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The Map For Istanbul and its Surroundings

Istanbul embraces two continents, one arm reaching out to Asia, the other to Europe. In the city's heart, the Bosphorus Strait, course the waters of the Black Sea, the Sea of Marmara and the Golden Horn. The former capital of three successive empires -- Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman -- today Istanbul honors and preserves the legacy of its past while looking forward to its modern future.

Indeed, it is Istanbul's variety that fascinates its visitors. The museums, castles, palaces, great mosques, bazaars and sights of natural beauty seem inexhaustible. As you recline on the shores of the Bosphorus at sunset contemplating the red evening light reflected in the windows on the opposite shore you understand, suddenly and profoundly, why so many centuries ago settlers chose to build on this remarkable site. At times such as these, you feel that Istanbul is truly one of the most glorious cities in the world.

In addition to its unique historical and cultural background and innumerable attractions, the modern hotels, exclusive restaurants, night clubs and shops make Istanbul a superb site for meetings, conferences and conventions.


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Although Istanbul has a past of more than two thousand years, it's not a city whose antiquity is apparent at first glance. Much of the cultural heritage that Istanbul has acquired as a result of its being a capital of several empires is hidden away amidst modem buildings lining streets that have frequently been redrawn from one generation to the next. Palaces, mansions, fountains, and monuments of every kind lurk silently within the bustling vitality of this giant metropolis' day-to-day existence and patiently wait to be discovered and seen by those with a more discerning and inquisitive eye.

For those who want to follow the trail of Istanbul's ancient past however, the "Historical Peninsula" lying between Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara is like an oasis because a substantial part of the city's rich store of Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman works is to be found lying on this elongated arm of land.

Sultanahmet Meydani, lying close to the southeastern tip of the peninsula, is surrounded by a bevy of historical monuments lovingly put there by nations and cultures that were as different from one another as it was possible be.

The area that is today Sultanahmet Meydani and its vicinity is the site of Istanbul's first urban settlement. This is where, according to legend, Byzas of Megara established a colony in 657. The hill now occupied by the Topkapi Palace then served as the city's acropolis.

Throughout its long history, Istanbul's has never been an ordinary city. When it became the capital of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) empire and renamed Constantinople, a marble shaft called the Milion was erected to mark the spot as the center of the world -the world's "ground zero" as it were, the point from which all roads radiated and all distances were measured. Although the world's center has long since shifted, the remains of the Milion still stand on a corner opposite the Ayasofya museum on Divanyolu -a thoroughfare that follows the same route as the Romans' Mese street.

During Byzantine times, the Sultanahmet district was where all the city's most important structures were built: the imperial palaces were located here; so was the Hippodrome, the center of Byzantine social life, and of course Haghia Sophia, the empire's greatest church.

Even after the Turkish conquest of Istanbul by Mehmed II in 1453, this district continued to be the heart of the city and of an empire and the Ottomans added to its treasures by constructing their palaces, mosques, and baths here. The Hippodrome remained and though its name was changed to Atmeydani (a literal Turkish translation of the Greek "hippodromos") its traditional Roman and Byzantine functions were not, for it continued to be a venue for sports and entertainment.

After this brief introduction, let's take a quick walk around this celebrated plaza starting with the most magnificent work from the Byzantine period.

Istanbul embraces two continents with one arm reaching out to Asia and the other Europe.

Through the city’s heart, the Bosphorus, course the waters of the Black Sea, the Sea of Marmara and Golden Horn.

            The former capital of three successive empires, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman, Istanbul today honors preserves the legacy of its past while looking forward to a modern future.

            It is Istanbul’s endless variety that fascinates its visitors. The museums, churches, palaces, grand mosques, bazaars and sights of natural beauty seem innumerable. Reclining on the western shore of the Bosphorus at sunset contemplating the red evening light reflected in the windows of the opposite shore you may suddenly and profoundly understand why so many centuries ago settlers chose to build on this remarkable site. At such times you can see why Istanbul is truly one of the most glorious cities in the word.


            On a finger of land at the confluence of the Bosphorus, Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara stands the Topkapi Palace, that maze of buildings that was the focal point of the Ottoman Empire between the 15th and 19th centuries. In these opulent surroundings the sultans and their court lived and governed. A magnificent wooded garden fills the outer, or first, court. In the second court, on the right, shaded by cypress and plane trees, stand the palace kitchens, which now serve as galleries exhibiting the imperial collections of crystal, silver, and Chinese porcelain. To the left is the Harem, the secluded quarters of the wives, concubines, and children of the sultan, charming visitors with echoes of centuries of intrigue. Today the third court holds the Hall of Audience, the Library of Ahmet III, an exhibition of imperial costumes worn by the sultans and their families, the famous jewels of the treasury and a priceless collection of miniatures from medieval manuscripts. In the center of this innermost sanctuary, the Pavilion of the Holy Mantle enshrines the relics of the Prophet Muhammed brought to Istanbul when the Ottomans assumed the caliphate of Islam. (Open every day except Tuesday).

            The façade of the Dolmabahce Palace, built in the mid-19th century by Sultan Abdulmecit I, stretches for 600 meters along the European shore of the Bosphorus.The vast reception salon, with its 56 columns and four-and-a-half ton crystal chandelier with 750 lights, never fails to astonish visitors. At one time, birds from all over the world were kept in the Bird Pavilion for the delight of the palace’s privileged residents. Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic, died in the palace on November 10,1938. (Open every day except Monday and Thursday).

            In the 19th century, Sultan Abdulaziz built the Beylerbeyi Palace, a fantasy in white marble set amid magnolia-filled gardens, on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus. Used as the Sultan’s summer residence, it was offered to the most distinguished foreign dignitaries for their visits. Empress Eugenie of France was among its residents. (Open every day except Monday and Thursday).

In addition to the State Pavilions at the Yildiz Palace complex, the compound includes a series of pavilions and a mosque. Abdulhamit II completed it at the end of the 19th century.

            The Sale, the largest and most exquisite of the buildings, reveals the luxury in which the sultans lived and entertained. Set in a huge park of flowers, shrubs and trees gathered from every part of the world, the palace grounds offer one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the Bosphorus. Because of restoration work, only the Sale and park are open to the public. (Open every day except Tuesday)

            The Goksu Palace, also known as Kucuksu, takes its name from the streams, which empty into the Bosphorus near the tiny palace. Built by Abdulmecit I in the middle of the 19th century, it was used as a summer residence. (Open every day except Monday and Thursday).

            Originally built in the 18th century and later restored by various sultans, the Aynali Kavak Summer Pavilion assumed its name, Mirrored Poplar, when its famed mirrors, a gift from the Venetians, were installed in 1718. This palace on Golden Horn is one of the most beautiful examples of traditional Turkish architecture. (Open every day except Monday and Thursday).

            The 19th-century Ihlamur Pavilion is named for the linden trees that grow in its gardens. Now in the heart of metropolitan Istanbul, when it was originally constructed, the pavilion lay in the rolling countryside that surrounded the city. The Merasim Pavilion was used for official ceremonies while the Maiyet Pavilion sheltered the sultan’s entourage and, on occasions, his harem on the their excursions out of the palace confines. (Open every day except Monday and Thursday).

            The Maslak Pavilions on a shady green hill were conceived by Sultan Abdulaziz as hunting lodges. These are particularly noteworthy as superb examples of the late 19th century Ottoman decorative style. The Malta Pavilion is presently used as an inexpensive restaurant while both the Maslak Pavilion and Limonlu Gate are open as cafes. (Open every day).

The Florya Ataturk Sea Pavilion served as a summer residence for Turkish presidents, beginning with Ataturk. Built in1935 in a T-shaped design on land jutting out over the Sea of Marmara, this building serves as a showcase for some of the loveliest examples of early 20th century furnishings. (Open weekdays except Monday and Thursday)


                      Across from Hagia Sophia stands the supremely elegant Imperial Sultanahmet Mosque with six minarets. Built between 1609 and 1616 by the architect Mehmet, the building is more familiarly known as the Blue Mosque because of its magnificent interior paneling of blue and white Iznik tiles. During the summer months and evening light and sound show both entertain and inform visitors.

The cascading domes and four slender minarets of the Imperial Suleymaniye Mosque dominate the skyline on Golden Horn’s west bank. Considered the most beautiful of all imperial mosques in Istanbul, it was built between 1550 and 1557 by Sinan, the renowned architect of the Ottoman Empire’s golden age. Erected on the crest of a hill, the building is conspicuous for its great rise from each corner of the courtyard. Inside are the mihrab (prayer niche showing the direction to Mecca) and the mimber (pulpit) made of finely carved white marble and exquisite stained-glass windows coloring the incoming streams of light. It was in the gardens of this complex that Suleyman and his wife, Hurrem Sultan (Roxelane), had their mausolea built, and near here also Sinan built his own tomb. The mosque complex also includes four medrese, or theological schools, a school of medicine, a caravanserai, a Turkish bath, and a kitchen and hospice for the poor.

The Rustem Pasa Mosque, another skillful accomplishment of the architect Sinan, was built in 1561 by order of Rustem Pasa, Grand Vizier and son-in-low of Suleyman the Magnificent. Exquisite Iznik tiles panel the small and superbly proportioned interior.

            The Imperial Fatih Mosque, constructed between 1463 and 1470, bears the name of the Ottoman conqueror of Istanbul, Fatih Sultan Mehmet, and is the site of his mausoleum. Standing atop another of Istanbul’s hills, its vast size and great complex of religious buildings-medreses, hospices, baths, a hospital, a caravanserai and a library make it well worth a visit.

            The great Mosque of Eyup lies outside the city walls, near the Golden Horn, at the traditional site where Eyup, the standard bearer of the Prophet Mohammed, died in the Islamic assault on Constantinople in A.D. 670. The first mosque built after the Ottoman conquest of the city, this greatly venerated shrine attracts many pilgrims.

            Built between 1597 and 1663, the Yeni (New) Mosque looms over the harbor at Eminonu, greeting the incoming ferryboats and welcoming tourists to the old city. Today its graceful domes and arches shelter hundreds of pigeons that make this area their home. Marvelous Iznik tiles decorate what was once the sultan’s balcony.

            The 16th-century Sokullu Mehmet Pasa Mosque built on an awkwardly shaped plot on a steeply sloping hill neat Sultanahmet, is one of the most beautiful examples of classical Turkish architecture and another masterpiece of the architect Sinan. Inside breathtaking blues, purples and reds color the elegant designs of the Iznik tiles.

Walls of glass fill the four immense arches that support the central dome at the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque inside the Edirne gate of the old city walls. One hundred and sixty-one windows illuminate this mosque, built in 1555 by Sinan for Mihrimah Sultana, the daughter of Suleyman the Magnificent.


            The Basilica of Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom), now called the Ayasofya

 Museum is unquestionably one of the finest buildings of all time. Built by Constantine the Great and reconstructed by Justinian in the 6th century, its immense dome rises 55 meters above the ground and its diameter spans 31 meters. Linger here to admire the building’s majestic serenity as well as the fine Byzantine mosaics. (Open every day except Monday)

            The Archeological Museums are found just inside the first court of the Topkapi Palace. Included among its treasures of antiquity are the celebrated Alexander Sarcophagus and the façade of the Temple to Athena from Assos. The Museum of the Ancient Orient Displays artifacts from the Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Hatti and Hittite civilizations. (Open every day except Monday).

            Rumeli Hisari, or European Fortress, was built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452 prior to his capture of Istanbul. Completed in only four months, it is one of the most beautiful works of military architecture in the world. In the castle is the Open-Air Museum amphitheater that is the site for some events of the Istanbul Music Festival. (Open every day except Wednesday).

            Originally built in the 15th century as a kosk, or pavilion, by Mehmet the Conqueror, the Cinili Kosk, which houses the Museum of Turkish Ceramics, contains beautiful 16th-century specimens from Iznik and fine examples of Seljuk and Ottoman pottery and tiles. (Open every day except Monday).

            Like the Ayasofya Musesum, the St. Irene Museum was originally a church. It ranks, in fact, as the first church built in Istanbul. Constantine commissioned it in the fourth century and Justinian later had the church restored. The building reputedly stands on the site of a pre-Christian temple. (Open every day except Monday, but requires special permission for admission).

            The dark stone building that houses the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art was built in 1524 by the Grand Vizier to Suleyman the Magnificent, Ibrahim Pasa, as his residence. It was the grandest private residence ever built in the Ottoman Empire. Today it holds a superb collection of ceramics, metalwork, miniatures, calligraphy, textiles, and woodwork as well as some of the oldest carpets in the world. (Open every day except Monday).

            Across the street from the Ibrahim Pasa residence is the Museum of Turkish Carpets, which contains exquisite antique carpets and kilims gathered from all over Turkey. (Open every day except Sunday and Monday).

            Near Hagia Sophia is the sixth-century Byzantine cistern known as the Yerebatan Sarnici. Three hundred and thirty-six massive Corinthian columns support the immense chambers fine brick vaulting. (Open every day except Tuesday).

            The Mosaic Museum, preserves in situ exceptionally fine   fifth and sixth-century mosaic pavements from the Grand Palace of the Byzantine emperors. (Open every day except Tuesday).

            The Kariye Museum, the 11th-century church of “St. Savior” in the Chora complex, is after Hagia Sophia, the most important Byzantine monument in Istanbul. Unremarkable in its architecture, inside the walls are decorated with superb 14th-century mosaics. Illustrating scenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary, these brilliantly colored paintings embody the vigor of Byzantine art. In restored wooden houses in the area surrounding the church you can enjoy tea and coffee in a relaxed atmosphere far removed from the city’s hectic pace. (Open every day except Wednesday).

            The Aviation Museum in Yesilkoy traces the development of flight in Turkey. (Open every day except Monday).

            In the Military Museum the great field tents used by the Ottoman armies on campaigns are on display. Other exhibits include Ottoman weapons and the accoutrements of war. The Mehter Takimi (Ottoman military band) can be heard performing Ottoman martial music between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. (Open every day except Monday and Tuesday).

            Ataturk’s former residence in Sisli now serves as the Ataturk Museum and displays his personal effects. (Open every day except Saturday and Sunday).

The grand imperial caiques used by the sultans to cross the Bosphorus are among the many other interesting exhibits of Ottoman naval history that can be seen at the Naval Museum located in the Besiktas district. (Open every day except Monday and Thursday).

Also in Besiktas is the Museum of Fine Arts that houses Turkish paintings and sculptures from the end of the 19th century to the present. (Open every day except Monday and Tuesday).

            The City Museum, located within the gardens of the Yildiz Palace, preserves and documents the history of Istanbul since the Ottoman conquest. (Open every day except Thursday). Also within the gardens are the Yildiz Palace Theatre and the Museum of Historical Stage Costumes, with its exquisite costumes. (Open every day except Tuesday).

