Visit Awe-Inspiring Turkey

by R Long
April 26, 2018

Go to Istanbul and Visit Turkey

A citadel of Turkey’s economy, culture, and history, Istanbul is where the East meets the West in terms of culture, food, and music. If you’re a fan of Roman history, particularly Constantine the Great, then you should definitely visit Turkey. Previously called Constantinople (and originally Byzantium), Istanbul has both Christian and Islamic roots. It was named the Eastern capital of Rome by the Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great before it was taken over by the Ottomans. They turned it into an Islamic fortress. The city is also full of rich culture and history.

Istanbul is Europe’s largest city with a population of around 15 million people. Among others, it has been occupied by the Greeks, the Roman Empire, and the Ottomans. It was in 1453 that Sultan Mehmet II conquered Constantinople and renamed the city Istanbul when it became the capital of the Ottoman Empire. After that time, the city was filled with mosques and the population exploded to 500,000 people. Istanbul became a major cultural, political, and commercial center.

The name was changed from Istanbol to Istanbul. The latter name was a combination of the name “Istanbul” (“city of Islam” in Turkish) and “eis tin Polin” (“to the city” in Greek). During World War I Istanbul was occupied by the allied forces and then became the Republic of Turkey. Thus, Istanbul’s history is riddled with intrigue, wars, and conquest.

Turkey has much to offer. It is a beautiful country with so much to see and do. Here are a few of the great places to see in Turkey.

The Blue Mosque

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Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque is named because of the blue tiles surrounding the walls in the interior of the mosque. It was built between 1609 and 1616 and is a popular tourist attraction. However, it is also a place of worship for the current inhabitants of the city.

All who enter the mosque are required to remove their shoes at the entrance. Proper attire is required of all. Women are required to cover their heads as well as wear dresses that cover their knees. Neither men nor women may wear shorts to visit the mosque.

The Blue Mosque is one of the most impressive monuments in the world and was built on the site of the palace of the Byzantine emperors. The mosque has six minarets or tall slender towers surrounding it. They were built for the prayer caller. He would climb to the top of the tower to call the inhabitants of the city to pray.

The design and architecture of the mosque have resemblances to both the Ottoman Empire as well as the Byzantine era. It is considered to be the last great mosque of the Ottoman Empire. If you are ever in Istanbul, you should make sure to visit the Blue Mosque.

The Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia Visit Turkey
Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia was originally built as a Greek Orthodox Church. It is a classic example of Byzantine architecture. The Ottoman Turks converted the building into an imperial mosque around 1450. Today, however, it is a museum and is considered to be the 8th wonder of the world.

It is not to be confused with the seven wonders of the world. An eighth wonder is a structure that is deemed to be comparable to the Seven Wonders of the World. The question is who deems it to be an 8th Wonder? The question does not need a complete answer. After you visit the mosque, the determination is up to you.  Other mosques worth visiting in the city include the Blue Mosque, the Prince’s Mosque, and the Süleymaniye Mosque.

Basilica Cistern

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Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern was built in the 6th century as a water reservoir for buildings, including the Great Palace of Constantinople. The cistern held over 10,000 tons of water which traversed from 12 miles outside the city through aqueducts. You can see the ripples from the fish in the water around the bases of its 336 columns.

Today the cistern is empty except for a few feet of water. The location was used for many movies including the 1963 Bond film, From Russia with Love as well as the movie The Adams Family.

Galata Tower

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Galata Tower

Galata Tower is also called Christea Turris.   It was built in 1348 and today houses a restaurant and cafe. The views of the city are something not to be missed. Although it is over 219 feet tall, you will not have to walk. Two elevators have been added for our convenience. The view from the top of the tower is very picturesque.

Topkapi Palace

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Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace in Istanbul was an abode to Ottoman sultans for around 400 years during their reign of 624 years. It has been renovated after the 1509 earthquake and the 16656 fire. The palace contains four primary courtyards as well as several smaller beautiful buildings. Today, the palace is now a museum reminiscent of the imperial era.

Turkey has become a mecca for tourists. When you visit Turkey, you will understand why it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It offers historical and archaeological sites surrounded by natural beauty within the busy contemporary city. The tourist infrastructure has steadily improved. It has so many incredible sites to see. People from around the world have discovered Turkey as a fascinating place to visit.

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