About Istanbul

One city, two continents Istanbul.

Istanbul, the city built over seven hills which covers over the two continents Europe to Asia being divided by the Channel. In its thousands of years of history, it has been the capital of three great empires, namely Roman,Byzantine and .

Istanbul has remained Turkey's largest city,port,business and cultural center as well featuring one of the most important waterways being The Bosphorus.Come and enjoy the privilege of cruising throughout the Bosphorus with its own endless history at every point along the way from houses to castles to palaces and much more. We pride ourselves on our ability to find the perfect tour to suit your requirements making sure your visit is truly memorable-just let us know where you want to go or let us design your perfect itinerary. Benefit from our friendly and professional service in a carefree atmosphere.

Below we have some tours for Istanbul  both in private basis and regular group tours.Up to your wish,we can customize the tours according to your taste. Here we are to help you.

Make your choice for sightseeing tours operated by Meyel Tours.

DID YOU KNOW ? 

  • That Istanbul has been the capital of some of the biggest empires: Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman. However, it's not Turkey's capital. has been the capital since Turkey was proclaimed a republic by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923 ?
  • That Hagia Sophia was the largest church in the world for about 900 years until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520 ?
  • That The Grand Bazaar is the oldest and largest historical bazaar in the world ?
  • That it's common knowledge that Istanbul is the only city in the world to straddle two continents but still worth mentioning. The historic centre lies on the European side of the city. The Bosphorus Strait divides the city (and implicitly the two continents) and is the link between the Black and the Sea of Marmara ?
  • That in the Middle Age, Istanbul had more than 1400 public toilets in the city meanwhile there weren't any in European cities ?

ABOUT ISTANBUL

Istanbul has been at the junction of great civilizations because of its geographic and strategic location and has hosted several beliefs and traditions of many people for ages. Being very unique from this angle, the city is a civilization on its own with its history, globally renowned historical artifacts, institutions, culture, and traditions

Istanbul is the city which has held the title of capital city for three great civilizations with a deep culture of love and tolerance. Istanbul… The city of dialogue where religions, languages, and races have lived side by side in the same streets in peace and harmony..

Hosting the capital city of Rome, the Byzantines, and the Ottomans for almost 16 centuries, it had become one of the centers of Christianity under Emperor Constantine. After its conquest in 1453 by the Ottomans, it was considered as one of the most important cities of the Islamic World.

During the reigns of these Empires, it was also the administrative center of  each of its respective religions. It has held the Patriarchy of Eastern Christianity until today, errecting the first and largest church and monasteries of the World on top of pagan temples. Istanbul then assumed its Islamic character with the decoration of artifacts, mosques, palaces, schools, baths, and other facilities under the Ottomans. The current ruins of churches have been repaired, restored, and converted into mosques almost a century after its conquest.

MUST SEE PLACES OF ISTANBUL

Blue Mosque

Sultanahmet Mosque , which is also known as the Blue Mosque ,is one of the significant landmarks of Istanbul is was built during the reign of Sultan Ahmet in 1616, near the Hagia  Sophia.It is known as the Blue Mosque because of its blue tiles decorating its interior walls.This mosque is wonderful combination of Islamic art and Ottoman architecture.

Suleymaniye Mosque

A masterpiece by Imperial Architect Sinan,the Mosque of Suleymaniye is the namesake of Sultan Süleyman I. The quarter of Suleymaniye in the Eminonu district on the historical boasts a number of Ottoman architectural works and ,by close association,is an eminent symbol of the Ottoman  era.Foremost in importance among the mosque complexes of Istanbul is that of Suleymaniye . Both its facade and its interior inspire awe in the beholder.

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace is a magnificent oriental palace that construction of the palace was started at the year 1460 and completed at 1478. It was residence of the Ottoman Sultans from 15th century  to mid-19th century.Topkapi Palace has the finest samples of seal ,book binding, jewellery and box craftsmanship. Inscriptions should not be forgotten. The palace was supporting all these arts.It is one of the palaces  worth a visit and see. It is in the List of World  Heritage since 1985.

Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern is one of the most popular  tourist spots and magnificent buildings of Istanbul.It was built in the 6th century as an underground cistern  in the Historical Peninsula of Istanbul. The cistern is 140 m long, and 70 m wide, and covers a rectangular area as a giant structure. Accessible with 52-step staircase, the Cistern shelters 336 columns, each of which is 9 m high. The cistern has 4.80 m high brick walls, and the floor is covered by bricks, and plastered by a thick layer of brick dust mortar for water tightness. Covering 9,800 sqm area in total, the cistern has an estimated water storage capacity of 100,000 tons.

Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar (Kapalıcarsi) in Istanbul is one of the largest covered markets in the world . A series of covered streets feature over 4,000 merchants all selling their products and wares. You can find anything here. The Covered Bazaar is a large complex consisting of 61 streets, 4400 shops, 2195 workshops, 18 fountains, 2 bedestens (vaulted and waterproofed areas of the bazaar where valuable goods are kept), 40 inns, 12 small mosques (mescit), 12 warehouses, 1 school, 1 bath, and 19 water wells. The bazaar, with its architectural style designed specifically for enclosed shopping centers, entertains many visitors who come for both commercial and touristic purposes from different countries speaking different languages every day.

Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahce Palace was built by Karabet Balyan ,the court architect of Sultan Abdulmecid (1843-1856) who was the thirty first Ottoman Sultan on the banks of Bosphorus. Dolmabahce Palace, hosted 6 sultans at intervals and served as the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1922.The Palace contains 285 rooms, 46 halls, 6 baths (hamam). The design of the place has eclectic  elements from the Broque,Rococo  and Neoclassical styles,blended with traditional Ottoman architecture to create a new synthesis.

The palace was used as Presidency office between 1927-1949. Gazi Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of our Republic, used Dolmabahce Palace for his studies at Istanbul between 1927-1938 and died in this palace. The Palace which was partially open to protocol and visits between 1926-1984 and was opened to visit as a “museum-palace”  in 1984. 

Hagia  Sophia

The former church of Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) is one of the world's greatest architectural works and accepted as the 8th wonder of the world.

The historical church rises across the Blue Mosque  was known as “Megale Ekklesia” (Great Church) during the first construction phase of the monument and its present name “Aya Sofia” has been used since late fifth-century. It was first constructed in 360 by Emperor Konstantios. The first church structure was destroyed during riots in 404; the second church, built and dedicated in 415 by Emperor Theodosius II, burned down during the Nika revolt of 532, which caused vast destruction and death throughout the city.Now the surviving main structure is essentially that which was first built between 532 and 537.

It was used as a church for 916 years but, following the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmed, the Hagia Sophia was converted into mosque. Afterwards, it was used as a mosque for 482 years. Under the order of Ataturk and the decision of the Council of Ministers, Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum in 1935.

Bosphorus

The Bosphorus, known as the Istanbul Strait, is a strait that forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia. It is one of the Turkish Straits, along with the Dardanelles. The world's narrowest strait used for international navigation, it connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara (which is connected by the Dardanelles to the Sea, and thereby to the Sea). It is approximately long, with a maximum width of at the northern entrance, and a minimum width of between Kandilli and Asiyan; and between Anadoluhisari and Rumelihisari. The depth varies from in midstream. The shores of the strait are heavily populated as the city of Istanbul (with a metropolitan area in excess of 17 million inhabitants) straddles it.

Hippodrome

The Hippodrome served as an ancient racetrack where ancient chariot races, athletic competitions were held.Its construction began in 203 by the Emperor Septimius Severus and it was subsequently enlarged by Constantine the Great. According to one estimation, it had a capacity of 100.000 people.

After the Nika riots in 532, the chariot races lost their importance and in 1204, during the fourth crusade, it was greatly damaged.After the conquest of the city by the Ottoman Turks in 1453, the area served as one for horse trading. For that reason, the area is named At Meydani (horse square) today.

There are three important monuments in the area:

The Egyptian Obelisk : Built in the 16th century BC by the Pharaoh Tuthmosis in Egypt. It was brought to Istanbul by boat in the 4th century AD.

The Serpentine Column : Originally erected in the Temple of Delphi in Greece, but taken to Istanbul. Until the 17th century there were three bronze snake heads projecting from the column, but they have since been lost. One can be seen in the archaeological museum.

The Column of Constantine  : Although it is believed that this dates from the 10th century, evidence shows that it was built earlier than that. Until 1204, it was covered by bronze and silver. When the Crusaders came to the area, they pulled off the bronze and silver, melted them down and made coins out of them.

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(1) Comment

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