            The Rahmi Koc Industry Museum, in the suburb of Haskoy on the coast of Golden Horn, was an Ottoman-period building, formerly called Lengerhane, for iron and steel works. Today it houses exhibits on industrial development. (Open every day except Monday).

            Up the Bosphorus in the picturesque suburb of Buyukdere, the collections of the Sadberk Hanim Museum fill two charming 19th-century wooden villas. A private museum, which originally displayed only Turkish decorative arts, it has recently been expanded for a new collection of archeological finds. (Open every day except Wednesday).

            For something different try the Caricature Cartoon Museum in Fatih on Ataturk Boulevard under the Bozdogan Aqueduct in the 16th century Gazanfer Aga Medrese. (Open daily 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.)              



          The ancient Hippodrome, the scene of chariot races and the center of Byzantine civic life, stood in the area that is now in front of the Blue Mosque. The area is now named for the mosque, Sultanahmet. Of the monuments which once decorated it only three remain: the Obelisk of Theodosius, the bronze Serpentine Column and the Column of Constantine. Remains from the curved end of the Hippodrome wall can be seen on the southwest side of these three monuments. Today the square forms the center of Istanbul’s historical, cultural and touristic pursuits. Take particular note of the surrounding wooden houses, especially the 18th century homes on Sogukcesme Street. Delightfully restored, they have a new lease on life as small hotels; one houses a fascinating library of books on Istanbul.

            The Ahmet III Fountain, built in 1729, stands at the entrance to Topkapi Palace. A generous roof shades the waterspouts where the thirsty can stop for a cup of refreshing water. This highly ornate, freestanding fountain is a superb example of the late Ottoman style.

            Mahmut II built the Beyazit Tower (85 meters high) in 1828 as a fire tower. Today it is included in the grounds of Istanbul University.

            The Bozdogan-Valens Aqueduct, built in A.D. 368, supplied the Byzantine and later the Ottoman palaces with water. Today part of the remaining 900 meters of double-tiered arches straddle the major highway that runs through the old part of town.

            The Istanbul city walls, once an impenetrable fortification, stretch seven kilometers from the Sea of Marmara to the Golden Horn. Recently restored, as also many times before, these walls date from the fifth century and the reign of Emperor Theodosius II. UNESCO has declared the walls and the area, which they enclose to be one of the cultural heritages of the world.

            The Galata Tower, a Genoese construction of 1348, rises 62 meters above the Golden Horn. From the top there is a marvelous panorama of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus. In the evening you can enjoy its popular restaurant, nightclub and bar.

            Rumeli Hisari, or European Fortress, was built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452 prior to his capture of Istanbul. Completed in only four months, it is one of the most beautiful works of military architecture in the world. In the castle is the Open-Air Museum amphitheater that is the site for some events of the Istanbul Music Festival. (Open every day except Wednesdays).

Kiz Kulesi, also known as Leander’s Tower, is one of the most romantic symbols of Istanbul. On a tiny island at the entrance to Istanbul’s harbor, the first tower was constructed in the 12th century. The present building dates from the 18th century.


          A stay in Istanbul is not complete without a traditional unforgettable boat excursion up the Bosphorus, that winding strait that separates Europe and Asia. Its shores offer a delightful mixture of past and present, grand splendor and simple beauty. Modern hotels stand next to yali (shorefront wooden villas), marble palaces abut rustic stone fortresses, and elegant compounds neighbor small fishing villages. The best way to see the Bosphorus is to board one of the passenger boats that regularly zigzag along the shores. You embark at Eminonu and stop alternately on the Asian and European sides of the strait. The round-trip excursion, very reasonably priced, takes about six hours. If you wish a private voyage, there are agencies that specialize in organizing day or night mini cruises.

            During the journey you pass the magnificent Dolmabahce Palace; farther along rise the green parks and imperial pavilions of the Yildiz Palace. On the coastal edge of the parks stands the Ciragan Palace, refurbished in 1874 by Sultan Abdulaziz, and now restored as a grand hotel. For 300 meters along the Bosphorus shore its ornate marble facades reflect the swiftly moving water. At Ortakoy, the next stop, artists gather every Sunday to exhibit their works in a street side gallery. The variety of people creates a lively scene. Sample a tasty morsel from one of the street vendors. In Ortakoy, there is a church, a mosque and a synagogue that have existed side by side for hundreds of years – a tribute to Turkish tolerance at the grass roots level. Overshadowing Istanbul’s traditional architecture is one of the world’s largest suspension bridges, the Bosphorus Bridge, linking Europe and Asia.

            The beautiful Beylerbeyi Palace lies just past the bridge on the Asian side. Behind the palace rises Camlica Hill, the highest point in Istanbul. You can also drive here to admire a magnificent panorama of Istanbul as well as the beautiful landscaped gardens. On the opposite shore, the wooden Ottoman villas of Arnavutkoy create a contrast with the luxurious modern apartments of neighboring Bebek. A few kilometers farther along stand the fortresses of Rumeli Hisari and Anadolu Hisari facing each other across the straits like sentries guarding the city. The Goksu Palace, sometimes known as Kucuksu Palace graces the Asian shore next to the Anadolu Hisari. The second link between the two continents, the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge straddles the waterway just past these two fortresses.

            From Duatepe Hill, on the European side, you can admire the magnificent panorama of the bridge and the Bosphorus. Below Duatepe, the beautiful Emirgan Park bursts with color when its tulips bloom in the spring. On the Asian shore is Kanlica, a fishing village that is now a favored suburb for wealthy Istanbulites. Crowds gather in the restaurants and cafes along its shores to sample its famous yogurt. Shortly after Kanlica and Cubuklu is the Beykoz Korusu (Ibrahim Pasa Woods), a popular retreat. In the cafes and restaurants there you can enjoy the delightful scenery and clear, fresh air. Back on the European side, at Tarabya Bay, yachts seem to dance at their moorings. The coastal road bustles with taverns and fish restaurants from Tarabya to the charming suburbs of Sariyer and Buyukdere. Sariyer has one of the largest fish markets in Istanbul and is also famous for its delicious varieties of milk puddings and borek (pastries). On past Sariyer, the narrow strait widens and opens into the Black Sea.

HALIC (Golden Horn)

This horn-shaped estuary divides European Istanbul. One of the best natural harbors in the world, the Byzantine and Ottoman navies and commercial shipping interests were centered here. Today, lovely parks and promenades line the shores where the setting sun casts a golden hue on the water. At Fener and Balat, neighborhoods midway up the Golden Horn, whole streets full of old wooden houses, churches and synagogues date from Byzantine and Ottoman times. The Orthodox Patriarchy resides here at Fener. Eyup, a little further up, reflects Ottoman architecture. Cemeteries dotted with dark cypress trees cover the hillsides. Many pilgrims come to the Tomb of Eyup in the hope that their prayers will be granted. The Pierre Loti Café, atop the hill overlooking the shrine is a wonderful place to enjoy the tranquility of the view.


          Istanbul is an international art and cultural center. The International Arts and Cultural Festival is held each year in June and July with famous artists coming from all over the world. These performances are held mostly at the Ataturk Cultural Center. The Istanbul Science Center (Bilim Merkezi), founded by the Science Center Foundation and located on the campus of Istanbul Technical University, has hands-on experimental and theoretical opportunities for adults and children of various educational levels. In March and April you can take in the International Film Festival. Those who enjoy classical music can hear it at the Cemal Resit Rey Hall. Operas, operettas, ballets, films, concerts, exhibitions and conferences all contribute to the cultural palette of the city.

            Istanbul also has a rich program of light entertainment. Nightclubs provide splendid entertainment throughout dinner, ranging from a selection of Turkish songs to belly dancing. Alongside these are modern discos, cabarets, and jazz clubs in the Taksim-Harbiye district.

In Sultanahmet, there are a number of restaurants in restored Byzantine and Ottoman buildings, which offer a unique setting for an evening out.

Kumkapi, with its many taverns, bars and fish restaurants, is another attractive district. People have been meeting for years at Cicek Pasaji in the district of Beyoglu for snacks and seafood specialties. Also in the area near Cicek Pasaji is the narrow Nevizade Street, which is the best place in Istanbul for eating Turkish specialties and drinking raki.

On the Bosphorus, Ortakoy is the best place for nightlife in Istanbul, with its nightclubs, jazz clubs, fine seafood restaurants and bars.

At Eminonu don’t miss an opportunity to see fishermen dressed in traditional Ottoman clothes and their Ottoman-style boats, which you may board to sample their delicious fried fish.

You may also want to visit Tatilya Cumhuriyeti, a large amusement park in Beylikduzu past Haramidere on the road to the Ataturk International Airport.

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            One could visit Istanbul for the shopping alone. The Kapali Carsi, or Covered Bazaar, in the old city is the logical place to start. This labyrinth of streets and passages houses more than 4,000 shops. The names recall the days when each trade had its own quarter: the goldsmiths’ street, the carpet sellers’ street, and the street of the skullcap makers. Still the commercial center of the old city, the bazaar is the original shopping pocket.

            Charming souvenirs and gifts can be selected from among Turkish crafts, the world-renowned carpets, brilliant hand painted ceramics, copperware, brassware, and meerschaum pipes. The gold jewelry in brilliantly lit cases dazzles passersby. Leather and suede goods of excellent quality make a relatively inexpensive purchase. In the heart of the bazaar, the Old Bedesten offers a curious assortment of antiques. It is worth poking through the clutter of decades in the hope if finding a treasure.

                        The Misir Carsisi or Spice Bazaar, next to the Yeni Mosque at Eminonu, transports you to fantasies from the mystical East. The enticing aromas of cinnamon, caraway, saffron, mint, thyme and every other conceivable herb and spice fill the air. Sultanahmet has become another shopping mecca in the old city. The Istanbul Sanatlari Carsisi (Bazaar of Istanbul Arts) in the 18th century Mehmet Efendi Medresesi, and the nearby 16th-century Cafer Aga Medrese, built by Sinan, offer you the chance to see craftsman at work and to purchase their wares. In the Arasta (old bazaar) of the Sultanahmet Mosque, a thriving shopping arcade makes both shopping and sightseeing very convenient.


The sophisticated shops of the Taksim-Nisantasi Sisli districts contrast with the chaos of the bazaars. On Istiklal Avenue, Cumhuriyet Avanue, and Rumeli Avenue, you can browse peacefully in the most fashionable shops selling elegant fashions made from Turkey’s high quality textiles. Exquisite jewelry as well as finely designed handbags and shoes can also be found. The Atakoy Galleria Mall in Atakoy and the Akmerkez Mall in Etiler have branches of Istanbul’s most elegant shops. In Bakirkoy, the Carousel Mall is worth a visit, as is the Atlas Passage in Beyoglu. Bahariye Avenue, Bagdat Avenue, and Capitol Mall on the Asian side, offers the same shopping opportunities.

In Istanbul’s busy flea markets you can find an astonishing assortment of goods, both old and new. Every day offers a new opportunity to poke about the Sahaflar Carsisi and Cinaralti in the Beyazit district. On Sundays, in a flea market between the Sahaflar and Covered Bazaar, vendors uncover their wares on carts and blankets. The Horhor carsisi is a collection of shops that sell furniture of varying age and quality. Flea markets are open daily in the Topkapi district, on Cukurcuma Sokak in Changir, on Buyuk Hamam Sokak in Uskudar, in the Kadikoy Carsi Duragi area, and between Eminonu and Tahtakale. After a Sunday drive up the Bosphorus, stop between Buyukdere and Sariyer to wander through another lovely market.


The Princes’ Islands, an archipelago of nine islands in the Sea of Marmara, were places of exile for Byzantine princes. Today, during the summer months, wealthy Istanbulites escape to the cool sea breezes and elegant 19th century houses. Buyukada is the largest of the islands. Here you can enjoy a ride in a horse-drawn phaeton (carriage) among the pine trees or relax on a beach in one of the numerous coves that ring the island. The other popular islands are Kinali, Sedef, Burgaz, and Heybeliada. Regular freey boats connect the islands with both the European and Asian shores. A faster sea bus service operates from Kabatas in the summer.

On the European side of the Black Sea coast, 25 km from the outskirts of Istanbul, the long, broad sandy beaches of Kilyos draw crowds of Istanbul residents in the summer. The Belgrad Forest, inland from the Black Sea on the European side, is the largest forest around Istanbul. On weekends, Istanbulites drive out to its spacious shade for family picnics and barbecues. Seven ancient reservoirs and a number of natural springs refresh the air. The Ottoman aqueducts, of which the 16th-century Moglova Aqueduct built by Sinan is the most splendid, lend majesty to the natural surroundings. Overshadowing the entrance to Kemer Golf and Country Club is the 750-meter long Sultan Suleyman Aqueduct, also built by Sinan. It is one of the longest in Turkey. The 500-stable Equestrian Center offers trail riding.

On the Asian side, Polonezkoy, 25 km from Istanbul, was founded in the 19th century by Polish immigrants. Istanbul residents come to its pastoral landscape for walks, horseback riding and to enjoy the traditional Polish food served by descendants of the original settlers.

On the Black Sea, 70 km from Uskudar, Sile’s sandy beaches, fish restaurants and hotels make it one of the most delightful holiday places near Istanbul. Cool cotton clothing called Sile bezi is popular with tourists and is fashioned here.

The Bayramoglu-Darica Bird’s Paradise and Botanic Park, 38 km from Istanbul, is a unique place to relax. Many species of birds and plants from all over the world can be seen in this park, which also has restaurants and a promenade for pedestrians.

The charming fishing town of Eskihisar, southeast of Istanbul, boasts a marina where yachtsmen can moor their boats after a day out on the Sea of Marmara. In town, the house of Osman Hamdi Bey, Turkey’s great 19th-century paonter, has been converted into a museum. Neighboring sites include the tomb of Hannibal between Eskihisar and Gebze, and a Byzantine castle.

Many Istanbulites have summer homes near Silivri, popular vacation area about 65 km from Istanbul. A large holiday resort, it offers sports, health, and fitness facilities, that include the Klassis Country and Golf Club, and excellent dining. The conference center attracts business people who want to escape the city’s fast pace for a working holiday. A regular sea bus service connects Istanbul to Silivri.


Yachting is very popular in Istanbul. This is the only place in the world where you can enjoy the beauty of a mystical landscape while sailing back through history to Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman times, and view magnificent castles, palaces and mosques.

From the North Sea through the European interior, yachters can sail down the European channel system and the Rhine and Danube Rivers into the Black Sea harbors and to the Istanbul Bogazi and Istanbul Marinas-a safe and short way to come.

