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Rumelian Fortress
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Anatolian Fortress
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Uskudar
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Eminönü
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Galata
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Golden Horn
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Golden Horn

Majestic Bosphorus Cruise from Galataport

Departing from Galataport

Explore the historical richness and iconic landmarks of the city, then join us for an unforgettable Bosphorus cruise amidst the mesmerizing views of Istanbul.

City tour
Child friendly
History
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Total Sailing:42 Miles
Total Sailing Time:2 hours
Saffet Emre Tonguç
Saffet Emre Tonguç

Bosphorus Adventure Awaits

Hello dear guests! We are elated to have you join us on a unique journey along one of the world’s most beautiful strait that separates the continents of Asia and Europe. Today, we are here to take you on an extraordinary Istanbul experience. Are you ready to explore many landmarks, from historical monuments to bridges, dazzling palaces to fortresses, mansions to groves, in the enchanting atmosphere of the Bosphorus? 

We'll meet at the Galataport at the start of the tour and get acquainted with our guide. We'll kick off with a brief information exchange about the details of the boat and the places you'll discover throughout the day. In the spirit of ensuring your safety and comfort, please note that in case of adverse weather or exceptional circumstances, our tour program will be revised accordingly. Let's embark on this journey together to create unforgettable memories and share this magical experience! Welcome aboard!

Photos
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Rumelian Fortress

The area where Rumeli Fortress is located is one of the narrowest points of the Bosphorus, where the distance between Asia and Europe drops to approximately 800 meters. To exploit this strategic location, the Ottoman Empire built two fortresses in this region: one is the Anatolian Fortress constructed by Bayezid I (Yıldırım Bayezid), and the other is the Rumeli Fortress commissioned by his grandson, Fatih Sultan Mehmed.

This fortress, consisting of 13 towers, is one of the most strategic structures built during the conquest of Istanbul. Although the architect of the fortress was Mimar Müslihiddin, the sultan closely supervised every stage of construction. From the perspective of the sea, he entrusted the right section to Saruca Pasha and the left section to Zağanos Pasha. He assigned the responsibility of the coastal tower to Halil Pasha, while he personally oversaw the section facing the sea. The towers bear the names of the pashas who supervised their construction.

Editor's Photos
Landmarks
Hacı Kemalettin Mosque
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The Hacı Kemalettin Mosque, distinguished by its red-and-white striped facade, was originally built as a small mosque. Later, it was converted into a larger mosque by Sultan Mahmud I.

History
Ali Pertek Mosque
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The Ali Pertek Mosque, with its exterior featuring neatly arranged stone-brick mixed walls without plaster, is known among the locals as the "Gentlemen's Mosque" because prominent figures and the wealthy used to frequent this mosque more than others in the neighborhood.

History
Surp Santuht Church
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One of the active places of worship in the Rumeli Hisarı area, which was once densely populated by Armenians, is the Surp Santuht Church. The church building originally had a wooden architecture when first constructed. This structure stands out with its arched windows and bell tower.

History
Borusan Contemporary
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Positioned at one of the most beautiful points along the Bosphorus, this mansion with towers, made of red brick, was initially commissioned by Yusuf Ziya Pasha, the Chief Aide-de-camp to the Khedive of Egypt, Abbas Hilmi Pasha. However, the outbreak of World War I halted its construction. Yusuf Ziya Pasha lived in the mansion with his second wife, Nebiye Hanım, and her three daughters from her first marriage, until his death in 1926. Known among the locals as "Perili Köşk" (Haunted Mansion) due to its unfinished construction, the building is now home to Borusan Holding. In a wise decision made in 2011, they opened the building as a museum called Borusan Contemporary on weekends. Both the exhibited artworks and the view are magnificent.

Entertainment
Zeki Pasha Mansion
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Located just beneath the bridge, this elegant, stone mansion was designed by Alexandre Vallaury for Zeki Pasha at the beginning of the 20th century. Zeki Pasha was one of Sultan Abdulhamid II's loyal men and served as the Marshal of the Tophane Arsenal for 17 years. The mansion later changed hands, becoming the property of Sabiha Sultan, the daughter of the last Ottoman Sultan Vahdettin, and her husband Ömer Faruk Efendi. Ömer Faruk Efendi, the son of the last Caliph Abdülmecid Efendi, was the father of Neslişah Sultan, who was born in this mansion. Ömer Faruk Efendi and his family lived in the mansion until the dynasty was exiled. This four-story building, one of the rare stone mansions along the Bosphorus, has more than twenty rooms. At one time, Ali Kemal, the grandfather of Boris Johnson, also lived in this mansion. The mansion, listed for sale at a record price, is considered one of the most expensive houses in the world.

