Places, Youth Tour Club

Youth Tour Translation English

Gastronomy Tourism as a Commodity of Destination Marketing: A research on İstanbul’s Gastronomy Tourism Potential)


Gastronomy tourism, besides being the most important means of economic development, it is also the most significant part of the fastly developing cultural tourism market. Many recent researches emphasized that the culinary culture of a target destination has a significant part in the travel experience. The initial aim of this work is to research the effect of gastronomy on the marketing of destinations. The research has been made in Istanbul on 93 type a travelling agencies. This research focuses on a quantative feedback of the role of gastronomy in forming a positive feedback on the forming of an expression and a label value in the marketing of Turkey and Istanbul. The findings have been researched in relevance to the related literature. The result of the so-called research proves that by means of marketing Istanbul, gastronomy has a strong image and brand value. Results also indicate that it might be possible to market Istanbul through Ottoman Palace cuisine and Turkish tourism and that people who take part in culinary tourism are mainly tourists between 35-55 or upper ages who have a high level of income. Results also show that gastronomy tourism could be integrated into other tourism types, which would boost local development.



Museum Information

Museum is open everyday except Tuesdays. Museum is also closed at first days of the religious festive days untill afternoon.

Sacred Relics Department

We ask that you refrain from entering the Sacred Relics Department with shorts, mini-skirts, tank tops, or strapless clothing.

Hagia Irene

Hagia Irene Church, which is located at first courtyard of The Topkapi Palace, is opened to visit for visitors. The Hagia Irene Church can be visited as individual visitor from now on. Ticket Price is 20 TL for one person.

Baby Cars

Exhibiton hall is not visited with baby car. Please don’t forget this rule before buy a ticket.

Harem Section

If you want to visit Harem you have to buy a seperate ticket from the ticket booths where stands outside of the museum or in front of the Harem  entrance. Ticket Price for one person for the Harem entrance is 25 TL.


After the conquest of Istanbul by Mehmed the Conqueror at 1453, construction of the Topkapı Palace was started at the year 1460 and completed at 1478 . Palace was built upon a 700.000 squaremeters area on an Eastern Roman Acropolis located at the Istanbul Peninsula between Sea of Marmara, Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. Topkapı Palace, was the administrative, educational and art center of the Empire for nearly four hundred years since Mehmed the Conqueror until Sultan Abdulmecid who is the thirty-first Sultan. Although Palace was abandoned by the Ottoman Dynasty by moving to the Dolmabahçe Palace at middle 19th century, Topkapı Palace was protected its importance everytime.

After the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, Topkapı Palace, was transformed into a museum at the date April 3th 1924 and it was also the first museum of the Republic of Turkey. Topkapı Palace Museum is covering approximately 400.000 squaremeters at the present day. Topkapı Palace divided from the city from the land-side by the Imperial Walls which is made by Mehmed the Conqueror. It divided from the city also from the sea-side by the Byzantine Walls. Topkapı Palace is one of the biggest palace-museums with its architectural structures, collections and approximately 300.000 archive papers.

There are surroundings like gardens and squares around the Palace. Palace which its Main Gate located at the Hagia-Sophia side, has four courtyards which has passages between them. At the first courtyard, Hagia-Irene Church which was used as Armory and the outer service buildings like Mint, Oven and Hospital were located there

Second Courtyard was the Divan Square (Square of Justice) that hosting the administrative buildings fort the Empire. This courtyard was also a ceremonial courtyard. Divan-ı Hümayun (Kubbealtı / Imperial Council) and Treasury of the Divan-ı Hümayun were located on that courtyard. Behind the divan structure, there is the Tower of Justice which represents justice of the Sultan. Dormitory of the Halberdiers with Tresses and the Entrance of Harem were also located at this courtyard. There are also Privy Stable structures at the same side around an inner courtyard. At the Marmara side of the Courtyard of Justice, there are the Palace Kitchens and additional service buildings. Babüssaade (Gate of Felicity) where coronation, funeral and festival ceremonies held is located at the Northern side of the Courtyard of Justice.

The third Courtyard (Enderun – Inner Palace) was the section that the Palace aghas were educated and assigned to high ranks of the State. It formed by the dormitories and the structures belongs to the Sultan. Hall of Audience where Sultan accepts viziers and ambassadors, Enderun Library which was constructed by the Sultan Ahmed III, Treasury of Enderun also known as Conqueror’s Pavilion, Privy Room (Chamber of Sultan) and the Aghas’ Mosque which was constructed for the Enderun aghas at the reign of Fatih are the important structures of this courtyard. Courtyard is surrounded by the Big and Small Room Wards, Expeditionary Force Ward, Pantries’ Ward, Treasure Ward and the Privy Room Ward which added to the Privy Room at the 19th century.

From the Privy Room, and the Enderun Courtyard, there are passages to the Imperial Sofa courtyard which hosts to the kiosks and gardens. At the Marble Terrace part of this courtyard, there are Revan and Baghdat Kiosks, Circumsision Room and the Iftaree Canopy. Under this terrace, there is a hanging flower garden which surrounded by wooden Sofa Kiosk and the Tower of the Chief-Physician. At the Marmara side of this garden, there are Sofa Mosque, Mecidiye Kiosk and Wardrobe Room. It also known that there are lots of kiosks and service structures at the Privy Gardens which surrounds the Palace in axis of Maramara, Seraglio-Point and the Golden Horn.


The weaponry used by the Ottoman army was manufactured in various workshops and stored in armories called cebehâne, where their maintenance and repairs would also be done. The first Ottoman cebehâne was established in Edirne. Following the conquest of Constantinople, Sultan Mehmed II converted the Church of Hagia Eirene in Topkapı Palace’s First Courtyard into a cebehâne, for which purpose this building would continue to be used until the late 19th century. In 1846, at the initiative of Fethi Ahmed Pasha, the Commander of the Cannon Foundry (Tophâne), the Church of Hagia Eirene was reorganized so as to form Turkey’s first museum, the Collection of Ancient Weapons and the Collection of Antiquities (Mecma`-ı Esliha-ı `Atîka ve Mecma`-ı Âsâr-ı `Atîka). The museum’s weaponry was kept here until Topkapı Palace began to be used as a museum in the early 20th century. These weapons would later form the basis of the Military Museum’s collections, which are among the richest such collections in the world.

Covering 1,300 years and consisting of 52,000 weapons of Arab, Umayyad, Abbasid, Mamluk, Persian, Turkish, Crimean Tartar, Indian, European, and Japanese origin, the Topkapı Palace Museum’s weaponry collection is also among the world’s premier weapons collections. The collection is made up in part of weapons transferred from the cebehâne and those used by the palace guards; however, the collection’s most noteworthy section consists of those weapons ordered by the sultan personally or specially made as gifts for him, which weapons are a part of the palace’s private collection. This collection includes weaponry owned by such sultans as Mehmed II, Bayezid II, Selim the Grim, Suleiman the Magnificent, Selim II, Mehmed II, and Ahmed I, as well as the weapons of such high-level dignitaries as grand viziers, pashas, and palace chamberlains; all of these weapons are eye-catching with their fine craftsmanship and decorations. An additional factor that contributed to the diversification of the collection’s highly artistic weaponry was the tradition of bringing to the palace the weapons of important figures that were obtained through plunder.


The sultans would observe the items in the treasury—which, in addition to being great works of art, also have great historical, monetary, and spiritual value—as if taking part in a special ceremony. Since the treasury was, in effect, a memento of the royal family, the sultans showed special care in enriching its collection. The items in the treasury were originally kept in chests and cupboards that would only be opened on the occasion of the sultans’ visiting the treasury. It was Sultan Abdülmecid (r. 1839–61) who broke with this tradition by putting some of the objects on display; this continued in the time of Sultan Abdülaziz (r. 1861–76) and Sultan Abdülhamid II (r. 1876–1909).

That tradition continues today, as the valuable objects and monies belonging to the Ottoman sultans are now on display in the palace’s Imperial Treasury section (Hazîne-i Hümâyûn). Following the conversion of Topkapı Palace into a museum in 1924, the treasury objects were classified and used as the basis of the museum’s collections.

A large part of the palace treasury is made up of gifts presented at ambassadorial receptions and gifts presented on the occasion of the sultans’ weddings, of births, and of the circumcision festivities of the princes. While such gifts as these would sometimes be brought to the sultan from the four corners of the world, other gifts would be presented by local artists and artisans who would, in exchange for their gifts, receive not only gifts in return, but also promises of support and future purchase of their works. The sultans would also, on occasion, send gifts to foreign rulers; however, for various reasons, some of these would not reach their destination, in which case they would be returned and take their place in the palace treasury. An example of this sort of gift is the emerald dagger and emerald- and diamond-studded bow and quivers sent by Sultan Mahmud I (r. 1730–54) to Nadir Shah of Persia (r. 1736–47).

Grand Synagogue of Edirne, aka Edirne Synagogue (Hebrew: Kal Kadosh ha Gadol, Turkish: Edirne Büyük Sinagogu) is a historic Sephardi synagogue located in Maarif Street of Edirne, Turkey. It was designed in the Moorish Revival style and restored in 2015.


The 1905 Great Fire of Edirne destroyed more than 1,500 houses and also damaged several synagogues in the city. The twenty-thousand strong Jewish community urgently needed a place of worship. Following the permission of the Ottoman Government and the edict of Sultan Abdul Hamid II, the construction of a new synagogue began on January 6, 1906 at the site of the ruined synagogues Mayor and Pulya in Suriçi (Citadel) neighborhood. It was designed by the French architect France Depré in the architectural style of the Sephardi Leopoldstädter Tempel in Vienna, Austria. Costing 1,200 gold coins, it was opened to service on the eve of Pesach (Passover) in April 1909. Capable of accommodating up to 1,200 worshipers, 900 men and 300 women, it was Europe’s third largest temple and the largest in Turkey.


In 1983, the synagogue was abandoned after most of the Jewish community left the city, emigrating to Israel, Europe, or North America. In 1995, the temple by law came under the control of the governmentalTurkish Foundations Institution.


The abandoned and ruined synagogue as well as its outbuilding were restored by the Turkish Foundations Institution in five years spending 5,750,000 (approximately US$2.5 million). On March 26, 2015, the synagogue was reopened with a celebration and a Shacharit, morning prayer service, attended by a large number of Jews including Ishak Ibrahimzadeh, leader of the Jewish Community in Turkey, Rav Naftali Haleva, deputy to Hakham Bashi (Chief Rabbi) Ishak Haleva, Bülent Arınç, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, and some other Turkish high officials. The worship was overseen by Rabbi David Azuz, who had led the service on the closing day 36 years before. The Municipality of Edirne greeted the guests on a banner hang in the street of the synagogue with the words “Welcome home, our old neighbors”

Kıyıköy: formerly Midye, ancient/medieval Medea, is a village in the district of Vize in Kırklareli Province at northwestern Turkey. It is situated on the coast of the Black Sea. It is 36 km (22 mi) far from the district center and 95 km (59 mi) away from the province center. The village became a municipality in 1987. The population of Kıyıköy is 2,077 according to the 2010 National Census.[1]

Fishing and forestry are the main ways of living in addition to tourism in the summer. The town has a small beach. The area surrounding the town is covered by dense forests of mainly oak. Two streams, Kazandere and Pabuçdere, surround the town in the south and the north respectively. Flowing into the Black Sea, these streams are suitable for fishing, boating and swimming.

The Kasatura Bay Nature Reserve Area is 18 km (11 mi) south of the town along the Black Sea. The site harbors a pristine forest and a beach. The only naturally growing grove of black pine (Pinus nigra) in the European part Rumelia of Turkey is found at this site.


In the near past, Kıyıköy was occupied by Imperial Russian troops after the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878), and later by Bulgarians and Greeks following the Balkan Wars (1912-1913). At a time, the borderline of the Ottoman Empire to the west was passing through the town, and was called “Midye-Enez Line” (TurkishMidye-Enez Hattı) as its name was still Midye.[5]

In the frame of population exchange between Greece and Turkey that took place in 1923, the mostly Greek and Bulgarian ethnicity residents of the town were replaced by Turks from Thessaloniki in Greece because of their wide knowledge of maritime matters.[5]

In 1960, the settlement’s name was changed from Midye to Kıyıkent assuming the former is a foreign language name

Kıyıköy Fortress (TurkishKıyıkent Kalesi) is a fortification, built in the Justinian I times as well, surrounding almost the entire old town. From the examination of its mortar, it is understood that the fortress was renovated in the 9th and 10th centuries. The fortress is constructed on a hillside stretching to the coast between Pabuçdere in the north and Kazandere in the south. Its eastern part is completely ruined. The walls are built with cut stone and rubble masonry. They are at some places 2.20 m (7.2 ft) thick and 2.50 m (8.2 ft) high. The walls around the second gate reach a height of 5 m (16 ft). At the second watchtower, which is not existing today, the walls rise to 6 m (20 ft). There is a 13 m (43 ft) wide defense moat stretching between the third and the sixth watchtower. A hidden gate is situated in the south of the southern walls connected to the fortress by a stairway of 180 steps. The Vize Gate was renovated in 1991 with stone, brick and plank by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.


 Kırklareli Museum (TurkishKırklareli Müzesi) is a national museum in Kırklareli, Turkey, exhibiting natural history specimens, ethnographical items related to the region’s history of cultural life, and archaeological artifacts found in and around the city.[1][2] The director of the museum is Derya Balkan.[


The museum’s building was constructed for Mutasarrıf (Governor) Neşet Pasha and mayor Hacı Mestan Efendi in 1894. It was used as the municipality office until 1962. In the 1970s, the building was vacated and left to decay. In 1983, restoration of the building began and continued with interruptions, until it was completed in 1993 and opened as a museum.[1][2]

The museum is a two-story building with a basement. The reinforced concrete building has arch-like windows on all four sides. A bay window on the first floor, in the center of the building front, is supported by four columns flanking the main entrance. The museum consists of three sections for “culture and nature”, “ethnography”, and “archaeology”. The museum has a total of 3,507 registered items, including 1,882 coins, 1,110 archaeological artifacts, and 515 items related to ethnography.[1][2]

The museum serves as a center for historic research of the region, as well as collaboration with scientific institutions, assisting and guiding them. Its main duty is to register the natural and cultural properties in the region. Currently[when?], the register lists a total of 269 preservations, including 98 archaeological sites, 3 urban sites, 13 natural reserve areas, and 155 single-building historic sites.[1][2]

The museum is open seven days a week from 9:00–18:00 local time between April 15 and October 26. It is closed on Mondays.[4]Access to the museum is free of charge. In 2013, a total of 9,362 people, including 417 foreign tourists, visited the museum.[3] In 2014, the number of visitors was 9,066, of which 535 came from abroad.

A large room on the first floor is reserved for the collection of natural history. A total of 102 species native to the region, including 76 taxidermized bird and mammal species,[2] are on display in their natural environment. Some of the animals exhibited are extinct and some are endangered species. This section draws the interest of high school students, university biology students, and researchers.[1][2]


A typical household in the region

The exhibits of the ethnography section share the upper floor with the archaeology section. This section consists of 188 items depicting rural area life in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and of city life in Kırklareli in the same period. Carpets, clothes, jewellery, and household objects are on display.[1][2]


A human skeleton and grave goods, as found in a sarcophagus

The 236 archaeological artifacts are all excavated finds from sites around Kırklareli: in the settlements of Aşağıpınar, Kanlıgeçit, and Tilkiburnu; and in the tumuli of İslambeyli, PınarhisarAlpullu Höyüktepe, and Dolhan. There are fossils of marine and land species, and trees, spanning the time from the Holocenegeological epoch to the era of Ancient Rome. There are archaeological artifacts from the Neolithic (New Stone Age), Chalcolithic (Copper Age), and Iron Age, as well as from the eras of Ancient GreeceAncient RomeByzantine Empire, and Ottoman Empire.[1][2][3]

A sample collection of 72 coins from Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Byzantine Empire, and Ottoman Empire is on exhibition. A life-size sculpture of a female human torso stands in the entrance hall on the ground floor. Marble reliefs from an amphitheatre of the Late Roman Empire (2nd century), unearthed between 1995 and 1997 in Vize, are exhibited on the staircase wall. Due to new archaeological finds unearthed at ongoing excavations and limited space in the museum, some archaeological items are interchanged from time to time.

The İğneada Floodplain Forests National Park (Turkishİğneada Longoz Ormanları Milli Parkı), established on November 13, 2007, is a national park located within Kırklareli Province in Marmara Region of Turkey.[1]

The national park covers an area of 3,155 ha (7,800 acres) and is located at İğneada town on the Turkish-Bulgarian border at 25 km (16 mi) far from Demirköy district of Kırklareli Province.[1]

Streams running down from the Strandzha mountain range towards Black Sea formed alluvium on the shore, where floodplain(Turkishlongoz) occurred due to seasonal floodings.

