Ottoman Visions

 

Drive to the center of the old town, Sultan Ahmet Square and visit Blue Mosque built in early 17th century and known as “blue” because of its magnificent interior decoration with blue Iznik tiles which are striking both for their color and  the immense  area over which they are displayed. It is the only mosque in the world that was originally built with six minarets. The 260 windows floodlight the interior of the mosque which is covered by a dome 23,5 m (73 ft) in diameter and 43 m (141 ft) high. The architect Mehmet Aga was a student of Sinan, the greatest architect of classical Ottoman architecture.

Continue to Topkapi Palace, built by Sultan Mehmet II after the conquest of Istanbul in 15th century. The palace housed the 25 Ottoman Sultans and their exotic entourage until mid 19th century. In 1924, it was turned into a museum at Ataturk’s request. The Palace surrounded by 5 km of walls, occupies  700,000 sq. meter at the tip of the historical peninsula.

The complex is a group of structures which incorporates works from successive periods of Ottoman reign. It is a classical example of Ottoman palace architecture. It consists of three shaded courtyards each serving a different purpose opening onto one another with monumental gates. The courtyards are surrounded by functional building. From the time of its construction, the palace developed constantly with alterations  and additions made by each sultan.

Today the museum displays priceless collections of the imperial treasury, numerous pieces of Chinese porcelain, traditional costumes of the sultans and their families and special section for the preservation of the relics of Prophet Mohammed.

Harem section is also included.

Then, visit the famous historical Grand Bazaar, the largest “souk” covered oriental shopping mall in the world, where you will find 4,400 shops under one roof where each trade has its own street. There is a wide selection of leather, jewelry, antiques, copperware, souvenirs, and famous hand-made Turkish carpets displayed in this historical shopping center.