History
Mediha Sultan Palace
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The Mediha Sultan Palace, constructed in the Neoclassical style, stands out with its structure of cut stone blocks in a light pink hue. Today, it serves as the Metin Sabancı Baltalimanı Bone Diseases Hospital. The palace was designed in the mid-19th century by Architect Sarkis Balyan for Mustafa Reşid Pasha. Mustafa Reşid Pasha, who was appointed as Grand Vizier six times during Sultan Abdülmecid's reign and was a pioneer of the Tanzimat Reforms, had a son named Galip. Galip married Fatma Sultan, daughter of Sultan Abdülmecid, and they lived in this palace. Later, another daughter of Abdülmecid, Mediha Sultan, married Damat Ferit Pasha, and the couple became the new owners of the palace, which was then named after the Pasha's wife. The Baltalimanı Treaty between the British and the Ottomans was signed here in 1838, lifting some of the commercial restrictions between the two countries.

The name Baltalimanı comes from Baltaoğlu Süleyman Bey, the Grand Admiral (Kaptan-ı Derya) who constructed ships for Mehmed the Conqueror during the siege of Istanbul. The "Balta" (Axe) nickname was given to the Grand Admiral because of the numerous trees that had to be cut down to build these ships.

History
Boyacıköy
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Boyacıköy is one of the most delightful corners of the Bosphorus. In the 18th century, Sultan Selim III relocated families from Kırklareli to Istanbul for the development of the art of dyeing and the production of the needed fezzes, settling them between Emirgan and Baltalimanı. From that day to this, one of the most beautiful villages along the Bosphorus has been known as Boyacıköy. Hidden among its streets are wooden houses and beautiful examples of Ottoman civil architecture, and the Muhayyeş Grove is located on the slopes of Boyacıköy. The grove gets its name from Misbah Muhayyeş, who moved from Beirut to Istanbul and purchased the Pera Palace Hotel.

History
Emirgan
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Before you reach Emirgan Square, you will see the Hamid-i Evvel Mosque, which resembles a house more than a mosque. Constructed in 1782 by Sultan Abdülhamid I, the fountain in the square next to the mosque was also commissioned by his wife. The mosque, which underwent a beautiful restoration in 2009, is accompanied by a Hünkâr Kasrı (Imperial Pavilion).

Next to the mosque, there is the Şerifler Mansion, an elegant structure from the 18th century. The mansion was likely built in place of Emir Güne Han's Divanhanesi in the 17th century. During the expropriation in 1945, its Harem section was demolished, cutting off its connection to the shore. This oldest mansion on the European side of the Bosphorus once belonged to Sharif Hussein of Mecca (the ruler of Mecca and Medina). In return for inciting the Sharifian Arabs against the Ottoman Empire, he demanded recognition of his own kingdom from the British. Collaborating with Lawrence of Arabia, he revolted against the Ottoman State in June 1916. His sons, Abdullah became the Emir of Jordan in 1921, and Faisal became the King of Iraq. After the abolition of the caliphate in Turkey in 1924, Sharif Hussein declared himself Caliph! He lived in exile in Cyprus until 1930. The building is currently used by the Union of Historical Towns and the ÇEKÜL Foundation.

The name Emirgan comes from an Iranian nobleman named Emir Güne Han. During the Revan Campaign in 1635, Emir Güne surrendered his fortress to Sultan Murad IV without a fight. The Sultan brought him to Istanbul and gave him the name Yusuf Pasha. The Sultan then awarded Yusuf Pasha a 500,000 square meter area, known today as Emirgan Grove, which was referred to as the Feridun Bey Gardens at the time. Evliya Çelebi, who lived during the same period, described the grove in poetic language, where the two close friends enjoyed many pleasant conversations. After the death of Murad IV, Sultan Ibrahim executed Yusuf Pasha. In the 19th century, Sultan Abdülaziz gave the grove to Khedive Ismail Pasha of Egypt. After constructing a magnificent mansion on the shore, Ismail Pasha also had the Yellow, White, and Pink pavilions built in the grove. Ismail Pasha, who incurred significant debts while ruling Egypt, was deposed in 1879 under pressure from the French and British and spent his final days in Emirgan. Since 1943, it has been used as a public park under the Istanbul Municipality. The grove is especially vibrant during the Tulip Festival in the spring months.

Neighborhood
Sakip Sabanci Museum
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Since 2002, the Sakıp Sabancı Museum has held a special place in the city's art scene, located in a magnificent building also known as "Atlı Köşk" (Equestrian Villa) due to the horse statue at its entrance. The mansion, situated on land given by Sultan Abdülmecid to Khedive Mehmed Ali Pasha in the 19th century, was later purchased and renovated by another Egyptian prince to its current condition. It was bought by Hacı Ömer Sabancı in 1951. After Hacı Ömer Sabancı's death, his son Sakıp Sabancı moved into the mansion, and it served as a home to one of Turkey's most important industrialist families until 1998. The museum, which houses a rich collection of calligraphy and paintings, frequently features exhibitions of great names like Rembrandt, Rodin, Dali, and Picasso, alongside contemporary artists.