The protected area is administered by the Directorate-General of Nature Protection and National Parks (TurkishDoğa Koruma ve Milli Parklar Genel Müdürlüğü) of the Ministry of Environment and Forest.[1]

The national park is a rare ecosystem, which consists of marshswamp, lakes and coastal sand dunes. The Strandzha mountain range is situated in the south and west. There are five lakes with aquatic plant. Lake Erikli covering 43 ha (110 acres) is a lagoon, which gets separated from the sea in the summer months as a result of drought. Lake Mert of 266 ha (660 acres) area is formed by Çavuşdere creek at its mouth. Lake Saka is a small lake of 5 ha (12 acres) situated in the south of the national park between the floodplain and the dunes. The two other lakes are Lake Hamam of size 19 ha (47 acres) and Lake Pedina of 10 ha (25 acres). The sand dunes are situated on both sides of İğneada town. The dunes in the north stretch out from east of Lake Erikli to İğneada. The southern dunes run from the Lake Mert’s sea connection to the south of Lake Saka, reaching a width of 50–60 m (160–200 ft) at some places.[


The 10 km (6.2 mi) long dunes with the plant species, unique to the southwestern Black Sea region, are of great importance. The flora of dunes in the belt between the lakes, marsh and the sea are under protection by international agreement. The national park is also habitat for swamp and non-evergreen mixed wood. Vine species are the most distinct plants of the forest. Sprecies of European ash (Fraxinus excelsior), oak (Quercus), alder ((Alnus), beech (Fagaceae) and maple (Aceraceae) are trees found in the national park forest.[2]

Trout (Oncorhynchus), smelt (Osmeridae), grey mullet (Mugilidae) are fish species of the national park.[2]

Birds like white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), European green woodpecker (Picus viridis), owl (Strigiformes), grey heron (Ardea cinerea), European cuckoo (Cuculus canorus), kingfisher (Coraciiformes), black stork (Ciconia nigra)) and hoopoe (Upupa epops) are observed in the area.[2]

Among the mammals are wildcat (Felis silvestris), wild boar (Sus scrofa), hare (Lepus), European pine marten (Martes martes), European badger (Meles meles), grey wolf (Canis lupus), deer (Cervidae), fox (Vulpes vulpes), European otter (Lutra lutra), yellow-necked mouse(Apodemus flavicollis), weasel (Mustela), big-eared bat (Micronycteris), and variegated skunk (Mephitis mephitis).[2]

As reptiles Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanni), southern crested newt (Triturus karelinii), lizard (Lacertilia), asp (Vipera aspis), earringed water snake (Acrochordidae) are found in the area.

Dupnisa Cave – Kırklareli


KIRKLARELİ DUPNISA CAVES Dupnisa is the first and only cave of Trakya to be opened for tourism; under the influence of the cool climate of the Black Sea, Turkey and Bulgaria form the border, Rezve Stream Strandja Mountains that split by deep valleys, is located in a region with a wild look. Kırklareli’s 58 Km. Demirköy District in the north-east of the cave near Sarpdere Village is 230 km away from Istanbul. d. Green is located in a region covered by dense vegetation in every shade, and the caves that develop in the marbles of the Jurassic (formed 180 million years ago) are composed of two interconnected tiers and three caverns. For this reason, it is scientifically known as the “Cave System”. The top of the system, which has a total length of 2720 mt, consists of Dry and Cave Caves. From these caves that have completed its development, there is the Sulu Cave at 50-60 mt below. The total length of this cave is 1977 meters, with an underground river flowing through it and an inlet opening at 345 meters above sea level. The last point is +61 m from the entrance. above. Turkey, cave, caves, one of the most well-known Dupnisa cave in literature; is a large underground system that continues its formation and development since about four million years. There is an underground river with a steady flow, and this cave has rich lakes and stones, with a depth of at least 2 meters. The stalactites, stalagmites and columns, curtains and flag dripstones and drop stone pools, which have gigantic sizes in milk from every color of white to red and brown, have a fascinating and admirable appearance. In addition to this magnificent view, the cave air, which varies within short distances, positively surprises in terms of health. The main cave is cooler (10-12 degrees) and nemlid (80-90%), whereas the upper floors are hot (mean 17 degrees) and dry (60-70% absolute). This difference caused a significant wind to flow between the upper floor and the main gallery. Dupnisa caves, the second longest cave in Trakya; In 2003, tourism was opened. The 200-meter section of the dry, cave-like cave of Dry Cave, which forms the upper floor of the Dupnisa Caves, a large underground system of 2720 m long and covered with giant stalactites, stalagmites and columns, This part of 450 meters has a walking pier, lighting. On the other hand, a large part of the formation, with dripping stones and colonic injuries, was left out of sight to protect the nature and the creatures of the Cave. These parts, where the underground river and deep lakes are found, can be visited by adventure and nature sports enthusiasts and special caving facilities. Dupnisa, which has been forming and developing for millions of years; with every color and shape of dripstones, underground river and lakes, bat colonies and air changing within short distances; a fascinating environment that pushes your imagination, provides health and peace of mind. There is a WC, sitting benches, and a tea stove around the cave where it is provided with a convenient access by an asphalt road. Since its opening in June 2003, tens of thousands of visitors have been visited every year.


The Grand Bazaar (TurkishKapalıçarşı, meaning ‘Covered Market’; also Büyük Çarşı, meaning ‘Grand Market’) in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 4,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. In 2014, it was listed No.1 among world’s most-visited tourist attractions with 91,250,000 annual visitors.[5] The Grand Bazar at Istanbul is often regarded as one of the first shopping malls of the world.

Until the restoration following the quake of 1894, the Grand Bazaar had no shops as found in the western world: along both sides of the roads merchants sat on wooden divans in front of their shelves.[24] Each of them occupied a space 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 m) in width, and 3 to 4 feet (0.91 to 1.22 m) in depth. This was named in Turkish dolap, meaning ‘stall’. The most precious merchandise was not on display, but kept in cabinets.] Only clothes were hung in long rows, with a picturesque effect. A prospective client could sit in front of the dealer, talk with him and drink a tea or a Turkish coffee, in a relaxed way. At the end of the day, each stall was closed with drapes. Another peculiarity was the complete lack of advertising.  Moreover, as everywhere in the East, traders of the same type of goods were forcibly concentrated along one road, which got its name from their profession.  The Inner Bedesten hosted the most precious wares: jewellers, armourers, crystal dealers had their shops there. The Sandal Bedesten was mainly the center of the silk trade, but also other goods were on sale there. The most picturesque parts of the market were – apart from the two Bedestens – the shoe market (TurkishPabuççular Pazarı), where thousands of shoes of different colors (Ottoman sumptuary laws prescribed yellow shoes for Muslims, blue for Greek Orthodox, black for Jews and red for Armenians) were on display on high shelves, the spice and herbs market (later concentrated in the Egyptian Bazaar), which stood near the jewellers, the armour and weapon market, the old book market and the flea market.

This kind of organization disappeared gradually, although nowadays a concentration of the same business along certain roads can be observed again

Today the Grand Bazaar is a thriving complex, employing 26,000 people visited by between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily, and one of the major landmarks of Istanbul. It must compete with modern shopping malls common in Istanbul, but its beauty and fascination represent a formidable advantage for it.

The construction of the future Grand Bazaar’s core started during the winter of 1455/56, shortly after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople and was part of a broader initiative to stimulate economic prosperity in Istanbul. [6]Sultan Mehmet II had an edifice erected devoted to the trading of textiles and jewels near his palace in Constantinople.[8] It was named Cevâhir Bedestan (‘Bedesten of Gems’) and was also known as Bezzâzistan-ı Cedîd (‘New Bedesten’) in Ottoman Turkish. The word bedesten is adapted from the Persian word bezestan, derived from bez (“cloth”), and means “bazaar of the cloth sellers”. The building – named alternately in Turkish İç (‘Internal’), Atik (‘Ancient’), or Eski (‘Old’) Bedesten – lies on the slope of the third hill of Istanbul, between the ancient Fora of Constantine and of Theodosius. It was also near the first sultan’s palace, the Old Palace (Eski Sarayi), which was also in construction in those same years, and not far from the Artopoleia (in Greek) (Άρτοπωλεία), the city’s bakers’ quarter in Byzantine times.[10]

The construction of the Bedesten ended in the winter of 1460/61, and the building was endowed to the waqf of the Aya Sofya Mosque. Analysis of the brickwork shows that most of the structure originates from the second half of the 15th century, although a Byzantine relief representing a Comnenian eagle, still enclosed on the top of the East Gate (Kuyumcular Kapisi) of the Bedesten has been used by several scholars as proof that the edifice was a Byzantine structure.

In a market near the Bedesten, named in Turkish Esir Pazarı, the slave trade was active, a use also carried over from Byzantine times. Other important markets in the vicinity were the second-hand market (TurkishBit Pazarı), the “Long Market” (Uzun Carsi), corresponding to the Greek Makros Embolos (Μακρός Ὲμβολος, ‘Long Portico’), a long porticoed mall stretching downhill from the Forum of Constantine to the Golden Horn, which was one of the main market areas of the city, while the old book market (Sahaflar Carsisi) was moved from the Bazaar to the present picturesque location near the Beyazid Mosque only after the 1894 Istanbul earthquake.

Some years later—according to other sources, this occurred in 1545 under Sultan Suleyman I—Mehmet II had another covered market built, the ‘Sandal Bedesten’ (the name comes from a kind of thread woven in Bursa, which had the colour of sandalwood), also named Küçük (‘Little’), Cedit or Yeni (both words meaning ‘New’) Bedesten, which lay north of the first.

After the erection of the Sandal Bedesten the trade in textiles moved there, while the Cevahir Bedesten was reserved for the trade in luxury goods. At the beginning the two buildings were isolated. According to the 16th-century French traveller Pierre Gilles, between them and the Mosque of Beyazid stood the ruins of churches and a large cistern;. However, soon many sellers opened their shops between and around them, so that a whole quarter was born, devoted exclusively to commerce.

At the beginning of the 17th century the Grand Bazaar had already achieved its final shape. The enormous extent of the Ottoman Empire in three continents, and the total control of road communications between Asia and Europe, rendered the Bazaar and the surrounding hans or caravanserais the hub of the Mediterranean trade. According to several European travellers, at that time, and until the first half of the 19th century, the market was unrivalled in Europe with regards to the abundance, variety and quality of the goods on sale. At that time we know from European travellers that the Grand Bazaar had a square plan, with two perpendicular main roads crossing in the middle and a third road running along the outer perimeter. In the Bazaar there were 67 roads (each bearing the name of the sellers of a particular good), several squares used for the daily prayers, 5 mosques, 7 fountains, 18 gates which were opened each day in the morning and closed in the evening (from these comes the modern name of the Market, “Closed Market” (Kapalıçarşı). Around 1638 the Turkish traveller Evliya Çelebi gave us the most important historical description of the Bazaar and of its customs. The number of shops amounted to 3,000, plus 300 located in the surrounding hans, large caravanserais with two or three storeys round a porticoed inner courtyard, where goods could be stored and merchants could be lodged. In that period one tenth of the shops of the city were concentrated in the market and around it. For all that, at that time the market was not yet covered

Recurrent calamities, fires and earthquakes hit the Grand Bazaar. The first fire occurred in 1515; another in 1548. Other fires ravaged the complex in 1588, 1618 (when the Bit Pazari was destroyed), 1645, 1652, 1658, 1660 (on that occasion the whole city was devastated), 1687, 1688 (great damage occurred to the Uzun Carsi) 1695, 1701. The fire of 1701 was particularly fierce, forcing in 1730-31 Grand VizierNevşehirli Damad Ibrahim Pasha to rebuild several parts of the complex. In 1738 the Kizlar Aĝasi Beşir Ağa endowed the Fountain (still existing) near Mercan Kapi.

In this period, because of the new law against fires issued in 1696, several parts of the market which lay between the two Bedesten were covered with vaults. Despite that, other fires ravaged the complex in 1750 and 1791. The quake of 1766 caused more damages, which were repaired by the Court Chief Architect (Hassa baş Mimari) Ahmet a year later.

In 1914 the Sandal Bedesten, whose handlers of textile goods had been ruined by the European competition, was acquired by the city of Istanbul and, starting one year later, was used as an auction house, mainly for carpets. In 1927 the individual parts of the bazaar and the streets got official names. The last fires of bazaar happened in 1943 and 1954, and the related restorations were finished on 28 July 1959.


Saray-ı Cedid-i Amire – the Ottoman palace

The construction of the palace in Edirne started in 1450 by order of Sultan Murad II. The hunting grounds on the west bank of the Tunca River were selected as its location. It was further from the centre of Edirne than the Old Palace (Saray-i Atik) that had stood in the spot where Selimiye Mosque was later erected.

When Murad II died one year later, the work was suspended for some time and then resumed as ordered by Sultan Mehmet II, the conqueror of Constantinople. Admittedly, with the downfall of Byzantium and the relocation of the Ottoman capital to Constantinople in 1453, Edirne lost its significance which it had for the previous century, but the construction of the palace was finished in 1475.

The palace was called Saray-ı Cedid-i Amire (i.e. New Imperial Palace), and it was systematically expanded. The decoration and enlargement of the palace were due to the engagement of the successive sultans, including Suleiman the Magnificent and Mehmet IV.

Suleiman the Magnificent ordered the construction of waterways to the palace, bridges and other buildings. The palace was surrounded by a garden of fruit trees and flowers. Wild and domestic animals, as well as flocks of birds, lived there. This private garden of the sultan was rearranged in 1552 by the chief gardener Sinan Ağa. The detailed description of the palace gardens was provided by Evliya Çelebi who referred to it as Hünkar Bahçesi Sarayı — the Palace of the Emperor’s Garden. Evliya Çelebi relates that the area extending from the palace to Şahabeddin Paşa Bridge was forested and there were meadows to the south of the palace. The garden was covered with tulips, and the groove was full of the ornamental trees such as willows, plane trees, cypress, poplars, and elm trees, with all kinds of wild animals and birds. The garden complex was supervised all the time by the chief gardener and three thousand assistants.

The palace was abandoned in 1718 when Sultan Ahmed III decided to rule only from Istanbul. During the period of vacancy, the palace fell into a state of dilapidation, caused by the earthquake in 1752 and the fire in 1776. In 1768, Sultan Mustafa III returned to Edirne. Interestingly, by moving back to Edirne Palace, he came back to the place where he was born in 1717.

Parts of the palace were repaired during the reign of Sultan Mahmud II, in 1825. Unfortunately, soon afterwards the palace was heavily damaged during the Russian occupation of Edirne in 1829. The Russian army used the palace area as a military camp. Many buildings of the palace complex underwent restoration between 1868 and 1873.

Unfortunately, in time the significance of this place diminished and this resulted in using the palatial buildings as an arsenal in the second half of the 19th century. During the Russo-Turkish War, in 1878 the palace was blasted on the order of Cemil Paşa, the Edirne governor. This decision was motivated as the means of prevention against the seizure of the arsenal by the closing Russian army. The demolition was completed during the Balkan wars at the beginning of the 20th century. As a result, the whole palatial complex practically vanished. The structures preserved, entirely or partly, include Justice Pavilion, Panorama Pavilion, Sand Pavilion Bathhouse, Felicity Gate and the Imperial Kitchens.


In 2009 the restoration works in the palace area started. The excavation and reconstruction work has been directed by Professor Mustafa Özer from Bahçeşehir University in Istanbul. The restoration project began from the palace kitchens, and in 2011 the Sand Pavilion Bathhouse was renovated.

In July 2013, the news portal Hürriyet Daily News informed about the important archaeological finds from the area of Matbah-ı Amire. Among the excavated objects were kitchen utensils and vessels that will enable the scholars to study the secrets of the Ottoman cuisine.


Life in Edirne Palace

There are numerous stories and anecdotes related to the Edirne Palace. For a period of time, these were the main living quarters of Ottoman sultans and their families. Undoubtedly the most famous sultan born in the palace was Mehmed, the third son of Murad II, who was born in 1432. His mother was a young woman known as Hatice Âlime Hüma Hatun and her baby was to become the conqueror of Constantinople – Mehmed II Fatih. Future sultan spent in Edirne the first three years of his life, until he was delegated to Amasya. Another notable event that took place in f was the circumcision of young Mehmed and his older brother – Alaaddin Ali.

Also the wedding of Mehmet with a daughter of emir Ibrahim from eastern Anatolia, Sitti Hatun, was organised in Edirne. The celebration lasted for four days. Unfortunately for Sitti, she did not become Mehmed’s favourite wife, and when he moved to Constantinople after the conquest, she was left behind in Edirne Palace. She died there lonely and forgotten, in 1467.

When Mehmet became the Sultan after his father’s death in 1451, one of his first moves was the visit to Edirne Palace. When he was accepting condolences because of his father’s death and congratulations on becoming the ruler of the empire from Halime Hatun, Murad’s wife, his youngest brother and Halime’s son – Kücük Ahmet, was being strangled in the palace’s baths.

Mehmed the Conqueror did not move to Constantinople immediately after the conquest, as the city required much reconstruction and rebuilding after the siege. It was in Edirne Palace where Mehmed hosted numerous foreign embassies that arrived to congratulate him and negotiate friendly relations between the Ottoman Empire and their countries.

According to Aşıkpaşazade, an Ottoman historian, claims that the ceremonies organised for the occasion of circumcision of Mehemed’s two sons – Bayezid and Mustafa – lasted four days. The island on the Tunca River where the palace is situated was covered with tents of dignitaries who arrived from all the corners of the Ottoman Empire.

Another Sultan who spent much time in Edirne Palace was Mehmed IV. He was known as Avcı Mehmed, Mehmed the Hunter, because of his passion for hunting. There were two reasons why he preferred the palace in Edirne to Topkapı Palace in Istanbul. Firstly, he had traumatic memories from his early childhood when his parents – Sultan Ibrahim and Turhan Hatice – had a violent quarrel. Ibrahim tore Mehmed from his mother’s arms and flung the infant into a cistern. Mehmed was rescued by servants, but this incident left him with a lifelong scar on his head. The second reason for spending much time in Edirne was Mehmed’s hunting obsession. His long hunting trips around the city virtually devastated the forests while thousands of wild animals were killed.

