Sultanahmet – the historical district of Istanbul.
The cape between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara and the Sultanahmet Square pressing it to the water is the historical core of the city, the ancient acropolis, the first hill of the Second Rome. The cultural layer here is up to six meters, and the concentration of attractions exceeds, as the founder of Constantinople would put it, “everything seen so far”: one Hagia Sophia would be enough for a couple of world capitals. Meanwhile, the local wonders take up relatively little space: the Topkapi Palace fits comfortably within the boundaries of the tiny ancient Byzantium, and everything else – within the small town of Septimius Severus. True, only memories remain of the enchanting Grand Imperial Palace now.
It is extremely easy to navigate – you just have to stand with your back to the exit from Sofia. Right – the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii), behind it a little to the right – the Hippodrome. Even more to the right (where there are tram tracks) Divan-Yolu street goes to the Old City. In the opposite direction, the tram line leads to Bab-i-Ali – the Brilliant Port. And if you go left, bending around the fence of Sophia, you will come to the Topkapi Palace.
Laleli and Aksaray are the shopping districts of Istanbul.
Laleli – a lively, energetic and not very neat quarter between Beyazit and Aksaray Square was once quite respectable (first nobles settled here, and then university teachers), but since then a lot of water has flowed under the bridge. Now it is the heart of the so-called “Russian Istanbul”. Although the quarter is quite small, he managed to cast his leather-sheepskin coat over the entire huge city – at least, that’s how it seems from Russia. The boom of shop tourism began in the late 80s, when first Polish and then Russian shuttles poured through the open borders in thousands. A whole new business was created – the delivery of the most diverse junk behind the collapsed iron curtain, not of particularly high quality, but cheap. The daily turnover of local merchants reached, they say, some crazy millions.
Aksaray– this is a bag-sheepskin area. Many signs in Russian, all sellers speak Russian.
Taksim and Beyoglu districts are inconceivable without each other. Located in the European part of the city, together they form its cultural and entertainment center. And if Istanbul were an independent state, its capital would most likely be Taksim. You can get to these areas without much effort from anywhere in the city.
In the language of the Ottoman Turks, the word “Taksim” meant “distribute”, “spread”. This name was given to the area because once it was from here that water was supplied to all quarters of Istanbul. Modern Taksim is a kind of crossroads, from which the roads still lead to various parts of the city, bringing with them an active and vibrant life.
Beyoglu– a fairly modern area with architecture heavily influenced by European influences. It appeared on the map of Istanbul only at the beginning of the 19th century, occupying the territory on the northern coast of the Golden Horn from the Galata Bridge to Taksim Square. Initially, the buildings of foreign embassies were erected here. Foreign merchants also lived and worked here. The current Beyoglu is the center of the cultural life of Istanbul.
The districts are connected to each other by Independence Avenue (Istiklal Caddesi), which stretches from Taksim Square to the south-west of the city, to Galatasaray and Tunel Squares. Once it was called Grande Rue de Pera and was completely dotted with luxury shops. Today it is a pedestrian zone, which houses fashion stores, bookstores, cinemas, restaurants and cafes. Vendors with small carts scurry back and forth, offering cute trinkets to passers-by.
Juskudar – Old District, commercial and industrial center of the city. Located on the Asian coast of the Bosphorus, next to the Maiden Tower.
In ancient times, the area, which was then an independent city, was called Chrysopolis, which means “Golden City” in Greek. There are several versions about the origin of this name. One of them connects it with gold, which was collected in the Anatolian Peninsula as a duty from the tribes and was stored here during the Persian invasion. According to another version, Chryses, the son of King Agamemnon, having fled from his homeland, arrived in Anatolia and settled in the current Yuskyudar, after his death giving his name to the city. Finally, some believe that the city became golden during sunset, when the sun’s rays scattered golden sparks on the walls of houses.
Modern Yusküdar is one of the main districts of Istanbul, where you can see outstanding historical monuments and visit magnificent places for recreation.
Fatih– one of the most important city blocks.
Once Constantine the Great built here the colossal Church of the Apostles, and on its ruins Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror erected a huge mosque immediately after the capture of Constantinople. Since then, Fatih has remained one of the city’s most conservative areas. Here you can fully feel that this city has been the capital of the entire Islamic world for centuries. In 1776, the quarter was completely destroyed by an earthquake, so in some places there is an unusually correct street grid for Istanbul: Fatih was rebuilt with the help of French architects.
The Besiktas region is located on the European coast of the Bosphorus Strait, which separates it from the Yuskyudar region on the Asian coast. Once upon a time, a thick forest roared in this place, uprooting which the Byzantines founded the village of Diplokionion, later renamed Archeion. Modern Besiktas is an important commercial and cultural quarter of Istanbul.
Attractions: Dolmabahce, Yildiz and Chiragan palaces, Ikhlamur pavilion, Sinan Pasha and Ortaköy mosques are just some of the monuments that make up the rich historical and cultural heritage of the region. You will also be able to see the Barbarossa monument, erected not so long ago, shining under the rays of the sun. The modern Ihlamurdere Street (Ihlamurdere Cad.) was laid on the site of the bed of an ancient river that once flowed among the hills of Besiktas, as evidenced by the name of the street – “Ihlamur River”. The architectural splendor of the area is complemented by a picturesque view of the Bosphorus with its armada of boats and ferries that ply back and forth between Europe and Asia.
There are 4 universities in Istanbul (Istanbul University, Istanbul Technical University, Bogazici University and Marble University), Istanbul Academy of Economics and Trade, Higher Technical School, Academy of Fine Arts, Conservatory and other higher educational institutions; a number of scientific societies, including the Turkish Medical Society, the Turkish Biological Society, the Chemical Society.
The largest libraries are Istanbul and Istanbul Technical Universities, Suleymaniye Library, Bayezid Library.
Major museums: Museum of the Church of St. Sofia, Istanbul Archaeological Museum, Museum of Painting and Sculpture, Topkapi Palace Museum, Tour Museum. and Islamic art.
Theaters: City, “Ken-ter”, “Harbie”, “Fatih”, “Gultepe”, “Kadikoy”, the opera hall “Maxim”, etc.