Not far from the large bazaars on Beyazıt Square (built by Constantine the Great) is the beautiful main gate to Istanbul university (built in 1864). The gate is so striking, it graced the back of the 500 Turkish Lira banknote during the years of 1971-84.
Originally, established in 1453 under the Ottoman empire as “House of Multiple Sciences” the campus was re-structured in 1925 into a modern university by the most non-other then Atatürk!
If you want to visit the campus, it is beter to go before 5:00pm.
statue of Atatürk with the main building on background that used to be the headquarters of the Harbiye Nezareti (Ministry of War) during the Ottoman rulling
In 1993, on a hilltop in the center of the Ulus neighborhood, interior designer Zeynep Fadıllıoğlu created this platform for marvelous views of the Bosphorus, the semi-circular enclosed space is a true example of east meets west. There are magnificent crystal chandeliers hung over the center lounge and a fire place and the adjacent bar. There is also a grand outdoor terrace, but we visited s during winter, so we did not get to enjoy much of it (although we tried but the chilling breeze sent us back inside).
The menu consist of 29 (a play on the name) traditional Ottoman dishes as well as well as some french and Japanese fusion options. The eggplant was highly smoked, while being pure and fresh. A few other standouts were the deep fried goat cheese salad with mizzuna, mint, arugula and strawberry reduction, the rice pilaf with butter and the grilled octopus with white-bean-and-tomato salad.
Reservations, as well as smart dress are highly recommended at this classic restaurant with its impeccable service. We highly recommend a nice outing at Ulus 29; so enjoy a wonderful lunch or dinner, and then walk down the hill, all the way to the water. It’s not a bad way to enjoy some vacation time!
lavaş bread garlic butter goat cheese rosettes
Mizzuna, poached egg salad with perfect artichoke hearts and asparagus
Dolmas, slightly sweet and very aromatic and lemony, defenetely the best we’ve had so far
Visible from many spots around Istanbul, the Sultanahmet Mosque dominates the skyline. Commonly, it is known as the Blue Mosque, because of the blue ceramic tiles of different tulip designs, from Iznik city (Nicaea), that line it’s interior.
Sultan Ahmed I, had it built between 1609 and 1616 over the site of the ancient hippodrome and the palace of the Byzantine emperors. Facing the Hagia Sophia, the Sultanahmet Mosque was desigened by royal architect Sedefhar Mehmet Ağa.
The tablets on the walls are inscribed by the 17th century calligrapher Ametli Kasım Gubarımare with the names of the caliphs and verses from the Quran. One will also find beautiful examples of Arabic calligraphy by Seyyid Kasim Gubari.
The upper levels of the Mosque’s interior are dominated by blue floral drawings and stained glass windows. The coloured glass for the windows was a gift from the Signoria of Venice to the sultan. Unfortunately time and poor taste have replaced many of the windows with modern versions with little or no artistic merit.
The mosque has six minarets each with three balconies (Called Şerefes). This was unusual, and a cause of public unrest, as most mosques only have four minarets. Six was a number reserved only for Mecca. As a good solution, more more minarets where added to Mecca – and the conflict was settled!
The design of the Sultanahmet Mosque is the culmination of over two centuries of both Ottoman and Byzantine temple development. It incorporates Byzantine elements, from the neighboring Hagia Sophia, with traditional Islamic architecture. This wonderful structure is considered the last great mosque of the classical period of the Ottoman Empire.
The Blue Mosque is an active religious site, so it’s closed to non worshipers for a half hour or so during daily prayers. Before stepping in to Mosque, be sure to take off your shoes, women should bring a large scarf to cover the head and shoulders (but if you forget you can rent one at the door). In a kind of kitchy but fun actvity, you can book a photo shoot with traditional Ottoman Costumes in the Blue Mosque via the Ottoman dream studio.
The Sultanahmet Mosque is on the must see list of any good site-seeing tour of Istanbul. It is a true marvel and a testament to builders of another age. The complexities of its vaults and tiling is a site to behold.
Variable: Better to call before visiting.
A small side stop next to the Arasta Bazaar is the Great Palace Mosaic Museum Museum. There, restored and displayed, are a myriad of Byzantine mosaics that used to decorate the pavement of a peristyle courtyard circa (r. 527-565). Quite interesting in terms of style and complexity.
Ok- for whatever reason when traveling we always wind up at a mall. We could look at it in a low-brow way and say its due to our innate consumerism – or high-brow and look at it as the apex of a cultures economic stature.
Whichever view you take, the Kanyon Mall is worth a visit purely for it’s architecture -courtesy of Jerde Partnership and Tabanlioglu Architects. It is an open air experience with multitudes of shapes and voids that create dynamic visual experience. It is definitely sci-fi movie set worthy.
Embedded in a large modern office and residential complex, Kanyon is a destination for local luxury shopping. While there, you can grab one a the an excellent bite at their incarnation of the House Cafe.