Istanbul is one of the capitals of the Orient. This city of diversity is as primitive as it is superb, attracting all the charm with vulnerability, which brings the Muslim world.
In historic terms Istanbul has collected in itself the cultural impact of Byzantine, Roman and Ottoman empires, or also known as, Constantinople. Istanbul is a megacity and the largest city in the territory of Turkey. Nearly 11 million people live only in the urban area of Istanbul and the whole agglomeration gathers around 19 million.
Istanbul is situated on two continents, Eastern Asia and Western in Europe. To the south stretches the Marmara Sea, and the North to the Black Sea. Between the two continents are built 2 very impressive bridges over the Bosporus.
Istanbul originally existed under the name Constantinople as a Thracian settlement. In 330 the Emperor Constantine I the Great, then choose Istanbul for a new capital of the Roman Empire. From the late Roman period Istanbul was renamed Constantinople, and later it became the Turkish name Istanbul. The historical analyst included the name Constantinople, which is the Slavic name of the Turkish capital.
The Square or Hippodrome as we know it is where the greatest historical monuments of Istanbul stand. Here are the spectacular Blue Mosque and the former church of Hagia Sophia. The name of the square comes from the reign of Emperor Constantine I when then this place was used for horse racing. There you can also see the Egyptian obelisk, which has carried through from the year of 390. The Egyptian temple of Apollo is considered the most ancient historical monument in Istanbul. The Hippodrome is also full with snake-shaped columns, the column of Constantine and the Fountain of Wilhelm II, who was a gift for the people of Istanbul from the German Emperor.
One of two magnificent and grand architectural monuments in Istanbul is the Blue Mosque. This jewel of the Islamic architecture, known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque is located in the old city of Istanbul. The department of its three walls is facing the Sea of Marmara, Golden Horn and Bosphorus. The building began in 1609 and was completed in 1616 during the reign of Ahmed I. According to local stories the ruler ordered the famous architect, Mehmet Aga to create one of the most magnificent mosques ever built.
The architect of the mosque - Mehmed, liked to build a dome larger than that of Hagia Sophia, but for good or evil failed. However, he made the mosque a masterpiece of perfection - with perfect proportions of domes and minarets. Visits are allowed here throughout the day, except for prayer times. Both men and women are permitted, provided they are decently dressed.
The church Hagia Sophia in Istanbul is located just opposite the Blue Mosque in the old part of town. Hagia Sophia is undoubtedly the largest and most impressive historical monument of the Christian religion. Indeed, the Hagia Sophia is a former church, later converted into a mosque, and today inside it you can visit an interesting museum. This is one of the largest covered spaces of our planet, which impresses with its architecture. For almost a thousand years, until the completion of the Cathedral in Seville in 1520, Hagia Sophia was the largest cathedral in the world. The church Hagia Sophia is considered the most impressive monument of Byzantine art.
Built during the flowering of the Byzantine art in Justinian (527-565), the church was part of the imperial palace complex. Justinian had Hagia Sophia church's desire, to be greater than the temple of Solomon in Jerusalem and also to demonstrate the superiority of Constantinople over the rest of the Christian and pagan world. Inside the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul you can see magnificent mosaics of Jesus Christ, Virgin Mary, donor portraits of Byzantine emperors and their wives.
Topkapi Palace is unique and perches on Cape Seralio which is the east end of the Old Istanbul. The three sides of the palace Topkapi is surrounded by marine waters. Located between the Golden Horn and the Marmara Sea from Topkapi you can see the amazing view of the Bosporus. Built on an area of 700 000 square meters, Topkapi Palace in Istanbul consists of three main parts - Biruni, Enderun and Harem.
Construction of the palace started in 1460 by the conquerors of Istanbul, Sultan Mehmet II. It served on the residence of the Turkish sultans till approximately the middle of XIX century. In the library of the palace there are 22, 000 handwritten books in Arabic, Persian and Turkish but also in Slavonic, Greek, Armenian, Latin and even Hungarian.