Sail on the Istanbul Bogazi under the enormous bridges spanning two continents and around the Princes’ Islands to their beautiful bays, where you may anchor and enjoy the serenity of the area. After enjoying all of the sights return to one of the two large marinas. Atakoy Marina with a blue flag rating is on the European side and Kalamis Marina is on the Asian side. Both offer 24-hour service. International Offshore Yacht races are held in Istanbul every summer. Moving on from Istanbul through the Sea of Marmara you come to Canakkale and the famous Dardanelles, site of an historic World War I campaign that sealed Mustafa Kemal as a man of destiny. Continue on into the Aegean Sea for fine cruising and end up along the golden sands of the Maditerranean.


Istanbul offers lovely opportunities for golf enthusiasts:

The Klassis Golf and Country Club, 65 km from Istanbul in Silivri, is one of the area’s largest golf clubs, with an 18-hole course and a 9-hole course.

The Kemer Golf and Country Club, 18 km from Istanbul in the Belgrad Forest near the town of Kemerburgaz, offers a formidable test of golf skill on its 9-hole course.

The Istanbul Golf Club in the Ayazaga district of Istanbul also has a 9-hole course.


Istanbul Subways - Getting Around Istanbul - Subways - Bus Tours

The Names Of Istanbul :

Istanbul was formerly known as Byzantion (Byzantium in Latin), and this is the origin of the term we use today. It is not known with any certainty where the name 'Byzantion' came from, and it is quite clear that the legends that arose at later periods did not reflect the truth.

It has been noted that 'Byzant', which is the root of the word 'Byzantion' greatly resembles many of the place names existing in Entail during the third century. Although it can be accepted that the 'ion' suffix is associated with the Phrygians, who arrived with the Aegean migrations, the 'nt' on the end of the root 'Byzant' can also be found in the ancient local languages of Entail. Throughout the Early Ages the name 'Byzantion', which forms the core of the former name of Istanbul, was used. After the city had been re-founded in 330 AD by Constantine I (and this was towards the end of the Roman, Empire), it was referred to as 'Deutera Rome', or the second Rome', and also as 'Nea Rome', which means 'New Rome'. Then the name of its founder was taken as the basis, and the name 'Konstantinoupolis' adopted, which was the source of all the western names for the city. The Germans refer to Istanbul as 'Konstantinopel', the French and the British as 'Constantinople' and the Italians as 'Constantinopoli'. Although the official name of the city has, ever since the establishment of the Republic, been 'Istanbul' and great sensitivity shown on this subject, Europe resists the adoption of the name 'Istanbul'. It is not known with any certainty where the name 'Istanbul' came from. According to an opinion that has existed for many years, the Byzantines did not refer to the city by its actual name, but, because of it size, simply as 'Polis' (the City), and when they wanted to say 'to the City', they said 'eist enpolin' (is-tin-polin), which was the origin of the name 'Istanbul'. Recent research has shown that the name 'Istanbul' was used if not during the Byzantine period, at least during the 11th century and that the Turks knew the city by this name. Istanbul has had other names at various times but none of them was used widely or for any great length of time. During the Turkish period the names 'Dersaadet' and 'Deraliye' were used (and these were adjectival more than anything else), and if official correspondence and on coins the Turkish transcription of 'Konstantinoupolis', 'Konstantiniye' was used, Although the use of the name 'Konstantiniye' was prohibited at one time during the Ottoman period by Sultan Mustafa III, its use continued, to be abandoned during the republican period.

Legends About Foundation Of the City :

Although it is a legend about the foundation of the city that has come down to us over the ages in various forms, it does not cast any real light on the fact surrounding the initial foundation of the city. According to a local legend which is comparatively much older than the others, the Thracian king Byzas, who was the son of the nymph Semestra, had married Phidaleia, daughter of Barbyzos, king of a region near to Istanbul; it was this woman who is said to have founded Byzantion, or Istanbul

According to another legend to, lover of Zeus, the chief of all the ancient Greek gods, turned herself into a cow to escape the wrath of Hera, Zeus's vengeful wife. During her flight she gave birth to a daughter, Keroessa, on the banks of Golden Horn. Keroessa was brought up by the nymph Semestra and in due course she gave birth to the son of the sea god Poseidon, whom she named Byzas. Byzas was brought up by the naiad Byzia, and he went on to found the city of Istanbul, It is possible to fit this legend in with the geography of Istanbul. On the other hand, the names Byzas and Keroessa are to be encountered in different forms in very old place names in Anatolia. This perhaps demonstrates that the legend originates in events that took place in the depths of Anatolia's history. According to legends originating in more recent times, (and one of these, born in the Ist century AD, is extremely well-known) Byzas had set out with the chief of a band of migrants from Megara in Greece. The oracle in the Temple of Apollo at Delphi had advised them to set up their new homeland in a place "facing the blind". These migrants were said to have set up their first city on what is now Sarayburnu; this promontory lies opposite Kadikoy, formerly known as Khalkedon, which had been founded 17 (according to other sources 19 or 29) years earlier, and its founders had been accused of being blind because they had ignored the beauty of Istanbul. This last legend must be connected with the Greek migrations that took place between 750 and 550 BC and is certainly not related to the city's initial foundation. The only possibility is that during these migrations anew Greek city was founded in what is now Istanbul circa 660 BC, from which the present city developed.

The First Foundation Of The City :

The oldest signs of habitation in the Istanbul area have been found on the banks of the Kurbagali-dere Greek in Kadikoy, in the Fikirtepe locality; it is considered that these finds date from the end of the 4th century or the beginning of the 3rd century BC. Research carried out in recent times in a natural cave in a rocky hillside overlooking the north side of the Buyukcekmece lake 20 km west of Istanbul has proved that people lived here in prehistoric times. An interesting point is that this cave was regarded as a sacred place by the Byzantines after the extends down into the depths of the earth over a distance of 1 km and the height of some of its corridors reaches 15m in some places. At the bottom of an extremely thick layer of earth and manure a large number of fossils, stone-age tools, flint spear-heads and pieces of bone have been found. These all go to prove that the area around Istanbul has been inhabited since the dawn of history.

There is no reason at all why there should not have been another centre of habitation on the site of present-day Istanbul. However, the increase in the depth of the soil layer previously mentioned has rendered a search for these very early signs of habitation impossible. It would, however, seem more within the bounds of possibility that the very first city was bounded on Silivritepe, the high promontory between the Alibey and Kagithane creeks at the upper end of Golden Horn. If we accept the idea that prehistoric man preferred to settle at the head of running water, as evidenced by the finds at Fikirtepe and Kucukcekmece it would be entirely convincing to suppose the existence of a settlement at the top end of Golden Horn on Silivritepe, a place which provided a safe refuge for small boats, a plentiful supply of fish in all seasons, the banks of which were fertile and suitable for agriculture and which in addition was supplied with fresh water by these two creeks. In all probability the best place to search for the first signs of habitation in Istanbul would be at the upper end of the Golden Horn. Apart from this there was also a centre of habitation at the tip of the triangular piece of land enclosed by the city walls now known as Sarayburnu. The Roman writer Plinius, who lived in the 1st century AD, states that first of all there was a village called Lygos in this triangle. Fragments of pottery found during excavations carried out in 1937 in the second courtyard of the Topkapi Palace are extremely inadequate evidence of Istanbul's habitation in the 7th century BC because the soil in which they were found had been brought there from another place.

İstanbul Before The Roman Era :

It is known that the Istanbul of Hellenic times was contained within the boundaries of what are now Sirkeci, the top of Alemdar Hill and Ahirkapi; in other words all the buildings of the first city were within the outer walls of the present Topkapi Palace. The city of that time was surrounded by solid walls made of hewn blocks of stone which had 27 towers and a gate on the inland side called the Thracian Gate. The Acropolis containing the ancient temples was on the hillside rising from Sarayburnu, and this had a separate wall around it. There was also at least one harbour in what is now Sirkeci. There is information available about is official buildings, temples, squares and the necropolis outside the city walls.

Until the end of the 2nd century BS Istanbul was a wealthy city within these boundaries protected by high walls. Revenues obtained from fishing, tolls paid by ships passing though the Bosphorus, and the fertility of the surrounding soil were the factors underlying its wealth in that period. In 193 AD the Roman Empire entered a period of crisis. One of the commanders who was trying to gain control during the battle for the throne that ensued with the murder of the emperor Pertinax was Pescennius Niger; he came to Istanbul and closed the road to Asia of Septimius Severus, who was engaged in battle. In 194 AD the severed head of Niger, who had been defeated by Severus, was sent to Istanbul, a city which had remained loyal to him but in spite of this the city had dared single-handedly to defy Septimius Severus, an emperor who ruled an empire stretching from Great Britain to the Gulf of Basra. This siege, which began in the winter of 193-194 AD, lasted two years. Istanbul, perhaps hoping that Severus's other rival Albinius would be victorious, stood up to the terrible siege. It was said that its people were so hungry that even human corpses were eaten. As a punishment, when Istanbul finally surrendered in 196 AD, all its warriors and administrators were slaughtered, its walls pulled down, its right to call itself a city removed and, reduced to the status of village, it was bound to Perinthos (now Marmara Ereglisi). But Septimius Severius, who was sole ruler of the state from 193 to 211 AD, thought it was not right to leave a city with such perfect advantages as Istanbul in this position, and, according to an old story, upon the request of his son Aurelius Antoninus Caracalla, he rebuilt the city, making it even larger, and even endowed it with his name.

İstanbul During The Roman Era :

The city, which had been rebuilt by Severus and named Anatonina after Antoninus extended 300m further to the west than the old city. The city walls built by Severus on the side facing inland extended from what is now Sirkeci to the Turbe neighborhood of the Cemberlitas district, and, curving eastwards, extended downwards towards the Sea of Marmara. Severus had started the construction of the Hippodrome (At Meydani) in 203 AD, but the work was not completed. The inside of the city was adorned with impressive civic buildings and public baths, temples and the Necropolis (graveyard) extended as for as the area between Cemberlitas and Beyazid. It is probable that in this period main streets lined with columns were built on either side of it. The most important of these was the main street of the city, known as Mese, which followed almost exactly the same route as the present Divanyolu (Yeniceriler) Avenue.

In deep excavations carried out inside the city, the remains of the Roman graveyard was seen at a depth of 8m. A large number of tombs and grave steles have been found between Cemberlitas and Beyazid during the last fifty years or so. The life of this city, founded some time between the end of the 2nd and the beginning of the 3rd century AD, circa 200 AD, was not to be a very long one. When the emperor Diocletianus abdicated in 305 AD the Roman empire entered a new period of crisis and in the war that ensued between Maximinus and Licinius, Maximinus captured Istanbul in the winter of 312-313. However, Maximinus was defeated in Thrace and the city fell into the hands of his rival, Licinius was defeated in 323 AD; first of all he fled to Istanbul, then to Kadikoy on the Asian side. There, his army in disarray, he finally surrendered in Nikomedia (Izmit). Constantine had for some time been of the opinion that a new capital needed to be chosen for the Empire, and he considered Troy, which is near to the present-day Canakkale, to be the most appropriate choice. However, he had seen many of the virtues of Istanbul during the course of the war against Licinius, and Constantine I, who was the sole candidate for ruler of the Roman state, came to the conclusion that Byzantion (Istanbul) was, in military, economic and internal political terms, the most suitable place.

(a) Military reasons

Istanbul was a city that could be easily defended against external threats coming from the north or from the east against the state. It had been seen in the battle against Licinius that the city was easy to defend. Moreover, it was a borders of the empire, and from where their raids could be stopped. The Sasani to the east were a considerable danger to the empire and the emperor Valerianus, who had been taken prisoner by the Sasani king, had been humiliated to the extent of being used as a mounting block by the latter.

(b) Economic reasons

Due to the fact that Istanbul lay on both the land and maritime trade routes, it served as a bridge in trade relations. It was an important crossroads on these routes and a great deal of revenue was obtained from tolls and customs duties.

(c) Political reasons

Istanbul was a suitable place for the measures to be taken against disturbances within the state and was a completely new, clean place far from the old centers of corruption. Constantine's claim to be a believing Christian was not altogether convincing but he took a number a decisions that meant that Christians, who had previously been subjected to terrible persecutions and tortures, would now be regarded with tolerance and that the Christian religion would henceforth be the official religion of the state. In Rome, which was loyal to the old polytheist religion, such an initiative would have been well nigh impossible.

Constantine began to rebuild Istanbul in 325 AD. The foundations of the city walls, which were to extend further to the west on the inland side, were laid on 26 November, 328. At this time Christianity, which was just beginning to spread, had been allowed to recruit new followers to defend it from its rivals and had moreover been made the official religion of the state; this led to the creation of Christian legend about this action of Constantine, who had in fact remained a pagan. An example of this is the belief that an angel had appeared to him and shown him the places through which the new city walls would pass on the western side.

The city founded by Constantine

When the major projects had been completed in the completely rebuilt and enlarged city, an impressive opening ceremony was held on 11 May, 330 AD. The city had been granted all the privileges that belonged to Rome and its governor bore the title of proconsul. From 359 onwards this post was replaced by that of a person who was both governor and head of the municipality responsible for the administration of the city, and the was referred to as 'prafectus' (Epakhos in Greek), or prefect. The names of these prefects of old can still be read in the inscriptions on certain works belonging to the Roman period. (For example on the Dikilitas pedestal, on the Mevlevihane gate of the city and on an obelisque known as Kiztasi, located in what was formerly the slave market of Istanbul). The city was divided into fourteen zones, twelve of which were within the city walls, the thirteenth at Galata and the fourteenth in the Blakherna district on the Egrikapi side. There is a list of all the buildings in each of these zones and the he divisions of each zone in an old document. Due to the fact that no trace is left of Severus's walls, or of the new walls extending a further 2500m to the west, the route followed by these walls is not known. Although it is alleged that the name of the Isakapisi or Esekapisi district to the west of Cerrahpasa was taken from a piece of Constantine's wall, which was intact until 1509, and from one of its gates, there is no scientific basis for this theory. It is assumed that these walls followed the Golden Horn from Ayakapisi on Unkapani as far as Fatih (according to some as far as Sultan Selim) and from this point continue downwards towards the Bayrampasa Greek then, passing through the Isakapisi district, follow a route to the east of Samatya end extend as far as the Sea of Marmara. The Emperor Constantine had a large forum, which was round or oval is shape, built in the centre of the city; in the centre of this forum was his own statue, placed on top of a column of reddish stone. This column is today known as Cemberlitas.

