The Istanbul Archaeological Museums, a museum affiliated to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, is located in Istanbul's Sultanahmet neighborhood, on the Osman Hamdi Bey slope connecting the Gülhane Park with the Topkapı Palace. Its name is plural, since there are three different museums under the same administration: The Archaeological museum, the Ancient Orient museum (Eski Şark Eserleri Müzesi) and Tiled Kiosk Museum (Çinili Köşk Müzesi).
Distance from Hotel Tashkonak: 5 minutes by walking
The Museum is open in between: 09:00 to 18:00 every day except Mondays Entrance Fee: 15 TL
Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IATA: IST, ICAO: LTBA) (Turkish: İstanbul Atatürk Havalimanı) is the main international airport serving Istanbul, Turkey (followed by Sabiha Gökçen International Airport) and the biggest airport in Turkey by total number of passengers. Opened in 1924 and located in Yeşilköy,the airport was renamed Atatürk International Airport in honor of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey. It served over 51 million passengers in 2013, making it the 17th busiest airport in the world in terms of total passenger traffic and the 10th busiest in the world in terms of international passenger traffic. It was Europe's 5th busiest airport in 2013, just below Amsterdam.
There are several ways to travel between Atatürk International Airport and the city center.
Subway Service: Metro service on the Istanbul Metro line M1A exists between Aksaray and Atatürk International Airport. The line goes through some major parts of the European side of the city, including the intercity bus terminal. The Metro takes the passengers to Aksaray in 30–35 minutes. The approximate cost is 0.75 Euros one-way.
Airport Shuttle Service: The shuttle services are operated by Havataş, which is one of the major ground handling companies within Turkey. The buses run half-hourly to Bakırköy, Yenikapı, Aksaray, Taksim Square. Also, there is a fast ferry terminal in Bakırköy which connects the terminal to Bostancı and Kadıköy. Havaş buses run between the airport and the fast ferry terminal according to the departures and arrivals of the ferries.
Municipality Bus: Municipality buses also run to Taksim, Etiler and Kozyatağı. This is a slower but much cheaper alternative than Havataş.
Car: The airport is accessible through the coastal road, D-100 international road and TEM (Trans-European Motorway).
Beylerleyi Palace was commissioned by Sultan Abdülaziz (1830–1876) and built between 1861 and 1865 as a summer residence and a place to entertain visiting heads of state. The palace is designed and constructed by Sarkis Amira Balyan. Empress Eugénie of France visited Beylerbeyi on her way to the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and had her face slapped by the sultan's mother for daring to enter the palace on the arm of Abdülaziz. (Despite her initial reception, Empress Eugénie of France was so delighted by the elegance of the palace that she had a copy of the window in the guest room made for her bedroom in Tuileries Palace, in Paris.) Other regal visitors to the palace included the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The palace was the last place of captivity of the deposed sultan Abdulhamid II from 1912 until his death there in 1918.
Distance from Hotel Tashkonak: 15 km
The Museum is open in between: 9.00-15.00 every day except Mondays and Thursdays
Entrance Fee: Selamlik (Official part) 15 TL - Harem (Privy Chambers) 10 TL - Common Ticket for both 20 TL
Blue Mosque ( Sultanahmet Camii ) The Blue Mosque, built in the early 17th century, remains an active house of worship today. This means visitors need to time their visits carefully, as the mosque is closed to sightseers during the five daily prayer times for Muslims. All visitors must remove their shoes and women must cover their hair. This is a small price to pay for seeing its priceless treasures that include 20,000 ceramic tiles in various tulip designs and 200 stained glass windows, all with intricate designs. The mosque, built by Sultan Ahmet, takes its name from the blue tiles on the dome and the upper levels of the interior.