In 1661, a terrible plague decimated the population of Istanbul. Sultan Mehmed IV had evacuated his whole court to Edirne where he spent the winter, mainly on hunting expeditions. His passion for hunting was not matched with his political and military abilities. When the Grand Vizier Fazıl Ahmed started a military expedition against the Habsburgs, Sultan Mehmed IV accompanied the troops from Istanbul only to Edirne where he stayed in the palace. His first son – future Sultan Mustafa II – was born there in June 1664 and the celebrations lasted over a week. Another feast, eleven-days long, was organised in Edirne Palace in 1675, to celebrate the circumcision of the sultan’s son. Again, the Sarayiçi Island was covered with colourful tents for the dignitaries.

The palace in Edirne was also frequently visited by Sultan Suleiman II who died there in June 1691. His successor and younger brother, Ahmed II, was enthroned as the ruler of the Ottoman Empire in Edirne Palace. It was an unusual event as traditionally the enthronement ceremony (tr. Kılıç alayı) of the sultans had taken place at the tomb complex at Eyüp, on the Golden Horn waterway in the capital Constantinople. His children, including the twins Selim and Ibrahim, were born in Edirne. Suleiman II was the sultan less than five years as he died in Edirne Palace at the age of 51.

His nephew was also enthroned in Edirne as Mustafa IV. Before becoming the sultan, Mustafa had spent most of his life in Edirne Palace. Like his father, Mehmed IV, Mustafa also spent much time hunting in the forests near Edirne. His absence from the capital was one of the reasons of the so-called Edirne event (Ottoman Turkish Edirne Vaḳʿası). It was a janissary revolt that began in Istanbul in 1703 as the consequence of the Treaty of Karlowitz. This treaty marked the end of Ottoman control in much of Central Europe and stopped the centuries of the empire’s territorial expansion.

After the signing of the treaty, Sultan Mustafa II retreated to Edirne and left political and administrative affairs to Seyhulislam Feyzullah Efendi. His move to Edirne in 1701 was an attempt to shield the effects of the treaty from the public. The Sultan’s absence and the leadership of Seyhulislam Feyzullah Efendi were not supported by the janissaries. As a result of the Edirne Event, Seyhulislam Feyzullah Efendi was killed, and Sultan Mustafa II was ousted from power on the 22nd of August 1703. The sultan was replaced by his younger brother, Sultan Ahmet III.

Ahmet III was the last of the Ottoman sultans to be enthroned in Edirne. The beginning of his rule marks the end of the splendour of Saray-ı Cedid-i Amire – the Ottoman palace in this city. He moved back to Constantinople just three weeks after the girding of the sword of Osman – an important ceremony that marked a sultan’s ascension to the throne. All his successors were enthroned in Constantinople, at the traditional location at Eyüp. Ahmet III was not happy in Constantinople as he complained about the lack of freedom he remembered from Edirne.



It the times of its splendour the palatial complex consisted of 72 buildings, including 18 baths and eight mosques. Approximately 34 thousand people lived in the palace area in its heydey. These inhabitants were served by six thousand members of palace staff. It these times the Edirne Palace competed with Topkapı Palace in Istanbul with its size and luxurious furnishings.

If you start sightseeing from the area of the car park, the first structure you can see is the Felicity Gate (Bab’üs Sa’ade), also called the Gate of White Eunuchs (Ak Ağalar Kapısı). It was reconstructed in the years 2001-2004. It used to lead to the main building of the palace, known as the Panoramic Pavilion (Cihannüma Kasrı) or the Imperial Throne (Taht-ı Hümayun). Now heavily damaged, it once consisted of the Sultan’s room, a flag room, a library, a small mosque, and other rooms. It was built between 1450 and 1451, as a seven-storey structure with an octagonal room on the top floor. Initial archaeological excavations of this monument took place in 1956, but it has not been reconstructed yet.

To the south of the Panoramic Pavilion, there were three adjacent pavilions, constructed for Mehmed IV, Mustafa II, and Ahmed III. There were also harem rooms for the sultan’s mother, his four wives, consorts, princes. All these buildings have been destroyed. Walking further to the north of the Panoramic Pavilion and crossing a small stream, you will reach another heavily damaged but visible structure of Water Depot (Su Maksemi). This building, which is rarely mentioned in the publications about Edirne New Palace, has a rectangular plan. The building has three floors and a basement. The first floor, rising on the two-partition basement floor, is divided into two sections. The third floor consists of a single room, located in the east-west direction. No known inscriptions provide the date of its construction, but on the basis of its architecture and building materials, the researchers attribute it to the 15th century. The interior walls of two rooms with cradle vaults, situated on the first floor of the building, were plastered with cement mortar, probably during the military use of the palace in the 20th century.

Sand Pavilion Bathhouse (Kum Kasrı Hamamı) lies to the east of the Panoramic Pavilion. This simple bathhouse, built by Mehmed the Conqueror, consists of three main sections, known as sıcaklık (caldarium – hot water room), ılıklık (tepidarium warm water room), and soğukluk (frigidarium – cold water room). These three sections are covered with three small domes. The bathhouse used to be connected to the main palace with a walkway. These baths were once used by the favourite concubine of Suleiman the Magnificient, the famous Hürrem Sultan (Roxolane). Archaeological excavations were undertaken there in 2000, revealing the existence of water supply system. The current appearance of the Sand Pavilion Bathhouse results from heavy restoration works, finished in 2011.

Imperial Kitchen (Matbah-ı Amire) is located to the south of the Panoramic Pavilion, on the other side of the modern road. It is a long, rectangular-plan building covered with eight domes. The western part of the structure is divided into four square spaces, and two equally large sections on the east side are divided into two square spaces. Each space is covered with a dome. There are four rectangular hearth furnaces made of bricks in the interior of the building and cut-stone chimneys on the roof. The building has been heavily renovated. Extensive excavations were carried out around the Imperial Kitchen in 2013, as can be seen to the south of the structure.

More historical structures stand close to the palace ruins, next to the oil-wresting stadium. The first of these is the so-called Justice Hall (Kasr-ı Adalet). It is a stone rectangular tower with a pointed metal roof, erected in 1561 by order of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificient. It is the only structure of the palace complex that remained intact. It is located next to the tiny Mehmet the Conqueror Bridge.

Just next to this tower, two stone columns with square bases still stand. The column on the right side was called the Respect Stone (Seng-i Hürmet) where the subjects could place their petitions to the sultan. The left column was called the Warning Stone (Seng-i İbret). Its name perfectly reflects its function was to display the capitated heads of criminals or the palace officials who fell out of the sultan’s favour.

Other structures from the Ottoman times in the area of the palace are the bridges that lead to the Sarayiçi Island: Şahabeddin Paşa Bridge from 1451, Mehmet the Conqueror Bridge from 1452, and Suleiman the Magnificient bridge from 1553-1554. They are discussed in a separate text.

Northeast to the Sand Pavilion Bathhouse, a prayer platform (namazgah) is situated which was built in the second half of the 16th century. Behind its marble mihrab, there is a fountain (Namazgâhli Çeşme).

Finally, as the palace was built near extensive hunting ground, there is the Hunting Lodge (Bülbül Kasrı or Av Köşkü), hidden the forest to the north-east of the palace comlex and the olive oil wrestling stadium (41.693987, 26.564407). It was built in 1671 by Mehmed IV, not surprisingly known as Mehmed the Hunter. It remained partly intact but underwent a restoration in 2002, funded by the municipality of Edirne. According to an existing drawing, the mansion, rising on a square-shaped pedestal, was built with regularly cut stones and had a folding roof.

Edirne Palace

The palace was built on an area of ​​300-355.000 m2 on the bank of the Tunca River in the north of the city. It was started in 1450 at the 2nd Murat time. The palace construction, which had stopped for a while after the death of the monarchs, was completed by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1475. Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, 1st Ahmet, Avcı Mehmet, 2nd Ahmet, 3. During the time of Ahmet the palace was constantly repaired and new constructions were added. 3. After Ahmet’s visit to Istanbul in 1718, no sultan came to Edirne until the 3rd Mustafa in 1768, and this half-century process between them was the beginning of the destruction. The great earthquake in 1752 and the fire in 1776 continued the destruction process. A part of the palace was repaired during the reign of Mahmut II in 1827. The Russians, who occupied Edirne in 1829, they used the palace as a camp and they suffered great damage. Many buildings were rescued during the repair period which started with Governor Hurşit Pasha in 1868 and continued until the governorship of Hacı İzzet Pasha in 1873.
1876-77 Due to the approach of the enemy in the Russian War, the governor Cemil Pasha and the commander of Edirne Ahmet Eyup Pasha, on the disagreement of Bab’üs Sa’âde, the explosion of the ammunition collapsed and the structure of the palace was destroyed. After that, looting began and the remains of the sarcophagus were used in other structures.
Cihannüma Kasrı (Taht-i Hümayun) built by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror forms the main structure in the palace. (Hunter) Mehmet, 2. Mustafa and 3 (Sultan) in the south of the Cihannüma Kasrı, as well as the mosque and the palace library, In the continuation of these sultan apartments, the headquarters, second and third and fourth women, princesses, concubines, vestibles, patient wards, agendas, and the court of the Supply Chamber of the Cihannüma Kasrı have been formed. is located at the base of the Sa’ad (Ak Agalar Kapısı).
The construction of the Edirne New Palace, which started in the 2.Murat period, continued to be continued over time. 2.Beyazıt Tunca covered the bed with stone and built high retaining walls beside it. During the period of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman and Hassa Mimarbaşı Mimar Sinan, the second building process of Edirne Palace was almost entered. In this period, the palace was rescheduled, the topography was arranged, and the water related problems were solved. Mimar Sinan, Edirne’te brought to the palace of a piece of stone water is connected to Sarıyer. In order to protect the palace constructions from water floods, an important part of this water coming to the Tunca bed was removed from the palace area with the channel opened in the form of an arc and connected to Tunca through the Saraçhane bridge. This turned the palace area through a second water in the east-south-west direction so that the area between the river and the canal bed was preserved without the fortification wall of the palace that formed the Hasbahçe. On this channel, he built a bridge law on the axis of Fatih Bridge on Tunca and re-determined the main entrance of the palace. At the time of Murad IV, Imadiye Kasrı 4th Mehmet time, Alay Mansion, Iftar Mansion, Hunting Pavilion, Bulbul and Bostancı Kasrı were built in Hasbahçe.



The Blue Mosque (Called Sultanahmet Camii in Turkish) was built by Sedefkar Mehmet Aga in the sultan 1. Ahmet’s time between (1609-1616) years. It is located on the site of the Great Palace of Byzantium, on the southeastern side of the Hippodrome. It is called by Europeans as Blue because of its interior blue tiles which was used more than 20.000 pieces.

The mosque is also popularly known as a fascinating structure its six minarets because it is only six minarets mosque in Turkey.

There are many legends  about this mosque; one of them is about minarets. Sultan ordered minarets to be made from the gold to create a different style  but there was no money enough. Instead of this Sedefkar Mehmet Aga decided to build six minarets to see its uniqueness. The mosque is lightened by 260 windows. It’s part of the worship sizes 64×72 meters and its diameter is 23,5. There is a heavy gateway made from iron in the entrance of the west yard. The shape of this gateway shows the importance of the mosque because at the time even sultan had to be careful when he came in this gateway. The mosque has a rectangular shape.Also there is a central dome supported by  4 half-dome ,4 different ways.

Blue Mosque has a feature like social complex by including madrasa, Sultan Resting Mantion, Turkish bath, fountain, hospital, Mekteb-I Sıbyan, rental rooms and homes except from mosque. The other important structure of Blue mosque’s social complex is Sultan Resting Mansion which is a place built for Sultan in order to rest after and before pray. Within this place there are many tombs including Sultan 1. Ahmet, his wife Kosem  Sultan, and their sons 4.Murat and 2. Osman in the northwest.

Besides being tourist attraction point, it’s also an active mosque, so it’s closed to non worshippers for a half hour or so during the five daily prayers. Best way to see great architecture of the Blue Mosque is to approach it from the Hippodrome. (West side of the mosque) As if you are non-Muslim visitor, you also have to use same direction to enter the Mosque.

Today, there is a place named ‘Arasta’  in the back of the mosque, surrounded by Mosaic Museum, the shops selling touristic materials. Blue Mosque is one the most popular tourist attraction that also welcomes the famous people including The leader of Catholic Church and USA’s Old President, Bill Clinton visit this mosque two times.





Tourists always wonder how to visit  Blue Mosque.There is also many other questions such as if there is any entrance fee,dress code, where to put my shoes etc.Here below is the answers of all these simple questions…

1) Plan your visit to the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul, so that you better arrive mid morning. Pray happens five times a day with the first call to prayer at sunrise and the last one at nightfall.The mosque closes for 90 minutes at each pray time.Avoid visiting a mosque at pray time (Especially Midday praying on Friday) or within a half hour after the ezan is chanted from the Mosque minarets.

2) Before step in to Mosque, take off your shoes and put in plastic bags provided at the entrance(Free of Charge). This is required of all persons as part of Muslim tradition when entering a mosque. There is also no charge to enter the Blue Mosque.

3) If you are women wear a head covering when entering to Blue Mosque.Head coverings are available at the Blue Mosque entrance for free. Place the fabric cover on top of your head with equal portions hanging on both sides. Take one side and wrap it around your neck, tossing it behind your back with covering your shoulders. Don’t cover your face, the covering is meant to hide your hair only.

4) When you are inside the mosque, remain quiet and don’t use flash photography.Since this  is a place of worship, avoid staring or taking picture of those who are praying.Visit the mosque respectfully and quietly.At the Mosque exit, you can put used plastic bags in designated bin bags and return head covers to duty staff.

5) You can do donation to help maintain the Mosque at the exit door.It is not compulsory, but if you make donation you will get the official receipt for it.




Following the Peace of Zsitvatorok (1606) and the  unfavourable result of the wars with Persia, Sultan Ahmed I decided to build a huge mosque in Istanbul. It would be the first great imperial mosque to be built in more than  forty years.His predecessors had paid for their mosques with their  war booty, Sultan Ahmed I had to withdraw the funds from the treasury, because he had not won any notable victories during his time. This provoked the anger of the Ottoman ulema, the Muslim legal scholars.

The mosque was to be built on the site of the palace of the Byzantine emperors, facing the Hagia Sophia  (at that time it was most venerated mosque in Istanbul) and the hippodrome, a site of great symbolic significance. Large parts of the southern side of the mosque rest on the foundation and vaults of the Great Palace. Several palaces was already built there, most notably the palace of Sokollu Mehmet Pasha, so these first had to be bought at a considerable cost and pulled down. Large parts of the Sphendone (curved tribune with U-shaped structure of the hippodrome) were also removed to make room for the new mosque. Construction of the mosque started in August 1609 when the sultan himself came to break the first sod. It was his intention that this would become the first mosque of his empire.

He did appoint his royal architect Sedefhar Mehmet Ağa, a pupil and senior assistant of the famous architect Mimar Sinan to be in charge of the Mosque construction. The organization of the work was described in meticulous detail in eight volumes, now found in the library of the Topkapı Palace. The opening ceremonies were held in 1617 . The sultan could now pray in the royal box which called hünkâr mahfil. The building was not yet finished in this last year of his reign, as the last accounts were signed by his successor Mustafa I. Known as the Blue Mosque , Sultan Ahmed Mosque is currently one of the most impressive monuments in the world.



At Blue Mosque lower levels and at every pier, the interior of the mosque is lined with more than 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles, made at Iznik city (Nicaea) in more than fifty different tulip designs. The tiles at lower levels are traditional in design, while at gallery level their design becomes flamboyant with representing flowers, fruit and cypresses. More than 20,000 tiles were made under the supervision of the Iznik master potter Kasap Haci,and Baris Efendi from Avanos,Cappadocia. The price to be paid for each tile was fixed by the sultan’s decree,due tile prices in general increased over time. Result is, the quality of the tiles used in the building decreased gradually. Their colours have faded and changed and the glazes have dulled. The tiles on the back balcony wall are restorated tiles from the harem in the Topkapı Palace, when it was damaged by fire in 1574.

The upper levels of the Mosque interior is dominated by blue paint. More than 200 stained glass windows with intricate designs admit natural light. On the chandeliers, ostrich eggs are found that where meant to avoid cobwebs inside the mosque by repelling spiders.The decorations including verses from the Qur’an, many of them made by Seyyid Kasim Gubari, regarded as the greatest calligrapher of his time. The floors are covered with carpets, which is donated by faithful people and are regularly replaced as they wear out. The many spacious windows confer a spacious impression. Each exedra of the Mosque has five windows, some of which are blind. Each semi dome has 14 windows and the central dome 28 windows(four of which are blind). The coloured glass for the windows was a gift from the Signoria of Venice to the sultan. Most of these coloured windows have been replaced by current modern versions with little or no artistic merit.

The most important element of the Mosque interior is the mihrab, which is made of finely carved and sculptured marble, with a stalactite niche and a double inscriptive panel above it.Adjacent walls are sheathed in ceramic tiles. But due to many windows around it make it look less spectacular. To the right of the mihrab is the richly decorated minber, or pulpit, where the Imam stands when he is delivering his sermon at the time of noon prayer on Fridays or special holy days. The mosque has been specially designed so that even when it is at its most crowded, everyone in the mosque can see and hear the Imam.

The royal kiosk is situated at the south-east corner comprises a platform, a loggia and two small retiring rooms. It gives access to the royal loge in the south east upper gallery of the Blue Mosque. These retiring rooms became the headquarters of the Grand Vizier during the suppression on the rebellious Janissary Corps in they year of 1826. The royal loge (called hünkâr mahfil in Turkish) is supported by ten marble columns.

The many lamps inside the Blue Mosque were once covered with gold and gems. Among the glass bowls each one could find ostrich eggs and crystal balls. All these decorations have been removed or pillaged for museums in Istanbul.

The great tablets on the walls are inscribed with the names of the caliphs and verses from the Quran, originally by the great 17th century calligrapher Ametli Kasım Gubarım, but time by time they have frequently been restored.