Museum
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Anatolian Fortress

Yıldırım Bayezid, who commissioned the construction of the Anatolian Fortress, was unable to conquer Istanbul due to uprisings in the city. Later, his grandson, Fatih Sultan Mehmet, fulfilled this dream at the age of 21. Today, the Anatolian Fortress is a district that preserves its historical texture and offers stunning views of the Bosphorus. Together with Küçüksu Stream, Göksu Stream, known as "Asia's Sweet Waters," adds a distinct atmosphere to the Anatolian Fortress.

When thinking of the Asian shores of the Bosphorus, districts like Kanlıca, Beykoz, and Kandilli come to mind first. With its pleasant parks, cafes, and restaurants, the Anatolian Fortress offers its visitors the opportunity to relax alongside some of the most beautiful views of Istanbul.

Editor's Photos
Landmarks
Kanlıca
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Though Kanlıca is first and foremost known for its yogurt, this beautiful district stands out with its green atmosphere and clean air. Located just beneath the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, it draws attention with its mansions, Mihrabad Grove, and the elegant Hıdiv Pavilion built by the last Egyptian Governor Abbas Hilmi Pasha. As you may recall, the magnificent Egyptian Consulate building on the opposite shore in Bebek was also related to Hıdiv, belonging to his mother, Khediva Emine.

In the past, full moon celebrations were held in Kanlıca Bay, where people would set out on moonlight cruises in their boats. Just under the second bridge, you can spot the Lacivert Restaurant, known for its distinctive twin roofs. This structure, which has appeared in numerous Turkish films, now serves as a luxury restaurant.

Neighborhood
Anatolian Fortress Mansions
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The Salih Efendi Mansion is notable for its red facade. Salih Efendi, who graduated from the first medical school opened during Sultan Mahmud II's reign and served as the chief physician to three sultans, owned it. Unfortunately, the mansion hosted many TV series and movies but suffered significant damage in a ship accident in 2018.

Amcazade Hüseyin Pasha Mansion is one of the oldest mansions on the Bosphorus. According to stories, the Treaty of Karlowitz was signed in this mansion in 1699.

The Marquis Necib Bey Mansion stands out with its white facade and yellow details, appearing as if it consists of stacked blocks at first glance. The original owner, a French Marquis, converted to Islam to marry Melike Aliye Hanım, taking the name Ahmet Necib. The elegant, white, two-story Nuri Pasha Mansion can be seen nearby.

Another notable white mansion is the Zarif Mustafa Pasha Mansion, which was originally a service building for the staff but is now highly valued. It fits the description of being right by the sea, or "Lebiderya," and contains a 300-year-old historical bathhouse within.

One of the larger mansions of Anatolian Fortress is the Bahriyeli Sedat Bey Mansion, known for its brown shutters and also as the Magnolia Mansion. The white mansion nearby is known as the Ali Rıza Bey Mansion.

Right in front of Anatolian Fortress, you can see the Commodore Remzi Bey Mansion. Former Prime Minister Erdal İnönü once lived in this mansion.

History
Küçüksu Pavilion
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Küçüksu Pavilion's history extends back to the Byzantine Period. During the Ottoman Era, it emerged as one of the Sultan's private gardens, known as "Kandil Bahçesi." It's known that Sultan Murad IV was fond of Küçüksu and its surroundings, naming the area "Gümüş Selvi" (Silver Cypress). The pavilion was designed for daily use, which is why it does not contain any bedrooms. It was utilized for day trips for hunting or picnicking. For overnight stays, the Dolmabahçe and Beylerbeyi palaces were preferred.

History
Göksu
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Göksu, historically famous for its leisurely boat rides, flows into the sea where the Sabancı Teacher's House is located. One of the largest and most expansive mansions along the Bosphorus, the Kıbrıslı Mansion, lies just ahead.

Flanking the Kıbrıslı Mansion on both sides is the white Abud Efendi Mansion. Behind the mansion, adorned with columns in its garden, are the maroon-colored Count Ostrorog Mansion and the white, splendid Ricardo Pulos Mansion, with the Cemile Sultan Grove extending behind them.

Neighbourhood
Kandilli
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Kandilli, nestled between two groves, is known for its "devil's current" at the point where the stream hits the shore. Here, currents can reach speeds of 7-10 knots, as it is one of the narrowest points of the Bosphorus.

In this area, you will see three beautiful maroon houses. The one at the top is known as the Casanova Mansion. Legend has it that the infamous lover Casanova stayed here during his visit to Istanbul, which is why the mansion is associated with his name.

Among the magnificent white mansions in Kandilli, the Clifton Mansion was formerly owned by the Clifton Family. You can distinguish this mansion by the three small windows on its upper floor.

The mansion owned by one of Turkey's prominent ambassadors, Fuat Bayramoğlu, was designed by the famous architect Sedad Hakkı Eldem. With its red and white facade, the mansion stands out as a remarkable structure.