Distance from Hotel Tashkonak: 3-5 minutes by walking
The Museum is open in between: 09:00 to 18:00 every day except Mondays
Entrance Fee: No entrance fee
The Chora Church is considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of a Byzantine church. The church is situated in the western, Edirnekapı district of Istanbul. In the 16th century, the church was converted into a mosque by the Ottoman rulers, and it became a secularised museum in 1948. The interior of the building is covered with fine mosaics and frescoes. Website: www.choramuseum.com Distance from Hotel Tashkonak: 6 km The Museum is open in between: 9.00-17.00 every day except Wednesdays Entrance Fee: 15 TL
The Mosque and Mausoleum of Eyüp Sultan, located outside the corner where the land walls meet the walls along the Golden Horn, is considered a sacred site for Moslems. Eyüp-el-Ensari was a standard-bearer of Mohammed and he died-here during an Arabic siege of the city in the 7th century. His grave was discovered at the conquest and later the mausoleum and the first mosque in Istanbul were built on this site. The original mosque was destroyed in an earthquake and the present one was constructed in its place in 1800. On Fridays, holy days for Islam, throngs of the faithful visit the mausoleum. The old trees, flocks of pigeons, the praying believers and the visiting crowds create a mystical and colorful atmosphere around the mosque and the mausoleum. The walls of the mausoleum in the courtyard are covered with tiles from different periods.
Historical sources indicate that in Byzantine times this district was also a holy site where people came to visit the grave of a saint and to pray for rain during times of drought.
The sultans succeeding Mehmet the Conqueror completed their coronation and sword-bearing ceremonies with a visit to the Eyup Sultan Mausoleum.
The vicinity of the mosque and the neighboring hills are occupied by cemeteries. The famous Pierre Loti Cafe is also in this district. The well-known poet and author Loti was enraptured by Istanbul and he came here often to watch the beauties of the Golden Horn of those days. The view from this small cafe and the terrace, particularly during full moon, leaves long-lasting impressions on the visitors.
Galata Bridge which is connected with two sides of Golden Horn is located between Karaköy and Eminönü , districts of Istanbul.
Galata Tower has dominated Beyoğlu's skyline since 1348 and still offers the best panoramic views of the city.Above, the Golden Horn, Seraglio Point and Old Istanbulas seen from Galata Tower (looking south).Originally named the Tower of Christ, it was the highpoint in the city walls of the Genoese colony called Galata. Most of the walls are long gone, but the great tower remains. Until the 1960s it was a fire lookout tower. Now the upper floors hold an uninteresting restaurant-nightclub, and a panorama balcony. The panorama balcony, encircling the highest row of windows, is narrow, open to the weather, and not recommended for anyone suffering from acrophobia (fear of heights). If you want the full effect, be here at the time of acall to prayer, preferably the sunset call. The balcony is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm Website: www.galatatower.net Distance from Hotel Tashkonak: 6 km Open daily from 09:00 to 17:00 Restaurant & Turkish Show from 20:00 to 00:30
The Golden Horn (Turkish: Haliç), or Altın Boynuz (literally, "Golden Horn"), is a major urban waterway and the primary inlet of the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey. It is a horn-shaped estuary (hence, the name) that joins Bosphorus Strait at the immediate point where said strait meets the Sea of Marmara, thus forming a narrow, isolated peninsula, the tip of which is "Old Istanbul" (ancient Byzantion and Constantinople), and the promontory of Sarayburnu, or Seraglio Point. The Golden Horn geographically separates the historic center of Istanbul from the rest of the city, and forms a natural, sheltered harbor that has historically protected Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and other maritime trade ships for thousands of years.