The façade of the spacious forecourt was built in the same manner as the façade of the Süleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul, except for the addition of the turrets on the corner domes. The court is about as large as the mosque itself and is surrounded by a continuous vaulted arcade. The central hexagonal fountain is rather small in contrast with the dimensions of the courtyard. The monumental but narrow gateway to the courtyard stands out architecturally from the its arcade. Its semi-dome has a fine stalactite structure, crowned by a small ribbed dome on a tall tholobate.

A heavy iron chain hangs in the upper part of the court entrance on the western side of the Mosque. Only the sultan was allowed to enter the court of the Blue Mosque on horseback. The chain was put there, so that the sultan had to lower his head every time he enter the court in order not to get hit.It was done as a symbolic gesture, to ensure the humility of the ruler in the face of the divine.



The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is first one of the two mosques in Turkey that has six minarets.Second one is the Sabancı Mosque in Adana. When the number of minarets was revealed, the Sultan was criticized for being presumptuous, since this was the same minarets number as at the mosque of the Ka’aba in Mecca.He overcame this problem by ordering  a seventh minaret to be built at the Mecca mosque.

Four minarets stand at the corners of the Blue Mosque. Each of these fluted, pencil-shaped minarets has three balconies (Called Serefe) with stalactite corbels, while the two others at the end of the forecourt only have two balconies.Before the muezzin or prayer caller had to climb a narrow spiral staircase five times a day to announce the call to prayer.

Today, a public announce system is being used, and the call can be heard across the old part of the city, echoed by other mosques in the vicinity. Large crowds of both Turks and tourists gather at sunset in the park facing the mosque to hear the call to evening prayers, as the sun sets and the mosque is brilliantly illuminated by colored flood lights.


Sultanahmet, the historic center of Istanbul, is getting ready for the tourism to come. By redesigning Sultanahmet square  park as well as the Hippodrome, this World Heritage Site can be accessed more easily by wheelchair users, but also inline skaters, skateboarders and baby carriages. Park& Ride stations for bicycles, information boards with QR codes for mobile devices ( and last but not least the increased mobility of the city police (Zabıta) on compact electric three-wheelers are examples of change.


The Hagia Sophia, one of the historical architectural wonders that still remains standing today, has an important place in the art world with its architecture, grandness, size and functionality.

The Hagia Sophia, the biggest church constructed by the East Roman Empire in Istanbul, has been constructed three times in the same location. When it was first built, it was named Megale Ekklesia (Big Church); however, after the fifth century, it was referred to as the Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom). The church was the place in which rulers were crowned, and it was also the biggest operational cathedral in the city throughout the Byzantine period.


The first church was constructed by Emperor Konstantios (337-361) in 360. The first church was covered with a wooden roof and expanded vertically (basilica) yet was burned down after the public riot that took place in 404 as a result of the disagreements between Emperor Arkadios’ (395-408) wife empress Eudoksia and Istanbul’s patriarch Ioannes Chrysostomos, who was exiled. The patriarch’s mosaic portrait can still be viewed at the tymphanon wall located in the northern part of the church. No remains have been recovered from the first church; however, the bricks found in the museum storage branded ‘Megale Ekklesia’ are predicted to belong to the first construction.

The second church was reconstructed by Emperor Theodosios II (408-450) in 415. This basilical structure is known to contain five naves and a monumental entrance; it is also covered by a wooden roof.

The church was demolished in January 13, 532, after the public riot (Nika revolts) that took place during the fifth year of Emperor Justinianos’ reign (527-565), when the ‘blues’ who represented the aristocrats, and the ‘greens’ who represented the tradesman and merchants in the society, collaborated against the Empire.

Remains found during the excavations led by A. M Scheinder of the Istanbul German Archeology Institute, 2 meters below ground level, include steps belonging to the Propylon (monumental door), column bases and pieces with lamb embossings that represent the 12 apostles. In addition, other architectural pieces that belong to the monumental entrance can be seen in the west garden.

The current structure was constructed by Isidoros (Milet) and Anthemios (Tralles), who were renowned architects of their time, by Emperor Justinianos’s (527-565) orders. Information from historian Prokopios states that the construction that began on February 23, 532, was completed in a short period of five years and the church was opened to worship with a ceremony on December 27, 537. Resources show that on the opening day of the Hagia Sophia, Emperor Justinianos entered the temple and said, “My Lord, thank you for giving me chance to create such a worshipping place,” and followed with the words “Süleyman, I beat you,” referring to Süleyman’s temple in Jerusalem.

The third Hagia Sophia construction combined the three traditional basilical plans with the central dome plan in design. The structure has three nefi, one apsi, and two narthex, internal and external. The length from the apsis to the outer narthex is 100 m, and the width is 69.5 m. The height of the dome from the ground level is 55.60 m and the radius is 31.87 m in the North to South direction and 30.86 in the East to West direction.

Emperor Justinianos ordered all provinces under his reign to send the best architectural pieces to be used in the construction so that the Hagia Sophia could be bigger and grander. The columns and marbles used in the structure have been taken from ancient cities in and around Anatolia and Syria, such as, Aspendus Ephessus, Baalbeek and Tarsa.

The white marbles used in the structure came from the Marmara Island, the green porphyry from Eğriboz Island, the pink marbles from Afyon and the yellow from North Africa. The decorative interior wall coatings were established by dividing single marble blocks into two and combining them in order to create symmetrical shapes.

In addition, the structure includes columns brought in from the Temple of Artemis in Ephessus to be used in the naves, as well as 8 columns brought from Egypt that support the domes. The structure has a total of 104 columns, 40 in the lower and 64 in the upper gallery.

All the walls of the Hagia Sophia except the ones covered by marble have been decorated with exceptionally beautiful mosaics. Gold, silver, glass, terra cotta and colorful stones have been used to make the mosaics. The plant-based and geometric mosaics are from the 6th century, whereas the figured mosaics date back to the Iconoclast period.

During the East Roman period, the Hagia Sophia was the Empire Church and, as a result, was the place in which the emperors were crowned. The area that is on the right of the naos, where the flooring is covered with colorful stones creating an intertwining circular design (omphalion), is the section in which the Eastern Roman Emperors were crowned.

Istanbul was occupied by Latins between 1204 and 1261, during the Holy Crusades, when both the city and the church were damaged. The Hagia Sophia was known to be in bad condition in 1261, when Eastern Rome took over the city again.

Following Fatih Sultan Mehmed’s (1451-1481) conquer in 1453, Hagia Sophia was renovated into a mosque. The structure was fortified and was well protected after this period, and remained as a mosque. Additional supporting pillars were installed during the East Roman and Ottoman periods as a result of the damage that the structure experienced due to earthquakes in the region. The minarets designed and implemented by Mimar Sinan have also served to this purpose.

A madrasah was built towards the North or Hagia Sophia during Fatih Sultan Mehmed’s reign. This construction was abolished in the 17. Century. During Sultan Abdülmecid’s (1839-1861) reign, renovations were conducted by Fossati and a madrasah was rebuilt in the same place. The remains have been discovered during the excavations in 1982.

During the 16th and 17th century Ottoman period, mihrabs, minbar, maksoorahs, a preachment stand and a muezzin mahfili (a special raised platform in a mosque, opposite the minbar where a muezzin kneels and chants in response to the imam’s prayers) were added to the structure.

The bronze lamps on two sides of the mihrab have been given as gifts to the mosque by Kanuni Sultan Süleyman (1520-1566) after his return from Budin.

The two marble cubes dating back to the Hellenistic period (3 – 4 B.C.) on both sides of the main entrance have been specially brought from Bergama and were given by Sultan Murad III (1574-1595) as gifts.

During the Sultan Abdülmecid period between 1847 and 1849, an extensive renovation in the Hagia Sophia was conducted by the Swiss Fossati brothers, where the Hünkâr Mahfili (a separate compartment where the emperors pray) located in a niche in the Northern section was removed and another one towards the left of the mihrab was built.

The 8- 7.5 m diameter calligraphy panels that were written by Caligrapher Kadıasker Mustafa İzzet Efendi were placed in the main walls of the structure. The panels that read “Allah, Hz. Muhammed, Hz. Ebubekir, Hz. Ömer, Hz. Osman, Hz. Ali, Hz. Hasan ve Hz. Hüseyin” are known to be the biggest calligraphy panels in the Islamic world.

The Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s orders and has been functioning as one since February 1, 1935, welcoming both local and foreign visitors. According to a deed dated 1936, the Hagia Sophia is registered as “Ayasofya-i Kebir Camii Şerifi on behalf of the Fatih Sultan Mehmed Foundation for maoseleum, akaret, muvakkithane and madrasah on 57 pafta, 57 island and 7th parcel.”

Hagia Sophia’s Dome

The most important difference in Hagia Sophia’s architectural design is that its size and measurements are much larger than other churches, and the central dome is much bigger and higher. The dome that is over the central space is 55.60 m. from ground level, 31.87 m. from North to South and 30.87 m. from East to West. When constructing Hagia Sophia, architects have used marble, stone and special bricks that were light yet durable, specially made of Rhodes soil.


The dome that appeared compressed and spread out when it was first constructed, has been damaged in August 553 and December 557 due to earthquakes and in May 7, 558 the Eastern part of the dome has completely fallen apart. The renovation of the dome has been carried out by İsidoros’ nephew, young İsidoros. İsidoros has solved the problem by installing support systems through external braces and assisted the structure by adding forty windows and increasing the lenght of the dome by seven meters to make it smaller and lighter.


Hagia Sophia has survived a big fire in 859 and an earthquake in 869. The dome has collapsed after an earthquake in 989 and has been repaired. Due to the earthquakes in 1344 and 1346 a part of the dome and parts of the arch have collapsed and have been repaired.


The renovation process that has started by Fatih Sultan Mehmed during the Ottoman period has been continued by the following Sultans as well. The most important repair conducted in Hagia Sophia was by Sultan Abdulmecid’s (1839–1861) orders in 1847-1849 by the Swiss Fossati brothers. This repair included the filling of large cracks on the dome as well as securing the dome’s rim by implementing steel circles. During the renovations, one of the most important calligraphist’s of his time, Kazasker Mustafa İzzet Efendi has written the 35th verse of the quran on the main dome.


As one of the major elements of the traditional mosque architecture, altar is a recessed segment in mosques, prayer rooms, and outdoor prayer areas which is higher than surroundings and faced to the direction of Mecca that imam having community behind him stands in front of it during prayer. Ottoman Sultans made some repairs and additions to the altar in the southeast of the main place of the traditional Hagia Sophia Museum.


The altar of the Hagia Sophia renovated in the 19th century is a marble example having a polygonal alcove decorated with a decorative figure of the sun and stars covered by a half-domed mesh. Plenty of gilts are used in the altar encircled by a wide border decorated with acanthus leafs with convoluted branches and it has an imposing cap stone.


The candelabras are places at both sides of the altar brought from the court church of the Hungarian King Matthias I by the Grand Vizier İbrahim Pasha during the conquest of Buda by the Hungary run in the era of Suleiman the Magnificent.


Minbar is a pulpit in the mosque where the imam (leader of prayer) stands to deliver sermons on Fridays. Minbar is at right hand side of the altar in Hagia Sophia and build in the period of Sultan Murad III. It is one of the best marble workmanship of 16th century Ottoman era.

Sultan’s Loge

Sultans’s Loge, also called as Imperial Loge, are special locations for Sultan’s prayers in mosques, since sultans perform Friday and Festival prayers as well as night payers in Holy nights in the Major mosque of the city.


There is no information regarding the location and creator of the first Sultan’s Loge in Hagia Sophia. Today’s Sultan’s Loge is at the left side of the altar and annexed to the structure by Fossati Brothers during the renovations performed between 1847 and 1849.


Sultan’s Loge consists of a hexagonal section on a number of five columns and a corridor again on columns. Its lower part has a marble hemstitched banister panel, while the upper part is a gilded wooden cage. The ceiling of the loge is decorated with hand-drawn plant patterns.

Muezzin’s Loge

Muezzin’s Loge is the section in the same direction of Mecca which the Muezzin go up on it and prays during prayers and other worships. A large Muezzin’s Loge had been built at the east of the main place in Murat III period, however since the place is so large and the community is too crowded, four more Muezzin’s Loges had been appended in the structure.

The Muezzin Loges are in harmony with the main structure and reflecting the best examples of the marble workmanship of 16th century Ottoman era.


Omphalion is the location where the coronation of every Emperor took place in East-Roman Era and a special section with a group of circular marble slabs with various colors and dimensions and decorations in opus sectile styles in junctures

The Library of Mahmud I

One of the most significant annexes to the structure is the library built by Sultan Mahmud I at 1739 between the two buttresses on the south of the structure. This section consists of the reading hall, the main place, Hazine-i Kütüb (place where the books are preserved) and the corridor and the stony ground combining these sections. It is separated from the main place by a bronze grid carries by 6 columns. The bronze grid is decorated with flowers and branch convolutions. There is scripture of “Ya Fettah” on the two-leafed door of the library and there are two door handles.


“Ya Fettah” is one of the 99 names of Allah and means “the one who opens the doors of goodness and livelihood and makes things easier”. It is frequently used on the handles of the doors in Ottoman Era. There is a porphyry signature of Sultan Mahmud I inlayed to marble on the east wall of the reading room.


The corridor combining the reading room and Hazine-i Kütüb (place where the books are preserved) is decorated with ceramics belonging to 18th century İznik, Kütahya and Tekfur workshops with flower, rose, gillyflower and cypress patterns. The wooden book cabinets in the library section are made of rose wood. The library where Sultan Mahmud I and the leading persons of the day donated books have approximately 5000 books which have been transferred to Süleymaniye Library and is preserved here under the name of “Hagia Sophia Special Collection” .


There are low, small, narrow and wooden tables decorated by mother-of-pearl inlay work technique which are used for reading and writing and a number of two Koran casings coated with mother-of-pearl and tusk.

Private Sections (“Maksure”)

Hagia Sophia had been utilized for not only religious purposes but also as an educational center. The community was lectured here for religious and scientific topics by the prominent ecclesiastics and scientists of the day out of prayer hours. There are private wooden sections in the structure for these purposes called as maksure. There are a total of 11 private sections (maksure) in Hagia Sophia

Marble Cubes

Two pieces of cubes made of monolithic marbles at the lateral naves in the building belong to Hellenistic Period (BC 330-30) and had been brought from Bergama antique city. These cubes have been brought to Hagia Sophia in the period of Sultan Murad III (1574-1595) and can contain 1250 liters of liquid in average. They had been used for distributing juice to the public for holy nights and celebration prayers in the mosque period. The cubes have taps at their lower parts for consuming water in other days.

Wishing Column

There is a column with a hole in the middle covered by bronze plates at the northwest of the building which was also named as the perspiring column or the wishing column. In some references, it is indicated that this column had become blessed in due course among community. Rumors appeared in East-Roman period that it had a healing effect on humans. The legend has it that, Emperor Justinian wandering in the building with a severe headache leaned his head to this column and after a while he realized that the headache was gone. This story had been heard among the public and the rumor regarding the healing effect of the column got around. Hence, people believed that they would get better if they put their fingers into that hole on the column and then rub them to the place where disease is felt. According to another legend, this wetness is described as the tear of Virgin Mary.

As for the Ottoman period, when the Hagia Sophia was transformed into a mosque, Fatih Sultan Mehmed and his retinue prostrated themselves for the first friday prayer by the imamate of Master Akşemseddin, however, they had no matter be able to start the prayer, since the direction of the building was not faced to Kaaba. There is a rumor that, Deus Ex Machina appeared just at that moment and tried to turn the building to face Kaaba, but he was witnessed by a citizen, so he had to disappear without being able to turn the mosque. As for today, people make their wishes by rotating their thumb a complete clockwise tour inside the hole.

Gravestone of Commandant Enrico Dandolo

In face of Mosaic of the Deesis, there is the gravestone of Commandant Enrico Dandolo the Doge of Venice who commanded the 4th crusade and died in Istanbul in 1205 when he was 70 years old. No foundlings regarding to grave have been encountered in researches.

Viking scripture in Hagia Sophia

There is a scripture come down to Vikings on the marble banisters in the middle section of the south galleria. The scripture determined to belong to the 9th century contains a sentence meaning “Halvdan was here”. The scripture is supposed to be made by a Viking mercenary in East-Roman period. A group of Vikings who was famous with their warrior nature had been participated to the imperial guard regiment in İstanbul which was mainly constituted by them which was called as “Varangian”. This regiment built a reputation by fighting on behalf of the court in every region of the empire for approximately 200 years.

The Emperor Door

It is the largest door of Hagia Sophia dated to 6th century, which provides passing to the main structure from the inner narthex section. The Emperor door is 7 meters in length and made of oak and has a bronze frame. The leaves of the door are coated by bronze plates. The door had been used only by the Emperor and his retinue. East-Roman references says the door could be made of the woods of Noah’s ark or the wood of the chest of which the Jewish holy plates kept in.

The Nice Door

It is the oldest architectural element which had been used as compilation in Hagia Sofia which is dated to the B.C. 2nd century and located at south exit of inner narthex. The door is decorated with plant and geometric relief designs had been removed from a pagan temple belonging to the Ancient Period in Cydnus and brought by Empire Theophilos (829-842) and placed to its current location in 838. The Emperors of the East-Roman period was entering into inner narthex through this door known as the Nice Door or the Vestibule Door and passing to the main structure therefrom in royal ceremonies. The scripture of “God and Christ Help Us”, the words of Emperor Theodosius, Emperor Michael, Emperor Theophilos, Empress Theodora and Michael Niktion and monograms representing the year 838 are written on the bronze door leaves.

