic, and polycarbonate. They are also available in multiple colors and tints to suit lighting conditions and activities.

    Brand Reputation: 

    Choosing a reputable brand with a good track record in customer service and warranty is essential. Check the warranty and service options of the brand you’re interested in before making a purchase. A good brand reputation indicates quality and reliability, so it’s worth considering when making your purchase.

    Price: 

    Compare the different models and brands you’re interested in. Look for sales or special deals that can help you save money. While price is an important consideration, it’s not the only factor to consider. The most expensive sunglasses may not always be the best option, so compare features and quality before making a purchase.

    Customer Reviews:

     Read customer reviews to get an idea of the pros and cons of different models and brands. Customer reviews can provide valuable insight into other sunglasses’ durability, comfort, and overall quality. They can also show you how well the sunglasses perform in different situations, such as in bright sunlight or while engaging in sports or other activities.

    Style:

     Consider the style of the sunglasses and how they will fit in with your fashion sense. Some sunglasses come in different colors and finishes, such as tortoise shells or mirrored lenses. Think about whether you prefer a classic or trendier look and whether the sunglasses will match your overall personal style. You can also choose from various frame shapes such as round, square, cat-eye, and many more.

    Additionally, it’s also essential to try on the sunglasses before purchasing to ensure they fit comfortably and securely on your face. Please confirm that the sunglasses are not too tight or loose and don’t press against your temples or ears.

    In conclusion, when buying sunglasses, it’s essential to consider the lens material, lens color, frame material, frame size, shape, UV protection, polarization, brand reputation, price, customer reviews, and style. Considering these factors, you can make an informed decision and choose a pair of sunglasses that will meet your specific needs and preferences. Remember to take your time and research different models, features, and prices before making a purchase.

    Exclusivelifestyle / Top 10 Sunglasses Brands In The World / www.globalbrandsmagazine.com / Sedat Karagöz / Janbolat Khanat Almaty Tourism ,Culture,Art News Office

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