Istanbul’s Best Stories
A city which throughout the history always has wonderful stories to give for the people. The history of Istanbul has shaped its architecture and its amazing stories. All empires and eras that has passed from Istanbul played a role in which people come from all over the world to know more about this magical city.
The Story behind Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque
Both Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque have interesting stories that many people have no idea about. Hagia Sophia was constructed in 537, from then until the year of 1453 it has been an Eastern Orthodox cathedral in Constantinople, but during the fourth crusade between 1204 and 1261 it was a Roman Catholic under the rule of the Latin Empire. When Mehmet the Conqueror took control of Constantinople after the famous conquest of the city. It was converted into an Ottoman mosque from 1453 to 1931 because after that, it was considered as a museum to the public. The first construction of the cathedral has been ordered by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I. There are two churches founded on the same site of the current Hagia Sophia, the first church was named the Great Church built in 360, the second church was initiated on 415 which was destroyed by a fire that burned it down to the ground in 532. After the second church was destroyed, the emperor Justinian I ordered to build a third church with more beauty and larger diameter. It was designed by both mathematician Anthemius of Tralles and engineer Isidore of Miletus. After the conquest of Constantinople, the sultan gave his soldiers three days to loot the city and then get it for himself, Hagia Sophia was considered to have the most treasures at that time.
The Blue Mosque or Sultan Ahmet Mosque, is one of the greatest monuments in the reign of the Ottoman Empire. It attracts a large number of tourists every day, the mosque was built during Sultan Ahmet I era who decided to build a mosque in the city to ensure Ottoman power. In fact, the building of the mosque caused the anger of the Muslim Jurists because it was built close to Hagia Sophia (former church) and on the site of the palace of the Byzantine emperors. The mosque consist of five main domes, six minarets, and additional eight domes as secondary domes. The mosque has the traditional Islamic architecture alongside some of the Byzantine Christian elements. The tourists can visit the mosque from 8:30 A.M until 5:30 P.M with some of female foreigners have to wear capes to respect the holiness of the mosque and the Islamic principles.
Story of the Famous Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar is one of the best places to be while in Istanbul. The bazaar attracts over 300,000 tourists every day. The history of this special place goes back after the conquest of Constantinople especially during the reign of Sultan Mehmet II who has been devoted to the trading of textiles and jewelry. The construction of the bazaar was finished in 1461 inside the city walls of Istanbul. By the beginning of the 17th century the bazaar achieved its final shape controlling the road of trading between the two continents of Asia and Europe. After the quake of 1894 that led to the bazaar being demolished. Most merchants sat on the streets on wooden divans to sell their products. Nowadays the bazaar is more organized and stable, with many sections dividing the bazaar such as; Jewelry section, Carpets section, Clothes section, food and Turkish Delights, and many more sections. In our modern life the bazaar creates a wonderful atmosphere for trading and touring, with its capacity of over 4000 shops, it holds as a major landmark of Istanbul, it actually competes with many shopping malls and outlets.
Istanbul is a city of endless stories, you may not finish it in one article actually, it is recommended that you tour around the city to get to know it more since it will give the true spirit of the stories of this wonderful and magical city.