The Marble Door

The south galleria which was used for solemn meetings by patriarchate officials is separated from west galleria by a marble door. The door is viewed as two individual doors from the west galleria and there are plant, fruit and fish motives in panels on its surface. It is rumored that one side of the door represents paradise while the other one represents hell. The site entered through the door was used as a venue for solemn meetings and important resolutions of patriarchate officials as well as resolutions regarding to religious affairs of the state since Hagia Sophia was an imperial church. The Synode Assembly of Emperor Manuel Komnenos Period is known to be gathered here also in 1166. The resolutions of the meeting written on marble plates are hanged on the wall of exterior narthex.



Rumelihisarı (also known as Rumelian Castle and Roumeli Hissar Castle) or Boğazkesen Castle (literally meaning “the Strait-Cutter Castle”) is a medieval fortress located in the Sarıyer district of Istanbul, Turkey, on a series of hills on the European banks of the Bosphorus. The fortress also lends its name to the immediate neighborhood around it.

Conceived and built between 1451 and 1452 on the orders of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, the complex was commissioned in preparation for the Ottoman conquest of Constantinoplein 1453 to cut off any potential maritime military or logistical relief that may have come to the Byzantine Empire’s aid by way of the Bosphorus Strait, hence the fortress’s alternative name, “Boğazkesen”, i.e. “Strait-cutter” Castle. Its older sister structure, Anadoluhisari (“Anatolian Fortress”), sits on the opposite banks of the Bosporus, and the two fortresses worked in tandem in 1453 to throttle all maritime traffic along the Bosphorus, thus helping the Ottomans achieve their goal of making the city of Constantinople (later renamed Istanbul) their new imperial capital.

After the conquest of the city, Rumelihisarı served as a customs checkpoint and occasional prison, notably for the embassies of states that were at war with the Empire. After suffering extensive damage in the great earthquake of 1509, the structure was repaired, and was used continuously until the late 19th century.

Today, the fortress is a popular museum open to the public, and further acts as an open-air venue for seasonal concerts, art festivals, and special events.



The necessity of a strategic fortress on the Bosphorus was well-known to the Ottomans, who had started in the late 14th century to harbor intentions of capturing the city of Constantinople as a new capital to their fledgling Empire. In a previous Ottoman attempt to conquer the city, Sultan Murad II (1404–1451) had encountered difficulties due to a blockade of the Bosphorus by the Byzantine fleet. Having learned the imporance of maritime strategy from this earlier attempt, Sultan Mehmed II (1432–1481), son of Murad II, started planning and design work on the fortress immediately following his ascent to the throne in 1451. Mehmed further refused the offer of peace proffered by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI (1404–1453), who understood the young Sultan’s intentions and his plans for the conquest of the city.

Mehmed quickly commissioned the contruction of a large fortress that would be used to control all sea traffic on the Bosphorus strait and would work together with the older Anadoluhisari (Anatolia Fortress) to prevent any possible aid from the Black Sea from reaching Constantinople during the planned Turkish siege of the city in 1453, particularly from Genoese colonies such as Caffa, Sinop and Amasra.

The site for the new fortress was quickly decided to be the narrowmost point of the Bosphorus, where the strait is a mere 660 meters (2,170 ft). This tall, hilltop site on the strait’s European banks not only made for easier control of the waterway, but also had the advantage of being situated directly across the Anadoluhisarı (“Anatolian Fortress”) on the Anatolian (i.e. Asian) banks of the Bosphorus; an older Ottoman fortress that was built between 1393 and 1394 by Sultan Bayezid I. Historically, there had been a Roman fortification at the hilltop where Rumelihisari was to be built, which had later been used as a prison by the Byzantines and Genoese. Later on, a monastery had been built there.

Construction began on April 15, 1452. Each one of the three main towers was named after the royal vizier who supervised its respective construction; Sadrazam Çandarlı Halil Pasha, who built the large tower next to the gate; Zağanos Pasha, who built the south tower; and Sarıca Pasha, who built the north tower. The Sultan himself personally inspected the activities on the site.

With the help of thousands of masons and workers, the fortress was completed in a record time of 4 months and 16 days on August 31, 1452. According to popular lore, in order to encourage his builders to work faster, the Sultan designed the fortress’s layout in the shape of the name of the Muslim prophet Muhammed in Arabic script when read from above. As Muhammad and Mehmed share the same Arabic spelling (محمد), it is likely that this act was also made as an homage to himself.



The Rumelihisarı fortification has one small tower, three main towers, and thirteen small watchtowers placed on the walls connecting the main towers. One watchtower is in the form of a quadrangular prism, six watchtowers are shaped as prisms with multiple corners and six others are cylindrical. The main tower in the north, the Saruca Pasha Tower, is in cylindrical form with its 9 stories and height of 28 m (92 ft), has a diameter of 23.30 m (76.4 ft) and its walls are 7 m (23 ft) thick. Today, this tower is called the Fatih (Conqueror) Tower after Sultan Mehmed II. Halil Pasha Tower, a dodecagon prism, which stands at the waterfront in the middle of the fortress, has also 9 stories. It is 22 m (72 ft) high with a 23.30 m (76.4 ft) diameter and the walls are 6.50 m (21.3 ft) thick. The main tower in the south, the Zağanos Pasha Tower, has only 8 stories. The cylindrical tower is 21 m (69 ft) high, has a 26.70 m (87.6 ft) diameter with 5.70 m (18.7 ft) thick walls. The space within each tower was divided up with wooden floors, each equipped with a furnace. Conical wooden roofs covered with lead crowned the towers. The outer curtain walls of the fortress are from north to south 250 m (820 ft) long and from east to west varying between 50 and 125 m (164 and 410 ft) long. Its total area is 31,250 m2 (336,372 sq ft).

The fortress had three main gates next to the main towers, one side gate and two secret gates for the arsenal and food cellars next to the southern tower. There were wooden houses for the soldiers and a small mosque, endowed by the Sultan at the time of construction. Only the minaret shaft remains of the original mosque, while the small masjid added in the mid-16th century has not survived. Water was supplied to the fortress from a large cistern underneath the mosque and distributed through three wall-fountains, of which only one has remained. Two inscriptive plaques are found attached on the walls.

The fortress, designed by architect Müslihiddin, was initially called “Boğazkesen”, literally meaning “The Strait Cutter”, referring to the Bosporus Strait. The name carries a secondary and more macabre meaning; as boğaz not only means strait but also “throat” in Turkish.

It was later renamed as Rumelihisarı, which means “Fortress on the Land of the Romans”, i.e. Byzantine Europe, or the Balkan peninsula.


Usage in the past

A battalion of 400 Janissaries were stationed in the fortress, and large cannons were placed in the Halil Pasha Tower, the main tower on the waterfront. Having completed his fortresses, Mehmed proceeded to levy a toll on ships passing within reach of their cannon. A Venetian vessel ignoring signals to stop was sunk with a single shot and all the surviving sailors beheaded, except for the captain, who was impaled and mounted as a human scarecrow as a warning to further sailors on the strait. These cannons were later used until the second half of the 19th century to greet the sultan when he passed by sea.

After the fall of Constantinople, the fortress served as a customs checkpoint. Rumelihisarı, which was designated to control the passage of ships through the strait, eventually lost its strategic importance when a second pair of fortresses was built further up the Bosphorus, where the strait meets the Black Sea. In the 17th century, it was used as a prison, primarily for foreign prisoners of war. Rumelihisarı was partly destroyed by an earthquake in 1509, but was repaired soon after. In 1746, a fire destroyed all the wooden parts in two of the main towers. The fortress was repaired by Sultan Selim III (1761–1807). However, a new residential neighborhood was formed inside the fortress after it was abandoned in the 19th century.



In 1953, on the orders of President Celal Bayar, the inhabitants were relocated and extensive restoration work began on 16 May 1955, which lasted until 29 May 1958. Since 1960 Rumelihisarı has been a museum and an open-air theater for various concerts at festivals during the summer months.

The Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge which spans the Bosporus is located close to the fortress, to the north.

Rumelihisarı is open to public every day except Wednesdays from 9:00 to 16:30.

The fortress was depicted on various Turkish banknotes during 1939-1986



Gazi Mihal Mosque (tr. Gazi Mihal Cami) is just one of countlesshistoric buildings of the former capital of the Ottoman Empire, Edirne. The mosque was built on the order of Gazi Mihal in 1422, as is stated on an inscription.

Originally, the mosque was part of a larger complex of buildings, which also included a soup kitchen and baths. The kitchen has not been preserved to our times, and the ruined remains of the baths are visible in the neighbourhood of the mosque. On the adjacent cemetery, there is the tomb of the founder of the mosque complex – Gazi Mihal Bey, a son or a grandson of the famous warrior Köse Mihal. According to some sources, this is the grave of Köse Mihal himself. However, it is highly improbable as he would have to live until the Ottoman conquest of Adrianople, living to a very old age. Therefore, we should presume that it is the grave of his grandson, who erected the mosque complex.

Mehmed Bey was born in a prominent Mihaloğlu family in the second half of the 14th century. He is best-known from his military achievements during the Ottoman Interregnum of 1402-1413, the stormy period of the Turkish history after the defeat of Sultan Bayezid I by the Central Asian warlord Timur the Lame at the Battle of Ankara. Bayezid’s failure and subsequent death as the prisoner of Timur, left the young Ottoman Empire torn between his sons – Mehmed, İsa, Musa, Süleyman, and Mustafa, all of them bearing the nickname Çelebi.

Mihaloğlu Mehmed Bey first supported the Musa’s claim to the Ottoman throne. He helped him capture Edirne from Süleyman and was granted the position of the Beylerbey of Rumelia as the reward. Apparently, he was not that grateful to provide Musa with further support as he defected to another brother, Mehmed, who controlled the territories of Asia Minor. The reasons for this surprising move remain unknown but he left Edirne rather suddenly with the best of his troops and was ferried over to Anatolia from Constantinople.

As the domestic war was coming to an end, Mihaloğlu Mehmed Bey helped Mehmed Çelebi by commanding his vanguard forces into battles. Musa was finally defeated and tried to flee, but he was taken prisoner by Mihaloğlu and his companions and promptly executed. In another surprising turn of action, Mihaloğlu Mehmed Bey was not rewarded by the victorious Ottoman prince who became Sultan Mehmed I. Instead, he was imprisoned in Tokat as a potential troublemaker and well-known traitor of Musa’s cause.

When Sultan Mehmed died in 1421, his son and successor Murad II faced the rebellion of his one surviving uncle, Mustafa Çelebi. Mustafa had gathered a group of supporters from Rumelia, including Turahan Bey, who would later play an essential role in the campaign against the Crusade of Varna. Sultan Murad II needed to counterbalance the Rumelian beys and released Mihaloğlu Mehmed Bey from the prison. The armies of Mustafa and Murad finally met at Ulubad near Bursa. During a night attack on Mustafa’s camp, the contender to the Ottoman throne fled across the Dardanelle. He wanted to get to Wallachia but only got as far as Edirne when he was recognised, arrested, and executed.

When his position as the sultan was secured, or so he thought at that time, Murad decided to turn against the Byzantine Empire or what was left of it. The siege of the city began on the 10th of June, 1422. The Ottoman forces were led in joint command by the sultan and Mihaloğlu Mehmed Bey. The vanguard under Mihaloğlu’s command ravaged the suburbs, and then Murad himself arrived on the 20th of June, beginning the siege in earnest.

To defend the city, the Byzantines sponsored the rebellion of Küçük Mustafa – Murad’s younger brother, supported by the Anatolian beys of Karaman and Germiyan. When Küçük Mustafa besieged Bursa, Murad had to lift off the siege of Constantinople. Mihaloğlu led the army against Küçük Mustafa and was killed during the fighting in Iznik in 1423. The mosque bearing his name is the most important memorial of Mihaloğlu Mehmed Bey in Edirne.

There is also the historic Gazi Mihal Bridge over the Tunca River that connected the mosque with the centre of Edirne, situated to the east of the river. Standing very close to the river, Gazi Mihal Mosque was seriously damaged by the flooding of Tunca in 1953. As a result, it was closed for worship for 45 years, until its restoration in 1998.


The cemetery of Gazi Mihal Mosque in Edirne

The mosque was erected from cut stones and bricks. There are no visible ornamentations on its outside walls, but the interchanging layers of light grey stones and red bricks create a pleasant decorative effect. There are faint traces of a painted blue and yellow ornamentation on the inside of the dome over the entrance. The wooden doors are set in a marble frame, surmounted by a pointed arch. There is an inscription in Arabic script over the doors.

Architecturally, the building is an illustration of an axial-eyvan mosque kind. An eyvan is a characteristic element of the Islamic architecture. It is a rectangular room that has three walls and is open into the courtyard on one side. An eyvan usually serves as a monumental entrance to the sacred building.

The front of the Gazi Mihal Mosque there is a five-bayed porch. Its central and higher bay is covered with a large oval dome, and other bays have flat-topped cross vaults. The main prayer room has a square plan. It is covered with a larger semi-circular dome supported on pendentives.

Two flanking rooms, which used to serve as dervish bedrooms, are covered with smaller ribbed domes. Originally, these chambers could be accessed from the central hall but now it is only possible to access them from the outside. The mosque has a single minaret with one balcony, located on its eastern side.

At the mosque, there is an extensive external courtyard adorned with a wooden ablution fountain. The whole complex is surrounded by a stone wall, and the entrance to the mosque is through a gate. The mosque is located below the current ground level, so to get to the gate, it is necessary to go down the stairs.

There is a fascinating cemetery at the back of the building. It contains almost 400 tombstones, dating back to the period from the 15th to early 20th century, some of them unique in Edirne area. There is also a rich collection of Janisarry gravestones with börk headgears. Börk was an Ottoman-era military hat, very high, with a holding place in front, called the kaşıklık, for a spoon. It symbolised the “brotherhood of the spoon” – a sense of comradeship among the Janissaries who ate, slept, fought and died together.

The tombstones from Gazi Mihal Mosque cemetery can be divided into two main categories: female and male. The female gravestones are mainly decorated with floral motifs: roses, life trees, date fruit, and grapes. The male gravestones are adorned with the symbols referring to the job of the person buried, and thus they provide the detailed information about occupations in Ottoman empire for about 400 years.

Gazi Mihal Baths (tr. Gazi Mihal Hamam) is also known as Old Dilapidated Baths (tr. Eski Harap Hamam). It is situated on the opposite bank of the Tunca River, next to Şahmelek Mosque. It is the oldest Turkish bath in the city, but, unfortunately, it has been abandoned and is now falling into ruins. There is an inscription giving the date of its construction – 1406. The founder was Gazi Mihal, the same nobleman who ordered the construction of the mosque and the bridge nearby.


Rüstem Pasha Caravanserai is located in the historical centre of Edirne, on the mainland route between Asia Minor and Europe. Even after losing the status of the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Edirne continued to be the critical military and commercial centre of the Empire’s European provinces. In the 1560s, the Grand Vezir Rüstem Pasha commissioned the eminent architect Mimar Sinan to build a caravanserai in Edirne for the travellers and merchants to stay. Even today, the caravanserai still serves as a hotel, although its adaptation to modern standards has been questioned by visitors and architects alike.

Before we take a closer look at the building, let us introduce Rüstem Pasha, its sponsor. Born in the area of modern Croatia, he was taken to Istanbul as a small boy, in the devshirme practice. Like many other Christian-born boys, he was converted to Islam and trained at the palace school. He raised through the ranks of the courtiers, advancing to the position of the chief supervisor of the sultan’s stables and the stirrup holder when the sultan got on the horse. These posts made it necessary for him to accompany the Sultan during his travels, so Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent knew Rüstem a long time before he appointed him the tutor of his sons.

Despite being a generous sponsor of many public buildings throughout the Ottoman Empire, Rüstem Pasha is remembered as an unpleasant or even loathsome character. His contemporaries called him Kehle-i-ikbâl (the Fortunate Louse) because he had been found to be infected with lice the day before he married Mihrimah, Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent’s favourite daughter. He was lucky indeed as the earlier suspicions had stated that he had been a leper. These rumours were spread by his enemies who wanted to prevent Rüstem Pasha from marrying the princes. When the court doctors examined him and found lice, they cleared him of the leprosy accusation. According to medical knowledge of these days, lice kept away from the lepers. Thus, on the 26th of November 1539, at the age of seventeen, Mihrimah was married to Rüstem, who then held the post of the Governor of Diyarbakır. From this moment he was known as Damat Rüstem Pasha, the epithet damat meaning “son-in-law” to the Ottoman dynasty. He was soon promoted to the position of the Second Vezir by his new father-in-law, the sultan. After five years, he became the Grand Vezir, the position he was to hold twice.

If this story does not make you unsympathetic to Rüstem Pasha, there’s more to his career. He was one of those lucky husbands that are on friendly terms with their mothers-in-law. Rüstem was maybe even too friendly to his, the infamous Roxelana, also known as Hürrem Sultan. She was the favourite and later the legal wife of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent and they had six children together. Unfortunately for Roxelana, Suleyman also had an older son – Mustafa – with another wife, called Mahidevran. This fact did not sit well with Roxelana who wanted to see one of her sons on the Ottoman throne. Although there is no proof of Hürrem or Mihrimah’s direct involvement in the plot, it is widely believed that they cooperated with Rüstem to eliminate Mustafa to ensure the throne to Hürrem’s son and Mihrimah’s full-brother, Bayezid.

