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All Facts of Topkapi Place’s Harem

-Attractions June 8, 2016
1,343 views

 

Topkapi palace view

Topkapi palace view

In this article, we’ll talk about All Facts of Topkapi Place’s Harem, this post is great guide for Topkapi place and it was made for you… Do you know Topkapi Palace in Istanbul Turkey? Are you think about come to Istanbul or do you want come to Istanbul? Don’t think, just come. Because, I’m sure this magnificent city will captivate you. İt is not an exaggeration. Actually, so many people can say to this who they came to Istanbul. This city views, pictures, monuments, structure, historical places… all of them amazing. You will not be ragret. Plus, you shoud know Topkapi Palace is one of the must see part of this city.

I tought, you heard Ottoman Empire. This Empire is built in 1299 and was one of the most powerful empires of the world. But history of Ottomans another subject. On this article we will talk heritage of Ottomans. And you know this is Topkapi Palace. like every time before the article of the Palace, we wil try to answered FAQ about this place. So many people are wondering Topkapi Palace Harem… The harem is one of the special part of palace. Don’t worry, we’ll talk about it. And another question about its history. We’ll write to whole story in this article. Topkapi Palace jewels is another question about it. Actually, there so many jewels in this palece. we tried to mention all of them. I think also you are wondering artitechture of palace. we wrote it for you.

Before the article, We added the Topkapi Palace pictures here for you which they can find under this line. Before read of its whole story, I think you should see how beautiful it is.

Harem plan of Topkapi Palace

Harem plan of Topkapi Palace

Topkapi palace plan from sky

Topkapi palace plan from sky

Topkapi Palace Hour.

Topkapi Palace is open to visitors ever day 9 a till 4 pm, except on Tuesday. On the firsr days of the two Muslim Holidays (Ramazan Bayramı and Kurban Bayramı), the palace is open from 12 pm to 6 pm.

Important note: A separate ticket is required for the Harem section of the Palace

Topkapi Palace

The oldest and largest palace in the world today is Topkapi Palace, a museum since 1924. The palace is on the site of the acropolis of Byzantium, over looking the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara. The palace comlex covers area of 700,000 sq.m. and is surrounded by five kilometres of walls. Topkapi Palace was second palace built by Turks in Istanbul. After young Sultan Mehmet II conquared the city in 1453, he built his first palace where Sıtanbul University stands today. Soon afterward he ordered a new palace and fouteen years later, in 1479, Topkapi Palace (intially called the new palace) became the Sultan’s residence and centre of goverment.

Topkapi is typical of Turkish palaces. Its dinstinctive element is a serias of open courtyards with shade trees. Each courtyard had a spesific function and they connect to one another by monumental doors. Functional buildings arranged on the sides of the courtyards. The Place plan today is not the same as when it built, since sultans succeeding Mehmed the Conqueror built additions annexes.

In 1853 when the stately new Dolmabahçe Palace was completed, Topkapi Palace lost its status as the official palace and fell into disrepair. It was only after the Republic was founded that Topkapi Palace was again cared for. Repair work lasting more than fifty years finallly restored Topkapi Palace to its original underdtated beauty. Today it is an unrivaled museum with priceless artifacts.

The functions of this offical Ottoman Palace were unlike those of most other palaces. Although it was primarily the residence of the sultan, it also served as the goverment centre where cabinet ministers met. Topkapi also house the state mint and the archives, as well as the empire’s highest educational institution, the university of the Sultan and the state. In other words, the palace was the heart, the brain, and very centre of the Ottoman Empire. It was long after the palace that the Harem was added. The Ottoman Empire was the largest and longest lived of the sixteen soverign empires in Turkish history. This giant empire, which lasted 622 years, remained master of the shores of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, merging many peoples of diffrent races and religions under its benevolent reign. The only other empire in history to rule such a vast realm for such a long time was the Roman Empire. During the course of the Ottoman Empire, thirty-six sultans occupied the throne, and those reigning from the 16th century onwards also bore the title of Caliph, the religious head of Islam.

Life in Topkapi Palace sarted at dawn and the day was filled with ceremonies and strict rules of protocol goverming every posible situation and event. All were obliged to abide by palace custums and traditions that had developed over centuries. Even during the decline of the empire, these remained in place, and protocol customs in the Western world were influenced by Topkapi Palace. The seaside mansions and pavilions of the Palace were destroyed by the end of the 19th century.

