There are a lot of historical places that Byzantine Empire left to Istanbul today. From the early ages, a lot of civilizations lived in Istanbul. Two major civilations in chronological order were Byzantine Empire and Ottoman Empire. Also, lots of people from different backgrounds were living in Constantinople (the City of Constantine).Which comes from Roman emperor Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus.
Lots of people from different backgrounds were living in Istanbul so it’s a multicultural city. Istanbul had lots of architects designing all kinds of buildings. In this article, we will show some of the most interesting places in the great city of Istanbul.
Galata Tower (Christea Turris in Byzantine Empire)
The Galata Tower is one of Istanbul’s most iconic visuals. It overlooks Beyoğlu and Karaköy from its position. Everyone can see its colorful lights all around the city at night.
The Romanesque style tower was built as Christea Turris (Tower of Christ) in 1348. Galata Tower was the tallest building in Istanbul at 219.5 ft (66.9 m). Byzantine Empire built the tower to replace the old tower of Galata, named Megalos Pyrgos (Great Tower). That tower was on a different site and was largely destroyed in 1203, during the Fourth Crusade of 1202–1204.
Maiden Tower (Kız Kulesi)
An iconic landmark on Istanbul’s skyline, the Maiden’s Tower has a rich history dating back to the fourth century. It’s located on a tiny island off Üsküdar. The tower has a background worth exploring.
It’s approximately 650 feet (200 meters) from the coast of Üsküdar, on a small island at the southern entrance of the Bosphorus. It’s not known exactly when the tower was built. But the architectural style is synonymous with the era around 340 BCE.
People used to call it as Leandros and Damalis. Named after the wife of Kharis, the king of Athens. During the Byzantine era, it was also known as “arcla,” which means “little castle.”
The Maiden’s Tower served many different purposes throughout the centuries, including a tax collection center, a defense tower, and a lighthouse. During the 1830 cholera epidemic,the government transformed it into a hospital and radio station. In 1964, the Ministry of Defence took the building over. And then Maritime Enterprises took it, 18 years later . Nowadays the tower is a visitor attraction. And offers a ground-floor restaurant offering traditional Turkish dishes alongside perfect views. Also it has a museum with free admission.
Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnıcı)
One of the magnificent ancient buildings of İstanbul is the Basilica Cistern located in the southwest of Hagia Sofia. Justinianus I,the Byzantium Emperor (527-565) made constructed this big underground water reservoir. As the public calls it, Yerebatan Cistern, because of the underground marble columns . There used to be a basilica in the place of the cistern; hence the name Basilica Cistern.
The cistern is 140 m long, and 70 m wide, and covers a rectangular area as a giant structure. Accessible with 52-step staircase, the Cistern shelters 336 columns; wihch are 9 meters high.
Except couple of the edged and grooved columns of the cistern, majority of them are shaped as a cylinder. Also the two Medusa heads, are the great work of art from the Roman period. What attracts most attention from the visitors is that the structure from which the Medusa heads have been taken is unknown. But the researchers often consider that Medusa heads are supports for the columns. However, this has not prevented myths for the heads of Medusa.
Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya)
Hagia Sophia means “Divine Wisdom” in Greek. So, Byzantium Empire devoted it to holy wisdom and not to a Saint Sophia as some people wrongly call it today. As Turkish people call it Aya Sofya, it’s a former Byzantine church and former Ottoman mosque.
Finally, Hagia Sophia is one of the most important museums of Istanbul. UNESCO considers it as World Heritage. It is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture.
Column of Constantine
Firstly, The Column of Constantine (Çemberlitaş Sütunu in Turkish) was once one of the most important monuments in Constantinople. And also the only remaining piece of the city’s founder, Constantine. Secondly, It served as the base for the statue of Constantine in the grand circular forum of his newly founded city. Built by Constantine after becoming only emperor in 324, it occupied a central place in the history of Constantinople for many centuries.
The Column of Constantine was at the heart of Constantinople. It had a central location in Constantinople, along the “Mese”, the city’s main street, in the middle of the city’s main forum, the circular Forum of Constantine. Being located at the top of the second highest hill of the peninsula, the column was visible from many points.