Istanbul is the most populous city in Turkey and the country's economic, cultural and historic center. Istanbul is a transcontinental city in Eurasia, straddling the Bosporus strait (which separates Europe and Asia) between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. Founded under the name of Byzantion (Βυζάντιον) on the Sarayburnu promontory around 660 BCE, the city grew in size and influence, becoming one of the most important cities in history. After its reestablishment as Constantinople in 330 CE, it served as an imperial capital for almost sixteen centuries, during the Roman/Byzantine (330–1204), Latin (1204–1261), Byzantine (1261–1453) and Ottoman (1453–1922) empires. It was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times, before the Ottomans conquered the city in 1453 CE and transformed it into an Islamic stronghold and the seat of the Ottoman Caliphate. Under the name Constantinople it was the Ottoman capital until 1923. The capital was then moved to Ankara and the city was renamed Istanbul. The city held the strategic position between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. It was also on the historic Silk Road. It controlled rail networks between the Balkans and the Middle East and was the only sea route between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. In 1923, after the Turkish War of Independence, Ankara was chosen as the new Turkish capital, and the city's name was changed to Istanbul. Nevertheless, the city maintained its prominence in geopolitical and cultural affairs. The population of the city has increased tenfold since the 1950s, as migrants from across Anatolia have moved in and city limits have expanded to accommodate them. Arts, music, film, and cultural festivals were established towards the end of the 20th century and continue to be hosted by the city today. Infrastructure improvements have produced a complex transportation network in the city.
The Nuruosmaniye Mosque is an 18th-century Ottoman mosque located in the Çemberlitaş neighbourhood of Fatih district in Istanbul, Turkey. In 2016 it was inscribed in the Tentative list of World Heritage Sites in Turkey. The dome of the mosque is extremely distinct, and the fourth largest in the city of Istanbul, behind the Hagia Sophia, Süleymaniye Mosque, and Fatih Mosque, respectively. The Nuruosmaniye mosque is part of a larger religious complex, or Külliye, acting as a centre of culture, religion, and education for the neighborhood. The first imperial mosque of Istanbul that integrated both Baroque and neoclassical elements in its construction, Nuruosmaniye Mosque was built in the Ottoman Baroque style. The mosque's muqarnas and its curved courtyard show the influence of the Baroque. The mosque is located on Istanbul's second hill, site of the mosque of Fatma Huton; that mosque was burned due to a fire. In Constantinople, the area of the Nurosmaniye Mosque was close to the Forum of Constantine, where the Column of Constantine still stands. Surrounding the mosque is Istanbul's Grand Bazaar. After the construction of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, the Nurosmaniye mosque was the first imperial mosque to be built in 100 years.
The Mausoleum of Sultan Mahmud II isone of the many hidden gems of Istanbul. Placed in the tourist axis of the Divan Yolu avenue, it's conformed by several sculptures, tombs and two big marble buildings.
Built by the eastern Roman emperor Justinian I as the Christian cathedral of Constantinople for the state church of the Roman Empire between 532 and 537, Hagia Sophia was then the world's largest interior space and among the first to employ a fully pendentive dome. It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have "changed the history of architecture". The building was designed by the Greek geometers Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles. The present Justinianic building was the third church of the same name to occupy the site, the prior one having been destroyed in the Nika riots. Being the episcopal see of the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, it remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520. Beginning with subsequent Byzantine architecture, Hagia Sophia became the paradigmatic Orthodox church form and its architectural style was emulated by Ottoman mosques a thousand years later. It has been described as "holding a unique position in the Christian world", and architectural and cultural icon of Byzantine and Eastern Orthodox civilization. The church was dedicated to the Holy Wisdom, the Logos, the second person of the Trinity. Its patronal feast falls on 25 December, the commemoration of the incarnation of the Logos in Christ. Sophia is the Latin transliteration of the Greek word for wisdom and, although sometimes referred to as Sancta Sophia, 'Saint Sophia', it is not connected with Sophia the Martyr. The centre of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly one thousand years, the building witnessed the excommunication of Patriarch Michael I Cerularius officially delivered by Humbert of Silva Candida, the papal envoy of Pope Leo IX in 1054, an act that is commonly considered the start of the East–West Schism. In 1204, it was converted by the Fourth Crusaders to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire, before being restored to the Eastern Orthodox Church upon the return of the Byzantine Empire in 1261. The doge of Venice who led the Fourth Crusade and the 1204 Sack of Constantinople, Enrico Dandolo, was buried in the church.
Located in the Üsküdar district, in the Asian sector of Istanbul, the Yeni Valide Mosque was built in the 18th century. Commissioned by Sultan Ahmed III, it is recognized for being one of the first mosques to use the crushed dome.
The Topkapı Palace is a large museum in the east of the Fatih district of Istanbul in Turkey. In the 15th and 16th centuries it served as the main residence and administrative headquarters of the Ottoman sultans.n Construction, ordered by the Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, began in 1459, six years after the conquest of Constantinople. Topkapı was originally called the "New Palace" to distinguish it from the Old Palace in Beyazıt Square. It was given the name Topkapı, meaning Cannon Gate, in the 19th century. The complex expanded over the centuries, with major renovations after the 1509 earthquake and the 1665 fire. The palace complex consists of four main courtyards and many smaller buildings. Female members of the Sultan's family lived in the harem, and leading state officials, including the Grand Vizier, held meetings in the Imperial Council building. After the 17th century, Topkapı gradually lost its importance. The sultans of that period preferred to spend more time in their new palaces along the Bosphorus. In 1856 Sultan Abdulmejid I decided to move the court to the newly built Dolmabahçe Palace. Topkapı retained some of its functions, including the imperial treasury, library and mint. After the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, a government decree dated April 3, 1924 transformed Topkapı into a museum. Turkey's Ministry of Culture and Tourism now administers the Topkapı Palace Museum. The palace complex has hundreds of rooms and chambers, but only the most important are accessible to the public as of 2020, including the Ottoman Imperial Harem and the treasury, called hazine where the Spoonmaker's Diamond and the Topkapi Dagger are on display. The museum collection also includes Ottoman clothing, weapons, armor, miniatures, religious relics, and illuminated manuscripts such as the Topkapi manuscript.
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