Through thousands of years, Istanbul city was the capital of the three most powerful empires the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires. This fact has made Istanbul city one of the richest cities in history and cultures and everyone can actually see it in all istanbul’s streets, a beautiful scene of old architecture combined with new modern buildings and facilities but, this scene cannot be compared to what sits under it. An astonishing ancient underground city that was built thousands of years ago, still standing to show all of us the creativity and sophisticated engineering of ancient civilizations.
Let’s deep in ..
Located in SultanAhmet behind Hagia Sophia, a part of this palace was unearthed by a carpet seller long time ago and was used in the beginning as senate building but later on changed to be a philosophical school.
Manguara Palace is one of what last in Turkey to tell stories about Beyzantune Empire.it was built in 425, and served as one of the early universities in Europe. Its name is derived from a Latin phrase “Magna Aula” which mean the place that holds a large number of people.
When you enter Manguara Palace you will be amazed by its great and sophisticated structure and architecture, a very huge hall sits under a city full of people.
Once you get down, you will find a small door that leads to scary mysterious shadows. Do not feel nervous but the tour guide will tell you that the tourism company is not responsible for any injuries. Still, you will be asking for more of this palace. While walking, you will reach a brick chambre with what look alike domes and more doors lead to darkness. The rugged conditions of the palace will definitely add excitement and feeling of being lost in an old civilization.
You can reach Manguara Palace from Hagia Sophia, right behind for seasons hotel and it is open for visitors all days from 11 am to 1 am.
The Underground Mosque
Some of the Byzantine Empire's structure here reused by the Ottomans. The underground mosque or kurşunlu mahzen camii (Gunpowder Store Mosque) can tell by its name that it was used as an armory. In fact, once you enter this mosque you will understand that because of it low ceiling and the columns which create narrow spaces.
At Beyzantin Empire’s era, this place where used to hold the giant chains that stopped and blocked enemies from entering the Golden Horn, while at Ottoman Empire’s era it was and is still used as a mosque for people.
This mosque is located in Karakoy district and can be reached through kemankeş street and it open for visitors outside the praying times. It is unknown what makes this mosque soothing to the nerves, but you must visit it.
The Ottoman Bank Museum
Back in time, what was a British venture in istanbul soon became an official bank of Ottoman Empire, and as the Ottoman empire’s economy grew fast the bank needed a safer and bigger location. For this, the imperial ottoman bank was moved to the bank street in 1892.
The building is now used by SALT are foundation but the basement and ground floor are still as the Ottoman Bank Museum.
Once you start walking in banks street you will notice how Ottoman architecture was changed, buildings there look like it was designed by british architects. In fact, the imperial ottoman bank was designed be a French-Turkish architect called Alexander Valluary.
Inside the bank, you will find a steel chamber with steps leading down to the basement where another steel chamber that looks like a prison is built to hold the gold reserve. You can also have a look on Ottoman old banknotes written in Turkish, French, Greek, and English.
It is an amazing place that takes you a hundred year.
You can reach the imperial bank from Galata Tower and it opens from Tuesday to Saturday from 12 pm to 8 pm.
The Mosaic Museum
Located within the Blue Mosque complex, this museum contains on the most gorgeous mosaic in the entire world. This mosaic was made during the Roman period by artists from different regions of the country, and it actually covers 1870 square meters but was covered with marble when paints were forbidden. Later, during the Ottoman period, a district was established on this mosaic without knowing about it and after a big fire on this district the mosaic finally showed up.
You should visit the Mosaic museum because it has the most beautiful mosaic in the world.
Like what is mentioned above, Istanbul has a lot of fabulous architecture under it. You just have to dig deep in this city.