The occasion arose in spring 1553 when Sultan Suleyman started a military campaign against Persia,at that time ruled by the Safavid dynasty. When he was still stationed in Central Anatolia, Rüstem Pasha managed to convince him that Mustafa was plotting together with the Janissaries and the Safavids to kill his father. At the same time, Rüstem suggested Mustafa join his father’s army. Mustafa assembled his forces to join his father’s. Suleyman saw this as a confirmation of the plot and ordered the execution of his son. When Mustafa entered his father’s tent to meet him, Suleyman’s guards attacked Mustafa and killed him using a bow-string. This execution caused a great discontent among the Janissaries, so Rüstem paid for his participation in the plot and lost the post of the Grand Vezir. He regained it two years later and then held it until his death in 1561. Surprisingly for such a controversial figure, he died of natural causes, after a long illness. He was buried in Sehzade Mosque, because his dream project, the Rüstem Paşa Mosque, was not yet built. His wife, Mihrimah, who flourished as a patroness of the arts, completed the construction of the Rüstem Pasha Mosque, as a memorial of Rüstem Pasha.

As the Grand Vezir, Rüstem Pasha became fabulously wealthy. At the time of his death, his personal property included 815 plots of land, 476 mills, 1700 slaves, 2,900 war horses, 1,106 camels, and 800 Qur’ans. On his lands, he ordered the construction of bridges, roads, bazaars, granaries, baths, hospices, caravanserais, convents, schools and various other public institutions. Many of these monumental architectural projects were executed by Mimar Sinan, even before he reached the pinnacle of his career as the most prominent architect of the Ottoman Empire. One of these commisions was the erection of a caravanserai in Edirne, now known as Rüstem Pasha Caravanserai, around the year 1554.

Sinan created a design where the building surrounded a grand rectangular courtyard with a marble basin in the centre. The second, smaller courtyard of irregular shape was added later, and the name of its architect remains unknown. This smaller yard was initially used as camel stables and a soup kitchen. The front facade of the building had an arcade with a row of shops. More than 100 rooms awaited the visitors.

The walls of the caravanserai were erected of alternating courses of cut stones and bricks. The lower level of the building is supported by circular arches and covered with vaults while the upper level is supported by the pointed arches and domed. A small mosque, located in the larger courtyard, was destroyed during the Ottoman – Russian War of 1877-1878. The destruction, which began during this war, was aggravated by the Bulgarian occupation of Edirne in the years 1912-13. As a result, many walls, vaults and domes collapsed.

The restoration project of Rüstem Pasha Caravanserai was initiated and sponsored by the Department of Pious Foundations. The work began in 1960, and in 1964 the conversion to a hotel was agreed upon. The work was completed in 1972. As a result, there are 35 rooms with cradle vault behind the lower floor porches and 38 rooms behind the domed gallery on the upper floor. The rooms on the lower side have shops in front, facing the street, while the upper rooms extend over these shops.

In 1980, the restored caravanserai was granted the Aga Khan Award (AKA) for Architecture. It is an architectural prize that wants, as it mission statement expalains: “to identify and reward architectural concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of Islamic societies in the fields of contemporary design, social housing, community development and improvement, restoration, reuse and area conservation, as well as landscape design and improvement of the environment.”

In the case of Rüstem Pasha Caravanserai, the jury of the AKA commended the restoration of an important monument but also criticised the failure of its re-use. It was decided that although the renovation represents a high standard of conception and performance, the hotel conversion proved impractical: “While in its execution the work measures up to the established principles and techniques of restoration, the decision to convert the building into a modern hotel has proved unrealistic. This type of hotel with its sophisticated services requires spatial and technical flexibility which a traditional building does not possess. Despite these shortcomings, the attempt to rehabilitate a historical monument is commendable and points to an important direction if there is to be a positive policy in architectural conservation.”

Among numerous problems arising from the conversion, limiting the access to the historical monument to tourists was mentioned. Moreover, the hotel was criticised as an uneconomical and impractical idea. For instance, Edirne has cold winters and the rooms open to the central courtyard that makes them difficult to heat. Windows are too small to provide sufficient light to rooms, and some corner rooms have no windows at all. Judging by the comments left by the guests of Kervansaray Hotel, the opinion of AKA jury was entirely justified. Many visitors complained of small, basic and dirty rooms. Finally, in 2017, the hotel was closed for restoration, and its future remains uncertain.



Edirne Palace After the first palace constructed by Sultan Murad I, the construction of the Edirne Palace had started during the reign of Sultan Murad Iat the west of Tunca over a wide area in 1450. After the death of Sultan Murad II in 1451, his son Fatih Sultan Mehmed completed the construction of the palace. Among the ruins are, Cihannüma Kasrı (Worldwide Mansion), Kum Kasrı Hamamı (Sand Mansion Bath), Babusseade, Matbahi Amire and Adalet Kasrı (Justice Mansion).

Selimiye Mosque Selim II constructed the mosque between the years 1569 – 1575. The mosque is an unmatched creation with its stone masonry, tiles and chisel artisanship.

Some of the other various mosques located in Edirne province are, Üç Şerefeli Cami (Three – Balcony Minaret Mosque), Eski Cami (Old Mosque), Muradiye Mosque, Külliye of Beyezid II and Beylerbeyi Mosque.



The creation of Architect Sinan’s mastery period, Selimiye Mosque is the most important work of Edirne and is one of the most beautiful samples of Ottoman Architecture.

The other major mosques and churches of the city could be counted as Üç Şerefeli Cami (Three Minaret Balcony Mosque), Muradiye Mosque, 2nd Bayezid Mosque and Külliye, Eski Cami (Old Mosque), Yıldırım Bayezid Mosque, Fatih Cami (Enez Hagia Sophia), Külliye of Sokullu (Külliye of Kasım Paşa), Sweti George Church and Yahudi Havrası (Jewish synagogue).

Edirne Mosques and Churches

Selimiye Mosque (Center): Monumental structure, which is created by Mimar Sinan during his 80 age, and mentioned as my “Master piece” is one of the master pieces of Ottoman Turkish art and World Architectural History.

Mosque, which is the symbol of Edirne and Ottoman Empire, is within the city center. Structure which draw attention from distant lands via its four minarets, is also showing that Mimar Sinan was a city planning expert at the same time with the selection of construction site of it.

Cut stone built mosque, covers an area of 2475 m2. Selimiye Mosque, which is mentioned as the structure constructed on the widest place within the history of architecture, is drawing attention with its dome of 43,28 m high from ground, and 31.30 m. diameter. Dome, which is bigger than Hagia Sophia’s dome, is sitting on eight big positions, which are connecting to each other with six meters wide arches.

Mosque, is very important with its adornment characteristics, such as rock, marble, tile, wooden, nacre besides the uniqueness of architectural characteristics. Its niche and balcony are the master pieces of arts of marble labor. Tile adornments of the structure have an important place within Ottoman and World art. Most beautiful samples of the XVIth century tile making, these tiles, are made with ‘sıraltı’ technique, and constructed in İznik.

There are four elegant envelope minarets with 3,80 m diameter and 70,89 m height of Selimiye mosque. The minarets, which are at both sides of the public gate, have three roadpaths each, and each balcony can be climbed by separate stairs. Other two minarets have one passage.

There are Darüssıbyan, Darülkur’a and Darülhadis structures at outer courtyard of the structure, which is constructed as a kulliye.

Üç Şerefeli Mosque (Center): It is constructed between 1443 and 1447, by IInd Murat. Mosque is among the early and classical periods of Osmanlı art. Here, you can face with a firstly applied plan. 24 meters diameter having big central dome, is based on six supports, composed of two grade, and four wall grades. There smaller two domes and covered square divisions at sides. Structure, as an innovation, has breadthways rectangular plan. This plan is applied by Mimar Sinan, to Istanbul mosques with more advanced form. Also courtyard with revak is firstly applied to this mosque in Ottoman architecture. Minarets are placed at four ends of the courtyard. Üç şerefeli mosque is a monumental structure which is leading to the latter mosques with these characteristics.

Monumental minaret with three balconies, which named the mosque, is 67,62 meters high.

Separate passages are used to climb to the balconies. Adornments of the mosque are also interesting. Unique chisel adornments at revak domes, are some of the oldest samples on the Osmanlı mosques.

Muradiye Mosque (Center): It is constructed on a Sarayiçi reigning hill at Muradiye district by IInd Murat. There is no dating on its inscription. It is the most beautiful sample of the side spaced (with zaviye) mosques.

In spite of simplicity of external appearance, mosque is one of the most drawing attention structures of XVth century Ottoman art according to internal adornment. Niche and walls covering tiles, are the most beautiful samples of the Turkish tile art.


  1. Bayezit Mosque and Kulliye (Center): Kulliye, which at the coasts of Tunca River, and two kilometers away from city center, is one of the most important structures of Edirne. It is lying on a huge are with its mosque, medical theology school, imaret, darüşşifa, hamam, kitchen, provisions warehouses and other divisions. Architect of the kulliye, which is constructed by Bayezit II between 1484 and 1488, is Hayreddin. Kulliye, which has a very impressive appearance, is covered with nearly hundred small and large domes.

Most interesting one of the structures is the monumental mosque with two minarets, and 20,55 meters diameter. There are Tabhanes (publishing houses) with nine domes at both sides of the space with main dome. These divisions are directly opening to outside. Dome passage is supplied with pandatives. Marble niche and pulpit have simple appearance. It is the first example in Edirne with very elegant sovereign gallery, made up of porphyry marble. Late period baroque adornments are disturbing the simple beauty of the mosque.

Eski Mosque (Center): It is the oldest monumental structure, remained from Ottomans in Edirne. Its construction is commenced on 1403 by Emir Süleyman, and completed on 1414 during Çelebi Sultan Mehmet. Its architect, is one of the pupils of Konyalı Hacı Alaaddin, Ömer ibn İbrahim.

Yıldırım Bayezid Mosque (Center): It is the oldest mosque of Edirne, which remained from XIV century, and three kilometers away from the city center. Both its plan and its column heads are showing that structure is a crucifix planned Byzantium church. While it was transformed into a mosque in the name of Yıldırım Bayazıd (1400), it is reconstructed other than base. But as the direction of Mecca is not complying with the axis of the structure, niche, had been put to one of the edges of the crucifix branches, and gained an inclined appearance. The current view of the mosque is composed of four arches, a dome and a single minaret.


Fatih Mosque (Enez Hagia Sophia, Enez): Structure, which remained from Byzantium period, is very huge. It is from edge walled, crucifix planned churches group.

Structure, is transformed into a mosque with placing niche and balcony to the south branch during Ottoman period. It is interesting in connection with showing late Byzantium period characteristics with external surface tile adornments as well as middle Byzantium period with lengthwise progressed crucifix plan. The mosque has been currently in ruined position.

Sokullu Kulliye (Kasım Paşa Kulliye, Havsa): It is in Havsa province, on Edirne road. It is constructed to Mimar Sinan in the name of Kasım Pasha, son of Sokullu Mehmet Pasha on 1576 – 1577. Kulliye; was composed of two caravansaries, mosque, theology school, imaret, double hamam, dervish convent, bridge and guilds. Today only mosque, hamam, mosque courtyard based and an unpredictable wall with oven – niche, pray dome, binding mosque and caravansary in the middle of the guilds and fountain added afterwards to kulliye, can be seen.

Sweti George Church (Center): It is constructed in 1880 at Kıyık district of Edirne. Writings at the church, decorated in 1889, are written with Slav Bulgarian Language. There are some pictures remaining from the former church which was at the same place before.

Today the structure has still been well-kept.

Jewish Synagogue (Center): It is at Kaleiçi district of Edirne, and constructed on 1902 – 1903. Today it was not available for worship.



One of the major structure types of Edirne is the bridges. No other capital or city had attained the beauty of the bridges constructed inside and outside Edirne, which were constructed in the period of Sinan.

The oldest bridge constructed in the city was from the period of Byzantine Emperor Michael Palaiologos (1261-1282). As the bridge was later reconstructed by Gazi Mihal Bey, it was called with his name (1420). In 1640, Kemankeş Kara Mustafa Paşa had added the sharp arched History Mansion to this twenty seven sectioned bridge. The Şahabettin Paşa (Saraçhane) Bridge that was constructed in 1451 has twelve arches and eleven pillars.

The major bridges of Edirne Province are the Fatih Bridge constructed in 1452 during the period of Fatih Sultan Mehmet; Bayezid Bridge constructed by Architect Hayrettin in1488; the Saray (Kanuni) Bridge, which was among the creations of Architect Sinan in 1560; the Ekmekçizade Ahmed Paşa Bridge constructed by Sedefkar Mehmed Ağa between the years 1608-1615; the Meriç Bridge (New Bridge)constructed at the junction of Meriç and Arda rivers between 1842 – 1847.


The Rüstem Paşa Caravanserai, which has a line of shops among the street and is one of the most interesting examples of classical Ottoman architecture was constructed by Architect Sinan in the name of the famous grand vizier of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman, Rüstem Paşa.

The Ekmekçioğlu Ahmed Paşa Caravanserai was constructed by Defterdar (head of the financial department) Ekmekçioğlu Ahmet Paşa by the order of Sultan 1st Ahmed in 1609.




The houses were constructed by the wooden framework darned by stone walls and plasters. These houses displayed a wonderful symmetry with the roof, which is connected to the higher fringes by dual curved elements, and the central entrance that was located deep in the main entrance cubicle.

There was sections called “hayat” (life), among the houses located in the Balkan Peninsula. This section was found either in the smallest or in the imposing house. This section was the space where all the chamber doors are opening to and was directed towards the garden of the house and was on the columns of 1,5 – 2 meters. At the end of this section, another separate part one step higher was covered with wooden divans.

There was a marble fountain located at an appropriate part of the gardens, which were accessed by large doors from harem and selamlıklar (Greeting halls for men and women). In some houses, there were small ponds at the central regions of the gardens covered by pergolas on which vines grow. There was a small door between the Harem ve selamlık (Greeting halls for men and women), which was accessed through the courtyard.

In order to cover the requirements of an increasing economy and commerce density of the city located on the transition ways and obtain income for the mosques and charitable establishments in the development period, numerous inns, bedestens and bazaars were constructed.

Between the years 1417 – 1418, a bedesten was constructed by Architect Alaeddin by the order of Çelebi Sultan Mehmed I as a charitable establishment for the Old Mosque.

The Ali Paşa Bazaar which was constructed by Architect Sinan in 1569 by the order of Hersekli Semiz Ali Paşa was composed of a hundred and thirty shops. The bazaar was three hundred meters long and with six doors. The arasta (the part of the bazaar for some artisans) which was 73 arched, 255 meters long and containing 124 shops was constructed by Davut Ağa by the order of Murad III (1574 – 1595) as a charitable establishment for Selimiye Mosque.

The Enez Ancient City Although Enez ( Ainos ) was a major port during historical times, the city is now 3.5 km inland from the coastal line. The Enez Castle that was restored many times during history is worth seeing. Also there is a church whose history extends to BC 6th century, some tombs carved from stones and a beach with clear waters.

Dolmens (Menhir, Stone Tombs) There are ‘Dolmens’ (Menhir, stone tombs) at the Lalapaşa district which are dated to the ends of BC 2000 and the beginning of BC 1000. During the excavations carried on, some remnants and tools were found inside these tombs (Tear drop bottle, metal jewelry) and these findings are exhibited at the Edirne Archeology and Ethnography Museum.




Gazi Turhan Bey Mosque and Tomb were built on behalf of Gazi Turhan Bey who was one of the most famous commanders of Sultan Murat II. And Mehmet II.(Mehmet the Conqueror) era. He was the son-in-law of Sultan Murat II and brother-in-law of Sultan Mehmet II. He is known as the Conqueror of the Morea. His father Pashayigit and his so Omer Bey were prominent commanders of their times, too. Altough his birth and death dates are uncertain, it’s generally accepted that he died in mid-1456 and was buried into the tomb built for him in Kırkavak village.


The village of Kırkavak, which is 8 km away from Uzunkopru , was bestowed as a foundation on him in exchange for his distinguished services in 1454. He built up a Kulliye in this village. Evliya Çelebi metioned abaout this village in his famous Seyahatname (Book of Travels) as a village with a beautiful mosque, inn (han) and Turkish bath (hammam) in 1658. Today, only the mosque and tomb of this Kulliye still exist.



The mosque and the tomb carry the same characteristic structural features with the other contemporary counterparts in Edirne. They both were built on square-plan and made of rubble and brick. In addition the mosque and the tomb which are pretty humble in terms of inner decoration , have  single domes covered  with lead atop. The mosque was built with one minaret with a balcony and a wooden porch inside as a conclusion of the tradition and the necesssity. They both were restored and opened to visit in




The Mosque of Murad II which is located  in the Muradiye neighbourhood, was built by Sultan Murad II along with the Uzunkopru and opened to service in 1444. It is one of the mosques carrying the title of Selatin. Although the Muradiye Mosque was originally built as a part of Kulliye with a hammam and an imaret (public kitchen) around , today only the mosque has survived.


In front of the mosque , there is a last congregation porch that’s 3.80 m (12.46) wide by 22.20 m (72.83 ft) long. Although in its original state 12 wooden pillars were used to support the porch , in the restorations performe in the ensuing years those pillars have been removed and a wall built instead. Apart from this, the mosque hosts a small cematery in the backside where the prominent people of the city were interest.





It is stated in the registration report dated 19.04.1985 belonging to the Edirne Museum that the estate of which exact construction year can not be dated , was built as a residence for the priests working at the Church of the St. Jhon.


Although its construction date is unclear ıt is understood from the equipments used and the construction techniques that the building was constructed in the beginning of the 1900s.


According to the title deed resarchers on this building that has been able to protect its original form until today. It is understood that it used to be Goverment Officce in 1929 after leaving of the Greek citizens as a result of the population exchange in 1924. Later on , it had started to be used as rectruiting center and had served with this function until recent times. The ownership of the building was transferred to Uzunkopru Municipality after the army recruiting center was moved to another place.