Topkapi Palace Map

Map of Topkapi

Map of Topkapi

 

Topkapi Palace Sections

Falow the tour itinerary, and now look in the opposite direction from the point se are standing at; at the and of the road that pases between Hagia Sophia on our and the Fountain of Sultan Ahmed III on our right, we can see the İmprial Gate, and the magnificent outher courtyard door of the palace. This gate opens to the first courtyard of the palace. This door is the main door connected the walls that surround the Palace and the tower complex. 

First Courtyard of the Palace 

The first and outermost court of the palace is entered through the Bab’ı Hümayun (İmpreial Gate). The maonumental fountain outside the gate is a fine example of the 18th century Turkish art. Surrounding the first court are the palace bakery, mint, palace barracks and storehouses for firewood. On the terraches below were the vegetable gardens that suplied the palace. Çinili Köşk (Tiled Pavillion), the earliest building in Topkapi Palace complex, is also within this court, Immediately upon entering the court, one sees Hagia Iren, a 6th century Byzantine churched -turned museum. Because of its excellent acoustics, this church is one of the main venues for the Istanbul International Music Festival.

The Fountain of Ahmed III

The Fountain of Ahmed III

The Fountain of Ahmed III

 The fountain of Ahmed III is situated in front of the place and behind the Hagia Sophia . It was built during the reign of Sultan Ahmed III in the 18th century. İt is famous for the 14 line poem that is inscribed on it. The most famous line of the poem is “Drink water in the name of God, pray for Sultan Ahmed.” The niches in the walls of the fountain for birds to drink water from are indication of the Ottoman charecter. On the backsplash behind the taps, the phrase Masha Allah (What wonders Allah has willed/ May Allah protect it) is inscribed. On the four sides of the fountain there are four small fountains; on each corner is a tap.

The İmperial Gate 

The Gate is vaulted and arched. On both sides, there are angraved Tughras (monograms) of Sultan Mahmud II and Abdulaziz. The spaces on the sides of the door used to be Janisarry quarters. The İmperial gate was protected by special guards. The gate gives passage to the first courtyard, which is the Birun section of the Palace. This part contains buildings such as a hospital, bakery, woodshed, royal mint, etc. As soon as you enter trough the gate, the Hagia Irene Church draws your attention.

Hagia Irene Church

Hagia Irene Church

Hagia Irene Church

The Romans accepted Chirstianity after the Edict of Milan in 313 and started building churches in a number of places throughout their empire. Emperor Constantine, the founder of Constantinople, Built a forum, a palace and a hippodrome that were named after him when he was rebuilding the city in the 330s. With the new relegion, in of the polytheistic Roman templesi Constantine ordered the construction of Hagia Irene, the first East Roman church. The name Hagia Irene literally means Holy Peace. More Importantly, Hagia Irene is the name of the female saint who lived during the era of the establisment and spread Christianity amon the Romans. Her real name was Penolope. St Irene/Penolope has an interesting life story: She encountered many obstacles while she was trying to spread the teaching of Jesus. The pagans her thrown into a snaka pit, yet she survived. She was stoned and dragged by horses and still she survived. At the end of this miraculous events, the pagans eccepted belief one God and acknowledged her as a saint. Later on, Emperor Constantine named the first church Hagia Irene.

The high walls surrounding Topkapı Palace, which were constructed after Mehmed II had conquared Istanbul, pass between Hagia Sophia and Hagia Irene, leaving Haiga Irene wthin the palace complex. Even though this church became part of the palace, Sultan Mehmet II did not convert it intp mosque. Because Sultan Mehmet II had knowledge of several Eastern and Western languages and he was aware of the story of Hagia Irene, as a sign of respect to the saint and her accomplishments he did not have the church transformed into a mosque. Instead, the church used as storage for the most valuable gains of war, in particular, Ottoman weapons and possesions. The Sultan who succeeded Sultan Mehmet II did not break this convetion. 1869, the church became known as the Sultan’s Museum. Further down the road, on your left, you can see the royal mint.