The statue on the top of the column represented Constantine as Apollo saluting the sun. When the city was rebuilt, the Great Palace was constructed to the slopes of Sultanahmet overlooking the Sea of Marmara; this building was constantly added to by various emperors until the 11th century and became a veritable "city within a city". The Senate and the Hippodrome were completed and to its development. One of these was Philozenus, who had the cistern known as Binbir Direk (one thousand columns) and the palace above it built; another was Antioch, who commissioned a private residence, the ruins of which can be seen today between the street known as Divanyolu and the present Central Law Courts building. The emperors who succeeded Constantine continued to adorn the city with new buildings and structures. The most important of these is the water supply system built by Valens (364-378). The large aqueduct belonging to this system is still standing and is also known as the Bozdogan Aqueduct. In 395 AD the city's biggest square, known as Theodosius or Taurus square, was built in what is now Beyazid. There was a gate leading into this square, which was 200m wide, and a number of monuments around it. One of these was a gigantic monumental entrance supported by four marble columns, the remains of which were discovered in 1956. Apart from this there was also a monument erected in the name of Theodosius I, the top of which could be reached by means of an inside staircase and the side of which were adorned with relief's depicting the battles fought by the emperor and his successes; this monument survived until the great earthquake of 1509. A few pieces of the relief's adorning this monument can today be seen in the foundations of the Turkish bath at Beyazid.

Not long after, in 403 AD, another big forum and a impressive monument 70 metres in height were built on Istanbul's seventh hill, now the Cerrahpasa district of the city, in the name of the emperor Arcadius. The console of this monument can still be seen. Although the statues of Arcadius on its top toppled over and were destroyed in a short space of time, the monument itself, the exterior of which was covered with marble relief's, survived well into the Turkish period, until 1715 to be exact.

However, in spite of all this development it was considered necessary to expand the city still further and at the beginning of the 5th century, in the reign of Theodosius II, the city walls of today were built, extending the boundaries of the city still further. In a treatise entitled 'Notitia urbis Constantinopolitinai', considered to have been written in the reign of Theodosius II, the fourteen divisions of the city and the important buildings in each of these divisions were stated; the names of private palaces and the number of buildings are given as well. This makes it possible to arrive at a rough estimate of the city's population at that time.

The remains of one of these private residences (together with its mosaic floor) belonging to Princess Juliana Anicia, who is known to have lived at the beginning of the 6th century were discovered during excavations for the foundations of the municipal building carried out during the 1950's; unfortunately no effort was made to preserve them.

İstanbul During The Byzantine Era :

Istanbul remained within the boundaries of the city walls built by Theodosius II in the 5th century throughout the whole of the Byzantine period and indeed until towards the end of the Ottoman period. The only exception was the Blakherna area to the north west of the city; it was considered in the Byzantine period that its own walls were insufficient and the city walls in its vicinity were rebuilt in stages so as to accommodate it. Thus Istanbul, with its large number of churches and monasteries surrounded by high walls, was one of the main Christian centres of the Mediaeval world. The most majestic of the churches was Ayasofia which, after a number of reconstruction's, was finally given its present form by the emperor Justinian between 532 and 537. In the centre of the city was the Church of the Twelve Apostles, where the graves of the first empire were also to be found. After the Ottoman conquest the Fatih Mosque was built on the site of this church. Information collected by R. Janin provides us within the names of more than 400 churches in Istanbul. However, it is highly improbable that all of these churches survived until the end of the Byzantine period. The names of some of them were changed and others simply disappeared. Another factor to be borne in mind is that some churches were divided into sections, each of which was dedicated to a different saint, and this resulted in a large number of churches.

The Great Palace of the Emperors fell into a state of neglect after the 11th century. The Manganoi Palace, which lay between Sarayburnu and Ahirkapi, became their residence for a short space of time but from the 12th century onwards the Blakherna district in the north-west of the city was the site of the royal residence and the scene of much development. This group of palaces, which lay between what is now Edirnekapi and Ayvansaray and was next to the city walls on the inland side, was in use until the end of the Byzantine period.

Istanbul's water was, in the Roman period, brought to the city from its Thracian side by means of a magnificent system of supply lines and aqueducts. When this water became unusable due to the "barbarian" hordes that threatened Byzantium and actual came to the very foot of the city walls (this included the Avers, the Huns and the Bulgars), a large number of cistern of different sizes in which rain water could be collected had to be built. Apart from being basements in which water could be collected, these cisterns also resulted in terraces which gave a more level look to the undulating aspect of the city and added height and impressiveness to the buildings standing on top of them. In archaeological excavations carried out up to a century ago about 50 cisterns of different sizes were uncovered; however, in the years that followed a great deal of building took place and deep foundation pits were opened up, and in the course of this work a further 50 or so cisterns were discovered. It is worth noting that in the last years of the Byzantine empire the basement walls of all buildings were coated with a watertight mortar which meant that these basements could be used for the storage of water.

From the information gathered from various sources it is possible to pinpoint the existence of various municipal laws in Istanbul in the Byzantine period. According to these laws, there had to be definite intervals between buildings and no-one was permitted to build a house of a height that would prevent his neighbor from seeing the sea. However, it is not known how long these laws were in force and to what extent they were adhered to. The only surviving copy of a handwritten book which is now in Geneva, Switzerland, provides information about the tradesmen and craftsmen of Istanbul and their organisations. Judging from the fact that about twenty guilds are mentioned, it is evident that part of this book, which was written in the reign of Leon VI (886-911) and of which there is no other copy, is missing.

At no time during the Byzantine period was the entire area within the city walls built up completely, for it is known that there were open spaces within the city. Odon de Deuil, a traveler who visited the city in 1147, states that there were gardens, orchards and fields within the city walls that were capable of supplying its inhabitants within food. According to this traveler, the inside of the city was "extremely dirty, disgusting, and full of filth; there are even such places to which daylight does not penetrate and under the cover of the darkness that reigns murders and other foul deeds can easily be perpetrated." To put it in a nutshell, Odon de Deuil considered that the city was "disproportionate in all ways". At about the same time the city was visited by Benjamin, a rabbi from the city of Tudela in Spain. After mentioning the priceless treasures to be found in the city and its palaces and the pomp and wealth of its inhabitants, he then refers to the condition of the Jewish community in the city, saying that its filth was used as a way of insulting the Jews. In the year 1220 Anton, bishop of Novgorod in Russia, who was going on a pilgrimage, visited Istanbul. He paid individual visits to its churches and monasteries and in his manuscript makes long and detailed lists of the sacred objects and treasures in these places; at the same time he provides valuable information about the town planning concept of that period. At that time there were long streets with columns on either side, known as 'embolos', which were set aside for the use of certain persons, tradesmen's and craftsmen's guilds.

The European knights leading the Fourth Crusade managed to capture Byzantium in 1204 by taking advantage of the intrigues centering around the throne. They plundered the city, considering this to be a more profitable pastime than fighting the Muslims in Palestine and Syria. When they entered the city Geoffroy de Villehardouin, a French knight who was one one of the commanders of the army, stated that "it was impossible to find a person who would not be stirred by the sight," going on to dwell upon the beauty, magnificence and wealth of the city. He then says that all of these magnificent places were badly damaged by the fire that raged for two days and two nights during the battle that took place for the possession of the city. "It is impossible to calculate the damage done, to count the cost of a fortune turned to ashes," says the knight. Robert de Claire, one of the poor knights who took part in the same crusade, states that while the crusaders of the highest rank invaded the palaces and mansions of the city's wealthy families those of more humble rank such as himself contented themselves with plundering the homes of its more modest inhabitants. "As the city is very big and crowded there was something for everybody, and even to spare," he concluded.

The Latin invasion, which lasted from 1204 to 1261, was a disaster for Istanbul in the full sense of the word. Graves were plundered, churches and monasteries ransacked. The atrocities committed by the European knights, who had set out with the aim of fighting the Muslims and recapturing places that were sacred to Christians, the damage they did to Ayasofia, a Christian place of worship and the bestial acts to which the women and girls of the city were subjected are all described in detail by the historians of the period. Fifty years of Latin rule was sufficient to reduce the city to ruins.

In any case, due to the fact that during the seige of 1203-1204 more than half the city had been destroyed by fire and most of its Byzantine population had left, when it was finally recaptured by the Byzantine in 1261 it proved impossible to rebuild the city and restore it to its former glory. The Byzantine emperor Mikhael VIII tried to persuade the people to return to the city after 1261 but all his efforts proved in vain. In place of the ruined streets that had formerly been lined with columns he had tree-lined roads built. The inner city area had been completely abandoned and all that was left were monasteries surrounded by vineyards, vegetable gardens and small woods. Thus the Arab traveller Ebulfida, who visited the city at the beginning of the 14th century, stated that he saw ploughed fields, gardens and a number of ruined houses within the city. In 1403 Ruy Gonzales de Clavijo, who had paid a brief visit to Istanbul on his journey to Samarkand as an envoy to Timur, also stated that he saw fields, gardens and small groups of houses in the middle of the city. He added that the area around the Golden Horn was lively but that most of the large buildings in the city were in a state of ruin.

The sad state of Istanbul during the last years of Byzantine rule is in no way surprising for the city's financial plight was such that the emperor loannes V, who had gone to Europe to seek financial aid for Byzantium, was detained by the Venetians in Italy in 1370 due to his inability to pay his travelling expenses, in spite of the fact that he had mortgaged some of the precious stones in his crown and what is now Bozcaada (Bozca Island) to do so. He was only able to return to his homeland because his son Manuel had collected money from the inhabitants of Salonika to secure his release. And although the annual income of the Galata customs, which was in the hands of the Genoese, was 200,000 hyperpyra in the 14th century, the Istanbul customs of the Byzantines could only realise an income of 30,000 hyperpyra per year. The Hagios Makios church inside the city was demolished in 1390 so that its stones could be used to repair the city walls. Information about the ruined state of the city may be obtained from the chronicles of Cristoforo Buondelmonti who saw Istanbul in about 1420. The harbors on the Marmara coast were by then by then unusable, being totally silted up, and it was only the banks of Golden Horn that were a lively centre of commerce. A number of buildings, including the Church of the Twelve Apostles, were in a state of dilapidation. Places that had previously been harbours were vineyards.

The oldest picture showing Istanbul in its present state was the work of Buondelmonti; in it we see that apart from certain important buildings the inside of the city was empty save for windmills. The original of this picture of Istanbul, which is in Buondelmonti's book about the Aegean islands, has never been found. However, there are more than twenty copies of this work in European libraries containing more or less detailed reproduction of the picture. In a work entitled "Weltchronik" (World History) published in Nurnberg in 1493 there is another woodcut. Although this picture which is in a book (and the book is one of the first examples of printing) written by a doctor named Hartmann Schedel who possessed an extremely large library - was executed after the conquest it is obvious that the original was the work of somebody who was familiar with Istanbul and that is dates from the Byzantine period before the Ottoman conquest, and that Schedel based his work on this original. Byzantine vine trellises can be seen on the city gates and the area inside the city walls is depicted as being completely empty; even windmills can be seen in the Sehremini-Capa district o the city. It can also be seen that certain parts of the Church of the Twelve Apostles, the city's second biggest church after Ayasofia, are without a roof. In any case the Frenchman Bertrandom de la Broquiere, who spent the winter of 1432-1433 in Istanbul, states that the open spaces far exceeded the built-up areas; this gives us an idea of the state of Istanbul shortly before the Ottoman conquest and confirms the accuracy of the engraving. Recent research leads us to believe that the population of Istanbul just before the conquest was somewhere between 50,000 and 80,000.


The Genoese, who had suceeded in obtaining a number of privileges during the reign of Manuel Komnenos (1143-1180), began, albeit in small numbers, to settle in Galata in about 1160. In 1261 Mikhael, who wanted to regain Istanbul from its Latin conquerors, had obtained a fleet of warships from the Genoese in return for which he allowed them to settle anywhere they wished in the city. The terms of this agreement were set out in the Treaty of Nyphaion (Nif is now known as Kemalpasa). A second decree issued in 1267 guaranteed the Genoese the right to settle in Galata. In order to prevent the Genoese, who were the most expansionist of all of the Italians, from acquiring the land on a permanent basis the Byzantine emperor had the walls of Galata demolished but in spite of this, Galata, which had become a city in its own right, was already being ruled from Genoa. In 1303 a new decree defining the boundaries of their franchise was issued. The Genoese, regarding the situation as de facto, dug a moat around the area and then built tall, terraced houses which resembled the walls of a castle. At the first opportunity they closed the gaps between the houses with high walls, thus enclosing the entire area in what amounted to a city wall.

In contras to the declining Byzantine empire Galata became the main commercial centre on the trade route running from Central Asia via the Black Sea. The Genoese had put a few token Byzantine coats of arms on their walls but they continued to expand the walls o Galata, which was entirely under their rule. First of all they built the Galata Tower and the walls to its north in 1349, then the walls in the Karakoy district, then the walls enclosing the Kuledibi and Sishane districts (1387), and the section in the Azapkap_s_-Sishane distric which completed the system in 1397. Finally, in 1404, the built the walls which enclosed the area between Karakoy and Tophane, thus extending the boundaries of their colony. Then they adorned these walls with the coats of arms of their administrators, thus demonstrating to whom the city really belonged. Byzantium was unable to take any action to prevent these development, which were going on right under their noses. Furthermore, the Byzantine empress Paledogina, who was of Italian origin, (she was in fact princess Sofia of Monteferrato), tired of the ill-treatment to which she was subjected by her husband loannes VIII, fled to Galata in the 15th century and the Byzantines were unable to get her back. Galata remained completely neutral while the city of Istanbul was being beseiged and captured by the Turks and in 1453 they signed an agreement with Mehmet the Conqueror. Galata had come under the jurisdiction of a cadi Muslim judge) and was thus under Turkish administration but this was achieved in a peaceful manner. However, the Ottomans turned a blind eye to the existence of the Latin community organisation, which legally administered the churches, until 1682.

Byzantium, which had been unable to prevent the Italians from setting up a colony on their land, was steadily shrinking and was now confined to the area within the city walls and one or two settlements along the Bosphorus and on the islands. In 1391 the Ottoman sultan Yildirim Bayazid built the Anadoluhisar fortress on the Asian side of the Bosphorus and later Mehmet the Conqueror built the Rumelihisar fortress on its European side and the Byzantines could do nothing but watch helplessly. The city which the victorious Turkish army entered on 29 May 1453 was by then nothing more than the last fortress of a great empire.

İstanbul During Turkish Era :

When Istanbul came under Turkish rule Mehmet is known to have brought people from various parts of his empire and settled them in the deserted and devastated city so that it could be rebuilt. Thus the names of some of its districts, such as Aksaray, Karaman and Carsamba, are related to the places from where these settlers came. In the first years after the conquest there were areas within the city almost entirely populated by Christians. Then gradually the non-Muslims became concentrated in certain parts of the city, such as Samatya, Edirnekapi and Fener and the remaining area of the city was populated by Turks. In the late Ottoman period the Galata district was preferred by non-Muslims and the protective presence of foreign embassies meant that this part of Istanbul became almost a new city. This is how the Beyoglu district was created. The Turks settled in certain places along the Bosphorus, Uskudar (Scutari), on the bank of Golden Horn between Tophane and Kas_mpasa and within the city walls while the non-Muslims preferred the islands, some of the villages along the Bosphorus and the villages on the outskirts of the city.