The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with more than 58 covered streets and over 1,200 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. Opened in 1461, it is well known for its jewelry, pottery, spice, and carpet shops. Many of the stalls in the bazaar are grouped by the type of goods, with special areas for leather coats, gold jewelry and the like. The bazaar contains two bedestens (domed masonry structures built for storage and safe keeping), the first of which was constructed between 1455 and 1461 by the order of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. The bazaar was vastly enlarged in the 16th century, during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, and in 1894 underwent a major restoration following an earthquake. We recommend you to stop by at Sevan Bicakci store, the world famous ring designer. Distance from Hotel Tashkonak: 10 minutes by walking The Grand Bazaar is open in between: 09:00 - 19:00 every day except on Sundays and during public or religious Holidays
Hippodrome means square for horses. The Hippodrome was built by the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus towards the end of the 2nc* century and it was extended to an immense size by Constantine the Great. Some historians claim that it could seat thirty thousand spectators, while others put the figure at sixty thousand. The main attraction was the two or four-horse chariot races. In Roman and Byzantine times, the Hippodrome served as the city's main meeting, entertainment and sports center until the 10tn century. Like many of the other monuments in the city, it lost its importance with the Latin invasion in 1204. Besides the chariot races and gladiator fights with wild animals, there were performances by musicians, dancers and acrobats. There were many public holidays during Roman times to allow opportunities for all these activities. The Hippodrome was shaped like a gigantic "U" and the imperial box, built like a balcony with four bronze horses on its roof, was situated on the eastern side. The sand-covered surface of the Hippodrome was divided into two by a low wall around which the chariots raced. On this wall stood monuments brought here from different corners of the empire and the statues of famous riders and their horses. Successful chariot drivers were very wealthy and could have anything they wanted. Originally there were 4 teams of drivers whose supporters' clubs formed large quarrelling factions and competed for position and prestige in the city. From time to time politics intermingled with the races, and the clashes between competing forces turned into bloody massacres (more information www.english.istanbul.gov.tr)
The Istanbul Modern, as it's called (or Istanbul Museum of Modern Art), is a fine modern art museum (Istanbul Modern Sanat Müzesi) located in a vast former dock warehouse in Tophane (TOHP-hah-neh) on the southern Bosphorus shore one km north of the Galata Bridge and Karaköy (Galata) and south of Kabatas and Dolmabahçe Palace. Opened in 2004, the museum is sparely, beautifully done. Changing exhibits include works by both Turkish and foreign artists, although the museum's prime purpose is to encourage the creation of modern art in Turkey, so Turkish artists are rightly given primacy of place. Website: www.istanbulmodern.org Distance from Hotel Tashkonak: 5.5 km The Museum is open in between: Tuesday – Sunday: 10.00 am - 6.00 pm Thursday: 10.00 am - 8.00 pm - Monday: Closed
The little Hagia Sophia Mosque at the first was a church but later turned into a mosque. At the beginning, in the Byzantine Era it was constructed by the order of Justinian I (the Emperor of Byzantine) and his wife in order to be used as a church for the sake of Monophysite Community in sometime between 527-536, just before Justinian built Hagia Sophia. Named after Sergius and Bacchus (the two main saints of Christians in the Roman army), it has been known as Little Hagia Sophia.
This is one of the leading museums of its kind in the world. The military museum and culture center was reopened at its present building in 1993 with a very successful and contemporary exhibition concept. The former military academy, where Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was also a student, was renovated and various additions were made. Today in 22 rooms about nine thousand pieces are exhibited, out of a total collection of fifty thousand objects. The east wing of the museum is used for temporary exhibitions, meetings and similar activities. On the ground floor, the display of bows and arrows in the first room is followed by sections containing the weapons and other regalia of the cavalry, daggers and lancets, and sections devoted to Selim I, Mehmet the Conqueror, the conquest of Istanbul, weaponry from the early Islamic, Iranian, Caucasian, European . and Turkish periods. This floor also houses a unique collection of helmets and armor, as well as the sections allocated to firearms and tents. On the upper floor there are rooms where objects from World War I, the Battle of Gallipoli, and the War of Independence, and uniforms from more recent times are displayed. There is also an Ataturk room. The Janissary Band gives concerts in the museum.
Ortakoy is one of the nicest neighborhoods of Besiktas districts in the European side of Istanbul on the Bosphorus Strait, right under the first Bosphorus bridge.Ortakoy has many cafeterias and tea houses around a square near the water or in the alleys, moderate or expensive restaurants, bars, small shops and a market which gets very lively during the weekends. In the summer time there are even small size concerts or street shows etc. Many world class night clubs are also in this area, on the Bosphorus.
