The Historical Peninsula of Istanbul:
The most magnificent of Istanbul’s monuments are clustered on the historical peninsula, the triangular piece of land surrounded by the Sea of Marmara to the West and South, by Golden Horn to the North and by city walls to the east. The Megarians settled here and Septimus Severus, who was largely responsible for the pre-Byzantine settlement, paid particular attention to this area. The city walls, which were buil taccording to plans that the Emperor Constantine drew up with a spear, form the base of triangle.
The centre of the land that was the core of Istanbul was the area we know today as Sultanahmet Square. The most prominent examples of Byzantine and Ottoman architecture can be seen in closeproximity here.
Sites to be visited:
1) Ayasofya (HagiaSophia):The most glorious architecture heritage of Byzantine Empire is Ayasofya which has been referred to as the eighth wonder of the World and it is one of the most important surviving Works of ByzantinePeriod. Ayasofya was built under the auspices of EmporerJustinian I, who, along with Emporer Constantine, made great contributions to Istanbul. Massive in size and reputation, the basilica stood for centuries as one of the world’s most significant buildings, and, despite suffering damage from natural disasters such as fire and eartquakes, has survived to this day. Ayasofya is not only renowned for its magnificant architecture but also for its exquisite Byzantine mosaics.
2) Sultan Ahmet Mosque: Sultan Ahmet Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, is one of the monuments of Istanbul that has become its symbol. The tiles are superb examples of the tile art of the period, and even the actual number of the tiles used was recorded: exactly 21,043 each of which is priceless, but collectively lent their colour to the name of the mosque. There are a total of 16 ?erefes (muezzin’ splat forms) on the mosque’s minarets. That figure is a reference to the fact that Ahmet was the 16th sultan in the Ottoman succession. The architect of the mosque was one of the apprentices of Mimar Sinan, Sedefkar (masker of inlaying mother-of- pearl) Mehmet Aga.
3) Topkap? Palace (Theresidence of Ottomansultansfor 400 years):The Topkap? Palace was built on the prime site of the historical peninsula of Istanbul with commanding views of the Sea of Marmara as well as the Istanbul Strait. The architecture of Topkap? Palace was not similar to that of European palaces.
The Ottoman sultans paid great attention to building grandiose religious buildings, while they kept the architecture of their own residence quite plain, just enough to meet their needs. This was probably due to the influence of Islamic thought.
4) Yerebatan Cistern: One of the Istanbul’s major shortcomings was the insufficient supply of drinking water. However, neither the Byzantines not the Ottomans let their populations suffer because of that shortfall. Even before the city became the capital of Byzantine Empire, there were some attemps to bring water into the city and during the Byzantine Period, several public cisterns werebuilt. One of the prime examples of them is Yerebatan Cistern, located right across Ayasofya. It provided water to Istanbul during the Byzantine Period. It is called Yerebatan Palace since it is the largest of all cisterns in Istanbul