From the period of the conquest onwards the city was rebuilt on entirely Turkish lines. Running water was brought to the city by means of supply lines coming from outside its boundaries, public fountains and baths were built. The great mosques, which made Istanbul look a truly Turkish city and were great Turkish works of art, and the complexes surrounding them, were erected as well. After the construction in Bayezid of a palace known as Eski Saray (old palace), another palace then known as Yenisaray (new palace), and now known as the Topkapi Palace was built. In order to increase trade, rows of shops known as 'arasta' were built under archways, as were large buildings referred to as 'hans',in which the goods were stored. In this new centre of Ottoman-Turkish civilisation madrassas and libraries were set up so that scholarly activities could take place and hospitals (darussifa) were built.. A concept of town planning completely different from that of the Byzantines dominated all of this construction and development. In a short space of time the new palaces, water distribution systems, mosques, shipyard, Janissary barracks, markets and shopping centres, shrines, graveyards and dwellings endowed the city of Istanbul with an entirely different aspect.

Together with the great mosques and surrounding complexes built by the sultans, its leading citizens built mosques both large and small, madrassas, hans, public baths, public fountains and charity fountains, all of which made Istanbul into a Turkish city. The wealthy founders of charitable trusts also played their part in this development. However, during the Turkish period the terrible earthquake which took place in 1509, known as "the Little Day of Judgment", dealt a terrible blow to the city's brick and stone houses. Fearing the effects of further earthquakes people began to build their houses of wood instead and in a short space of time Istanbul became a city of wooden houses. In keeping with this trend, the palaces and mansions of the artistocracy were all made of wood. In spite of decrees regarding fire precautions which even aimed at preventing the construction of wooden buildings in the commercial and shopping centres, the use of wood could not be halted. This inevitably led to a rapid increase in the number of fires in the city. As well as the earthquakes of 1765 and 1894, which also caused terrible destruction, Istanbul's greatest enemy has always been fire. I one of these fires, which were fanned and driven south-wards by the north wind, happened to start anywhere on the banks of Golden Horn this meant that the city would be doomed to burn for days, leaving thousands of people homeless, and that priceless treasures and magnificent mansions would be reduced to ashes. Sometimes these fires would start from the banks of Golden Horn and burn until they reached Aksaray or even the Sea of Marmara.

The last great fires of Istanbul were the Hocapasa fire of 1865, the Beyoglu fire of 1870, the Laleli fire of 1912 and the Cibali-Fatih-Altinmermer fire-fighting organisation in the city and the prevention of further construction in wood meant that fires were contained to a given area. The last big fire of this kind destroyed a large pat of the Fener district in 1941. The effects of the fire of 1782, which reduced almost half of the city to ashes, can be judged be looking at a map of that period published by a Spaniard. However, it should be stated that after these big fires leading statesmen paid for the rebuilding of pious foundation buildings out of their own pockets. Wooden houses were built to replace the ones that had been destroyed and within a few months the traces of the fire had, to a great extent, been removed. It was only the effects of the fires that took place between 1908 and 1918 that could not rapidly be removed, due to the fact that the country was then at war.

In is known that apart from the destructive effects of these frequent fires and the major earthquakes that strike the city at intervals of between 120 and 150 years, Istanbul has also occasionally been affected by hurricanes. One of these took place shortly after the conquest in 1492, leaving in its wake many casualties and a great deal of destruction. In Hartmann Schedel's book "World History", mentioned in the preceding paragraphs the writer describes this event, recounted to him by "reliable" Italian traders and brings it to life in an engraving. In Turkish records of this event mention is made of a thunderbolt which fell onto an old Byzantine church then being used as a powder arsenal, causing a violent explosion. This event is also depicted in Schedel's engravings.

After the conquest an immediate and planned campaign was launched to make it a Turkish city. A count was made of the number of dwelling houses in the city on a scale quite impressive for that age and Istanbul was redeveloped according to certain principles. Twenty five years after the conquest according to records kept by Muhiddin Celebi, the cadi (Muslim judge of Istanbul and Mahmud Celebi, zaim (the person who held the fief of the city), of Istanbul there where were 975 Muslim Turkish, 31 Romany, 4893 Christian and 1647 Jewish households in Galata. Mehmet the Conqueror, who possessed all the qualities of a European renaissance ruler, brought craftsmen to Istanbul from Italy. This tradition continued for many years. After Bellini had been employed in the palace, mention was made of inviting Michaelangelo and even Leonardo da Vinci to Istanbul to build a bride over Golden Horn.

Towards the end of the 15th century, in the reign of Bayez_d II, Istanbul was visited by a German named Arnold von Harff, who stated that is was "a great and magnificent city", and went on to remark that the system of administration in the city was an extremely vigilant one. Von Harff, who had left his ship at Galata and entered a han without notifying anybody was horrified to hear the next day that he had been summoned to the palace. With the aid of an interpreter known as Frenk Hasan, a German converted to Islam, the traveler had an audience with the Sultan, and was unable to conceal his astonishment when asked to work in the service of the Ottoman authorities. The first of the European travelers to carry out a detailed archaeological survey of the city was the Frenchman Pierre Gilles. Gilles (or Gyllius). He lived in Istanbul between 1544 and 1547 and carried out investigations. He wrote two separate books about he results of his survey, one about Istanbul and one about the Bosphorus.

These books are still considered to be valuable source material. Gilles, who had been sent by the king of France and was in fact a botanist, appreciated the natural beauty of Istanbul and the value of its geographical location. He had the following to say about it "All the earth's cities are doomed to perish sooner or later, but as long as mankind remains on earth this city will endure." M. d'Aramon, who was French ambassador to Istanbul during the same period, that is, in the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent, had the following to say in the travel memoirs he dictated to his private secretary Jehan Chesneau; "It is abundantly clear that Istanbul is now an entirely Turkish city. Its hills are adorned with mosques, the hillsides are covered with houses and groups of buildings can be seen between the trees." With the aid of certain paintings executed during this period it is possible to get better impression of the appearance of the city. Two woodcuts by the Dutch painter Pieter Koeck van Alst were published in 1533. In the first we can see the city from the other side of Golden Horn and in the other, Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent passing through the Hippodrome with his suite.

In the background we can see a statue brought from Budin by the art-loving grand vizier Ibrahim Pasa in 1526, which was still standing at that time but was later destroyed after the murder of the latter. However, the picture which depicts Istanbul in the reign of Suleyman most accurately and is at the same time the liveliest and the most monumental is that by Melchior Lorch (or Lorich) of Flensburg. This panorama, eleven metres in length, was painted in 1599 and is now kept in the Dutch city of Leiden. It depicts, perhaps with a certain amount of imaginative additions, and attractive view of he city from the hills of Galata, Kas_mpasa and Haskoy. The flotilla of boats and sailing ships that fills Golden Horn, the cupolas and minarets to be seen at frequent intervals between the groups of houses, the magnificent mosque complexes adorning the high ground all combine to convey a far more accurate and colourful impression of the Ottoman capital during the reign of Suleyman than many books of travels. Lorich took a considerable interest in the Suleymaniye Mosque and surrounding complex, construction of which was being completed when he was in the city. He painted a fine picture of Sinan's great work and later published it in the form of an engraving.

Together with this panorama of Istanbul, executed in the reign of Suleyman (which can also be considered the golden age of the Ottomans), by Lorich of Flensburg, there is a travelogue by another German, Hans Dernswan, who lived in Istanbul and in Turkey and in Turkey in around 1554. It is possible to find the Turkish Istanbul, with all its beauty and individual features in Dernswan's book. This traveller, who was also a keen researcher, tried to see and investigate everything in the reign of Suleyman and he did not neglect to keep a detailed record of his life in the Istanbul of that time. It is also possible to judge what 16th century Istanbul looked like from the miniatures of the Turkish artist Nasuh-u Silahi (Matrakci Nasuh), for at the beginning of his book about the Iraq campaign there are some miniatures of Istanbul and Galata.

These graceful compositions show Istanbul with the great mosque complexes, the shipyard at Kasimpasa, the royal palace, (Saray-i Humayunlari), all of which had been built before that date, and details of the inner city with all the structures that existed at the time such as its covered markets and wooden shops (for they had still not been rebuilt in brick and stone). In the miniature of Istanbul that adorned Seyid Lokman's work "Hunername", written in the 16th century, we see the main mosque complexes and a tightly-packed mass of houses. In some of the versions of Piri Reis's navigation guide "Kitabu'l-Bahriye" (the author died some time between 1553 and 1554), we see another miniature of Istanbul. The quality of the copies made of the pictures in this handwritten work varies. In the best of these we see Istanbul with its major mosque complexes, its houses and Golden Horn, which resembles an inner harbour.

Augier Ghislain de Busbeck (Busbeke), who came to Istanbul an ambassador and lived in the ambassador's residence opposite Cemberlitas (now the Darussafaka block) between 1555 and 1562 states, in a description of Istanbul in a book of travels that he wrote in the form of a letter: "It is as if Nature has created this place to be the world's capital." "It is impossible to conceive a more beautiful, better laid out city," he goes on to say, but he complains about the narrowness of its streets and the densely-packed character of its houses, saying without hesitation that they are "an obstacle to a good view of any kind". A writer who stayed in Istanbul for three months in 1573 had this to say about the view of the city he say from the high ground of Galata: "When I behold all this beauty, the extraordinary quality o the hills leaning against the gentle green slopes of the city, it cast such a spell on me that I felt an astonishment amounting to an assumption that I had arrived in a new paradise." This young French aristocrat goes on to say that the Turks refarded flowers "with the love accorded to a sacred object and states that in Istanbul "there are so many gardens and cypress trees that when viewed from afar Istanbul appears to consist of a number of small buildings within a forest.

No large palaces can be discerned and it is only the minarets that are outside the framework of each group of buildings. "The well-arranged and beautiful shops of this prosperous city, which was adorned with more than 300 mosques of magnificent construction, more than 100 public baths, hospitals and caravansarays are also lavishly praised by the same traveller. In the summer of the same year the German priest Stephan Gerlach visited the city. He stated that he literally "drank in" the view of the city that confronted him, adding that he considered no-one else capable of experiencing its beauty so strongly. Another German, Michael Heberer, who was a prisoner in Istanbul from 1585-87, remarked that apart from the public buildings and mansions of the pasas, the houses were small and made of wood and the streets rather narrow.

It was not possible for these Christian traveller, who came from various countries in Europe, to be able to see absolutely everything in an environment which was foreign to them. Some Muslim travelers, who arrived in Istanbul in the same year provide more useful information in this repsect; they include El-Gazzi who arrived from Cairo in 1530, Kudbuddin Mekki (from Mecca), who saw Istanbul in 1536 and finally Ebul Hasan Ali bin Muhammed, who came as far as the Bosphorus leading an ambassador's delegation from Morocco in 1590. The latter states that the city occupied a magnificent site and was one of the biggest cities in the world, that Golden Horn was literally swarming with ships and smaller craft, and that all parts of it were inhabited, so much so that there were even houses built on piles over the water along the coast. He then goes on to provide a breakdown of the damage inflicted by a catastrophic fire that broke out on 7 April 1588, stating that 28 mosques and mesjids, 22,000 houses, 15,000 shops and 9 public baths were completely destroyed.

After describing this disaster, which was one of a number of famous fires in Istanbul, the Arab ambassador commends the paved streets of the city, emphasises that fruit of all kinds can be found even in winter and ends by saying "Be it in the public libraries or in the secondhand bookshops, there is an astonishing quantity of books to be found. Books from all over the world come here." This last statement points to the fact that the city was a major cultural centre. We gather from the book of travels of the Englishman John Sanderson, who arrived in Istanbul in 1594, that a great deal of building was taking place. This traveller, who was ingenuous enough to statethat there were 18,000 mosques and mesjids in the city, goes on to describe Suleyman's water supply system, the magnificent additions to the Topkapi Palace, the organisation of and the rich income derived by the Fatih Mosque, reflecting the powerful impression left by Istanbul on all foreigners in its golden age. In that period Istanbul was such an object of curiosity andinterest for Europeans that to see a picture of the citysufficed for those unable to visit it. In the middle of the 16th century, which was the golden age of the Ottoman empire, a large volume entitled "Cosmographie" was published circa 1544 by a German named Sebastian Munster (he died in 1552).

The book contains, apart from descriptions of various European cities, an engraving of Istanbul occupying two pages. The picture of Istanbul in this book, which was published in German, Latin, Italian and French until 1628, representeda sort of bird's eye view of the city from the Anatolian side. The original of this picture, which appeared in thirty editions over a period of eighty years, was in fact a woodcut. This was published in about 1520 by Giovanni Andrea Vavassore, who is known to have worked as an editor in Venice. In these engravings of Istanbul, first seen in Munster's work and then in the extended editions of the book published in Cologne by Georg Braun and Franz Hogenberg, the presence of the Fatih Mosque and surrounding buildings and, on the other hand, the absence of the Bayezid Mosque complex, completed in 1505, demonstrate that the source of these engravings must have been a picture executed towards the end of the 15th century, between the construction dates of these two great mosques.

This Picture , in the various engravings of which small differences can be detected, constitutes an important documert as far as many details of Istanbul, the great Turkish capital, are concerned. It can be seen in the engraving that the Kad_rga Harbour was still being usedas a shipyard. The Fatih Mosque and surrounding buildings, the Tekfur palace with its roof still intact, the walls which surrounded it in Bayezid, the Old Palace (Saray-i Atik), the walls surrounding the New Palace (Saray-i Cedid), only referred to as the Topkap_ Palace in the comparatively recent past, the shops in the Buyuk Carsi, the streets, and the Hippodrome, which although its is in a semi-ruined state, has been shown as a semi-circular structure on the Marmara side, are all marked in this engraving However, the buildings inside the walls of the Topkapi Palace are a production of the imagination. In some versions of this engraving there is a row of sultan's portraits at the bottom. The last of these, all of which are in round frames, is that of Selim II, who died in 1574. In other editions the last sultan to be depicted is Murad III (1574-1595). It would be deceptive to assume from these details that this picture dated from the reign of Selim II or Murad III. However, in spite of everything, these pictures, which are referred to as the Vavassore, munster or Braun-Hogenberg engravings, provide a valuable record of the Istanbul of the early 16th century.

As far as the Italian Pietro Valle, who wrote letters about Istanbul between 1614 and 1615, was concerned, the streets of the city were dirty and full of potholes and the houses did not look solid. This sentence demonstrates that, according to Della Valle, the inside of the city "was not in keeping with its beautiful exterior" . A Spanish priest, Otavio Sapienca, noted that the exteriors of the houses were not appealing. On the other hand the Flemish traveller De Stochove, who visited Istanbul in 1630, states that upon seeing the city he forgot all the fatigue and hardships of the journey; But like all the other travellers, he complains of the narrowness of its streets and the small and unassuming appearance of its houses. In the books of travels written by two French travellers, Du Loir, who was in Istanbul from 1639 to 1641, and de Monconys, who arrived in 1648, there are long descriptions of the works of Turkish architecture adorning the city. In the same years another Frenchman, Jean de Thevenot, mentions the discrepancies between the exterior and interior view of the city.