The Royal Mint  

The Darphane or Darphane- Hümayun, is what today we would col the roya mint. Currently, the exibibitions pertaining of Istanbul History are located here.

As we continiue down the main road, beyond the ticket booths on the right we can see the palace entrance, Babüsselam (the Gate of Salutation). Topkapi Palace is situated on Sarayburnu, the most strategic and open location; this point connects the Sea of Marmara, the Black Sea and the Bosphorus. The construction of the palace started after 1460s and ended in 1478. After the construction, new additions were made to the structure, according to the needs of following generations. The palace includes approximetely 7.000 m2 of land. The five kilometer-long walls around the palace were drawn out by Sultan Mehmet II himself. Later, at different times, the walls were damaged by eartqueakes and were renovated by Sultan Beyazıd II, Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, Sultan Murad IV. It is said that there were thirteen gates in the walls of the palace. The most famous gates are the Topkapi and Balikhane gates. There are twenty eight towers alon the wall. The Gate of Salutation is at the end of the first courtyard. And you should know, we’ll talk about the courtyard of palace detaily. The gate is also known as the Alay Meydani (Parade Grounds). The imperial seals of Muhmut II and Mustafa III are angraved on the gate. The sultans passed through this gate on horseback. After passing through the gate, they would advence to the Divan Square. On the right side of the second courtyard the palace kitchens are located.

Palace Kitchens

Kitchens of Topkapi Palace

Kitchens of Topkapi Palace

Food to feed 5.000 people used to be prepared in the kitchens. Particulary on ceremonial days, when the Janissaries were given their salaries, and on the fifeteenth day of Ramadan, rice, soup and baklava would be cooked. A part of the kitchens was later called the Helvahane. In this seciton, desserts, jam, syrup, and majun would be prepared, as well as aromatic soap. The meals for the Sultans would be prepared in a separate kitchen, known as the Kuşhane Matbahı or Matbah’ı has on the left side of the Babüsselam, you can see the Beşir Agha Mosque and the Royal Stables.

A part of the kitchen has been kept in its original state, and the rest has been converted into a museum of porcelain and china. Only part of the palace collection’s 12.000 plus pieces of Chinese and Japanese origin are on display here. In a separate section, selected pieces of percelain and glassware made in Istanbul are exhibited in chronological order. Also on display are European porcelain and rich silverware from the palace collection. This section is closed for few years for a retoration.

The Royal Stables

The Royal Stables

The Royal Stables

 

The Royal Stables are the buildings where the harnesses were kept as well as the horses of the sultans. The Harem and Divan sections are located on the left of the entrance to the Gate of Salutation

Second Court of Palace

The actual entrance to the Topkapi Palace Museum is the second gate called Bab-ı Selam (Gate of Salution), which leads to second court, once reserved for the administrative functions of the state. Representatives of the Janissaries were admited to this court on paydays. It was also the site of certain state ceremonies; even when attendance reached five or even ten thousand people, absolute silience prevailed. When the Sultan himself attended, the imperial throne was placed in fron of the gate at the other end of the court and all stood facing him with their hands clasped in a gesture of reverence. To the left of the court was the chamber were the cabinet met. The only power in the palace grounds is called the Tower of Justice, so named because justice in the name of the state was dispensed from here. The tower over look the whole city and the port, and the ony entrance to it is through the Harem. At the left of this court, the hitchen chimneys cab be seen.

Topkapi Palace Harem 

The Harem of Topkapı Palace is made up of about 400 rooms dren and other members of the family, as wall as the servants and eunuchs. No outsiders were allowed to enter. Throughout the centruies, these private quarters of the palace gave rise to many stories and legends, but evidence suggests that llife in the Harem was not as exotic as people have been led to believe, though is must have been very indeed.

Contrary to the common mis conception, it was a trainig school for palace woman. The Sultans also lived here with their families; in addition, the palace personal who served in the palace were trained here. This was a place where future wives of prominent politicians were educated The Enderun, which provided training for politicians, was very smilar to the Harem from this perspective. In the Harem women were tought music, cooking, knitting and sewing, attributes of a good wife, and religious education.

