Nostalgic Istanbul Tour

Yedikule Fortress

Yedikule Zindanlari is perhaps best known as the gigantic, ancient fortress that overshadows the southern European approaches to the city of Istanbul.  The history of the structure dates back to the fourth century, when Theodosius the Great constructed a triumphal arch there.  The gates of the arch were covered with gold plate, leading to its signature title as the Golden Gate of Byzantium.  Theodosius’s successor, Theodosius II, later built four of the fortress’ seven towers, incorporating these and the archway into the new city walls.  The final three towers were not built until after the fall of the Roman Empire, during the era of Mehmet the Conqueror.  Throughout the Ottoman period, the fortress was used for defensive purposes, as a prison, and as a place of execution. 

 

Samatya Fish Market

Istanbul is a city of neighborhoods and with 5000 years of history, many of those neighborhoods have developed as enclaves representing the cultures of the places the inhabitants originally came from. One such neighborhood is Samatya.

the Byzantine name of Samatya, meaning sandy place. Along with Sisli and Kutulus, Samatya is one of the largest Armenian communities in Istanbul and an afternoon exploring will reveal Armenian churches, ancient monastaries, and great places to eat traditional meals and fresh seafood.

 

Surp Kevorg Armenian Church

Saint George of Samatya or Surp Kevork is an Armenian church in Istanbul.
The edifice, built between 1866 and 1887, has been erected above the substructure of a Byzantine church and monastery built in the eleventh century. The complex, dedicated to St. Mary Peribleptos (, Monì tis Theotókou tis Perivléptou) was one of the most important Greek Orthodox monasteries in Constantinople. After the Ottoman conquest of the city in 1453 it was ceded to the Armenian community in Istanbul, and became for a period the seat of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople.

 

Fener and Balat

The neighborhood of Fener has the honor of belonging to the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is located within the district of Fatih, on the western side of the Golden Horn. Balat, the neighborhood adjacent to Fener, is as old as Istanbul’s history itself. The area was first known as Fanarion, after the most important lighthouse in the Golden Horn, which was located here. A wide variety of historical churches, mosques and houses are located in Fener. The Patriarchate is still located here, and, as a result, the area is an important center for the Orthodox Church

Like Fener, the neighborhood of Balat is also in the UNESCO World Heritage List. From Byzantine times onward, this neighborhood tended to be the area of choice for Istanbul's Jewish community. The areas architectural monuments, churches, synagogues, public baths, and markets preserve their rich historical quality even today. It is almost as though an historical picture of Istanbul over the past 2000 years spreads out before you. 

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