Modern Day Istanbul

Istanbul has gone through multiple dynasties with the Ottomans being the last imperial dynasty before the birth of Modern day Turkey and Istanbul. After the World Wars, Turkey moved into a new path. Today it seems that the new path is being rejected by the current government and there is some sort of balance and the accompanying unease and anxiety of having two, what seems to be polar opposite, directions. How this evolves depends on the current President and the legacy left by the Founder of Modern Day Turkey. The reverberations of which would be felt across the Middle East … Continue reading Modern Day Istanbul

The Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, was constructed between 1609 and 1616 during the rule of Ahmed I. It contains Ahmed’s tomb, a madrasah and a hospice. Hand-painted blue tiles adorn the mosque’s interior walls, and at night the mosque is bathed in blue lights. After the Peace of Zsitvatorok and the crushing loss in the 1603–18 war with Persia, Sultan Ahmet I decided to build a large mosque in Istanbul to reassert Ottoman power. It would be the first imperial mosque for more than forty years. While his predecessors had paid for their mosques with the … Continue reading The Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul

As the Ottomans grew in stature and power in Istanbul, they continues to build multiple architectural gems: On such gem is the Suleymaniye Mosque. The mosque was commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent and designed by the imperial architect Mimar Sinan, the greatest engineer and architect of his time. An inscription specifies the foundation date as 1550 and the inauguration date as 1557. The mosque was built by the Ottoman sultan Suleyman (r. 1520–1566) and the mosque was named after him. The design of the Süleymaniye also plays on Suleyman’s self-conscious representation of himself as a ‘second Solomon.’ It references the … Continue reading Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul

Rumeli Fortress, Istanbul

The Rumeli Fortress is located on the European side of the Bosphorus, directly opposite the Anatolian Castle which is on the Asian side. Construction began towards the end of 1451 and was completed in the beginning of 1452. The fortress was built by Sultan Mehmet II as part of his strategy to conquer Constantinople. He had fortresses built on the narrow part of the Bosphorus with the goal of cutting off maritime military and logistical relief that could potentially come to the Byzantines’ aid by way of the Bosphorus Strait. The fortification has one small tower, three main towers, and … Continue reading Rumeli Fortress, Istanbul

The Ottomans

After the end of the Byzantine empire, Istanbul (then Constantinople) fell back to the Roman Empire (Latin empire). The rift in the church between Rome and Byzantine significantly contributed to the decline of the city. It went financially bankrupt and the population declined. The glory days seen centuries ago was over. Constantinople was officially conquered by the Ottomans, led by Sultan Mehmed II on May 29, 1453, after a 53-day siege. During the siege, the last Byzantine emperor, Constantine XI, died while defending his city. Almost immediately, Constantinople was declared to be the capital of the Ottoman Empire and its … Continue reading The Ottomans

Hagia Sofia, Istanbul

Hagia Sophia started off as an important Christian church before becoming a mosque and now is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Museum). It was build in AD 537, during the reign of Justinian, seen above in the painting on the ceiling of the dome in the building. It is one of the most visited sites in Istanbul. During its time, it was the world’s largest building and an engineering marvel of its time. It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have “changed the history of architecture. In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Empire … Continue reading Hagia Sofia, Istanbul