The concubines (cariye) serving the sultan and his family were hand-picked fro the most beautiful and healthiest young maidens of various races were given the sultan as gifts. These girls, who were admitted to the Harem at an age barely out of childhood, were trained for years under the strictest deicipline. After becoming perfectly familiar with the rules and customs of the palace, they were allowed to serve the sultan. Some of these girls were able to attract the attention of the sultan and hence his favors, and occasionally even to become wives. In the Ottoman Empire the empres had no status. It was the sultan’s mother who was most powerful in the Harem. In this setting of wealth and splendour, all used gossip, rivalry and strugle to get to closer to the sultan. When a sultan died or abticated and assumed the throne, the harem of the former was moved to another palace. Under a weak sultan with little authority, teh Harem often emerged as a politicial force engaging in power play and intrigue.

Among the main buildings in the Harem are the Priviy Chamber of Murad III, the library of Ahmed III, Privy Cahmber of Ahmed III (Also known as the Fruit Room), the apertments of the crown prince, the apertments of the queen mother, the apertment of Selim III, the chamber of Mihrişah Sultan, I, and the chmaber of the Sultan Abdülhamid I. The Harem was one of the mos protected section of the palace. Only doctors were allowed in this section in order to treat either the sultan or the concubines. The concubines could ony leave the areas under very strict precoutions and they would be dressed in such a way that they could not be recognized by anyone. Even the doctors could not see the concubines, they took the pulse of a sick concubine trough a thin layer of fabric.

Today, only part of the Harem is open the visitors. While touring these empty rooms and the gloomy corridors, the visitors needs an active imagination to visualize the Harem as it was i ist heyday. But several rooms retain striking examples of tiled walls, stained glass, fountaions and decorative fire places.

İmperial Council

İmperial Council

İmperial Council

 

The Ottoman divan was used as quarter for courtiers. It was also called the Kubbealtı, which means under the dome in reference to great dome in the main council hall. Ottoman government officials would hold meetings here to discus government affairs. Most frequantly, the grand vizier (Sadrazam) would lead the meetings and the sultan would watch the meetings from tha kafes (grating) right above the grand vizier. The interior of the grating could not be seen when looking up from the Divan, that is to say, no one knew if the sultan would be watching.

Third Court of Palace

The entrance to the third court of Topkapi Palace, the private court of the sultans, is through Babü’s-sa’ade (Gate of Felicity). Only those with special permisson could pass through that gate to sultan’s private court, and only in the company of white eunuchs. Surrounding the third court were the place university, the throne room, the sultan’s treasury and the sanctuary of Holy Isamic relics. The sultan met with the ambassadors of foreign countries and the high officials of his government in the throne directly opposite the gate. For security reasons, only deaf-mute servants were employed in the throne room. Ottoman army officers who were prominent facuity members of the palace school also served the sultans. The library of Ahmed III located at centre of the court is and excellent example  of the Turkish baroque artchitectural style.

The school in the sultan’s private courtyard trained candidates for positions of responsibility in government. The graduates of the school were employed in the administration and organization of the vast empire. Most of the viziers and grand viziers gratuated from this school.

Gate of Felicity

Gate of Felicity

Gate of Felicity

 

This gate was also known as Ağalar Kapısı (the gate of the White Eunuchs). This gate gives passage to third courtyard, which is considered to be the private propertty of sultan. No one can pass this gate without the permisson of the sultan. The enthronment ceremony and religious ceremonies were held in front of this gate. Also, the Sacred Standard, was entrusted to the commander setting out for war in a solemn ceromony that took place here. After entering through this gate, you can see the Audience Hall, with fountains on both sides.

Audience Hall

 

Audience Hall

Audience Hall

The council members of the council met foreign envosys or ambassadors in this hall. Also, it was here that the grand vizier conveyed the matters that were to be discussed and presetend in their reports to the Sultan after the council meetings.

Right behind the Audience Hall is the library of Ahmed III, which is famous for its magnificent embroidery and architecture. On the right side of the courtyardi is the Gate of the Felicity, the Enderun School, Saferli koğusu (the Campaign Dormitory), the Imperial Treasury, the cellar and the dormitories of the eunuchs. One of the most important sections here is the Treasury.