Neighbourhood
Vaniköy
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Vaniköy is one of the peaceful, green-clad corners of the Bosphorus, named after the significant historical figure Vani Mehmed Efendi. Following a fire that left the Vaniköy Mosque in ruins, it has been restored and once again takes its place among the Bosphorus's landmarks.

The Recaizade Mahmut Ekrem Mansion, with its stone facade, was used as an oil factory for many years. The Ahmet Nazif Pasha Mansion, notable for its chimneys at each end of the roof, is a smaller mansion.

One of the most beautiful mansions along the Bosphorus, the Mahmud Nedim Pasha Mansion, has its harem section on the right and the selamlık (reception section) on the left. The tower in the selamlık section is particularly striking.

Neighbourhood
Kuleli Military High School
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Kuleli Military High School is undoubtedly one of the most striking structures along the Bosphorus. Designed by the Balyan Family, the building is situated on a vast plot of land. It used to serve as an Ottoman barracks. The most distinctive architectural features of the school include the five-story towers at each corner and the terraced Imperial Pavilion (Hünkar Kasrı) located in the middle of the facade.

History
Elephant Stables
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The stone buildings located near Kuleli, known as the elephant stables, were originally constructed for storing elephants and later repurposed as an armory. Situated right on the shoreline, the Sumahan Hotel, once an old liquor factory, has been transformed into a hotel showcasing a marvelous example of industrial design following its restoration.

History
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Uskudar

Located right at the entrance to the Bosphorus, Uskudar is one of the oldest settlement areas of the city, thus having a deep-rooted history. Initially, Uskudar was known as "Chrysopolis," meaning the City of Gold. This name is said to have originated either from Persian invaders storing the spoils they brought from Anatolia here or from the colors created by the sun setting over the Bosphorus. Before the conquest of Istanbul, during the Byzantine period, it acquired the name "Scutari," which refers to a military barracks. The area where these barracks were located was called "Skutarion." Uskudar became a significant center during the Ottoman era and has always maintained its importance.

Uskudar is rich in fountains, inns, baths, and historic mansions dating back to the Ottoman period. The coastline is a frequently chosen spot for Istanbul residents and visitors to watch the city's beauties and relax.

Editor's Photos
Landmarks
Çengelköy Mansions
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Near Çengelköy Pier, right in front of the Ayios Yeoryios (Aya Yorgi) Church, stands the four-story Server Bey Mansion, alongside the Sadullah Pasha Mansion, which is painted in salmon color. These are among the most significant mansions in Çengelköy and some of the ones that impressed you the most during your visit along the Bosphorus.

Vahdettin Mansion is located on the hills of Çengelköy. Its yellow color and onion-domed architecture make it stand out as one of the two summer palaces in Istanbul. The mansion is known as Vahdettin Mansion because it was used by Prince Mehmed Vahdeddin Efendi before he became Sultan. It is currently utilized as a 'Working Office' by the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey.

History
Beylerbeyi Mansions
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The white mansion with towers on both sides is the Mabeyinci Faik Bey Mansion, next to which is the Hasip Pasha Mansion. The historic and cult movie "Topkapi" was filmed in the Mabeyinci Faik Bey Mansion. In this film, starring Melina Mercouri and Peter Ustinov, thieves attempt to steal the emerald dagger from the Topkapi Palace.

During the Ottoman era, if a mosque had two or more minarets, it meant it was commissioned by a sultan. The Beylerbeyi Mosque, with its small garden by the sea, was built in 1778 by Sultan Abdulhamid I for his mother Rabia Sultan. The architect of Laleli Mosque, Mehmed Tahir Ağa, was commissioned for its construction. Because of its founder, it is also known as Hamid-i Evvel Mosque and was built in the Baroque style.

History
Beylerbeyi Palace
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Beylerbeyi Palace, one of the most beautiful palaces along the Bosphorus, adds an impressive silhouette to Istanbul with all its grandeur. This palace was used as a summer residence, with the left side serving as the harem section and the right side as the selamlık (reception) section. It is one of the palaces built by Sarkis Balyan and has been part of the National Palaces following the proclamation of the Republic. Empress Eugénie, the wife of Napoleon III, stayed here during her visit to Istanbul for the opening of the Suez Canal. According to stories, Empress Eugénie and Sultan Abdülaziz experienced a grand love affair here. Impressed by what she saw, the empress had the windows replicated for the Tuileries Palace in Paris. Napoleon III had a fond saying about Istanbul: "If the world were a single country, Istanbul would be its capital."

History
Kuzguncuk
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After crossing the First Bridge, one of the first sights on the hillside is the Cemil Molla Mansion with its triangular roof, one of Kuzguncuk’s most beautiful mansions, now serving as the headquarters of a construction company. In the past, the wealthy had both a summer (selamlık) and a winter (haremlik) mansion. Due to the coastal humidity in winter, they preferred mansions within the grove, making the Cemil Molla Mansion known as a winter residence. During the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid II, it functioned as a cultural center, pioneering in several aspects: it was among the first buildings in the city to be illuminated by electricity, hosted one of the empire's first telephones, had its private cinema, and contained a photography studio.