The Princes' Islands are composed of nine islands off the Asian coast of Istanbul, in the Sea of Marmara. There are regular passenger ferries and fast passenger ferries (sea bus) to the four of the islands from Kabatas and from Bostanci districts. Motor vehicles are not permitted on the islands except the ones belonging to local municipality for public works, so people walk or rent a bicycle or horse-drawn carriage, even a donkey. These are nice little islands where local people have their summer homes or go there for small beaches and for picnicking, or just to wonder around at the weekends. These four islands are known as Adalar (Islands) in general in Turkish and their names are Buyukada, Heybeliada, Burgazada, and Kinaliada. There is also Sedefadasi which is not very popular as the other ones and very small settlement on it. There are no settlements on Hayirsizada, Sivriada and Yassiada, and Kasikada is a private island. The name of the islands come from the Byzantine period, when princes and empresses were exiled there. But during the Ottoman period, especially around 19th century with the use of steamboats, these islands became a popular resorts for Istanbul's rich people, building their wooden houses. Jewish, Greek and Armenian communities were a large part of the inhabitants of the islands. Today, the islands are popular tourist destinations for daily excursions especially during summer months. There are many monasteries and historic buildings on the islands, besides Victorian style old wooden mansions.
Rüstem Paşa Mosque is the mosque with a central dome and a single minaret that arises amidst the rows of shops and storehouses near the Spice Bazaar. It creates a beautiful sight in the busiest commercial center in the city, together with the Süleymaniye Mosque on the slope behind. The architect Sinan built the mosque in 1561 for the Grand Vizier Rüstem Pasa. Spiraling staircases go up to the structure that is set above a row of shops. The interesting courtyard is actually a small terrace covered by five small domes.
The central dome rises atop four wall pillars and four columns, two on each side. Over the corners of the square space are four semidomes supporting the main dome. There are galleries behind the columns on the sides. The facade and the small, but attractive interior are decorated with the finest examples of Iznik tiles. The geometrical and leaf and flower motifs on the tiles give the interior a colorful flower garden appearance. The embossed coral-red color was used only for a short time in the 16th century.
Hagia Sophia The ancient Byzantine church, built by Justinian I between 532-537 AD after the Nika Riot, was later converted to a mosque with the addition of minarets in mid-15th century. The remarkable structure with its 56m high immense dome is a museum today in which you can see both Christian and Islamic art. There are good examples of the Byzantine mosaics as well. it was the largest cathedral in the world at one time, Website: www.ayasofyamuzesi.gov.tr Distance from Hotel Tashkonak: 5-10 minutes by walking The Museum is open in between: April 15th - November 1st 09:00 to 18:00 every day except Mondays November 1st - April 15th 09:00 to 16:00 every day except Mondays Entrance Fee: 30 TL
The Suleymaniye Mosque, built on the order of Sultan Suleyman (Suleyman the Magnificent), "was fortunate to be able to draw on the talents of the architectural genius of Mimar Sinan" The construction work began in 1550 and the mosque was finished in 1558. The mosque is modeled in part on the style of a Byzantine basilica, particularly the Hagia Sophia, which was perhaps a conscious move on the part of the sultan to create a continuity and a symbolic connection with the city's past. Distance from Hotel Tashkonak: 4 km - 30 minutes by walking The Mosque is open in between: 09.00 – 18.00 everyday ( except pray times ) Entrance Fee: No entrance fee
The Spice Bazaar is located next to the Flower Market on the banks of the Golden Horn called Makron and Envalos by the Byzantine and Eminönü by the Ottomans. The Spice Bazaar is one of the most characteristic places of Istanbul. Spice Bazaar which is one of the oldest covered bazaars of Istanbul is situated within the complex of Yeni Cami. The Yeni Cami complex which was commissioned by Safiye Sultan to be built and the construction of which started in the year 1591 was completed by Hatice Turhan Valide Sultan in the year 1633.In the Bazaar which is famous for its herbalists currently dried fruits, delicatessen and various food staff besides conventional products such as natural medicines, spices, flower seeds, scarce plant roots and peels are sold. It is known that the spices sold here are in addition to their consumption as food staff, useful for the treatment of certain diseases. Lately an increase in the number of jewelery shops in the bazaar is being observed. Within the Spice Bazaar there are restaurants with a view over the Golden Horn and Galata Bridge as well. Distance from Hotel Tashkonak: 30 minutes by walking The Spice Bazaar is open daily
Taksim Square (Taksim Meydanı) is considered as the heart of modern Istanbul and symbol of the secular Republic because of the Cumhuriyet Anıtı (Republic Monument) that stands in the middle of the plaza. As a main transportation hub and with numerous hotels, restaurants and pubs surrounding the area, it’s a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike.