Imperial Costumes Section

Imperial Costumes ottoman empire

Imperial Costumes ottoman empire

Imperial Costumes from Ottoman Empire

Imperial Costumes from Ottoman Empire

 

Nothing in the word can compare with the imperial costumes section of Topkapi Palace Museum. The more than 2,500 costumes, made of fabric woven on the palace loooms and ornamented with gold and silver braids, have been carefully preserved since the 15th century. Also exhibited in the same section are silk prayer rugs, master pieces of Turkish art used by the sultans.

Topkapi Palace Jewels and Treasury

Topkapi Palace Jewels and Treasury

Topkapi Palace Jewels and Treasury

 

The Treasury of Topkapi Palace Museum is the richest collection of its kind of the world. All pieces exhibited in the four halls are authentic originals. Masterpices by centruies of Turkish craftsmen and priceless creations from the Far East, India, Europe fascinate visitors. The first room contains four imperial thrones, each used for specific occasions. One of them is covered with gold; another is a unique work of enamel and precious stones; the third is made of ebony with ivory motifs; and the fourth is decorated with mother of pearl, tortoise shell and precious stones. Also in the first room are turban jewels and pendants with large emeralds, The secon room contains beautiful handmade state medals and ordes as well as other decorative objects from Russia, China, India and Persia. The third room displays unique works by palace craftsmen in jade, zinc, and rock crystal, as well as a 16th century ceremonial helmet and twin solid-gold candelabra weighing 48 kilograms each.  The fourth room contains other important pieces from the palace treasury, ceremonial swords and daggers, brooches and rings, The Topkapı Dagger -symbol of the palace- as well as the 86 karat Spoonmaker’s Diamond and Sultan Mustafa III’s suit of armor. Connecting the third and fourth rooms is a balcony that commands a magnificent view of the entrance of the Bosphorus, the Princes’ Islands and the Asiatic coast.

Topkapi Dagger: The dagger that has become the symbol of the Palace and the treasury is a priceless product of 18th century Turkish craftmanship. There are four large emeralds on the hilt, the topmost one concealing a watch.

Kaşıkçı Diamond: The pearshaped, 86-carat Kaşıkçı Diomand is among the largest in the world. Its origin is not known. Legend attributes its name (Spoonmaker’s Dimond) to its sale by a pauper, who was unaware of its value, to a merchant in return for a few wooden spoons. However, the consensus of expert is that the Kaşıkçı Diomand named after s French army officer who bought a diamond of similar dimensions and shape in India in 1774. The Pigot Diamond was traced through numerous owners to Napoleon Bonaparte’s mother and then an Ottomon governer. The Kaşıkçı Diamond was transferred to the Ottoman treasury with other items owned by governer Tepedenli Ali Paşa, who was excuted in the 1840s for rebelion against the state. It is, therefore, highly probable that the Kaşıkçı and Pigot Diamonds are the same. The beautiful, specially cut Kaşıkçı Diamond is surrounded by 49 smaller diamnds set in two rows of gold.

Throne: The 18th century throne of Sultan Mahmud I is the largest item exhibited in the treasury and is a masterpiece of Turkish-Indian art. It is actually portable throne of 223 pieces. The outstanding feature of the throne, even surpassing the multitude of emaralds, rubies and pearls used to form the motifs of spring flowers, is the excellence of the gold inlay and enamel work rated by some as the ultimate in these techniques.

Holy Relics of Islam

Holy Relics of Islam

Holy Relics of Islam

 

The Holy Relics of Islam have been preserved in a special section of Topkapi Palace since being brought from Egypt early in the 16th century and becoming symbols of Ottoman Power

The conquest of Egypt also passed the title of Caliph to the Ottoman sultans, increasing the power of the Ottoman throne. The Holy Relics, treasures of both religious and artistic significance, include personal articles and garments of the Prophet Mohammed, one of the oldest menuscript copies of the Koran and the keys of Kaaba.

The Royal Apartments

This chamber houses the Sacred Trusts, such as the Mental of Prophet Muhammed. The section was built at the time of Sultan Mehmed II and was altered by Selim I and Murad IV. The secred Trusts were brought to Istanbul by Selim I. From the that day, the sultans ordered that the Holy Qur’an be read here day and night. This custom continued until the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. The oldest building of the palace, Fatih Köşkü (Fatih Pavillion) is located in this part of the palace. The apartments overlooks the Bosphorus.