The Üryanizade Mosque by the sea, constructed in 1860 by Üryanizade Ömer Efendi, a Sheikh ul-Islam of Sultan Abdulhamid II, is notable for its overhanging wooden minaret and its charming appearance reminiscent of a quaint mansion.

The yellow building on the hills of Kuzguncuk, now serving as the Kuzguncuk Primary School, was once the home of Marko Pasha, the founder of the Red Crescent and a Greek doctor. Known for his dismissive response to lengthy explanations with just "Tell me what happened?" this phrase has embedded itself into Turkish as the idiom "Tell it to Marko Pasha."

Kuzguncuk was considered by Jews as "the last stop before the holy lands," making it a desirable place to live or at least to be buried in for those who couldn't make it to the holy lands. Initially settled by Jews fleeing persecution in Spain in the 15th century, by the 17th century, it had become a Jewish village, hence nicknamed "Little Jerusalem."

The arrival of Greeks and Armenians in the 17th century added cultural richness to this seaside town. Turks, for some reason, did not favor settling in Kuzguncuk, preferring the Paşalimanı area instead. Therefore, today, you can find two synagogues, two Greek Orthodox churches, and one Armenian church here, showcasing Kuzguncuk's historically cosmopolitan nature.

The pink mansion in front of Fethi Ahmet Paşa Grove is the Fethi Ahmet Paşa Mansion, known to have been a residence of Nazım Hikmet. Positioned over the sea, it's referred to as a 'lebiderya' mansion. Fethi Ahmet Paşa, the husband of Atiye Sultan from the Ottoman dynasty, was also the founder of the Military Museum in Harbiye.

Neighbourhood
Mihrimah Sultan Mosque
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Mihrimah Sultan Mosque is dedicated to Mihrimah Sultan, the daughter of Suleiman the Magnificent. According to popular stories, it is said that the architect Mimar Sinan was in love with Mihrimah Sultan and, therefore, built two mosques in her name. The other mosque is located in Edirnekapı. It is also said that as the sun sets over the mosque in Edirnekapı, the moon rises over the mosque in Üsküdar, reflecting the Persian meaning of "Mihrimah," which is sun and moon. Sinan first used his signature half-domes in this mosque. Another name for Mihrimah Sultan Mosque is the Jetty Mosque. Initially, when it was built by the seashore, sultans would arrive by boat. The view from its fountain is described as one of the best in Istanbul.

History
Yeni Valide Mosque
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The Yeni Valide Mosque, a standout architectural achievement of its era, was designed and built by Kayserili Mehmed Ağa, a distinguished architect of the Tulip Period. This mosque encapsulates the refined taste and sophistication of the Valide Sultan, showcasing the classical Ottoman architectural style. Notably, the mosque's courtyard houses an octagonal fountain, while the exquisite stone craftsmanship of the fountain dedicated to Gülnûş Emetullah Sultan is especially noteworthy, reflecting the artistic and cultural heights reached during the period.

History
Semsi Pasha Mosque
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Semsi Pasha Mosque is a small mosque constructed by Mimar Sinan on the Üsküdar shoreline. Semsi Pasha requested a mosque that would not allow birds to perch on it, a challenging demand he placed before Mimar Sinan. Ingeniously, Sinan chose such a location that fulfilled Pasha's wish. Due to the wind currents at this spot, birds do not perch on the mosque, earning it the nickname "Kuşkonmaz Camii" (the Birdless Mosque).

History
Rum Mehmed Pasha Mosque
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Rum Mehmed Pasha Mosque, located a short walk from Semsi Pasha Mosque on the left uphill, was built for Rum Mehmed Pasha, one of the Grand Viziers of Mehmed the Conqueror, who was of Greek origin. As the first mosque constructed on the Anatolian side of Istanbul during the Ottoman Empire, its central dome is higher than the others, giving the building a Byzantine appearance. The original plan included complex elements such as a madrasa, bathhouse, and soup kitchen, but these structures have not survived to the present day.

History
Maiden's Tower
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The Maiden's Tower is not only a landmark of its district but also one of the most iconic symbols of Istanbul. Located in the middle of the Bosphorus, close to the entrance of the strait and near the Sea of Marmara, this historic tower stands on a small islet. The first structure on this site was built in 411 BC by the Athenian general Alcibiades to control Persian movements. Later, Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos constructed a small fortress here. The original fortress of Komnenos was replaced by a smaller castle built by Mehmed the Conqueror, which was damaged in the earthquake of 1509 and restored by Sultan Selim I. The Maiden's Tower was once used as a prison. After being severely damaged in a fire, the tower was renovated by Damat Ibrahim Pasha, the Grand Vizier of Sultan Ahmed III, and turned into a lighthouse. The tower's most recent form was commissioned by Sultan Mahmud II.

