Napoleon once said: “If earth was a single state, Istanbul would be its capital.” Turkey is a spectacular country full of history, ancient monuments and natural wonders. Once home to the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, Turkey is littered with wonderfully preserved ancient sites.
The most beautiful landmark is the Blue Mosque. Founded by Sultan Ahmet I, the mosque was completed in 1616. It’s a spectacular in all angles and the interior is simply stunning. The Blue Mosque has tall slender minarets that are outstanding and the mosques round curved domes, which race up into the sky. The marble courtyard is huge with fountains neatly placed for people to perform spiritual Wuzu. Upon entering the building look up and feel the height of the roof starting to make you feel unsteady, and your eyes captured by the dangling chandeliers, blue decorated ceramic tiles and 260 windows, which lighten the mosque. The Blue Mosque is Istanbul’s must see structure.
The Dolmabache Palace (the filled garden) was built from 19th Century by Sultan Abdulmecid. It is one of the most glamorous palaces in the world. It was the centre for organisation and running of the Ottoman Empire. The actual location of the building gives a feeling of importance, richness and authority, just as the Ottoman Empire wanted. However, the true European royalty effect of the palace makes it one of a kind in Istanbul.
Dolmabahce has the world’s largest Bohemian crystal chandelier, which is displayed inside the centre hall. Outside the palace, a beautiful garden can be viewed, with all sorts of rare and bright colourful flowers. Dolmabahce Palace has a great importance for Turkish people. After the Ottoman Empires collapse the supreme leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk had used the palace as residence during the peak of his illness and passed away in the palace on 10th of November 1938 at 09:05am, all the clocks at the palace have been stopped at this time. It has now been converted into a museum to visit and feel the special atmosphere. Dolmabahce Palace is a traditional Turkish house in splendour scale, constructed with brick internal walls, stone external and timber floors. After viewing the luxurious halls of the palace, it will be great to sit in a café outside the garden and have a cup of Turkish coffee with a mesmerizing Bosphorus scene.
The Topkapi Palace is a tourist magnet, restored and rebuilt by Sultan Mehmed II.The palace is filled with treasures, Islamic scripts and architecture. It has a fantastic museum of weaponry on display. The most important aspect of this palace are the four courtyards; each of which have their own importance, purpose and unique style of architecture. The Tower Of Justice is clearly the tallest structure in the palace, which symbolises its high moral importance. The palace kitchens, all ten of them, are neatly lined one after the other with their very own chimneys. Sultan Ahmed built a water fountain and on it he described a beautiful heartfelt poem devoted to water.
The Aya Sofya also known as Hagia Sophia museum has gone through the most remarkable transformation in its purpose throughout history. It was the largest cathedral in the world, and then transformed into a mosque and now finally a museum. This is a significant location in Istanbul where the two great religions of this world unite in one fantastic museum, its exterior design is divine, with one huge dome in the centre with four minarets and outside the museum it is surrounded by trees and greenery. Inside the museum, you can feel the overpowering art, architecture, designs and styles of the two religions side by side.
No other city on earth sits across two continents. These places are all on the “must-see” list of Istanbul.