The İmperial Terrace

The main structures of the Fourth Courtyard are the İmperial Terrace, the Marble Pavillion, the large pool on the lower terrace and the Sofa Pavillion. The Revan Köşkü (Revan Pavillion), constructed during the reign of Sultan Murad IV, are also located in the courtyard. The adorments of these two structures are similar. The main difference is that the decorations of the golden dome are decorated with platerwork on the Revan Pavilion while the Baghdad Pavilion  has leather decorations. In addition, the Circumsion Room, ChiefPhysician’s Room, the sofa Mosque, the Mecidiye Pavilion, the İtfariye Bower, and Esvap Chamber are the other impresive structures in the fourth Courtyard.

Fourth Court of Topkapi Palace

The stone of Hacer-ul Esvet

The stone of Hacer-ul Esvet

Passageways connect the third court the to the forth court’s pavilion set in gardens: the 17th century Baghdad and the Revan Pavilions in the Palace, at the Mecidiye Pavilion, the last structure buil in the Topkapi Palace complex. The terrace by the Baghdad Pavilion is the place to enjoy the magnificent panaroma of the Golden Horn and, across it, the Galata district, as well as the unique skyline od Istanbul with its domes and minarets.

Circumcision Room

The Circimsion Room has a small annex at the back. It was built by Sultan Ibrahim. The interior and the exterior are veneered with tiles. Most of the tiles date back to the 15th, 16 th and 17th centuries. In addition to the blue andwhite tiles on the walls, there are fountains that face one another. The room takes its name from time is was used during the circumsion of the son of Sultan Ahmed III.

Revan Pavilion

This pavilion was built to commemorate the conquest of Yerevan by Murad IV in 1636. The pavilion is octaganol in shape and has three balconies. The fact that pavilion is also known the Sarık Odası (Turban room) in some of the Ottoman sources is related on the fact that the turbans of the Ottoman Sultan were safeguarded here. Also, the Sacred Trusts used to be transfarred to the Revan pavilion when the Has Oda was cleaned every year during the month of Ramadan.

Baghdad Pavilion

This pavilion was built to commemorate the conquest of Baghdad by Murad IV in 1639. It is surrounded by a spacious portico that is paneled in marble. The pillars rest on brass circles. The tiles on the exterior are turquoise and navy blue, while the window frames are star shaped and the motifs on the dome are in the shape of pomegranete flowers. Formerly there was a red ball hanging within a gold embroidered cage. There are Qur’anic verses on the tiles of the interior. The doors and the cupboards are inlaid with mother of pearl and tortoiseshell.

Iftariye Bower

This was constructed by İbrahim I in 1640. The bower is an expectional place for a view of Istanbul. It is covered by a metal dome that rests on four pillars. The sultan is reported to have broken his fast under this bower during Ramadan, hence, the name (iftar being word for the meal at the end of the fast). When religious holidays fell in the summer, the sultans accepted visitors in this bower and watched athletic competitions from here.

The Chief Physician’s Room

As the 1.7 meter-thick ground floor walls and the depictions in ancient gravures suggest, the structure was originally built as a tower. In its present from, it was used for the preparation and the safeguarding of medications. Another name of the building was the Tower of the Başlala (Head Tutor), because the chief physician worked under the command of Başlala, who was responsible for education of sultan’s children.

Mustafa Pasha Pavilion

This pavilion was built by Kara Mustafa Pasha of Merzifon in the 17th century while he was serving as grand vizier. This is the reason why it is known as the Mustafa Pasha Pavilion. When it was renovated during the reign of Ahmed III in 1704, the epigraph referred to the building as Sofa Pavilion.

Mecidiye Pavilion

The Mecidiye Pavilion is located on the right of Forth courtyard, on the lower ground. The pavilion comprises another section of the Esvap Chamber and the Sofa Mosque. The Mecidiye Pavilion, along with nighboring Esvap Chamber, was constructed and furnished in the Rococo style in 1859 by Sultan Abdülmecid I. The entrance to the pavilion is through three different wooden doors. The door in the middle leads to the basement. The walls of the pavilions are decorated with portraits of the sultansi signed by foreign artists, with gilded mirrors and furnacesç There are chandeliers on theceiling with 20-30 branches each.

 

 

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