He gives detailed information about its commercial buildings, palaces, fires and public baths, in short, about everything that is Turkish. Laurent d'Arvieux, who came here in 1672 as an official at the French embassy, states that because he had previously lived in other Islamic countries he had no difficulty in harmonising with his surroundings andwas able to comprehend the spirit of this city far better than that of the others. This Frenchman, who adopted the Ottoman mode of dress, took long walks on the cypress-covered hills and strolled among the small houses on the hillsides, experiencing the beauty peculiar to them and falling in love with it all. Robert de Dreux, appoin-ted chaplain to the French embassy, explored Istanbul between 1665 and 1669. "I cannot remember having seen anything so beautiful," he says, continuing with these words: "There are seven hills in the city on the peninsula, and on the summit of each of these hills, which give the impression of having been created especially for the purpose, there is a large mosque... The houses are surrounded with evergreen trees such as cypresses and pines. However, one is forced to confess that however attractive the city may appear from the outside its interior is, on the contrary, extremely ugly. The roads are bad, and because of the hilly nature of the place they are not level. However, the rooms of houses whose exteriors are not in the least attractive are comfortable and very clean.

On the other hand the shopping centres... the hospitals, the palaces and mosques are all beautiful buildings," he remarks in conclusion. G. Joseph Grelot, who visited Istanbul, which he described as "the city of wonders" at about the same time, adorned his book of travels with both general views of the city and with engravings of some of the mosques. The Frenchman Jacob Spon and the Englishman Smith, who managed to endow their travelogues with an unpleasantly pedantic air, and the Frenchman Jouin de Rochefort, who compared Istanbul to all the cities of Europe, both large and small, between Amsterdam and Warsaw are personages who visited Istanbul in 1675 or thereabouts. They expressed their displeasure at being unable to find the pretty views and the orderliness of European cities in Istanbul, while on the other had the Dutchman Cornelis de Bruyn had greatly admired "the world's most beautiful fort". The latter, who visited Istanbul in 1680, in spite of all his good intentions fell ill before he was able to carry out much work and was only able to draw a few good pictures. Among the pictures in his travelogue is a broad panorama depicting Istanbul from the Galata side, and this picture can be described as a successful work of art.

A rich and colourful description of everything to do with Istanbul in the 17th century is to be found in the first volume of the book of travels of a distinguished Turkish traveller known as Evliya Celebi. The latter, who is thought to have been born in 1611 and to have died in or around 1680, dealt with the features of Istanbul at that time in a truly encyclopaedic manner. We learn from him how, just before the sultan was due to return from his Revan (Iran) campaign, its buildings, were repainted and spruced up in a very short space of time, how a coast road was built which ran parallel to the Sea of Marmara along the foot of the city walls from Sarayburnu to Yedikule. Again, we learn about palaces the whereabouts of which are unknown today. If we regard the Ibrahim Pasa standing on one side of Sultanahmet Square (and of which half has undergone considerable changes) as an exception, we can obtain information about the Mihrimah Sultan Palaca in Bayezid and the palace of Siyavus Pasa, with its three hundred rooms, seven Turkish baths and bay windows on enclosed balconies, which "had the whole sea at its feet, and kitchens and stables the like of which would not be seen even in the royal palace". No trace remains of either of these palaces. Evliya Celebi also describes, in minute detail, the social topography of Istanbul; this is done in a suave, tongue- in-cheek manner. The famous taverns of Galata are described in the following words; "Behind the inner wall of the city there are two hundred or so disreputable taverns, one on top of the other, and in each one of them five or six hundred sinners are guzzling, swilling their liquor and raising their voices in such a drunken cacophony that it defies description." In Evliya Celebi's time the Yahya Efendi picnic place in Besiktas was described by him as "a narrow valley with green turf in which the sun never shows itself so thickly adorned is it with planes, willows, gum trees, cypresses and walnuts."

Another product of Europe's interest in Istanbul was the work of Matthaeus Merian (1593-1650). Merian had producted a number of etchings in which general views of Europe's main cities were depicted and when these were published in volumes as series, a view of Istanbul was added to the set. This engraving, which is 70cm in length and was published in 1653, like Lorich's broad panorama, claims to represent a view of Istanbul from the heights of Galata and Beyoglu. However, the view of Galata in the foreground bears no resemblance whatsoever to that district. It does, however, convey the main feature of the city stretching along the side of Golden Horn, the silhouettes of its great mosques which appear to "crown" its heights. This engraving of Merian's was reproduced many times in the years that followed and it was even placed below the map of Istanbul contained in atlases published in Nurnberg. This engraving was the first of a number of a number of strange 18th century engravings depicting Istanbul as a city consisting only of minarets.

At the beginning of the 18th century another Frenchman, Paul Lucas, made a detailed study of the Turkish aspect of the city and on 1July 1715 he witnessed the fire that cut a great swathe through the city from the Old palace in Bayez_d as far as Kumkapi, destroying 15,000 houses in the process. The beauty of the city's location was described by the French nobleman Comte de Caylus in 1716; "minarets rise at intervals among the small, unassuming houses". Indeed, strangely enough, it would seemthat in the whole of Turkish architecture it was only the minarets that appealed to the taste of this art critic. As Comte de Caylus describes a fire that destroyed 7000 homes, he also mentions the dangercaused by brigands who took advantage of the panic and chaos that always accompanies such disasters to commit various offences. On the other hand we gain what is perhaps the very first information from a European about prostitution in Istanbul.

According to Caylus, it was possible by slipping some money into the hand of one of the hand of one of the employees of the Galata Palace (which was close to the French embassy) to obtain the services of a woman. Judging by the fact that, in older Turkish documents, there are references to so-called concubines, purchased in order "to gain experience" and a few days after this had been "accomplished", being returned to their owners in return for a fee and a gift for the woman in question it is quite obvious that prostitution had existed for a long time in this big, cosmopolitan city and in Beyoglu in particular. At the beginning of the 18th century an attractive young Englishwoman, Lady Montague, described Istanbul in letters far superior to Caylus's dull descriptions, letters that matched the warm, lively personality of their author. This lady was the wife of the English ambassador, and she had the following to say about Istanbul: "It is an extremely large city. The fact that its site is not a level one makes it look even bigger. Here the elegant gardens, pine and cypress trees, palaces, mosques and other public buildings are set out in the well-arranged manner of pieces of china and porcelain in a glass-fronted cupboard." After referring to Ayasofia, she then precedes to a description of "other Turkish mosques which I liked much more". This young Englishwoman, who accompanied a bridal party to a Turkish bath and admired everything about Istanbul, made a great deal of effort to correct some of the erroneous impressions that existed about the Turks and about Istanbul "because I have become accustomed to the air, have learnt the language and like this place very much."

We now encounter Abbe Sevin, who had come to Istanbul in 1729 to collect rare handwritten books for the king of France. In one of his generally pompous and pedantic letters he recounts a small incident worth noting because it reflects two features of the city, namely its stray dogs and the population's talent for witty remarks. "When the news was received that an ambassadorial delegation was to arrive from a foreign country, the Grand Vizier ordered that all the houses along the route he was to take be painted red (probably with red ochre paint)...And because here, just as in other places, there are persons who try to make the state's regulations look ridiculous, they painted a large number of stray dogs the same colour and let them loose..." The author adds this brief sentence of his tale: "This joke almost ended in the mass destruction of the animals."

At about the same time a Dutch artis, Jean Baptiste van Mour, was producing pictures of Istanbul. Unable to earn sufficient money, he died in Istanbul in 1737 , but he had committed to canvas a great many details of the Tulip Period, which had changed the appearance of the city, the ceremonies accompanying audiences held by Ahmet III in the palace, the banquets organised in places along the Bosphorus, views of Istanbul and the Hippodrome, even Patrona Halil, who, with his rebellion, had succeeded in reducing part of the city to ruins. The period of history at the beginning of the 18th century, felicitously described by Yahya Kemal and Ahmet Refik as "the Tulip Period" was a period in which good taste and optimism reigned. The developments of this era, which were encouraged by Ahmet III and his Grand Vizier, Nevsehirli Ibrahim Pasa and immortalised in the poems of Sair Nedim, were a rarely experienced period of peace and tranquillity that lasted until the rebellion of Patrona Halil, when it was all swept away in bloodshed, fire and horror. The picnic places by Golden Horn and at Kagithane had become the city's main centres of entertainment. The Bosphorus and the Kagithane Creek were lined with waterside palaces and summerhouses. In the course of the efforts being made in the reign of Mahmut I to repair the damage caused by the rebellion, the influence of French baroque art began to make itself increasingly felt. The French merchant Flachat, who came from Lyons and remained in Istanbul for many years, noted in his book of travels that considerable interest was being shown in articles from the West, especially from France. This interest was also focussed on the use of gold leaf in decoration schemes. Flachat, who during his long life made many friends, both in the palace and among the general public, was even able to stroll in the palace because of his friendship with the Kizlaragasi, or chief of the Harem. He notes in his travelogue that he knew a Turk who was extremely intelligent and possessed a remarkable degree of technical knowledge.

The artist A de Favray, in the pictures he painted in 1762, made a great deal of effort to depict the beauty of Istanbul viewed from the sea, from Sarayburnu and particularly from the Bosphorus. Shortly afterwards, in 1763, the city was reduced to ruins by a terrible earthquake and because many buildings, among them the Fatih Mosque, had been damaged beyond repair, it was decided to demolish it. The mosque that was built in its place is the present one. However, in spite of its natural beauty, the magnificence of its buildings and the loveable quality of its more modest districts, Istanbul had not yet achieved the appearance of a really clean city. Baron de Tott, who lavishly praised the beautiful panorama he saw in 1755 went on to complain about the dirtiness of its streets. He described the fire he witnessed on October of the same year. This fire, which reduced Babiali and the surrounding neighbourhood to ashes, even threatened Ayasofia at one point. The heat of the flames melted the lead covering the cupola, and the molten metal ran down the drainpipes.

Two foreigners of a very different kind are known to have visited Istanbul during the second half of the 18th century, and their works occupy a special place in people's libraries. One of them was Casanova de Seingalt and the other was Donatien Alphonse de Sade, who gave his name to the cult of sadism. Casanova does not mention Istanbul a great deal in his memoirs, but among the rakish adventures filling these volumes is an unpleasant and rather comical incident that happened while he was here. On the other hand, the Marquis de Sade, in one of his books (which is filled with horrifying descriptions) recounts in disgusting detail various lustful scenes that are supposed to have taken place in the sultan's harem.

The Swede Jacob Jones Bjonstahl, who stayed in Istanbul in about 1778 during his trevels in the Ottoman empire, saw the great religious feasts which make the city even more colourful. He also had the horrifying experience of being present during a plague epidemic and was unfortunate enough to die on his return journey in Salonika without ever seeing his homeland again. Towards the end of that century an art academy was founded with the efforts of the French ambassador, Comte de Choiseul-Gouffier; this academy was a research centre where men of the arts and sciences engaged in recording the beauties and treasures of the city gathered. A topographer named Kauffer drew the very first plan of the city was f any scientific value and artists produced a number of large paintings. In 1786, an Englishwoman who had observed all this work, Lady Elizabeth Craven, remarked about it and expressed her own views about Istanbul in the following sentence: "The Turks revere the beauty of nature so much that they do not cut down trees in the places where they build their houses.

On the contrary, they set aside a place for the tree inside their home and the branches of the tree are considered to be the finish adornment for the roof." She then remarks about the narrowness of the streets, saying that "as the houses become higher the people living on either side of the street could reach across and hold the hands of their neighbors on the other side." With this sentence she stresses a feature that many other travellers had noticed as well. However, the thing that angered the young Englishwoman most was the laziness of the people of Istanbul. "I have even seen people who sit on the seashore watching the kites in the sky or children getting into boats and taking trips for a whole day, from morning to evening." The English traveller Jacques Dallaway, who filled his work with pedantic observations, states that according to records, in 1975 there were 88,185 houses and 130 Turkish baths in the city and that its population was at least 400,000. He comments that a great deal of natural beauty was destroyed because of the interest in making gardens like the ones in Europe and states quite openly that an excessive love of luxury and display had spoiled Turkish tastes, which were based on tradition. European fashions and tastes were now quite openly dominant in Istanbul. According to Dallaway the streets were narrow and dirty and all this filth could be only partially cleared away by the large number of stray dogs in the city. The houses were made of wood and appeared to unsound. The streets, however, were safe and shops remained open all day, even if their owners were nowhere to be seen. "Offences such as theft are entirely foreign to the Turks," he concludes.

A number of pictures were produced that depicted the Istanbul of the 18th century in a far more realistic manner than the panorama of Merian, which was filled with imaginary details. One of these was painted by an officer names Loos who accompanied King Karl XII of Sweden on his visit to Istanbul at the beginning of the 18th century. His pictures, which depicted the city and its monuments, were only discovered in recent years and are just like photographs of Istanbul taken three hundred years ago. The Austrian Baron von Gudenus drew a general view of Istanbul from the heights of Beyoglu with Taphane and Galata in the foreground, and the city divided into sections. Etchings of these different sections and published. Their most interesting feature is the houses in traditional Turkish architectural style with broad eaves and windows decorated with plaster ornaments.

In later years, when Galata assumed a more cosmopolitan character, these houses disappeared. Apart from these persons, at the end of the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, two European artists, Antoine Louis Castellan and Ignaz Melling, were at work trying to record all the beauty of Istanbul. Castellan painted the New Mosque (Yen Cami), the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Sarayburnu, the Shrine of Suleymaniye, Incili Kosk (the Pearl Summerhouse) and other suchplaces, thus having something by which to remember his journey to Istanbul, which he described as "a ravishing dream". Melling, who was rightly known as "the unrivalled painter of the Bosphorus", produced froty large paintings, each of which could be described as a work of art, of Istanbul and the Bosphorus. These pictures were obviously published, for, as stated in an anonymous travelogue written in about 1817, "Sometimes these pictures contain an excessive amount of detail in an endeavour to reflect the reilaty but they depict the modern buildings and landscapes of this city, every view of which is attractive, in a manner more successful than that achieved in the most sensitive written descriptions."

