Summer Palace of the Byzantine Emperors: Boukoleon Palace

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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.

Istanbul Fish and Their Seasons

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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.

Center of Byzantine Istanbul: Hippodrome of Constantinople

Onufrio Panavinio's drawing of the Hippodrome of Constantinople (c. 1600)

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.

Is Istanbul safe for tourists? Should we refrain from travelling?

Is Istanbul Safe

On the evening of June 28th, Istanbul’s main airport (Atatürk International Airport) was hit by a suicide bombing attack which resulted in – official numbers – 41 dead and 239 injuries. This has been a real tragedy for our country. As Istanbul Tour Studio, we would like to extend our deepest condolences for the victims and their families. In the past few months, the world has witnessed such terror attacks more than ever and we stand together with our friends in Paris, Ivory Coast, Brussels, Beirut and Orlando. As terror globally targets our livelihood and every day life, we all ask similar questions: where is safe nowadays? Should we refrain from travelling?

Throwback Turkish Songs #5 | Erkin Koray & Yeraltı Dörtlüsü – Sana Bir Şeyler Olmuş (1969)

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“Sana Bir Şeyler Olmuş” (Something Has Happened to You) is the cover of Chris Kenner’s “Land of a Thousand Dances” released in 1963 and it is the first live performance of Erkin Koray, broadcasted live at the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) national public broadcaster of Turkey founded in 1960s. Enjoy Erkin Koray’s one of the earliest songs “Sana Bir Şeyler Olmuş” released in 1969.

Byzantine Cuisine and Dining Tradition

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.

Throwback Turkish Songs #4 | Mavi Işıklar – Aşk Çiçeği (Shocking Blue – Send Me a Postcard)

Last week we brought up a Turkish cover of a Beatles song. Covers and Turkish versions of well-known English songs were very popular in the late 60s and throughout the 70s. Mavi Işıklar (Blue Lights) was one of the leaders of this genre and they covered the songs of Beatles, The Cedars, Paul Revere & the Raiders, and many others.