According to a popular legend, a Byzantine Emperor had a beautiful daughter. One day, a soothsayer told the emperor that his daughter would be bitten by a snake. To protect her, the emperor locked her away in the Maiden's Tower. However, an old woman managed to enter the tower with a basket of grapes, hiding a snake inside. Unfortunately, the snake bit the princess, leading to a tragic end to the story.

History
Selimiye Barracks
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The structure that resembles a fortress with its four towers is the Selimiye Barracks, which also gives its name to the district where it is located. During the Crimean War, the barracks were converted into a hospital where Florence Nightingale, by implementing basic hygiene practices, significantly reduced the death rate among wounded soldiers, earning her a place in medical history.

History
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Eminönü

After the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara begins. The word "Marmara" comes from the Greek word for "marble," reflecting the rich marble quarried from the region since ancient times. Marmara Marble has given its name to the island, the sea, and the surrounding area. On the European side, we see Istanbul's famous sea walls, which in the past stretched approximately 20 kilometers. The land walls extend from Zeytinburnu to Ayvansaray, constructed more robustly than the sea walls. This is because the sea walls relied on "Greek Fire" for defense, a substance against which the wooden ships of the era could not stand. More precautions were taken against attacks coming from the land.

Editor's Photos
Landmarks
Sarayburnu
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When we look towards the European Side at the very entrance of the Bosphorus, Sarayburnu greets us. Until the construction of the Dolmabahçe Palace, the Topkapı Palace, with its Justice Tower, served as the residence of the Ottoman sultans since the conquest of Istanbul, and it's one of the first structures that catch the eye. Right by the sea, you can also see the first statue of Atatürk erected in an open space in Turkey. The location of the statue marks the point where Atatürk's remains were transferred onto the Yavuz Battleship before being taken by train over İzmit for his final journey.

Further ahead, you'll notice the elegant Sepetçiler Pavilion. Known as the place where sultans would board their royal boats to the Bosphorus or the Golden Horn, the current structure of the Sepetçiler Pavilion was commissioned by Sultan Ibrahim I in 1643.

Behind the pavilion, the expansive green space you see is Gülhane Park, covering 100,000 square meters. This park, one of the city's breathing spots, also hosted the University of Constantinople in the 13th century.

History
Hagia Irene
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The Hagia Irene, during the Eastern Roman Empire period, was the second largest church in Istanbul after the Hagia Sophia. Its name, meaning "Holy Peace," Hagia Irene is characterized by its red brick appearance and a large dome. As the Topkapı Palace was being built, the church, situated between the Hagia Sophia and the Hagia Irene, ended up within the palace's boundaries due to the exterior walls running between them. Since the church was not converted into a mosque after the conquest of Istanbul, very few changes were made to it both internally and externally during the Ottoman era. Today, the Hagia Irene occasionally hosts concerts and is considered a unique example in its current form.

History
Hagia Sophia
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The Hagia Sophia was initiated under the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. Constructed between 532-537 AD, the church was built by 10,000 workers and 100 master craftsmen, designed by the era's two most prominent architects, Anthemius of Tralles (from modern-day Aydın), a mathematician and physicist, and Isidore of Miletus, an architect. The name "Hagia Sophia" means "holy wisdom," symbolizing the concept of "divine wisdom," one of the three properties of God in Orthodox Christianity. It held the title of the world's largest cathedral for 1000 years. Initially built as a basilica, the Hagia Sophia now serves as a mosque with four minarets.

The survival of this unique structure to the present day owes much to the reinforced massive buttresses added by the architect Mimar Sinan in 1573. The Hagia Sophia is recognized worldwide as a significant symbol.

History
Sultanahmet, Blue Mosque
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Located in Sultanahmet Square directly opposite the Hagia Sophia Mosque stands another remarkable structure. Commissioned by Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I and built on Istanbul's Historical Peninsula by architect Sedefkâr Mehmed Ağa, this mosque, with its six minarets, is renowned for its blue, green, and white İznik tiles. Due to these characteristics, it is known as the "Blue Mosque" by Europeans.

History
Beyazıt Tower
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The tower you see atop is the Beyazıt Fire Tower, situated within the garden of Istanbul University, designed by the Balyan Family. During a period in the Ottoman Empire when wooden houses were prevalent, fires were frequent. The Beyazıt Fire Tower was constructed to take precautions against these fires and provide early warnings.

History
Eminönü / Sirkeci
4.9

Eminönü and Sirkeci, with their harbors and the later addition of a train station, have become one of Istanbul's historical and commercial centers. Eminönü, one of Istanbul's oldest districts, hosts many historical structures from the Byzantine and Ottoman periods. The markets located here are among the world's oldest and largest. Particularly noteworthy are the inns in the First National Architectural style. Along the coastline, the New Mosque stands elegantly amidst the crowd, while the grand Post Office building and the Istanbul High School for Boys are notable landmarks in the area with their striking appearances.

