in Istanbul Turkey
the scene of chariot races and the center of Byzantine civic life, stood in the
open space in front of the Blue Mosque, an area now called
Sultanahmet. Of the monuments which once decorated it, only three
remain: the Obelisk of Theodosius, the bronze Serpentine Column and the Column
of Constantine. Remains from the curved-end section of the Hippodrome's wall can
be seen on the southwest side of these three monuments. Today, the square forms
the center of Istanbul's historical, cultural and tourism activities. You should
take particular note of the surrounding wooden houses, particularly the l8th
century ones on Sogukçesme Street. Delightfully restored, they have new life as
small hotels and one houses a fascinating library of books on Istanbul.
The Ahmet III Fountain, built in 1729, stands at the entrance to
Palace. Deep overhanging eaves shade the water spouts where the
parched could stop for a cup of refreshing water. This highly ornate,
free-standing fountain is a superb example of the late Ottoman style.
built the Beyazit Tower (85 meters high) in 1828 as a fire tower. Today
it stands within the grounds of Istanbul University.
The Bozdogan-Valens Aqueduct, built in 368 A.D., supplied the Byzantine and
later the Ottoman palaces with water. Today part of the remaining 900 meters of
double-tiered arches straddle the major highway that runs through the old part
The Istanbul land walls, once an impenetrable fortification, stretch seven
kilometers from the Sea of Marmara to the Golden Horn. Restored recently, and
many times previously, these walls date from the fifth century and the reign of
Emperor Theodosius II. UNESCO has declared the land walls and the area which
they enclose to be one of the cultural heritages of the world.
The Galata Tower, a Genoese construction of 1348, rises 62 meters high over the
Golden Horn. From the top, you see a marvelous panorama of the Golden Horn and
the Bosphorus. In the evening, tourists enjoy its popular restaurant, nightclub
Hisari, or the European Fortress, was built by Mehmet the Conqueror
in 1452 prior to his capture of Istanbul. Completed in only four months, it is
one of the most beautiful works of military architecture in the world. (Open
every day except Mondays.)
Leander's Tower, Kiz Kulesi is one of the romantic symbols of Istanbul.
First constructed in the 12th century on a tiny island at the entrance to
Istanbul's harbor, the present building dates from the l8th century.
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