By the restoration with the Project prepared by Uzunkopru Municipality it was turned into a multifunctional premise and opened to service as “Historical Values” Protection and Contemporary Labor Maintenance House” on December 1st 2015.




During his return from Paris, London and Vienna expeditions, Sultan Abdulaziz met the capital holders in Vienna asked them the railway to be expended to İstanbul. Upon acceptance of his request he sent the Minister of Public Works Davut Pasha to Europe to realize this project. With the help of Baron Hirisch and Austria Train Director Alfons Rochild an agreement was made on April 17th 1869. So that a contract was signed for extending of the railway to Thessalonica and İstanbul.


Construction of the railway was started in 1870 from İstanbul and completed in three years, in 1873. Uzunkopru Trainn Station and its auxiallry buildings were finished in 1872 and celebrated with a great cerenomy.


(Liberty Fountain)

It is the democracy monument erected in memory of the reenactment of the Ottoman Constitution that’s one of the milestones of the history of the Turkish democracy. With the redeclaration of the Constitution ( Kanun-i Esasi) on July 23, 1908, the Ottoman Empire’s regime was changed from absolute monarchy to parliamentary regime and started an unprecedented era of freedom in the whole Empire. Uzunköprü didn’t stay idle to these new political changes and the Liberty Monument were erected at the right side of the bridge’s entry in such a political atmosphere to celebrate this great event with the contributions of the District Governor and Ottoman intellectual Mazhar Müfit Kansu and the Mayor Hafız İsmail Yayalar on December I I, 1908.

Measuring 6 m (19 ft) in height, the monument was placed on a 2 m2 (21 ft2) pedestal. Although in its initial form, there were two fountains as one on the front for people and the other on the left for animals, these fountains were removed and covered up in 1938. The four mottos of the French Revolution; Liberty, Equality, Fraternity and Justice were written on the markers and put atop of the flrst liberty monument of the Turkish history on the four sides. However, the original markers were lost while the monument was being moved to 1 m (3.28 ft) left of its primary place during the bridge restoration in 1964 and haven’t been able to be found so far. The markers existing on the monument today are the replicas of their genuines. The Monument of Liberty was saved from oblivion with a complete restoration and opened to
public just 1O4 years after it was built on December 1,2012.




Uzunköprü City Museum was opened to serviceon December 16,2013 with conversion of the ex-Tekel (Turkish State Licuor and Tobacco Company) building to a museum by a restoration. The museum’s building which is a historieal artifact on its own, was constracted a private mension in the beginning of the 1900 and from 1939 it had started to be used as TEKEL storage, outlet and lodge. After the abolition of the TEKEL in Uzunköprü in the 1990s, the building was left disused and had almost come to the brjnk of collapse. Fortunately, it was recovered by making a museum out of it and transformed into a center sheltering the relics the city possesses.

The double-storied museum has six rooms and each room was turned into chambers where the artifacts are displayed by classification accordingto their species. While the historieal items was being displayed generally in the three rooms downstairs, the rooms modified as Bride’s and Living Rooms and the Coffee Corner upstairs take the vizitors to the scenes where the past is revived.

The Museum is open to visit every day of the week except for Monday and for free.


The Telli Fountain is located in the middle of the square that’s named after the fountain in the main Street of Uzunköprü. The exact date of construction is unknown but it is thought to be made in the 1800s. The water of the fountainn was provided from the water supply system made by Sultan Murad II. In 1960, it was removed from its original place and put in the current place that is 4-5 m (13-16 ft) far from the former.


The fountain which has two taps left today, was made of one-piece solid marble with four taps and a marble through circling it. It is adorned with the motifs of curved branches. rumis, drooped and fringed ornaments, cypress and the İstanbul Tulip that is extinct today which bear the same features with the ornamentation style used in the Tulip Period. Therefore  it is artistically very valuable work. Unfortunately all those ornaments and the inscriptions existing on its fourside were scraped off during the Greek occupation between 1920-1922. That’s why, the informations about the date of construction or the maker were deleted and only the traces of the ornaments have remained.


With the landscape work practised in 2013, the square around the fountain saved from its old, ordinary and plain look and was turned into a beautiful recreational area.






The Orthodox St. John the Baptist Church was built by the Greek citizens on behalf of St. John the Baptist (İoannis Prodromos) in 1875. It is located in the Muradiye neighborhood in Uzunköprü. The church is built of rubble with red bricks scattered among. It was structered as in basilica style with three naves and semi-dome. The apse and the roof are covered with tile. Also the apse and the naves contains barrel vaulted rectangular windows. The walls of the middle nave are embellished with the frescos depicting twelve apostles separately as six on the right and six on the left.

İt is known that over 17.000 Greek citizens had been baptized in the St. John the Baptist Church from 1875 until they left the City in 1924 as a result of the the Population Exchange Protocol between Turkey and Greece signed in the Lausanne Treaty. While the Greek citizens were leaving the City, they took all the items along belonged to the church including the great bell which is being used in the Church of Xanthi now.  From 1924 to 2011 the church has been left idle without any use.

The St. John Church has gained back its old grandeur with the restoration work lasting from 2011 to 2013 by the Uzunköprü Municipality and opened its doors again after a long time with a big ceremony attended by Grand Patriarch Bartholomew I on May 11, 2013. Today, the church serves as Art and Culture Center of Uzunköprü.



Uzunköprü is the longest historical stone bridge of the world which gives its name to Uzunköprü town. It was built by head architect Muslihiddin between 1427- 1443 to span the Ergene river with the order of Sultan Murad II and brought into use with a ceremony attended by the Sultan himself in 1444. It’s been located on a militarily and commercially highly strategic point connecting the Capital Edirne to Gallipoli and the Western Rumelia.

The bridge was built of binding ashlar blocks brought from the quarries in Yağmurca, Eskikoy and Hasırcı arnavut villages, to each other with Horasan cement. The construction process was supervised fırstly by Ghazi Mahmud Bey and after his death by Ishak Bey. Although today its lenght is 1238.55 m (4O63ft) from the first arch to the last, its original lenght used to be 1392 m (4566ft) with extended wings that don’t exist today. The reason of why it was built this long was that the region used to be covered with vast swamps in that period. In addition, because the Ergene River causes flood in rainy season, the arches over the river were built high and opened seven bleed ports in them to prevent the bridge from collapse. The wings and arches of the bridge which has 13.56 m (44.48ft) height, are embellished with several lion, elephant, bird, eagle, tulip and geometric relief motifs.

Because it has been through a lot of flood and earthquake disasters since the construction, the bridge underwent many restorations during the tenures of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, Osman II, Mahmud II and Abdulhamid II to repair the damages. In the final restoration made between 1964-1971 in the Republic period, its with was increased from 5,24 m (17.19ft) to 6.80 m (22.3ft) by widening from the both sides and lost its originalty. In addition, the initial arch number of 174 reduced to 172 after one of them was collapsed in time and 2 of them were united as one. However, with a new restoration and rehabilitation work thought to be performed, the bridge was planned to return to it’s original form and get pedestrianized.


Abstract Restorations, Excavations and Reseraches Carried out in Edirne Imperial Palace in 2010


Other than two significant palaces built in Edirne during the Ottoman era, the Saray- ı Atik (Old Palace) and the Saray-ı Cedîd-i Âmire (New Imperıal Palace). The building program of the New Imperial Palace (Saray-ı Cedîd-i Âmire) started in the last years of Murad II’s reign, in what is today the Sarayiçi Quarter of Edirne to the west of the Tunca River and eventually became a large complex with extensions and renovations dateable to almost every era. This palace, significant portions of which were built during the reign of Mehmed II (1451-1481), was comprised of nearly a hundred structures with various functions and was spread over a vast expanse.


The New Imperial Palace (Saray-ı Cedid-i Amire), remained in use for centuries and was witness to many important historical events (e.g. Mehmed IV’s circumcision feast, the Ottoman-Russo Wars and the Balkan Wars, etc.). In the closing decades of the 19th and early 20th centuries, during the 1877-78 Ottoman-Russo War and the 1910-1912 Balkan Wars, the palace suffered much destruction and many of its buildings were destroyed.

From the documents and publications at hand we know that Edirne’s New Imperial Palace (Saray-ı Cedîd-i Âmire) was comprised of: 117 Chambers, 21 Divanhanes, 18 Hamams, 8 Mescits, 17 Doors, 13 Dormitories, 4 Cellars, 5 Kitchen, 17 Pavilions ve 6 Bridges. Doubtlessly, these figures are going to be more credible after the examination of archival documents and the excavations currently being carried out in the field are completed.


As a result only a few of its original structures are extant today. Among these are: the Matbah-ı Amire (Royal Kitchens), Babüssaade (Main Entrance Gateway), Cihannüma Kasrı (Eye on the World Pavilion), Kum Kasrı (Sand Pavilion) Kum Kasrı Hamamı (Sand Pavilion Bath), Adalet Kasrı (Justice Pavilion), Fatih Köprüsü (Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror’s Bridge), Kanuni Köprüsü (Sultan Süleyman the Lawgiver’s Bridge), Şehabeddin Paşa Köprüsü (Şehabeddin Paşa’s Bridge), Av Köşkü (Hunting Lodge), Su Maksemi (Water Depot), Namazgâhlı Çeşme (Fountain with Open Air Mosque). Edirne’s New Imperial Palace, is not only an imporant cultural monument for Turkey but also for the whole world. It is a particularly significant site for Ottoman archeology and for those attempting to recreate life in the Ottoman Palaces. In recent years, restoration and maintenance operations are ongoing thanks to the instutional interest and support provided by the President of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Edirne Governor’s office, and İstanbul’s Bahçeşehir University. Their support has made a positive impact on the preservation and restoration of this important site which had been ignored throughout most of the twentieth century. While some of these structures are in ruins, others are preserved and are currently undergoing restoration as part of the ongoing archeological excavations of the Palace complex under the direction of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mustafa Özer of Bahçeşehir University.


Gazi Turhan Bey Mosque and Mausoleum

Gazi Turhan Bey is one of the most important commanders of II. Murat and Fatih Sultan Mehmet era. He is also known as the conqueror of Mora. Kırkkavak Village was given to him as foundation in 1454 and he formed “külliye” in that land. Today, there is only Gazi Turhan Bey Mosques and Mausoleum left from that “külliye” and they were restored to their original status.

Wired Foundation

The foundation was made from one piece of pure marble which has four faucets. Its basin is also made of marble. The designs on the foundation are the same with “Tulip Period” (1718-1730). During the invasion of Greece in 1920-1922, the epigraphs on the four sides of the foundation was scratched and erased. Today, the foundation provides water to the public.

Şehsuvar Bey Mosque

The mosque was built by Şehsuvar Bey in the 15th Century. After the desolation of the mosque, all parts of it demolished and the mosque was restored by the charitable businessman Ahmet Akalın. But the old minaret of the mosques wasn’t destroyed and it is today can be visited.

  1. Murat Mosque (Muradiye Mosque)

Today, the mosque called Muradiye Mosque. Its construction finished in 1443. 500 people can use its services at the same time. The mosque had a dome before its restoration in 1621 but during the repairs that was done by II. Osman, the dome removed and today’s roof took its place and the roof covered with leaden. In front of the mosque there is a 3.80x22x20m sized foundation. The roof of the shed placed on twelve wooden columns.


The church is at Uzunkopru Muradiye Street. It is the only church in Uzunkopru and its restorations completed in 2013. Some areas left untouched as examples to show its originality. The church was built in the name of Saint Ionis with stones and in some areas bricks used as decoration. Its altar, half dome and roof covered with Turkish style tiles. On the altar, there is a rectangle shaped window with circle arch. Some of the frescos in the church were discovered while restoration was in progress. All of the movables in the church were gone to Greece with Greek folk while commutating Turks with Greeks with the agreement between Turkey and Greece that took place in 1924. Today, the church is being used as Art and Culture House.

Halise Hatun Mosque

It is believed that this mosque was built by Hacı İbrahim Ağa in the name of his wife Halise Hatun. In the book named “Uzunkopru History with Documents” that is written by Latif Bağman, the mosque may be built in the beginning of 18th Century. The mosque has a very small garden and two tombs in it. According to Latif Bağman’s researches, these tombs belong to Hacı İbrahim Ağa and his wife Halise Hatun.

Habib Hoca Mosque

This mosque has one minaret. In the garden of the mosque, there are historical tombstones.

Turk Den (1914) (Today’s Library) Structure

This building was built in 1914 by the efforts of District Governor Nusret Bey and Uzunkopru Mayor Hafız İsmail Efendi. In 1928, the building was restored with the equipments that were imported from Marseille by the efforts of District Governor Reşit Bey and town folk. After that the building was given to Community Center in 1932. In the year 1951 the community centers were closed and all of inventories and over 3000 pieces of books of this center were alienated to Treasury. The building that was restored in 2011 has been used as public library since 1968.


Double Hamam

In the year 1443 Double Hamam was built to meet the need of sanitation of townsfolk.  Hamam consists of women, men, undressing, coldness, two bathroom, and “külhan” sections. Undressing section is a place to get cool for those who feels hot and adjustment after taking bath while going out. Külhan is a vast and closed fireplace which heats inside of hamam and water to take a bath. Today Hamam is closed but restorations have begun.

Barracks Structures

In this location there was the mansion of sultan. But after the years, two buildings constructed which called Nizamiye and Redif.  These buildings gave service for Gendarmes, infantrymen and cavaliers. But because of the earthquake in 1953 some cracks occurred on the buildings. One the building was demolished; the other one repaired and is still in use.

Sand Father

He is the “Serdengeçti Turkish Akinci” who died a martyr while conquering Uzunkopru region in 1357. He is called Sand Father because of using sand to blind his enemies by throwing sand in their eyes.

One day he said his friends “I served Islam. My duty will be over in which land the sands in my pocket end”. In the fight with the enemy, he threw his last sand to enemy and reached the degree of martyr. His friends buried him where he died. Sand Father is still being visited in Uzunkopru.  There is a story about Sand Father. According to the story the float which carries first soldiers who step foot on Rumeli, left the shore without Sand Father. After that sand father came off from his horse and took his pocket with him. Then he scattered his sand on the sea just like planting something on the farms. By doing this, a road appeared on the sea and Sand Father walked through that road, reached Rumeli and caught his friends. This Turkish dervish, warrior, colonizator, participated in all battles while conquering Uzunkopru region.


Architectural information about the oldest railway station constructed in Edirne’s old railway station, which was built before the construction of the existing building, and the first time the railroad was first arriving in the region, can be reached from the images on postcards up to our time.  The first station building was built in 1872 (Ahunbay, 1989: 567), where the present Edirne Station is located and another station building is located, even the opening ceremony is held here (Yavuz 1981: 259) (Seyit Alpak, retired from the FDR in 1980).
The design history of the building, which is the work of the architect Kemalettin Bey, must be made in the first years of the Constitution, though not precisely known. The starting date for the construction is also not precise. It is stated that it is in 1911-1912 or 1912-1913 (Yavuz: 50.257). Although it was finished in 1914 in general, it was first served in World War I and in 1930 due to various political developments. It was repaired in 1959 and reconstructed inside (Yavuz: 50, 257). The building at Karaağaç was abandoned on October 4, 1971 (Engin: 217) and served as an outpost during the Cyprus operation in 1974 (Yavuz: 257), as the Edirne-İstanbul line was moved to the new station building due to the change of line. On June 16, 1977, Edirne newly established State Engineering and was purchased from the Ministry of Finance to be transferred to the Academy of Architecture (Kazancigil, 1995: 181) .Traky University of guest houses, classrooms and is used including the rector, today also serves as the Faculty of Fine Arts. Other units linked to railways are also being used for the purpose of various departments connected to the university.
The unit of measure used in the build plans is micro-scale. The plan designed by Mimar Kemalettin Bey belongs to the project prepared with the aim of repair and change, copied from the original in 1959. In the vicinity of the building, a change was made in the direction of needs, and all the lodgings were equipped with independent bathroom units and the lower floor waiting rooms, restaurants, luggage and ticket office areas were replaced (Yavuz: 259-263).







Ottoman Medicine, 15-18. Centuries




The complex of Bayezid II was commissioned by the homonymous Sultan (3 Dec. 1447-21 March 1512), a

person of strong religious sensitivity and a calm character. During his reign, he emphasized worship of God and charitable works. He had a great interest in learning and culture and therefore patronized a large number of poets, artisans, and scholars, as well as commissioning a number of charitable works in Istanbul, Edirne, Amasya, Osmancık, Gevye, and Saruhan. In Amasya, Edirne, and Istanbul, he erected three külliye complexes. Of those, only the Bayezid II Complex in Edirne included a hospital (dar al-shifa’). Sultan Bayezid II made great contributions to remodel Istanbul as a Turkish city.Particularly after the

strong earthquake of 1509,he basically rebuilt Istanbul. In his era, the architectural structures received their identity, and Istanbul was shaped into the Ottoman residential city.




The construction of the complex had began on 23 May 1484 and was completed in 1488. The külliye contained a mosque, two guesthouses, a madrasa, a hospital, a soup kitchen, storage rooms and outside the walls of the courtyard a bath (for women and men) and a bridge. The bridge was built to connect the külliye with the river.

To meet the expenses of the külliye, Bayezid II donated income-generating properties; in addition, he gave valuable books to the madrasa. In the guesthouses, along with the patients and their relatives, travellers and the unemployed could stay for three days; at the end of the third day, they were required to leave.Outside the month of Ramadan, the soup kitchen provided the poor every morning with soup of trotters, rice, or cracked wheat. In Ramadan, on the two highest religious holidays, on Fridays of the year and on the holy nights and the day of Ashura, rice pudding was prepared.On the fi rst day of each month, the employees in town were dined. The members of staff to work in the külliye were specifi ed in the deed of trust, including their

professional and moral qualifi cations and their salaries.