History
Spice Bazaar
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The Spice Bazaar, located behind the New Mosque, is an architectural masterpiece that began construction in 1597 upon the request of Safiye Sultan during the Ottoman Period. Funded by taxes collected from Cairo, the bazaar eventually became famous as the "Spice Bazaar." As you explore the corridors of the bazaar, the aromas of spices take you on a journey through time.

Entertainment
History
Shopping
Süleymaniye Mosque
4.9

Decorating Istanbul's third hill is the Süleymaniye Mosque, a marvel of architecture referred to by Mimar Sinan as his "masterpiece." This magnificent structure is visible from kilometers away due to its splendor. The construction of the Süleymaniye was commissioned to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent's ascension to the throne. On the grand opening day, it is said that the sultan, deeply impressed by the mosque, honored the architect by allowing him to open the masterpiece. The mosque stands out with its details symbolizing historical events; its four minarets represent Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent as the fourth sultan after the conquest of Istanbul. Furthermore, its ten balconies allude to his being the tenth sultan since the foundation of the Ottoman Empire.

History
5

Galata

Galata is a district that marries its unique historical texture with a modern lifestyle. It became a center thanks to the Genoese, who established a colony in this area during the Byzantine period due to the privileges granted to them. Situated directly across from Istanbul, Galata has always crafted its own story. Its awe-inspiring tower and the streets leading up to Beyoğlu and down to Karaköy are always waiting to be discovered, hiding treasures within. Alongside cultural and artistic events, the galleries, boutiques, and cafes here promise to immerse visitors in the district's spirit.

The Galata Bridge, stretching between Karaköy and Eminönü, is one of the city's iconic structures. Walking on the bridge and uncovering the beauties of Istanbul is among the city's finest gifts.

Not to mention Karaköy, a port for centuries, which has blended the cultures of not only those who live there but also those passing through. It has provided refuge to Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition, became the financial center of the Ottoman Empire from the late 19th century, and opened its doors to White Russians escaping the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. For those who know how to look, Karaköy's streets hide treasures.

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Landmarks
Galata Tower
4.9

The Galata Tower, as one of Istanbul's iconic structures, creates a striking silhouette on the opposite shore of the Bosphorus, adding a unique atmosphere to the city's landscape, especially at night. The first tower on this site was constructed in 528 by Emperor Justinian, but the robust tower we see today was built by the Genoese between 1348-1349. Standing at 69.9 meters tall, the tower has historically served as a maritime observation post, a fire watch point, and a prison. Climbing the tower offers a breathtaking panorama of Istanbul; the beauty of the Bosphorus, the Golden Horn, and the majestic silhouette of the Historical Peninsula. Following its restoration in 2020, the tower reopened to visitors as a museum.

Entertainment
History
Kılıç Ali Pasha Mosque
4.9

The Kılıç Ali Pasha Mosque, located directly opposite the Tophane tram stop, was commissioned by the Chief Admiral Kılıç Ali Pasha to Mimar Sinan in 1580. It is rumored that Kılıç Ali Pasha had the mosque built on reclaimed land from the sea, in response to bureaucrats who opposed granting him the land, quipping, "The seas are yours, what business do you have on land?" The work was largely inspired by the Hagia Sophia and was designed by Mimar Sinan, who was approaching the age of ninety at the time.

History
Galataport
4.9

Galataport Istanbul, covering a 1.2 km long coastline along the Bosphorus, has transformed the historic port into a world-class cruise terminal, opening up the coastline for public access. With its low-rise buildings, neighborhood concept design, and alternative transportation options, it offers visitors a breezy and safe experience in culture and arts, work, shopping, and dining.

Entertainment
Shopping
Istiklal Avenue/Taksim
4.9

Ascending from Galata, discovering Beyoğlu along İstiklal Avenue is like feeling the pulse of the city. Upon reaching Taksim Square, you sense the heart of the city. İstiklal, one of Turkey's most famous and bustling streets, is a vibrant destination for both locals and foreign visitors alike. Filled with shops, boutiques, cafes, restaurants, bars, and galleries, the avenue attracts a wide audience, from fashion followers and art enthusiasts to night owls and history buffs. It's not just the main street that's intriguing; diving into its side streets opens up a sort of time tunnel before you.

Entertainment
Shopping
Istanbul Modern Art Museum
4.9

Within the scope of the Galataport project, the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, now in its new building, invites visitors to explore contemporary art against the backdrop of a magnificent Istanbul view. Opened in 2004, the museum brings art enthusiasts together with its rich collection and striking exhibitions. For 14 years, the museum continued its activities in its original home at Antrepo No. 4 in Tophane. It moved to its renovated building, designed by Renzo Piano, in 2023 as part of the Galataport Project.

Entertainment
Tophane / Tophane-i Amire, Foundry
4.9

The original foundry was commissioned by Fatih Sultan Mehmed in the 15th century and expanded during the reign of his son, Sultan Bayezid II. The multi-domed structure you see today was completed during the reign of Sultan Selim III in 1803. Today, the building is affiliated with Mimar Sinan University and is used as an exhibition hall and for events. The two small cannon reliefs you'll see at the top of the building symbolize its history.

