Istanbul Cevahir Shopping and Entertainment Centre

6 March 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean

© Maurice07/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Maurice07/cc-by-sa-3.0

Istanbul Cevahir Shopping and Entertainment Centre, also known as Şişli Kültür ve Ticaret Merkezi (Şişli Culture and Trade Centre) is a modern shopping mall located on the Büyükdere Avenue in the Şişli district of Istanbul. Opened on 15 October 2005, Istanbul Cevahir was the largest shopping mall in Europe in terms of gross leasable area between 2005 and 2011, and is one of the largest in the world.   read more…

Beyoğlu in Istanbul

16 November 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean

Monument of the Republic, to commemorate the founding of modern Turkey in 1923 © Nevit Dilmen/cc-by-sa-3.0

Monument of the Republic, to commemorate the founding of modern Turkey in 1923 © Nevit Dilmen/cc-by-sa-3.0

Beyoğlu is a district located on the European side of İstanbul, Turkey, separated from the old city (historic peninsula of Constantinople) by the Golden Horn. It was known as Pera during the Middle Ages, and this name remained in common use until the mid-20th century and the ethnic cleansing of its large Greek population. The district encompasses other neighborhoods located north of the Golden Horn, including Galata (the medieval Genoese citadel from which Beyoğlu itself originated, which is today known as Karaköy), Tophane, Cihangir, Şişhane, Tepebaşı, Tarlabaşı, Dolapdere and Kasımpaşa, and is connected to the old city center across the Golden Horn through the Galata Bridge, Atatürk Bridge and Golden Horn Metro Bridge. Beyoğlu is the most active art, entertainment and nightlife centre of Istanbul.   read more…

Eminönü in Istanbul

25 June 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean

© flickr.com - Omer Unlu/cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com – Omer Unlu/cc-by-2.0

Eminönü is a former district of Istanbul, currently a quarter of Fatih, the province’s capital district. This is the heart of the walled city of Constantine, the focus of a history of incredible richness. Eminönü covers roughly the area on which the ancient Byzantium was built. The Galata Bridge crosses the Golden Horn into Eminönü and the mouth of the Bosphorus opens into the Marmara Sea. And up on the hill stands Topkapı Palace, the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii) and Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya). Thus Eminönü is the main tourist destination in Istanbul. It was a part of the Fatih district until 1928, which covered the whole peninsular area (the old Stamboul) within the Roman city walls – that area which was formerly the Byzantine capital Constantinople. Since the resident population of Eminönü is low today, it rejoined the capital district Fatih in 2009.   read more…

Theme Week Istanbul – Topkapı Palace

23 September 2016 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean

© Carlos Delgado/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Carlos Delgado/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Topkapı Palace (Turkish: Topkapı Sarayı) or the Seraglio is a large palace in Istanbul, that was one of the major residences of the Ottoman sultans for almost 400 years (1465–1856) of their 624-year reign. As well as a royal residence, the palace was a setting for state occasions and royal entertainments. It is now a museum and as such a major tourist attraction. It also contains important relics of the Muslim world, including Muhammed’s cloak and sword. The Topkapı Palace is among the monuments contained within the “Historic Areas of Istanbul“, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, and is described under UNESCO’s criterion iv as “the best example[s] of ensembles of palaces […] of the Ottoman period.” The palace complex consists of four main courtyards and many smaller buildings. At its peak, the palace was home to as many as 4,000 people, and covered a large area with a long shoreline. It contained mosques, a hospital, bakeries, and a mint. Construction began in 1459, ordered by Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Byzantine Constantinople. It was originally called the New Palace (Yeni Saray or Saray-ı Cedîd-i Âmire) to distinguish it from the previous residence. It received the name “Topkapı” (Cannon Gate) in the 19th century, after a (now lost) gate and shore pavilion. The complex was expanded over the centuries, with major renovations after the 1509 earthquake and the 1665 fire.   read more…

Theme Week Istanbul – Fatih

17 August 2016 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean

Topkapı Palace © Carlos Delgado/cc-by-sa-3.0

Topkapı Palace © Carlos Delgado/cc-by-sa-3.0

Fatih is the capital district and a municipality (belediye) in Istanbul, which hosts the provincial authorities, including the governor’s office, police headquarters, and metropolitan municipality while encompassing the peninsula coinciding with old Constantinople. In 2009, the district of Eminönü, which had been a separate municipality located at the tip of the peninsula, was merged into Fatih due to the minute amount of inhabitants in the prior. Fatih borders the Golden Horn to the north and the Sea of Marmara to the south, while the Western border is demarked by the Theodosian wall and in the east by the Bosphorus Strait. The name “Fatih” comes from the Ottoman emperor Fatih Sultan Mehmed (Mehmed the Conqueror), and means “Conqueror” in Turkish, originally from Arabic. The Fatih Mosque built by Mehmed II is in this district, while his resting place is next to the mosque and is much visited. It was on the ruins of the Church of the Holy Apostles, destroyed by earthquakes and years of war, that the Fatih Mosque was built, and around the mosque a large prayer school.   read more…

Theme Week Istanbul – Grand Bazaar

6 July 2016 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean

Entrance gate © Derzsi Elekes Andor/cc-by-sa-4.0

Entrance gate © Derzsi Elekes Andor/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Grand Bazaar (Turkish: Kapalıçarşı, meaning “Covered Market”; also Büyük Çarşı, meaning “Grand Market” in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 4,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. In 2014, it was listed No.1 among world’s most-visited tourist attractions with 91,250,000 annual visitors. the Grand Bazar at Istanbul is often regarded as one of the first shopping malls of the world. The Grand Bazaar is located inside the walled city. It stretches roughly from west to east between the mosques of Beyazit and of Nuruosmaniye. The Bazaar can easily be reached from Sultanahmet and Sirkeci by trams (Beyazıt-Kapalıçarşı stop).   read more…

Theme Week Istanbul – The İstiklal Avenue

17 June 2016 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean

© CherryX/cc-by-sa-3.0

© CherryX/cc-by-sa-3.0

İstiklal Avenue or Istiklal Street (Turkish: İstiklâl Caddesi, French: Grande Rue de Péra, English: Independence Avenue) is one of the most famous avenues in Istanbul, Turkey, visited by nearly 3 million people in a single day over the course of weekends. Located in the historic Beyoğlu (Pera) district, it is an elegant pedestrian street, 1.4 kilometers long, which houses boutiques, music stores, bookstores, art galleries, cinemas, theatres, libraries, cafés, pubs, night clubs with live music, historical patisseries, chocolateries and restaurants.   read more…

Basilica Cistern in Istanbul

4 May 2016 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, Museums, Exhibitions, Union for the Mediterranean

Basilica Cistern © Taco325i/cc-by-sa-3.0

Basilica Cistern © Taco325i/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Basilica Cistern (Turkish: Yerebatan Sarayı – “Sunken Palace”) is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul (formerly Constantinople). The cistern, located 500 feet (150 m) southwest of the Hagia Sophia on the historical peninsula of Sarayburnu, was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I.   read more…

Theme Week Istanbul – Hagia Sophia

23 May 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean

© Dennis Jarvis/cc-by-sa-2.0

© Dennis Jarvis/cc-by-sa-2.0

Hagia Sophia (“Holy Wisdom“) is a former Greek Orthodox patriarchal basilica (church), later an imperial mosque, and now a museum (Ayasofya Müzesi) in Istanbul. From the date of its construction in 537 until 1453, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and seat of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire. The building was a mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931. It was then secularized and opened as a museum on 1 February 1935.   read more…

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