Published: October 22nd 2012October 18th 2012
18 October 2012
We had a guided tour of some of the most famous historic sites in Istanbul, all of which are situated within walking distance of one another in the Sultanhamet area on a peninsular between the Sea of Marmara and the Golden Horn waterway.
The opulent Topaki Palace which is divided into four courts was the home of several Ottoman Sultans between 1453 and 1859. Many of the precious objects collected by the Sultans are on view, the most famous of which is the emerald encrusted Topaki Dagger and the fifth largest diamond in the world, the Spoonmaker’s (no photos allowed).
Aya Sofia was completed by the Roman Emperor Justinian in 537AD and reigned as the greatest church in Christendom until it was converted into a Mosque in 1453 after the conquest of Constantinople. Attaturk proclaimed it a museum in 1935. Its main feature is a huge seemingly unsupported dome and the building is in surprisingly good condition considering its age.
The Blue Mosque was built by Sulton Ahmet I between 1606 and 16. It has its name because it is decorated internally by over 10,000 blue tiles to stunning effect. It is the
largest mosque in the Ottoman Empire.
The massive underground Basilica Cistern was used by the Romans to store water for the city. Its arched ceiling is held up by a forest of columns all of which have carved columns.
After all this viewing of ancient structures, we had a quiet evening to rest our tired feet!
There are more photos below