When two English travellers, William Wittman and D Clarke, arrived in Istanbul at the beginning of the 19th century they were disillusioned by the inside of the city. They considered that the streets were so narrow and so dirty that not even a breath of air could penetrate. In 1806 the famous French man of letters A de Chateaubrian stated that "there are three details that strike the eye in this extroardinary city." These were the fact that no women were to be seen in the streets, that there were no wheeled vehicles and the large number of stray dogs. The city was very silent. "It would seem that the shooping centres are followed by the graveyard. It is as if the Turks are entirely absorbed in buying goods, selling goods and dying. It is as if the graveyards, which are not bounded by any wall and resemble a graveful grove of cypress trees, extend to the very middle of the street. The wood pigeons nesting among their branches share in the peace of the dead." Although it was in keeping with his character, this atmosphere did not really suit the romantic man of letters and he immediately set out again in order to escape from a visit that was "stifling to the spirit". Another French ambassador, Comte Andreossy, wrote a book in 1812 about Istanbul and the Bosphorus which gave detailed information about the sea; this took place shortly after the departure of the famous Ottomanist J. von Hammer. Von Sturmer, the ambassador who was the cause of von Hammer's departure, described Istanbul in 1816 as "a city enthroned on seven hills". For Compte de Forbin, who was in Istanbul at about the same time, it was "a city that seems to have been built to give pleasure to the eyes".

Charles Pertusier, another person who explored the city at about that time, wrote a long travelogue about it. According to Pertusier, "there is no need for all the animals and particularly the birds to pray to God to save them from the traps set by people here... and the birds make more noise than all its other inhabitants." The trees, roads and houses surrounded by gardens exercised a great attraction for this French artillery officer. Among Pertusier's accounts of life in Istanbul was an incident in which an inhabitant of Istanbul who had had the audacity to remark that 'a decree is a three is a three-day wonder', encountered the wrath of the Grand Vizier who was roaming the streets in disguise! In addition to Pertusier's three-volume travelogue, there is also an album containing engravings by the artist Preault. In this album the shipyard on the Golden Horn, Anadolu Hisari (fortress), the Goksu and Bebek lodges, which reflected the old Turkish architectural style and were surrounded by thick groves of trees, were depicted with great realism. Vicomte de Marcellus describes his departure from Istanbul, to which he had come as an ambassador, one autumn day in 1820: "Upon reaching the highest part of the hills above Eyub and turning round I bade a last farewell to the most beautiful city in the world, the ruins of Constantine's palace, the great city walls of the emperors, the gleaming domes of the mosques and the sea shimmering in the sunlight." The Western travellers who arrived in Istanbul in the 19th century had began to experience the city's inimicable attractiveness in a more immediate way.

As MacFarlane stated during his journey in 1828, travellers stay here "in order to breathe in an entirely different air". The French poet and man of letters Alphonse de Lamartine, for his part, had this to say about the city in which he first set foot one May morning in 1833. "One looks at the most beautiful veiw to be found anywhere on earth, one which was created by the joint efforts of God and man, art and nature." For Lamartine there could be no place more beautiful, because "it would be an insult to creativity to seek any resemblance whatsoever to this graceful integrity," and this statement is followed by pages of cloured pictures. Istanbul, which he saw in all the glory of spring, was, according to Lamartine, "the most perfect and pleasurable view the human eye could possible partake of at any hour of the day or night." The same pleasure was experienced in 1820 by Colonel Rottiers, who described it as "a dreamlike state that would be induced by partaking lightly of laudanum," and stated in all sincerity that he was "lost for words" as far as his feelings towards Istanbul were concerned. It is sufficient to browse through the pictures in two books published at about this time to gain an impression of the "dreamlike state" induced by these landscapes. The finest of these were the pictures executed for Walsh's book by Thomas Allom, in which steel engravings were used for the first time. The pictures drawn by W Bartlett for Miss Julia Pardoe's book about Istanbul are not of the same quality but they are works of pictorial merit. These books were in such demand at the time that editions were published in German, French and Italian. These engravings were then coloured, framed and hung in many people's homes as decoration. It is worth noting that Miss Pardoe, a sensitive and refined young Englishwoman, was very fond of Istanbul and described it in a separate two-volume book of travels.

A general view of Istanbul from Galata Tower, printed in colour by a different method, was produced in a workshop especially setup for the purpose by Baker, an Englishman. This large picture depicts in great detail the area around Golden Horn. In the foreground we can see Galata and its old houses, the walls and towers of Galata, which were still intact at that time, the mosques and mesjids behind them, its graveyards and treasures and the layout and features of the streets- all of which are extremely realistic.

The changes that were being made by Sultan Mahmud II also affected the appearance of the city. The Mekteb-i Tibbiye-i Sahane (Medical Faculty), which had been set up on Western lines, the Muhendishane-i Berri Humayum (Technical University) and other such extablishments were the first products of this westernisation. In parallel with this, buildings constructed on Western principles changed the architectural fabric of the city.

The students of the Technical University drew an excellent plan of the city in 1848, showing the locations of Istanbul 400 or so mosques and the street layout of the entire city. This was published as a lithograph. Shortly afterwards, the first photographs of Istanbul were taken between 1853 and 1855 during the Crimean War. These photographs, taken by Robertson, an Englishman who used time exposures, recorded for posterity the buildings of Istanbul, its people and their manner of dressing, the life of the city and the objective reality of that time.

A large number of men of letters visited Istanbul during the second half of the 19th century. In the books they wrote one can find reflections of a world that had unfortunately begun to disappear. The well-known American satirist Mark Twin was among these visitors and he recounts the journey in one of his books. Istanbul did not make a favourable impression on this visitor from the New World. There is also a book of travels by Reuter, whose works are difficult to understand because they are written in a dialect of German, not the standard language. However, just as we encounter foreigners who did not like Istanbul we also meet poets and men of letters who loved it very much. For Gerard de Nerval "its green and mobile horizons, houses of many hoes, lead-covered cupolas and slender minarets" made it "magnificent city." According to Maxime du Camp, it was "As if all creativity's works of art had been collected inside a semicircle". Charles de Mouy, who was resident in Istanbul between 1875, described his first encounter with the city in these words: "Suddenly, rising out of the waters like a dream from the world of fairies, a vague silhouette composed of cupolas, minarets, palaces and gardens becomes visible." Without doubt the city possessed muddy, unprepossessing streets "but one's eyes are constantly drawn to an attractive and fantastic picture in vivid colors". The Italian man of letters Edmondo de Amicis, who explored Istanbul in the same period, produced one of the most beautiful books ever to be written about the city." The corners of these quiet streets meet in a small square usually shaded by the spreading branches of an enormous plane tree.

There is a drinking fountain on one side and on the other, a rush mat is spread in front of the cafe upon which men lie asleep or smoke and next to its door there is a large fig tree and a shady verandah. Between its leaves one can glimpse tiny patch of blue sea on which there are a few white sails in the distance. These lights and tranquil places draw one irresistibly towards Eyub, where one loses all concepts of time and distance... However, one is astonished to find that upon reaching the end of these little roads everything changes abruptly. You are now in one of Istanbul's main streets. You are surrounded on all sides by monuments that fatigue the eyes. You wander among mosques, mansions, vaulted corridors, marble fountains, shrines with inscriptions in gold leaf and walls covered with enameled tiles... There is a whiteness, an architectural beauty everywhere, the sound of running water and shady coolness, all of which caress one's senses like mysterious music.

Amicis states that the dogs of Istanbul were "so many in number that they resembled a caste of city dwellers lower than its human inhabitants" and goes on to say that they were like "a gang of vagabonds that enjoyed extreme freedom", thus enriching the realistic aspects of his narrative with these vivid and colourful descriptions. Edmond about and De Blowitz, who came to Istanbul in 1883 with a largegroup as guests of the Wagon Lit company, rightly commented on the "invasion" by European fashions that was beginning to make its presence felt in Istanbul at that time. About, who felt that the neglect of elegant and tasteful Turkish goods on the one hand and the excessive demand for showy and tasteless articles imported from Europe on the other were inappropriate, made the acquaintanceship of Hamdi Bey, museum curator, to whom he regretfully confided that he had been unable to explore as he wished "thiscollectivity of miracles, Istanbul, a city full appreciated neither by European guides nor by its inhabitants." De Blowitz, for his part, was captivated by "this radiant world of dreams, a beauty the like of which can be found nowhere else, nor can it be imitated," to such an extent that he "had never seen a thing of such extreme beauty and had no desire to do so."

The eminent French man of letters Theophile Gautier, who visited Istanbul in the middle of the last century, dressed as a Turk of the Tanzimat (reform) period, (circa 1839), with a fez on his head, a redingote on his back and a six-month growth of beard; he explored the city in minute detail and his descriptions are unparalled in terms of colour and vividness. Gautier found Istanbul so beautiful that "one suspects this lovely view to be unreal". These lines of Theophile Gautier, in which he describes a view of the city from what is now Tepebasi one night in Ramazan from the crux of his modest anthology about this incomparable city: "On the other side of Golden Horn the city was shimmering like the jewelled crown of an eastern emperor; each balcony of the minarets was adorned with bracelets of lanterns, and verses from the Kuran picked out in lights like the pages of a sacred book upon the dark blue sky were strung in the manner of bunting from one minaret to the other. Ayasofia, Sultan Ahmed, the New Mosque Suleymeniye and all the places of worship that rise along the coastline stretching from Sarayburnu to the heights of Eyub were blazing with light and announced the verses of Islam in sentences of fire. The moon in the form of a crescent with its accompanying star resembled the coat of arms of the state embroidered upon a heavenly flag."

A French doctor by the name of A. Brayer visited Istanbul in 1815 and remained here on and off over a period of thirty years. He studied the plague epidemic and came to the conclusion that it was not infectious! The first volume of his two-volume work contains a description of Istanbul and the second is devoted to his opinions abut the plague. Brayer begins with complaints about the dirtiness and narrowness of the only main street in Beyoglu and remarks that it is impossible to walk there at night without a lantern. After referring to the filthy state of the Kasimpasa Creek goes on to describe in some detail the districts and neighbourhoods of Istanbul and settlements along the Bosphorus. Hisdescriptions of the commercial and shopping centres in these neighbourhoods and of their craftsmen are extremely interesting. For this reason it could be said that it is this French doctor who was able to provide the most accurate information about certain districts of Istanbul at the beginning of the 19th century. He mentions that between Yenikapi and Samatya there were little summerhouses built on pies driven into the sea bed that had a wonderful view of the Sea of Marmara and a number of cafes along the sea front. The thing he enjoyed most of all were boat trips on the Bosphorus in one of those light, clean, graceful craft with three pairs of oars. His description of the clean and well-dressed appearance of the oarsmen and the gracefulness of these caiques occupies many pages.

Many men of letters visited Istanbul during the 19th century. In the books that they wrote it is possible to detect reflections of a world that was unfortunately beginning to decline. One of these men was Gerard de Nerval (1805-1855). During his journey to the Middle East in 1843 he was able to explore Istanbul and decsribe it in a romantic manner. The first thing to attract his attention in Beyoglu's main street was the fortress-like building of the Russian Embassy. The French Embassy, Which cost millions to build, was under construction at that time. Further down on the left was the Italian Theatre and the Galatasaray School, which he referred to as the university, and beautiful, houses with gardens lay between these two buildings. The picturesque, mysterious and cool park at the end of the street was in fact a graveyard. Nerval, who preferred to study the way of life of the city's Greeks and Armenians, gives a lengthy account of a punch and judy show. He also visited the Sahilsarayi Palace which stood on the site of the present Beylerbeyi Palace and gives detailed information about all the European items inside it and mentions its internal layout. For Gerard de Nerval it was the "green and mobile horizons, houses of many hues, lead-covered cupolas and slender minarets" that made Istanbul "such a magnificent city". Maxime du Camp, a less-known writer, stated that "all creativity's works of art had been collected inside a semicircle, and in his book of travels he recounts an interesting incident that he witnessed in Istanbul in 1850. While he was boarding a ship on Golden Horn, a French merchant dropped a purse into the sea containing twenty five thousand golden francs. A driver was sent down and a search made, but the gold coins were nowhere to be seen; however, about twenty bronze cannonballs were discovered. Sultan Abdulmecid presented the cannonballs to the Frenchman to console him for his loss.

During the years when Theophile Gautier, who had appreciated the beauty of Istanbul, was writing his book of travels (this coincided with the Crimean War), there was also a by no means small number of foreigners who did not like Istanbul at all. In the memories of a doctor named F. Maynard, which was published in 1855 by Alexandre Dumas (1803-1870), this person was said to have found Istanbul incredibly beautiful when viewed from the sea.

However, "Alas, alas! 'Twas a dream that was painfully destroye before I had taken a hundred steps along its narrow, rutted, muddy, dark, filthy streets that never saw sunlight or fresh air... You begin to wonder if an evil genie has thrown a loathsome veil over this queen of cities, pearl of the east, the centre of beauty, dreams of which always appear in the misty skies of the north simply in order to deceive." The writer, in these words, expresses the worry of not being able to find the Ottoman city of old. This is an important opinion. The tendency towards westernisation that began in the Tanzimat period had meant that the Ottomans of those times had, without questioning their suitability, adopted a number of Western ideas, expressed mainly in fashion but also including architecture, bureaucracy and many other things that had changed the face of Istanbul. The same writer goes on to say that he had found the last of the old Istanbul, which no foreigner would dare to enter, in the Eyup district. "In some places the side of a street resembles a vine-covered verandah from one end to the other, and in others the branches of the of the lime trees reach down to cover the pavement; sometimes a plane tree with light filtering between its leaves spreads its gigantic shade; the cypress trees, of which many are to be found in this part of the city, give it an even more melancholy air with their dark green verdure. At every step one encounters a play of light and shade that no artist would ever be able to get out of his mind."

A. von Warsberg, who spent the summer of 1864 in Istanbul, expresses his feelings for the city in this single line printed on the first page of his travelogue: "This book has been written only for those who have lived in and loved the country in question." With these lines about the Eyup district of the city, which he explored on 23 May, von Warsberg gives us an idea of how he saw the city. "The street is paved with clean stones and to either side there are walls faced with marble to which a feeling of mobility is given by half-columns and archways. At the end can be seen shrines protruding into the street at intervals. Their windows are covered with gilded lattice-work; thick clumps of rose bushes lie between them and ancient plane, mulberry and maple trees form a cupola above. This is a city of the dead but instead of the horror of death one finds a place where those tired of living may take refuge in the tranquility of being forgotten in the wonderful garden of sleep until they are awakened by the trumpets of the Last Judgment to a new and better eternal life."