The Sultan Bayezid II Dar al-Shifa’ consisted of two interconnected courtyards and three sections forming

the hospital proper. In the fi rst yard (Bîrun), there was a series of six rooms, where doctors, ophthalmologists, and surgeons made the fi rst examinations of the patients (policlinic). In some rooms, mental patients were isolated.

To the left of the yard, the laundry, pantry, and kitchen were located. The kitchen prepared meals for the patients, while the staff took their meals in the soup kitchen.

In the hospital section there were 6 winter rooms with hearths and 5 terraced summer rooms surrounding a

domed marble-fl oored salon with a basin. One of the halls was reserved for music therapy, while it is assumed that the fourth one was used as a summer room. At the top of the large dome, there was an opening (oculus)  providing lighting and airiness as well as letting out spent air and unpleasant smells. The acoustics of this section is particularly well calibrated. These characteristics demonstrate the particular place that the Sultan Bayezid Dar al-Shifa’ occupies in the world history of hospital architecture.




In 1490, the staff of the Dar al-Shifa’ consisted of a head physician (ra’is-i atibba’), two general physicians,

two eye doctors, two surgeons, four orderlies, and a drug mixer and grinder, a total of twelve employees. The head physician was supposed to be skilful and capable, knowledgeable of the rules of the art of medicine, mature, well mannered, and profi cient. The other physicians were expected to perform the services they were charged to do rightfully and carefully. The eye doctors had to be knowledgeable about all eye diseases, the surgeons should be skilful as well as having a swift hand.





A superintendent (nazır) was responsible for all administrative tasks together with the administrative staff.

The scribe recorded the expenses, the majordomo purchased everything that was required for the patient treatment. The provisioner was in charge of the stock in the pantry. A servant looked after the waterworks, the garments, and the instruments. The doorman opened and closed the door of the hospital and

took care of security. The fumigator was to calm the minds of the patients by burning incense every morning and evening. In addition, a cleaner and a laundryman were employed.




Ottoman doctors described the anatomy of humans from head to toe. A physician of the 17th century, Shemseddin Itaki, illustrated his anatomy textbook “Anatomy of the Bodies” with drawings by the 14th-century Iranian anatomist Mansur Ibn Ilyas.


Secrets of a Health Life

Advice for a healthy lifestyle occupied a broad area in the Ottoman physicians’ books. In addition, books on

Prophetic Medicine (al-Tibb al-Nabawi) translated from the Arabic language guided the population towards a healthy life, compiling Prophetic traditions (hadith) pointing out the benefits of staying away from the leprous and suferers of plagues, cleaning one’s teeth, drinking sherbets, and observing the fast. Important for a healthy life were factors such as ai,r food, water, sleep, purifying tha body, and exercise (sports).

Food and drink were considered the most important elements to achieve a balance of the humors (blood, phlegm, yellow bile, black bill). It was recommended to eat two meals and get up from the table without being completely full.


For the preservation of health, deliberate exercise (sports) was very important. It was believed that excessive food would remain undigested in the blood vessels and consumed by body movements.Wrestling, archery, javelin throwing, horseback riding, weight lifting, ball games, running, vigorous walking, high jump and long jump counted as exercise for the whole body. Race walking would purify thighs, calves, and

feet; carrying stone weights or drawing a bow would remove excess matter from the hands, neck, chest, and back.

In Ottoman medicine, examination and diagnosis of a disease depended on the doctors’ ability, experience, and skill. First, doctors would listen to the patient’s complaints, observe their behavior, and watch them for symptoms like fever, sweating, jaundice, or swellings. For the diagnosis as

well as for the direction of therapy, pulse and examination of the urine (uroscopy) were important.


The application of surgery was limited to small interventions. It was not possible to operate inside the

skull, the thorax, or the abdominal cavity.Amputations of limbs were performed as last resort.In many conditions, especially those involving hemorrhage or open wounds, cauterization with a hot iron was used.To make the patient drowsy, a sponge soaked in opium would be held in front of his nose or herbs like mandrake would be used.

We know about the tools used by Ottoman surgeons from the miniatures in Sherefeddin Sabuncuoglu’s book

Cerrahiyetü’l-haniye (Imperial Surgery), illustrating operations and instruments.


Doctors would produce their own drugs, as there was no profession of pharmacy. In the hospitals, there were

artisans with various titles producing drugs. Perfume sellers and herbalists as well as other small merchants would sell raw material for medicines as well as preparations made by themselves. Most of their shops were located in the Spice Bazaar (Mısır Çarşısı) in Istanbul.


Some components of drug recipies were snails, worms, oysters, spiders, crabs, as well as milk, eggs, honey,

beeswax, tortoise shell, stag horns, goat hooves, beaver glands (castoreum), or owl brains.


Precious metals such as gold and silver, precious stones

like emerald, ruby, or chrysolite in pulverized form were

also included in drugs. It was thought that drinking water that had been infused with pearls would banish fear and relieve the heart. It was believed that clay from Lemnos, known as tin-i mahtum (Terra sigillata, Terra Lemnia), would help with plague and similar diseases and react to poisons. Drinks to be served to Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror would fi rst be poured into a cup made of terra sigillata, and if the clay showed no reaction, it would be decanted into a golden cup and served to the Sultan.

Game of Tuluk


The game of Tuluk was a kind of Ottoman sports played with an inflated goat skin (tuluk). There were two teams, the “skin team” (tulukçular) and the “goat team” (keçiciler). The Tulukçular were hitting each other’s tuluk with the inflated goat skins held fast in their hands. Those who fell to the ground were eliminated

from the match, the winning tulukçular were arranged in new pairs and continued the game.The goat team put tall conical felt caps on their heads and painted their faces in various colors. They raised the excitement with their cheers.



In the drug production, the Ottomans used methods that Islamic medicine had acquired from ancient

civilizations. Minerals were pulverized and cleaned by soaking in water. Juices of medical herbs and some fruits were pressed and oils extracted. Some substances were boiled down to a certain level, others were collected from the froth. Other frequently used methods were cooking in cinders or roasting drugs in a beaker buried in the fire.


Carbonizing in fire, calcination and reducing to ash were processes more often applied to inorganic and animal drugs. Some drugs were being refi ned by distillation, using a variety of alembics.


The composition of many drugs contained oils from fragrant flowers such as rose, violet, hyacinth, lily, or

gillyfl ower together with the oil collected from the trunk of the balm tree. Pastes usually contained various drugs with rose and honey. They were remembered under the names of those who discovered the use of one of their ingredients or of a paste as a whole. In theTopkapı Palace’s Helvahane, pastes, confections, and some other medicines were prepared.

Powdered drugs would be kneaded into a dough using rose water and cast into specifi cally made molds. The tablets would then be taken out of the molds and dried to be stored. When needed, patients would either be made to swallow them or to dissolve them in water and drink the solution. On many cast tablets, healing incantations such as “yâ âlimen bi hâli aleyke ittikali” (I place my trust in You Who knows my state of health) would be written. Today, many tablets carry the emblem of the producing company impressed on them (2015).

Amber tablets were used as cordials, appetizers, digestives, and especially as aphrodisiacs. On those amber

tablets, we fi nd inscriptions such as “mashallah, sıhhatbâd” (God willing, health may come) or “âfi yet-bâd, yâ hâfız” (to good health to the one who memorized the Qur’an), or animal motifs such as ants, scorpions,

or eagles.


Syrups were usually called sharab or sherbet. Quince syrup was recommended against liver pain and nausea.

Violet syrup, used in pleurisy, pneumonia, and kidney or bladder diseases, was made by boiling fresh or dried violets for one day and one night, kneading and pressing the reduced mass with filtered water and sugar, which was then stored in glass jars. For one concoction prepared in the Topkapı Palace, jujube, poppy, pearl barley, and water lily flowers were used.


A number of different units of measurement were used in the production of drugs, including oka (ukıyye/vukıyye/ kıyye, 1283g), kantar (44 oka), bushel (18 oka), mudd (20 bushel), dram (3.20g), shekel (1.5 dram), dang (1/6 dram), carat (4 wheat or 5 barley grains), and kabza or kef (handful). In recipes, some measures were represented by single letters, such as (dram), (shekel), (kabz)a, ك (kef).




When the Dar al-shifa’ opened, there was a separate place for producing drugs, initially called syrup kitchen

(Şuruphane), later paste workshop (Meâcin Kârhanesi). This place opened twice per week to distribute drugs to poor patients. The syrup kitchen, which represented the first hospital pharmacy in 1490, received the following equipment: To distill rose water and other essences, three stoves (alembics) made of lead, utensils to cook syrup, surgical instruments, ophthalmological instruments and ingredients for eye drugs, furthermore vessels to store drugs, pastes, syrups, and oils and syrup cooking staf. The drugs were prepared by a “drug grinder and syrup maker” (edviye-kûb and şerbetî).




When it comes to dental diseases, Ottoman medical books mainly deal with pains. If toothaches could not be

alleviated by drugs of various compositions, cauterization was applied. Attention was paid to dental hygiene, tartar and plaque cleaned, and whiteners were used. Decayed teeth were removed after comminuting them with acrid drugs or extracted with pliers. Excessive growth of the gums would be resected by scissors, tooth roots remaining in the jaw would be extracted. Various diseases of the gums, such as bleeding, recession, loosening, or itching (periodontology) were treated with a variety of drugs.




Ottoman doctors gave special attention to eye diseases and wrote entire books dedicated only to the eye explaining its anatomy. Ottoman handbooks of surgery described operation techniques for conditions such as drooping eyelids (ptosis), pterygium, pannus (vascularization of the cornea), cataract, shortened eyelids, protruding eyes (exophthalmia), and masses in the eyelid (chalazion).

Instruments used for these operations were illustrated in these books.




Regarding the ear, Ottoman medical texts deal with issues such as pains, noise perception, itching, maggots,

uncleanliness, removal of foreign bodies, or hearing loss. For the nose, cancer, loss of smell (anosmia), bad smells (ozena), polyps and warts and nosebleeds are being treated.

Considering the oral cavity and the throat, diseases and therapies such as operation of lingual frenulum and ranula and infl ammations of the uvula and the tonsils (tonsillitis) are being explained. Much room is given to issues such as leeching the throat or removing bones and other foreign bodies. For suturing wounds in the ear, nose or lip, a needle with silk thread is being used.



In the 15th century, any visible mass on the outside of the body was the domain of surgery. These growths were known as swellings or tumors. These masses were classified according to their clinical characteristics. Those that came along with warmth, change in color (reddening), and pain were called abscesses. They were not treated immediately; doctors waited until the abscess matured and then opened and drained it.


Solid or cystic masses that did not present with elevated temperature, redness and pain were usually called

sil’a. These kinds of growths were removed surgically.

Tumors under the armpits were cut in the shape of a crescent and after being tamponaded with old cotton for a day covered with ointment.




Severely mentally disturbed patients who might damage their environment were kept in closed rooms




When Evliya Chelebi visited the Dar al-Shifa’ in the 17th century, he reported that singers and instrument

players came to the hospital three times per week to perform for the patients and the insane, particularly playing modes known as neva, rast, dügâh, segâh, çârgâh, and sûzinâk in the science of music, to give them enjoyment and calm them.




In the 17th century, the rooms of the hospital were fi lled with rich and poor, old and young people affl icted with various diseases; in some rooms, the mentally ill would

roar like lions or scream at the top of their voices. As it was thought that nice smells were giving relief to the spirit, the buhuri (fumigator) employed by the hospital was burning incense every morning and evening and odorized the building to calm the minds of the patients. In spring fragrant flowers like jasmine, rose, gilly fl ower, carnation, redbud, or hyacinth were collected in the hospital garden and given to the patients.

Some patients would smell these flowers, some would eatthem and some tread on them.




Ottoman surgery books also contain descriptions of esthetic surgery for cases such as male breasts

(gynecomastia), supernumerary fi ngers (polydactyly), joint fingers (syndactyly), drooping eyelid (ptosis), involuted eyelid (entropion), and correction of eyelid deformities (blepharoplasty).




In the 15th century, gynecological diseases were treated by female doctors and midwives. In the Ottoman period, treating piles, warts and red spots in the genital region, boils and abscesses, girls born with a closed vagina and removing fetuses that had died in the mother’s womb were the domains of female doctors (tabibe). If a female patient needed a stone operation (lithotomy) and a female doctor was not at hand, male doctors could also intervene.

Childbirth was attended by midwives trained in a masterapprentice system, who would be called into the home.




Inguinal hernia operations performed by Küpeli Saliha Hatun are attested by 21 patient agreements

(consent bills), most of them from the years 1622-24.She had learned surgery from her husband Deniz bin

Gazi, whom she lost in 1620, and we understand that she subsequently practiced surgery on her own. All her patients were men, coming from various places in the Ottoman Empire.

Two of them were janissaries, called Mehmed Beshe and Ali Beshe. The fact that in the 17th century, a female surgeon would operate hernias in male patients is an important indication for the degree of freedom of profession for qualifi ed Ottoman women.


What is the consent bill

(patient consent)?


The consent bill is a contract between a doctor or a surgeon and a patient. In front of a Sharia court, the patient would declare in the presence of witnesses that he had hired a doctor or surgeon for an agreed

fee to perform a treatment or an operation. A bill would be signed in the presence of witnesses, guaranteeing that in case the patient was to remain disabled or die as a result of the treatment or operation, his

relatives could not sue for blood money or compensation.




In the struggle against human infections, the greatest success was the eradication of smallpox. One step on this gradual success was the “Turkish Smallpox Inoculation”.

On 1 April 1717, after observing this method in Edirne, Lady Mary W. Montagu explained in a letter from there to her English friend Sarah Chiswell how the inoculation was made. Until Edward Jenner invented the immunization with cowpox matter (vaccination) in 1796, the Turkish Smallpox Inoculation, popularized first in England and from there all over Europe, remained the only hope in the struggle against this disease.

Out of gratitude for the benefit received from the smallpox inoculation, Henriette Inge commissioned a relief

at Lichfield Cathedral to commemorate Lady Mary W. Montagu who had introduced variolation from Turkey




Since the 16th century, Ottoman sources have provided knowledge about Edirne’s rose gardens and rosewater.

The rosewater from Edirne was of such high quality that it served as present for the Padishahs. The sweets kitchen (helvahane) of Topkapı Palace purchased its requirements of fresh rose petals and rosewater from Edirne. The rose syrup, paste, and sweets craved by the Padishah and members of the court were also coming from Edirne.It was assumed that rose paste and rose syrup had properties protecting stomach and liver. To improve digestion, it was recommended to take a spoonful of rose paste after meals, and pregnant women or those who had recently given birth should take the paste before going to bed for the night.


The Edirne Rose (Rosa damescena) was taken to Bulgaria by a Turkish merchant at the end of the 17th

century, and a factory for rosewater and rose oil at Kazanlak remained in business for 200 years to cater for Europe’s demand for rosewater and rose oil. When the Turks during the Ottoman-Russian war of 1877-78 left Bulgaria, they carried the rose saplings with them and founded rose gardens in Isparta and Burdur, where they continued cultivating the roses. Still today, rosewater and rose oil are produced in Isparta and Burdur, in continuation with the rose cultures of Edirne and Kazanlak.


Each year, the production of rosewater in Edirne began on the day of Hıdırellez (6 May) and continued throughout the month of May. When the roses blossomed most abundantly, the cauldrons would simmer night and day, and until the morning, entertainments would be held with musical instruments and song.




For centuries, theriac was used both as an antidote to poisons and as a drug capable of improving all disease

states. It is assumed to have been fi rst prepared by the king of Pontus, Mithridates Eupator. The preparation

was known as Mithridaticum, and later the Roman doctor Andromachus added snake meat to the recipe.


Ottoman medicine preferred Venetian theriac (Theriaca Veneta), called “tiryâk-ı faruk/tiryâk-ı ekber”, which was prepared according to Andromachus’s recipe. This theriac was imported as well as produced locally by Ottoman physicians. The famous Ottoman doctor-surgeon of the 15th century, Sherefeddin Sabuncuoglu, let a poisonous snake bite his fi nger and then took theriac he had prepared and demonstrated its effectiveness against snake poison.


He also let the snake bite a rooster and administered theriac to the bird, which survived. These trials can be seen as the beginning of toxicology in our medical history.




Reserved for events to be held in the Museum. When not in use, visitors will be able to watch a documentary

about the development of the Museum until 2015 and the renovation undertaken by Abdi Ibrahim.




In pantry of the Dar al-Shifa’, provisions and raw materials for the production of drugs, including fresh and

dried herbs, ready-made syrups, pastes, and tablets were stored. A reliable storekeeper (kilardar) was employed to look after the store.




In the kitchen of the Dar al-Shifa’, only meals recommended for the patients by the doctors would be prepared. The hospital staff would eat in the soup kitchen. Evliya Chelebi reported that the kitchen prepared three abundant meals per day for the mad and the sick according to their needs. Hunters would bring game

like partridges, pheasants, geese, and ducks, which would also be prepared under the instructions of the doctors.



The laundryman (câmeşuy) washed the clothes of the medical and mental patients and cleaned everything that needed washing in the Dar al-Shifa’.




Since 1912, Abdi Ibrahim, the leader of the Turkish pharmaceutical industry, has been committed to the

improvement of public health with resolute, avant-garde innovative approaches. In 2015, they renovated the health museum in the Dar al-Shifa’, focusing on Ottoman medicine from the 15th to the 18th century, making the treasures of our medical history accessible to the public, creating a state-of-theart museum, entrusted to the generations to come










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