Istanbul, Turkey Photography Guide Part 1 - Common Path
Written and Photographed by Mike Lindle
Planning on exploring the city that joins Europe and Asia? If yes, you are in for a treat. Divided only by the Bosphorous (river), this destination is truly unique where world cultures and global heritages collide to deliver some of earth’s best architecture and most interesting culture. Follow along with this 4 part photography guide, outlining some of the best locations across Istanbul and Turkey to photograph and explore. I was lucky to travel through Istanbul/Turkey in 2014 with my first digital camera.
Part 1 - The Common Path
The Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque)
This historic Mosque is located in Istanbul’s Sultan Ahmet district. Construction was completed in 1616 during the rule of Ahmed I. Featuring 5 main domes and 6 minarets, this mosque is one of Istanbul’s most frequented mosques as muslims still actively use it for daily prayers. It is located on the historic Hippodrome, a short walk from the Hagia Sophia.
Completed in 537 AD at the dawn of the Middle Ages, this church was famous for its massive dome roof. At the time of completion, it was the world's largest building and purely an engineering marvel of its time. The very structure epitomizes Byzantine architecture and definitely influenced the course of architecutrla history as we know it.
It’s important to remember that Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Empire under Mehmed the Conqueror in 1453. After the city fell under Ottoman rule and eventually became Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia, once the main church of Greek Orthodox Christianity, was converted into this mosque.
Hagia Sophia Window View of Blue Mosque
Catch a glimpse of the Blue Mosque through one of the windows on the upper floors of the Hagia Sophia. Don’t miss out on the unique view, sandwiched between the walls and domes of this historic landmark.
The Topkapı Palace was the main residence of Ottoman sultans in the 15th century. Construction on the palace began only 6 years after the fall of Constantinople, in 1459. As the Ottoman empire ended in 1923, the palace was preserved and converted by the government into a museum from a decree on April 3, 1924.
Basilica Cistern - Yerebatan Sarnıcı
Of the several hundred cisterns that lie beneath Istanbul, the Basilica Cistern is the largest. Construction was said to require 7,000 slaves and the project was completed in the 6th century while the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I ruled. Each subsequent column holds the entire structure in tact, the Basilica Cisterns feature two columns of with Medusa’s decapitated head at the base of them. Originally constructed to store clean potable water for the surrounding neighborhood, it is kept mostly empty, to accommodate tourism.
The New Mosque (Yeni Camii) (New Valide Sultan Mosque)
Built and partially reconstructed between 1660 and 1665, this Ottoman imperial mosque is found in the Eminönü quarter of Istanbul. Sitting right on the Golden Horn in Istanbul at the South side of Galata Bridge, it is a prominent structure and historical landmark in Istanbul.
The Süleymaniye Mosque is an Ottoman Imperial mosque in Istanbul located in the Third Hill District. Originally commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent, designed by the imperial architect Mimar Sinan. It is Istanbul’s 2nd largest Mosque, a prominent feature along the city’s skyline. Construction on this mosque was completed in 1557.
Grand Bazaar (Kapalıçarşı) (Büyük Çarşı)
Considered one of the first shopping malls in the world, Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar attracts 250,000-400,000 people daily. To this day, the Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered market in the world. It showcases shops and city-vendors on 61+ covered streets with more than 4000 shops. It spans a total area of 30,700 square-meters.
Pro Tip - Here’s an excellent market to stock up on cheap/worldly souvenirs! Watch out for pickpockets and enjoy haggling with the various shop owners!
Spice Bazaar (Mısır Çarşısı)
One of the largest markets in the City, Istanbul’s Spice Bazaar is truly a wonderful market to stroll and enjoy the different varieties of spices and local offerings. It is located in the Eminönü quarter of the Fatih district.