The famous American satirist Mark Twain (1835-1910), who sailed to Istanbul in 1867, states in his book "Innocents Abroad" that he found Istanbul interesting viewed from afar; however, as soon as he disembarked, this incomparable view dissolved. Its inhabitants wore a motley assortment of clothing, some were dressed in traditional clothes with crimson fezzes on their heads, "their apparel being whatever happened to please them". Among the street sellers who aroused such astonishment in Twain was a goose herd who walked the streets driving a flock of up to one hundred geese in front of him. For the American writer, who found Ayasofia dark and dirty, the dance of the Mevlevi dervishes was "the most barbaric manifestation I have seen to this day". The most striking pages of his book of travels are those about the salve market. He states that female slaves were sold quite openly there, and tongue in cheek, records the price in dollars of the slaves bought and sold. This visitor from the new world did not enjoy his visit to a Turkish bath, either.

E. Jouve, a Frenchman who was an Istanbul in 1854 as correspondent of Courier de Lyon (this was during the Crimean War), found the city in a wretched state. The Turkish troops had European-style uniforms that did not suit them at all. He compared the shrine of Mahmut II, which had recently been built on Divanyolu to the Trianon and described this shrine with its gilded railings as "un joli palais Parisian" (a pretty Parisian palace). Jouve dwells on the famous stray dogs of Istanbul, recounting a strange piece of gossip as he does so: namely that of an English family of eight who had been foolish enough to walk in the city at night only the heels of his lordship's shoes and the handle of her ladyship's umbrella had ever been found and that not of trace remained of their six children(!) The French journalist, however, had no complaints about these dogs. 'Rigoletto' wa on at the theatre in Beyoglu, the construction of the Dolmabahce Palace was under way and the Greeks of Istanbul, whom Jouve did not like at all, were of the one belief that it was the site of the emperor's palace of a recrudescent Byzantine empire.

In criticism of a European diplomacy that was bent on creating a Greek state, he stressed that the Turks had created a city far more beautiful than the one exiting on their arrival in Istanbul on 29 May 1453. Jouve stated that many things in Istanbul were much better than the in the West and pointed to the superiority of the military hospitals. He went on to say that the attempts of the Turks to westernize had been unjustly criticized. He expressed the opinion that many things seemed to be a random nature but that the people who created this disorder were mainly Levantines guided by their own interests. These persons were "neither do nor wolf and they exploit the fortunes of both the Turks and the Europeans." L. Bunel, who spent several weeks in Istanbul at about this time, described the magnificence of the homes of the Greeks in the Fener district and the wealth of their inhabitants, contrasting them with the poverty of the Jews in nearby Balat.

However, the thing that astonished him most was the fact that the residential area of Galata had a graveyard inside it. This was the "kucuk Mezaristan", or "Little Graveyard" of which no trace now exists, that was located between the Tepebasi and Sishane neighbourhoods. This was the place referred to by Europeans as "Le Petit Champs des Morts", a place where Turks sat in the shade of the Cypress trees to rest, a quiet corner in which to smoke a pipe. Bunel was able to explore the Dolmabahce Palace, which was still under construction and described the various sections of the building in considerable detail. The writer considered it to be magnificent, although its style was European.

The part he admired most of all was the Throne Room (muayene salonu). He put the predominantly red, white and blue colour scheme down to the excessive nationalism of the French decorators working under the supervision of the person who had been in charge of the decorations in the Paris Opera. The name of this anonymous person was Sechan Bunel considered that, in spite of certain discrepancies of proportion, the Dolmabahce Palace was, in terms of art, superior to the Louvre and Tuilleries palaces in Paris. According to Bunel, there were things worth seeing in Uskudar, which was populated entirely by Turks; these were the convent of the Rufai dervishes the Karacaahmed Graveyard and the Selimiye Barracks. He stated that the graveyard resembled a magnificent forest of cypresses that "I have never seen such a vast and impressive cypress wood in the whole of my life"; he went on to say that it was a favourite place for walks of the women of Istanbul. Bunel gives us a detailed description of the ceremony preceding the Friday services attended by Sultan Abdulmecid, how he travelled from Dolmabahce to Sarayburnu by sea, and how the procession made its way to Ayasofia. He does not omit the street dogs of Istanbul and its famous fires, both of which are unfailingly mentioned by travellers. As the traveller describes the beauty of the Kagithane pastures, he also mentions the unkempt state of the waterside palace. As it is known that this palace was built by Mahmut II toreplace the old Sadabad Palace, subsequently neglected by Abdulmecid and finally demolished by abdulaziz, who had the Caglayan Pavilion built on the same site, Bunel's description can be considered an accurate one.

Xavier Marmier (1809-1892), who was famous for his travelogues and also a member of the French Academy, sailed to Istanbul from the Black Sea shortly before the Crimean War in 1846. "The beautiful views of the Bosphorus begin at Buyukdere," hesays, and goes on to complete his observations with this sentence: "No painter's brush would be able to convey the harmonious combination of the displays of colour, layout and light, no writer would be able to express this boundless beauty... Those who have houses built here in order to enjoy this beauty do not adhere to any system like the one in Europe, but build their houses upon piles driven into the bed of the sea. A person who owns a house in this place has acted according to his own tastes and upon his own impulses". Marmier did not neglect to briefly mention the famous triple-deck galleon Mahmudiye, which belonged to the Ottoman navy, in his descriptions of the Bosphorus. "when the Sultan's gilded caique, rowed by twenty oarsmen with arrow-like swiftness from the Old Palace, drew level with Mahmudiye the applause of the white-uniformed sailors lined up along the booms mingled with the gun fired in salute from the ship and those fired from the Tophane barracks.

And this was perhaps the only great and wonderful landscape in the whole world that represented pomp and magnificence." However, Marmier was disappointed by the inner city. Naturally, the street dogs of Istanbul, which the Turks could not bring themselves to destroy, occupy a large part of his narrative. The writer did not care much for Pera (Beyoglu), the main street of which was full of potholes and the side streets extremely narrow and he considered that the palatial buildings of the foreign embassies did not beautify it, but, on the contrary, were an ugly contrast. His thoughts about the unkempt graveyards are expressed in these words: "The City of the Dead is no better maintained than that of the living." However, when the city is viewed not from its interior but from a little further afield the dazzling view materializes once more: "It is only then, when the large groups of buildings merge with the verdure of the trees, the picturesque hillsides covered with houses and gardens, the slender minarets rising from their peaks, the azure firmament that frames it all and the crystal-clear water in which it is reflected that this beauty reveals itself." Charles Roland came to Turkey to manage the farm at Burgazovasi near Izmir that had been given to A. de Lamartine as a present.

While he was staying in Istanbul in 1852 he made the acquaintance of a number of well-known Turks such as Ahmed Vefik Pasa and was invited to stay in their homes as a guest. When the traveller saw the waterside residence of Resit Pasa at Baltalimani, which was being built at that time "in the Italian style", he revealed that although this house would, when completed, be one of the most splendid to be found anywhere on the Bosphorus, he still preferred the Turkish mansions of old, in spite of their unassuming appearance. He wondered why the Ottomans preferred "a style inferior to that of their own national tastes". Roland's view was a reflection of that expressed by many other foreigners who disliked the imitation of everything European that was so conspicuous during the 19th century. The only quay for passengers disembarking in Istanbul was at Tophane.

Here the building of an Italian-style terrace, one of the products of modern taste, in place of the "monumental fountain" with its wooden eaves and roof was, as the art-loving Roland stressed, an affront to the eyes. A few pages further on he stated that he disliked Pera, which entirely resembled a Western city, and found it "characterless". When Roland was exploring the palace at Sarayburnu, which was completely destroyed by fire in 1863, he caught sight of a number of acajou armchairs, gilded clocks and imitation Boule furniture that had been imported from Paris and found them extremely ugly. Another famous French writer to visit Istanbul during the mid 19th century was Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880). He stayed in the city in the winter of 1850 for two months and tells us about it in sentences of telegraphic brevity: the old structure he liked most was "the ivy-draped walls of the city with greenery sprouting all over-they have never been praised sufficiently". He, too, mentions the incident of the golden coins falling into Golden Horn, as recounted by Maxime de Camp. Although he explored even the most distant corners of Istanbul, he did not write any description of the city worthy of his fame in the literary world.

Fritz Reuter (1810-1874), who wrote in a dialect spoken in northern Germany, provides a brief description of a journey he made to Istanbul in 1864 with a group of colleagues in his book "Reis'nah Konstantinopel"; however, this book can only be understood by those with a knowledge of the dialect. E. About, a French writer whose actual profession was archaeology, showed no interest whatsoever in Byzantine or Ottoman structures during his visit to the city. In his book "De Pontoise a Stamboul" he does not show a great deal of interest in the beauty of the surroundings or in the historic past. About had come as far as the Balkans as a guest of the wagon Lit company on the very first Orient Express and had continued his journey to Istanbul by sea. The writer stayed at the Luxembourg Hotel in Beyoglu, which was run by F. Belon. He stated that his guide was Ahmet Pasa (Seker). The Pasa had taken him to the Dolmabahce Palace, which was furnished with items manufactured in France. About said he was frankly astonished to find that while Indian, Persian and Turkish carpets were the subject of much bidding in the auction rooms of Paris, in Istanbul furniture from Rue de Saint-Antoine and silk from Lyon were in demand. He states quite openly that the opulent French furniture to be found in Istanbul "could not hold a candle to a lamp in a mosque or an enamelled wall tile..." About also mentions the dogs. The Times correspondent De Blowitz was one of the persons accompying About. Blowitz took a great interest in the waterside residences of the ambassadors and in the summerhouse built by Ismail Pasa on the hills above Beykoz.

De Blowitz was trying to play a part in some of the political intrigues going on in Istanbul and for this purpose was doing all he could to insinuate himself into palace circles. During this time he met Namik Pasa, Sheikh Ebu'l Huda and Ahmet Vefik Pasa. As a matter of fact the English economist N. W. Senior(1790-1864), who visited Istanbul between 1857 and 1858, had already met this extremely original Ottoman Turk.

Edmondo de amicis, mentioned in the previous paragraphs, was the author of "Constantinopoli", a classic in the Italian language printed in 1874 and published in all the major languages, including Turkish. De Amicis describes the disappearing Turkish Istanbul and goes on to criticise the European tastes that were replacing it. He admired many of the things he had seen because of their good taste and refinement and it was namely these things that were on their way out at the time the book was written. Now they are no more, and live on in the illustrations in De Amicis's book so beautifully illustrated by C. Biseo. Perhaps it was because this Italian writer himself came from the Mediterranean that he was able to gain a better knowledge of the city than the other travellers and to describe it so vividly.

C. Guys (1802-1855), who was employed as an illustrator by The Illustrated London News was making illustrations of the Crimean War between 1853 and 1855 and his signature is also to be found on drawings depicting the streets of Istanbul and the clothing of its inhabitants. One of these, drawn in pencil and ink, which is to found in Musee des Arts Decoratifs, depicts a little-known corner of the city with its brothels and inhabitants. The number of artists who painted pictures of Istanbul in the mid 19th century was by no means small. Apart from the works of Schrantz, which show in a panoramic manner the beauty of both sides of the Bosphorus (published as lithographs) there were the paintings of the Maltese artist Preziosi, who acquainted the public with Istanbul, its streets and even some of its beggars in his coloured illustrations. A number of other artists from various countries depicted the parts of the city they found interesting in oils or watercolours. Some of these were reproduced in a book entitled Les Peintres du Bosphorus XVIII Siecle, which as its title states, was devoted to the 18th century, published in 1989.

One also encounters in auction catalogues the works of 19th century artists who portrayed Istanbul. However, from the middle of the 19th century onwards it was the art of photography, which gave a more realistic impression of the city, that began to yield its first fruits. Robertson (referred to previously), who lived in Istanbul for many years, preserved Istanbul, its buildings and its people for posterity in his photographs, each of which is now a valuable historical document. A good plan of old Istanbul was drawn in 1870 where the layout of the streets at that time and the city's major buildings are shown. Istanbul was an object of considerable interest for Europeans and books on the subject were continually being published. Some of the most perfect descriptions of Istanbul were penned by Ahmet Rasim (1864-1932), a Turk. Such works as "Sehir Mektuplari" (letters from the city), "Fuhs-Atik" (Prostitution in the Old Days), "Hamamci Ulfet" (Ulfet of the Public Baths) and "Falaka" (Bastinado), all describe a world which was beginning to disappear into the depths of history, a forgotten Istanbul, at the end of the 19th century.

The most valuable aspect of these descriptions is that they depict the Turkish and Muslim Istanbul, a world which no Western writer was ever able to enter. The journalist Mehmed Tevfik (1843-1932), who was also known by the nickname Caylak (kite) published a number of brochures, which had extremely simple illustrations, under the title of "Istanbul'da Bir Sene" (A Year in Istanbul). A series of booklets describing the people of Istanbul and their way of life is a valuable source in this respect. The appearance of Istanbul at the end of the 19th century was sometimes described by foreign writers in an extremely negative manner. This attitude is quite apparent in the travel notes kept by K. Krumbacher, the founder of Byzantine studies in the West, during his visit to Istanbul in 1884. Krumbacher, sees everything from the Greek point of view in this "greatest of Greek cities". The only items that interested him were the mosaics in the Kariye Mosque (Eminonu), and the newly-founded Archaeological Museum.

A French doctor who nursed a particular grudge against the Ottoman state because he had become involved in a political intrigue at the end of the 19th century during the reign of Abdulhamid II published a series of books under the pseudonym of Paul de Regla. In a book entitled "Les Bas-Fonds de Constaninople" (The Shallows of Constantinople), he provides a description of Istanbul's ethnic composition, its stray dogs, Galata and Pera (Beyoglu at night), its intrigues, narcotics centres and disreputable taverns. G. des Godins de Souhesmes, in his books "Au Pays des Osmanlis" (In the Land of the Ottomans) and "Turks et Levantins" (Turks and Levantines) tells us what people ate and drank, how houses were built, describes the servants, the streets and the nature of the city; he then dwells on the stray dogs, guardians of the streets, the goods sold by street sellers and the hawkers cries-all of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th, when the Ottoman state was on the verge of collapse, a large number of people continued to visit the city and write about it. Istanbul also provided a background for a number of novels written at that time. The German novelist Kral May (1842-1912), in "Von Baghdad nach Stambul" (From Baghdad to Istambul), puts his hero through a number of adventures in the Istanbul of the 1870's; however, the city merely serves as a backdrop for the novel. On the other hand, there is a description of Istanbul in the famous novel "Aziyade" by J. Viaud, otherwise known as Pierre Loti (1850-1923).

The descriptions of Istanbul adorning a love story that unfolds during the 1870's reflect the last traces of a city that was being lost forever at that time. However, Loti's novel contains so many things that do not fit in with the topography of the city that it is difficult to believe they are true. Many references to Istanbul are to be found in the European novels of the period. "Pages d'Orient" (Pages of the Orient), by an unknown writer named M. Noe is a mixture of travelogue and detective fiction. A similar technique is employed in "De L'Homme qui Assasina" by Claude Farrere (1876-1957), who, like Loti came to Istanbul as a naval officer.

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