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Places To Visit in Istanbul - Turkey

Basilica Cistern - Istanbul

Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern, also called the Yerebatan (sunken) Palace, is one of Istanbul's most unique attractions.  The name refers to a basilica which once stood at the heart of Constantinople.  The cistern was built underneath by Emperor Justinian to provide water to the nearby...

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Beylerbeyi Palace - Istanbul

Beylerbeyi Palace

Beylerbeyi Palace was built by the Sultan Abdulaziz between 1861 and 1865 as a summer residence on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus.  The palace served as a venue for entertaining foreign heads of state.  Guests included the future Edward VIII of England, Napoleon III's wife Eugenie, and...

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Binbirdirek Cistern - Istanbul

Binbirdirek Cistern

The Binbirdirek Cistern, also known as the Cistern of Philoxenos, is a subterranean reservoir near the Hippodrome.  It was originally built in the fourth century AD beneath the Palace of Antiochus.  The cistern was used up until the Ottoman conquest in 1453 when it was abandoned.  In...

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Blue Mosque - Istanbul

Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque (aka the Sultanahmet Mosque) is a defining part of Istanbul.  It was built in the 17th century by Sultan Ahmed I to ease the pain of a string of military defeats in Persia.  Whereas past imperial mosques were paid for with the spoils of war, the Blue...

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Chora Church - Kariye Museum - Istanbul

Chora Church - Kariye Museum

Chora Church dates back to the early fifth century AD and is one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture.  It was built just outside of Constantinople's original walls, but was brought inside the city's defenses when Emperor Theodosius II built a new wall.  The church was rebuilt...

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Çiragan Palace - Istanbul

Çiragan Palace

Çiragan Palace's name is derived from the Persian word for torch (cherag).  It is so named because of the torches used to light the lavish parties thrown by the Ottomans in the late nineteenth century.  The palace was built by Sultan Abdulaziz between 1863 and 1867, though the decorating...

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Dolmabahçe Palace - Istanbul

Dolmabahçe Palace

Dolmabahçe Palace served as the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1887, and again from 1909 until the end of the caliphate in 1924.  It was constructed on landfill (the name means ‘filled-up garden’) and took thirteen years to complete.  In the early years of...

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Galata Tower - Istanbul

Galata Tower

The Galata Tower was for a long time the tallest building in Istanbul at more than 65m.  The Genoese built the circular tower in 1348 as part of their fortifications in Galata, just across the Golden Horn from the heart of Constantinople. It was built in the medieval style, capped with a...

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