Istanbul is home to numberless libraries from different eras. Here is a great sum of some of the most interesting libraries of the city for the ones interested.
Byzantine Empire, also known as Eastern Roman Empire, controlled the area of comprising present-day Turkey for more than one thousand years (330 – 1453 CE). As an empire living such a long time in this geography would develop a rich food culture. And yet, Byzantine cuisine has been a mystery for scholars, cooks, and the general public, because cookbooks surviving from the Byzantines are very rare. Regarding the Byzantine cuisine and dining tradition, scholars usually make deductions with the help of written sources and works of art such as, paintings, icons, frescoes, and so on. In this post, we would like to introduce you Byzantine cuisine and dining tradition of the Byzantines.
Today, with its 16 million population Istanbul is the largest city of Turkey (not capital city of Turkey) and one of the largest cities in the world. Istanbul’s population increased dramatically in the 1970s and 80s and this increase shows itself in aerial photos as well. In this post we juxtaposed the aerial photos of eight landmarks of Istanbul that were taken in 1966 and 2017.
Mimar Sinan (1489-1588) -without doubt- was the most important Ottoman architect. In the sixteenth century he built or supervised hundreds of structures in every corner of the Ottoman Empire including mosque complexes, hamams (Turkish bath), bridges, hospitals, madrasas (religious high school), tombs, and many others. Patrons of these structures were either imperial family members or high-ranking officials such as Grand Vizier, Harem Agha, Shaykh al-Islam (Sunni Islam Religious Leader), and Kaptan-ı Derya (Grand Admiral). Among Sinan’s works in Istanbul, there are two mosque complexes (külliye) commissioned by two different Kaptan-ı Derya (Grand Admiral): Sinan Paşa Mosque and Kılıç Ali Paşa Mosque.
Boukoleon Palace (Bucoleon Palace) was the summer palace of the Byzantine emperors, which was built along the shores of the Marmara Sea in the south of the Great Palace of Constantinople. It is very probable that it was built during the reign of Emperor Theodosius II (r. 408 – 450 AD) in the 5th century AD and its monumental façade still stands for more than fifteen centuries.
Fishing season is -finally- open in Istanbul as of today, September 1st. As a city surrounded by two seas (Black Sea on the north and Marmara Sea on the south) and one strait (Bosphorus) connecting these two seas, Istanbul is rich in terms of fish and seafood. In addition, starting from Ancient Greek period to today Istanbul has a rich and serious history of fishing and fish consumption. For instance, Byzantion -Ancient Greek colony founded in the seventh century BC on the lands that later became Constantinople, and then Istanbul- was a fishermen village and main income of Byzantion was fish and other sea food. Moreoever, we know from primary sources that during the Middle Ages main nutrition of Istanbulites was fish.
Hippodrome of Constantinople was built for chariot racing, which was the most important sports of the Byzantines. Nevertheless, it was more than a place for chariot races and other sports activities. Located in Sultanahmet/Istanbul, the hippodrome was also home to gladiatorial games, official ceremonies, celebrations, protests, torture to the convicts and so on. The word “hippodrome” comes from the Greek hippos (horse) and dromos (way). Hippodrome functioned all in Roman (203-330 CE), Byzantine (330-1453 CE), and Ottoman (1453-1922) periods.
It is not surprising that a city like Istanbul has many stories behind the names of its neighborhoods. Since the beauty of city flourished creativity when it comes to calling neighborhoods, there are countless interesting background stories of neighborhood names. Here we list only 7 of them to give you the glimpse of it.
St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice is one of the most visited monuments in the world and it dates back to late 11th century. Due to its rich decoration and gold ground mosaics indicating wealth and power of the Venetians, the church is also known as Church of Gold (Chiesa d’Oro).
But did you know that its courtyard contains several monuments brought from Istanbul?