Istanbul Travel Guide

Sultanahmet (Old City) Istanbul

  • Firuzaga Mosque

  • Hippodrome

  • Fountain of Sultan Ahmet III

  • Mosaic details of German Fountain

  • Basilica Cistern

Sultanahmet square is probably the most interesting place among the others in the world.It is the oldest part of Istanbul. Most of its historical sights are located in Sultanahmet. The heart of Byzantine and Ottoman history beats in here. Long story short, if you don’t see Sultanahmet, it doesn’t matter you come to İstanbul or not. It is named after the Sultanahmet Mosque which is also known as ‘Blue Mosque’ because of the glazed tiles. The main item of the square is the Hagia Sophia Museum coming from the 6th century.

Horse Square
Right across it, Sultanahmet Mosque challenging it takes place. During Byzantine rule, there was a monument consisting of many columns overlapped and tied to each other with circles, located tem steps near the Agia Sophia. Today, Topkapı Palace, which was constructed by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 15th Century, is located in a hill of Sultanahmet seeing the sea. The name of Sultanahmet during Ottoman period was Horse Square.

Center of festivals
After the conquest, mace training and horse races used to be performed in here. Fatih was also among them. Horse races of Byzantine was replaced with Sultan’s household troops [kapıkulu]. Horse square witnessed palace weddings, big ceremonies and the rebellions as happened in Byzantine. Horse Square had a 25 thousand square meters area compared to the 45 thousand square meter of racecourse, due to urbanization.

Firuz Ağa Mosque dated 1491 is the first Ottoman structure built in Racecourse. The most magnificent festival held in here in 1582 is the circumsicion feast of Mehmet III organized by his father Murat III and lasted for 53 days. What is left from the Racecourse todat is Obelisk, Serpentine Column and Knitted Column.

What to see:

Firuzaga Mosque
Mosque was built 15th century. One of the first mosques in İstanbul. Gates and inscriptions of the mosque are beautiful.

Cafer Aga Medresse
The Medresse was built during the reign of Suleyman the Magneficent by the Black Eunuch Aga. The courtyard contains a well and a marble cistern. After succesive restorations, the palace is now used as a culture center and cafe.

Sogukcesme Street
Sogukcesme Street is lined with wooden houses now forming the Hagia Sophia pensions. It is well known for its early 19th century wooden hauses and these have recently been restored and converted into pensions bye TURİNG. One of the houses is where Fahri Koruturk was born.

Fountain of Sultan Ahmet III
The fountain was built in 1729. The work is ornamented with decoration on walls and calligrahpy on the pedestal. In the oval corners of the fountain are dispesing kiosk. The windows are railed; however they do not reach the ceilling.

German Fountain
Located in Sultanahmet Square, across from the mousoleum of Sultah Ahmed I. German Fountain was built to comemorate the second anniversary of visit t İstanbul by German Emparor Wilhelm II. It was transported in its various places and assembled at its present site in 1900.  The dome's interior is covered with mosaic.

Useful Information for Sultanahmet (Old City) Istanbul

Fast Facts Especially in summer seasons there is a long quee in front of the ticket office. And the other important thing to pay attantion is teh commisioners. Commissioner is the art of empaling in itself. There are many plots in it from Dallas. And when you get the headliners in a film, they are far superior than the actors who win the Oscar Award. Commision (Hanut) comes to mean shop in Armenian and commissioner is a worker who works in a specific shop. Usually their chases are square of Sultanahmet, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, in front of the Basilica Cistern and Grand Bazaar. Although they have low educational level, they know four or three language explicably and they are well-dressed. Naturally leaving good impression to your addressee is important. Firstly commissioners want to give direction and they start to deep conversation and they bring tourist to carpet store and this meeting finishes with offering tea. Eventually tourists buy whatever they want , they buy it with high price. Because there are commission for commissioner.