Maiden's Tower was first built by the ancient Athenian general Alcibiades in 408 BC to control the movements of the Persian ships in the Bosphorus strait. Back then the tower was located between the ancient cities of Byzantion and Chrysopolis. The tower was later enlarged and rebuilt as a fortress by the Byzantine emperor Alexius Comnenus in 1110 AD, and was restored and slightly modified several times by the Ottoman Turks, most significantly in 1509 and 1763. The most recent facelift was made in 1998. Steel supports were added around the ancient tower as a precaution after the 17 August 1999 earthquake. Used as a lighthouse for centuries, the interior of the tower has been transformed into a popular café and restaurant, with an excellent view of the former Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman capital. Private boats make trips to the tower several times a day. Website: www.kizkulesi.com.tr/en Distance from Hotel Tashkonak: 24 km and 5 min. by boat The Maiden Tower is open in between: 9.00-00.30 every day
This museum contains one of the most important collections of Turkish and Islamic art in the world. First established in 1914 at the Daruzziyafe of the Süleymaniye Complex, it was moved in 1938 to its present location on the site of the Byzantine Hippodrome, in the palace of İbrahim Paşa. This palace, built in 1524 by one of the most powerful Ottoman Grand Viziers, is the grandest Ottoman private residence. The collection spans the periods of the Ummayids, Abbasids, Mamluks, Seljuks, Beyliks and Ottomans, and contains rare objects and works, including stonework, ceramics, metalwork, silver, brass, and wood objects and ornaments, as well as manuscripts, calligraphy, carpets and kilims. Specific items on display here are funeral belts, bejeweled objects such as candlesticks decorated with valuable gems, pearl reading desks, carved cooper cups, royal crests, clothing belonging to Sultan Yıldırım Beyazıt and Sultan Selim II, carpets from the Caucasus, and intricately carved doors. In addition, there are exquisite manuscripts of the Quran, Ottoman miniatures, as well as various edicts of the Ottoman Sultans, not to mention keys to the Kaba.
Towards the Marmara end of the land ramparts is the Yedikule Fortress- literally Seven Towers. Constructed in the middle of the Golden Gate by Sultan Mehmed, three new towers were added to the original Byzantine towers to form a five-sided structure. Never used for military purposes, it instead acted as an Ottoman Treasury until the reign of Sultan Murad III (1574-1595). It is most famous, though as a prison of both foreign and native captives. Sultan Osman II met his death here, as did many unfortunate foreign ambassadors. Restored in 1959, the castle is now open as a museum and hosts festivals and concerts.
Yeni Mosque is located in Eminönü Square next to the Egyptian Spice Bazaar. It is at the center of a complex and has a striking place in the skyline of İstanbul. Construction of the mosque was started in honor of Sultan Mehmed III's mother and Sultan Murad III's wife Safiye Sultan in 1597. The architect, Architect Davud Ağa, began working on the design of the mosque until Dalgıç Ahmed Ağa took over after 1598. The mosque was only half-finished when Sultan Ahmed I came to the throne. It was abandoned for nearly fifty years, during which the houses of the Jewish community surrounding it become so numerous that it was referred to as "Zulmiyye" or "the wronged". Construction began again at the initiative of Sultan Mehmed IV's mother, Hatice Turhan Sultan, in 1661. It was completed in 1663, with Mustafa Ağa as the architect.