Istanbul, 8 October 2018.
(Click on any image to see it in a larger size, if you are on a PC at least.)
The Bosphorous is the strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. We opted for an afternoon cruise to see Istanbul from the water.
The Galata Tower was built in 1348 by the Genoese colony in Constantinople, replacing an earlier Galata Tower from 528. The current tower was the tallest building in Constantinople when it was built. It has been damaged several times by fires and storms and rebuilt.
It says on the side of the cabin “İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyesi” or “The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality”.
A baroque-style mosque, built 1823 to 1826 by Sultan Mahmut II. (Perhaps he said to his architect “Let’s go for broke!”)
Built by Sulieman the Magnificent in 1559 in honour of his sons Şehzade Mehmed and Şehzade Cihangir, both of whom died in their early twenties. Damaged on several occasions by earthquakes and fires and last rebuilt in 1889.
Dwellings of the local population.
This is is the largest palace in Turkey, covering area of 11 acres with 285 rooms, 46 halls, 6 baths and 68 toilets. It was built between 1843 and 1856 by Sultan Abdulmejid I. As well as the residence of sultans until the sultanate was abolished in 1924, it was the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1887 and from 1909 to 1922.
I think this must also be part of Dolmabahçe Palace.
A wider view of Dolmabahçe Palace, showing the ferry we were travelling on.
Entrance way of Ciragan Palace Kempinski.
Ciragan Palace was built by Sultan AbdulAziz between 1863 and 1867. AbdulAziz lived in the palace until he was deposed in 1876 and died mysteriously soon after. His successor Murad II only reigned for 93 days until he was deposed for mental illness and he then lived in the palace under house arrest until he died in 1904. The palace was gutted by fire in 1910 but was purchased by a Japanese corporation and was renovated in 1992 and 2007 and is now a five-star hotel. A night in the Sultan’s Suite costs $US35,000.
This is the largest mosque in Turkey and was opened in March 2019, five months after I took this picture.
This is the Vahdettin Pavilion.
The original timber building was constructed in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century by Sultan Abdul Hamid II and given to his brother, Prince Mehmed Vahdettin. Mehmed became the last sultan, Mehmad VI, from 1918 to 1922. When he was forced to leave the country in 1922, he gave the property to one of his odalisques (maid serving the harem). Prime Minister Ozal started a reconstruction in 1989 that was abandoned when he died in 1993. It was later rebuilt by Erdogan but in concrete with no attention to the original design. It now servers as a Prime Ministerial residence and state guest house.
An interesting architectural assembly at the water’s edge.
At a rough guess, I would say this is neither a palace nor a mosque.
The Consulate General of the Arab Republic of Egypt.
Egypt was part of the Ottoman Empire from 1517 to 1914. This was built for the mother of Abbas II, the last Ottoman Khedive of Egypt and Sudan.
The Anatolian Fortress was built between 1393 and 1394 by Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I, in preparation for a siege of Byzantine Constantinople. The siege did not succeed because Bayezid was defeated and killed by Timur (Tamerlane) in 1402 at the Battle of Ankara, which led to an Ottoman civil war. Constantinople held out for another sixty years.
Küçüksu Pavilion was built as a summer hunting lodge for Ottoman Sultans in 1857. It is now a museum.
This and following images show sections of Rumeli Fortress and finally there is an overall view.
Rumeli Fortress was built be Ottoman Sultan Murad II from 1452 to 1452 to blockade shipping in concert with the Anatolian Fortress on the other side of the Bosphorous. This was part of the final siege of Constantinople. Passing ships were levied a toll and a Venetian ship that did not stop was sunk by cannonfire and the surviving crew beheaded. Constantinople fell in 1453.
Rumeli Fortress and Faith Sultan Mehmet Bridge.
The fortress and the bridge are here because this is the narrowest part of the Bosphorous, at only 660 metres.
In 480BC, Xerxes crossed from Asia Minor in his ill-fated attempt at an invasion of Greece, including Athens and Sparta. He did not cross here though; it was further south, past the Sea of Marmara at the Hellespont. The strait there was much wider but perhaps he didn’t want to walk around the Sea of Marmara or maybe the currents were more favourable. He lashed together 360 boats to make one pontoon bridge and 314 to make another. An earlier attempt had been destroyed by a storm and by the time the remnants of his army returned, these bridges had been destroyed also by another storm.
The Hellespont is now called the Dardanelles and it was here that troops from Britain, Australia and New Zealand landed in 1915 at Gallipoli in another unsuccessful invasion attempt.
Overall view of Rumeli Fortress.
The Bosphorous remains a strategic sea route.
Beylerbeyi Palace Bathing Pavilion.
Beylerbeyi Palace was built from 1861 to 1863 as a summer residence for sultans and a place to entertain visiting heads of state. What we see here though, is one of the two bathing pavilions.
Üryanizade Ahmet Esat Efendi Camii.
A wooden mosque, built in 1860.
Büyük Mecidiye Mosque (Ortaköy Mosque).
Ortaköy Mosque was built between 1854 and 1856. Its original brick dome proved unstable and was replaced with a concrete one. It has also been repaired after an earthquake in 1894 and a fire in 1987.
Probably not a palace.
Kuleli Military High School was established in 1847 and occasionally used as a hospital but turned into a museum following an attempted military coup in 2016.
Can’t identify this but looks old, perhaps even from East Roman times.
Small boats must have to be careful on the Bosphorous. Supertankers aren’t going to give way.
Kuz Kulezi (Maiden’s Tower).
Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus erected a wooden tower here in 1110. There was also a chain that could be raised across the Bosphorous in the event of war. It was for example used during the siege when Constantinople fell in 1453. That tower was destroyed by an earthquake in 1509 and burned down in 1721. Rebuilt in stone in 1763 and used as a lighthouse. Restored several times including in 1998 for the James Bond movie The World is Not Enough.