History
Cihangir Mosque
4.9

The Cihangir Mosque, sitting atop a hill that dominates the Bosphorus and offering a wonderful view from its small garden, has lent its name to one of the art community's favorite districts. Mimar Sinan built the mosque in memory of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent's son, who died in 1553 due to the grief caused by the execution of his half-brother Mustafa. The Cihangir Mosque bears resemblance to the Dolmabahçe and Ortaköy mosques designed by the Balyan family. Sitting on the benches in front of it, one can enjoy one of the most beautiful views of Istanbul.

History
Mimar Sinan Fine Art University
4.9

The university is named after the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, highlighting his contributions to architecture, art, and culture. Founded by Osman Hamdi Bey, a painter, archaeologist, art historian, and the director of the Muse-i Humayun, or the Archaeology Museums at the time, this prestigious university operates not only across different campuses but also from Çiftesaraylar in Fındıklı, which served as the former Ottoman Parliament building, and from the Cemile Sultan Palace.

History
6

Golden Horn

The Golden Horn, blending Istanbul's ancient and modern aspects, occupies a unique spot. Its storm-resistant location provides a suitable environment for maritime transportation, contributing to the city's rich history and cultural fabric.

Known as the Golden Horn, this area takes its horn-like shape from the confluence of the Kağıthane and Alibey creeks, referred to as "Europe's fresh waters" on maps. Sunsets here transform the landscape with golden hues, creating a truly natural wonder. The name "Golden Horn" derives from the shortened form of "Haliç-i Dersaadet," meaning "the Gulf of Istanbul" in Ottoman Turkish.

By the beginning of the 17th century, Ottoman elites began building magnificent homes along the shores of the Golden Horn. Its beauty reached its peak during the Tulip Era.

This unique waterway is adorned with three bridges, the most famous of which is the Galata Bridge.

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Landmarks
Phanar Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
4.9

In Istanbul's Fener district, the center of the religious leadership for the Greek Orthodox Christian community is located. Often confused with the Phanar Greek Orthodox College, which rises like a red fortress on the hills of Balat, the patriarchate's main church is the Church of St. George. The Ecumenical Patriarch serves as the spiritual leader for the entire Greek Orthodox community, and his office located in the patriarchate in Istanbul holds global significance.

History
Bulgarian St. Stephen Church
4.9

Constructed in response to the Bulgarian demand for worship in their own language towards the end of the 18th century, this structure stands out along the Golden Horn with its white facade and golden decorations. Due to the weak ground, an iron skeleton was preferred over reinforced concrete, earning it the nickname "The Iron Church." Dominated by Gothic style, the church was prepared in Vienna in 1871, shipped in parts via the Danube River, and assembled in a small garden along the shores of the Golden Horn. In 1870, it became an independent church by decree of Sultan Abdülaziz, separating from the patriarchate.

History
Eyüp
4.9

Eyüp is one of Istanbul's most sacred spots. This location was chosen for the city's first mosque following its conquest because Akşemseddin, the mentor of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, claimed that the tomb of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, the standard-bearer of Prophet Muhammad, was located here. Consequently, the Conqueror ordered the first mosque to be built here and dedicated to Eyüp Sultan. This area, used by Byzantine emperors for coronation ceremonies, continued to serve a similar purpose during the Ottoman era; sultans would gird themselves with the sword of Osman Gazi, the empire's founder, here. If you are willing to walk up a bit of a slope through the tombs and cemeteries, you can enjoy the most nostalgic view of the Golden Horn from Pierre Loti.

Neighbourhood
7

Golden Horn

Golden Horn Pier will be the last stop of our tour. You will feel that our magnificent Bosphorus tour adventure has reached an unforgettable point with the historical peninsula cruise.
Editor's Photos
Landmarks
Phanar Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
4.9

In Istanbul's Fener district, the center of the religious leadership for the Greek Orthodox Christian community is located. Often confused with the Phanar Greek Orthodox College, which rises like a red fortress on the hills of Balat, the patriarchate's main church is the Church of St. George. The Ecumenical Patriarch serves as the spiritual leader for the entire Greek Orthodox community, and his office located in the patriarchate in Istanbul holds global significance.

History
Gül Mosque
4.9

Gül Mosque is located on the banks of the Golden Horn in the Aykapı district of Istanbul and was first built as a dedication to Ayia Eufemia. The church took the name "Saint Theodosia" after the Latin invasion. The red brick façade of the mosque, which has a very wide plan, adds an iconic appearance.

The building has a closed Greek cross plan reflecting typical Byzantine architecture, and contains the tombs of Hagia Theodosia and some members of the Byzantine imperial dynasty. Conversion into a mosque II. It was built during the Beyazıt period and has undergone various repairs over time.

History
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