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Suleymaniye Mosque (Sultan Suleyman the Magnificient)

Suleymaniye Mosque is the second largest but finest and most magnificent of the imperial mosque complexes in the city. It’s as magnificent as its founder Suleiman the Magnificent and a masterwork of the greatest Ottoman architect, the incomparable Sinan. Suleiman the Magnificent is the 10th Sultan of Ottoman Empire who expanded the boundaries of the Empire far to Vienna’s City Walls. Conquering Vienna was his ultimate aim but he could not succeed.

The construction of the Suleiman’s Mosque began in 1550 and the mosque itself was completed in 1557. The mosque is actually a complex building with the tombs of Suleiman and his wife, Hurrem Sultan(Roxelana). The other buildings were finished some years later. The mosque is preceded by a courtyard with columns of the richest porphyry, marble and granite. At the four corners of the courtyard rise the four great minarets. The four minarets are said to signify that Suleiman was the fourth sultan to rule in Istanbul and the 10 balconies denote that he was the 10th Sultan of the Ottoman Dynasty.

Interior of Suleiman's MosqueEntering the mosque, there is a vast room, almost square in plan surmounted by a huge dome. The dome is 47 m., 150 feet and its diameter is 27.5 m, 87 feet. The stain coloured windows are lovely, the sunlight diffuses inside very nicely. The mihrab where the imam(priest) stands and the pulpit are Proconassian marble. There is also a marvellous woodwork inlaid with mother of pearl and ivory of the doors, window shutters and the preacher’s chair. There are also impressive calligraphic inscriptions by the most famous calligrapher of Ottoman Empire, Ahmet Karahisari and his pupil Hasan Celebi. The mosque is all carpeted with red prayer rugs all pointing South where Mecca is located. Next to the mosque are the turbes, the tombs of Suleiman and his wife, Hurrem(Roxelana). The tomb of Suleiman is revetted with beautiful Iznik tiles and quite impressive. There is also the tomb of great architect, Sinan in the same complex. According to the story, Sinan was the only architect who had the honour of opening an Imperial Mosque because Suleiman gave the key to Sinan which was given to him to open the mosque. Another saying says Sinan trusts the quality of the mosque so much that if there is any big earthquake happens, this mosque will never collapse, it will fall into the waters of Golden Horn as one piece, not in small pieces…
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Basilica Cistern , YEREBATAN SARAYI

It is a Byzantine cistern from the 6th century and it is located at Sultanahmet Square Istanbul... in walking distance to HAGIA SOPHIA MUSEUM and BLUE MOSQUE(Sultanahmet Camii). Turks call 'Yerebatan Sarayi'(The Sunken Palace).
Well, however it is not a palace at all... it is an huge water storage place.

This cistern has fine brick vaulting supported by 336 Corinthian columns. It is the largest covered cistern in Istanbul, dating back to the Roman times. Its dimensions are 140 by 70 meters, and it is capable of holding 80.000 cubic meters of water.

The Basilica Cistern was actually the reservoir for the prodigious quantity of water required for the Byzantine Great Palace, and it is thought to date back to the reign of Justinian in 532. Later in Ottoman years it has been use for conception of complex of Topkapi Palace.

Cistern has a huge structure, measuring 140m (460ft) long and 70m (230ft) across, and it is virtually empty; only a couple of feet of water line the bottom. Some wooden walkways have been constructed for visitors. The atmosphere inside is so quite and beautiful. Also it is very nice place for cooling down after being outside for a hot summer day :)

This fabulous cistern was used for entertainment purpose in earlier years as a film set of the movie 'From Russia With Love', with actor James Bond.

In the cistern the light and music is fantastic, don't miss to visit! Very nice classical music accompanies the sound of endlessly dripping water.

YEREBATAN SARAYI is open every day, except Tuesdays. Ph. (212) 522 12 59

Speaking of the water; since offering water is considered as a good deed in the ISLAM religion, following the conquering of the city by the Ottomans, and during the restructuring of the city many fountains and water resources were built in the city. However, as the time passed by the majority were demolished and at the present day there are approximately 500 fountains and 70 water resources.

One of the this fountain is Sultan Ahmet the 3rd Fountain (Sultan Ahmet Çesmesi) which is located just in front of the Topkapi Palace. It was built in 1729.

The fountain has a spout on each of its four sides. This is a free-standing fountain with a beautiful roof which is inside is adorned with reliefs and inscriptions and surmounted by decorated golden leaves. Actually fountain is dry.
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The present day St. Saviour Church of Chora dates back from the late 11th century and originally this was a church outside Constantine's original city walls and so it was named the Church of St Saviour in Chora... this literally means in the country side.

The Church was converted into a Mosque in 1510 by the grand vezier of Beyazid II and there after bore the name Kariye Mosque and now it is called KARIYE Mosque & Museum (Kariye Cami ve Müzesi).

The museum offers the finest example of Byzantine mosaic work in the city, as well as superb fourteenth-century frescoes depicting the Genealogy of Christ, the Life of the Virgin and Christ's Ministry.

This complex is often passed over because of it's inconvenient location in Istanbul's western edge near remnants of the old Constantinian Walls, built by Emperor Theodosius II in AD 413.

At Church of St.Saviour in Chora walls protected Constantinople from numerous onslaughts and were breached only twice: by the crusaders in the 1200s and by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453.

Even though the Church was converted to a Mosque after the Conquest, the mosaics were merely whitewashed over and thus have been preserved for display in this secular museum, no longer used for any religious purposes.

St. Saviour Chora (Kariye Mosque & Museum ) is open everyday (except Tuesday) from 9:30 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon. Ph.(212) 631 92 41
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The city of Istanbul, Turkey, is divided into two parts; the old city peninsula and the new city area. Consequently, all the hotels of mentioned in this web site have been classified accordingly.

Both districts certainly have their own advantages. Staying in accommodation in the Old City allows you to be within walking distance to most of the main touristic attractions - among cobbled streets, beautiful buildings accompanied by a very quiet nightscene. On the other hand, staying in accommodation in the downtown area presents you with a multitude of entertainment and nightlife possibilities - at your doorstep, should you prefer to be at the center of the more modern, multicultural and faster-paced side to Istanbul.

The Istanbul hotels that have been selected are a limited number of the more exclusive hotels, which reflect our personal favorites only, for upholding high quality and service.

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