30 Nisan 2014 Çarşamba

Shoots and Scores

Inonu Stadium - Dolmabahce

Architects of the stadium that opened its gates on May 19 1947 were Vietti Violi, Sinasi Sahingiray and Fazil Aysu. The uncovered grandstand section was later added to the stadium once the natural gas plant on the ground was demolished.

The first game the stadium held was on November 23 1947 between Besiktas and AIK of Sweden. Besiktas’s Suleyman Seba scored the first goal, but the match was won by AIK as 2-3.

The stadium was demolished in June 2013 for restoration purposes; the construction currently continues.

Also housing Besiktas Gymnasium Club’s museum, the stadium since 1990s also functioned as an international concert arena.

Bryan Adams gave the first concert of such on July 28 1992, and names such as Guns N’Roses, Elton John, Metallica, Madonna, and Michael Jackson followed.

You can find more information on the stadium and the museum from here. To get there, just follow the traffic moving from Besiktas towards Kabatas: the stadium is located right across Dolmabahce Palace.

Take Care of Yourselves,
Tracer of Istanbul 

22 Nisan 2014 Salı

History Calling

Archeology Museum - Gulhane

Collected artifacts of the Ottoman Empire since the reign of Fatih the Conqueror was first gathered in Hagia Irene in 1869, hence founding the Muze-i Hümayun (Museum of the Empire). As the collection grew, Cinili Kosk (China Tiled Villa) that still belongs to the Archeology Museum started hosting the collection. You can take a 3D tour of the villa from here.

In 1881 Ottoman Museums reached a new age with the appointment of Osman Hamdi Bey as head of the Archeological Museum. One of first four students to be educated in the West, Osman Hamdi Bey not only was thoroughly knowledgeable on museum management, protecting historical artifacts and restoring them, but he also took many measures to stop the smuggling of artifacts out of the empire. If you ever make it to Eskihisar we recommend you stop by at his old house, which now stands as a museum.

Going back to our topic, Cinili Köşk was built by the order of Fatih the Conqueror, and is the oldest building on the grounds. Eastern Artifacts Museum’s building used to be the Fine Arts Academy that Osman Hamdi Bey founded and taught at. This academy was the first step to the foundation of Mimar Sinan University. The architect of the building was Alexander Vallaury whom also designed the Archeology Museum’s main building. This main building is one of the rare examples of a building designed only to be used as a museum. The building which holds the air of a temple has the engraved Ottoman writing of Asar-ı Atika Müzesi (Museum of Old Artifacts), and Sultan Abdülhamit II’s sign whom have had ordered the building be constructed.

The grand opening date of the museum in 1891, June 13th is still the national museum day in Turkey.

To get to the Archeology Museum you need to take the side road next to Hagia Irene in Topkapı Palace or climb the small path across Gulhane Park. You can find more information on the museum here.

There are no words to describe the variety of artifacts and information this museum harbors. We suggest you visit it early in the morning and take a little break at the teahouse in the museum’s garden. Resting here in the beauty and calmness, we are sure you’ll hear history calling. 

Take care of yourselves,
Tracer of Istanbul

17 Nisan 2014 Perşembe

The Gate Where Once Cannons Dominated and the Palace Where the Sultans Ruled

Top Kapi Gate (Topkapı) - Topkapi Palace (Sultanahmet)

Top Kapi (Cannon Ball + Gate) gets its name from Fatih the Conqueror’s camp in which they utilized the main and largest cannon balls to take over the city. The gate before 1453 had few different names including Aiyos Romanos, Saint Romanos and Porta Romanos Gate. A confession; we did not tried to find this gate yet but we will soon. By then you can find a photo of the gate from here.

On the other hand Topkapi Palace is one of the most popular and touristic spots in Istanbul, we decided to give you interesting details on Topkapi Palace rather than repeating the generic historical summary you can find everywhere. But you can still check out the history through this link.

And here as promised, interesting facts on Topkapi Palace :

  • Through out history, no one but the Sultan was allowed to enter through the middle gate Babusselam except Ivaz Mehmet Pasha who captured the Castle of Belgrade (the picture is above).
  • The tallest structure within the palace is the justice tower in the court section. This tower marks the silhouette of the historical peninsula in pictures of Istanbul (picture is on the right)

  • Situated on the right side of the entrance, palace kitchen includes these sections: main kitchen, sherbet room, helva (a Turkish dessert) room, pewter room and storage room.  Lamb meat consumed in the palace always came from a certain specie of sheep found in Thrace. A separate kitchen called Kushane cooked only for the Harem and the Sultan.
  • There are 11000 pieces of Chinese porcelains in Topkapi Palace.
  • Zulfu Baltacilar Guilds guarded the Harem. They were the only hearths allowed to stay on the palace grounds at night.
  • Gazelles were easy to run by in the Palace Gardens.

  • The Palace collection contains 22000 handwritten books. 2500 of these books were illustrated.
  • Friday prayers were always held outside of the palace in different locations.
  • Murat IVth was the only Sultan that visited the sports arena. The stone throne in this arena belonged to him (picture is on the right)
  • Just like we mentioned on our entry on Yildiz Palace here, Topkapi Palace also reached its current size through the addition of buildings throughout ages.
  • Sultan Abdulmecit abandoned the palace.

  • Two interesting spots can be found located on the leftside when entered from Bab-ı Hümayun (the picture is on the left): the remains of Samson Hospital that was burned down during the Nika Riot, and the Aya Irini (Hagia Irene) Museum. You can find more information on how to visit Aya Irini (Hagia Irene) from here.
  • Babussade, Happiness Gate, opened to the third courtyard.  The general who was about to go on a campaign would receive Sancak-i Şerif (Sacred Standart - believed to be the battle standard of Prophet Muhammad) from the Sultan in front of this gate (the picture is below)

There are a lot of important must sees in the Palace grounds like Sacred Relics Department, Treasurt Ward, Harem... We are not quite sure if only a day is enough to visit this Palace in detail.

We compiled these facts for you through visiting the Palace with tour guides and studying Murat Belge’s Istanbul Tour Guide book.

Take Care of Yourselves,
Tracer of Istanbul

9 Nisan 2014 Çarşamba

A History of Relaxing

Historical Galatasaray Hammam - Galatasaray

Galatasaray Bathhouse was built by the order of Beyazit II in 1481 on the grounds of Galatasary social complex.

Renovated in 1964, Galatasaray Hammam is one of the many spots in Istanbul for the ones who want to have a relaxing bathhouse experience. Located in the center of the town, the bathhouse not only has welcomed famous foreigners throughout its history, but also is a popular spot for art and fashion shoots.

Since we weren’t able to take photos of the Hammam (we didn’t want to creep out the patrons) you can check out the interior of the bathhouse from here.

To get there all you have to do is take the side street next to Galatasaray High School located on İstiklal Street.

To finish, here’s something we’ll bet our hat on: Ask any Turk about this movie scene and they will surely start chuckling.

Take Care of Yourselves,
Tracer of Istanbul