Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul
Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul
Sultanahmet Square (Sultanahmet Meydani) is Istanbul's old historic quarter, and it houses some of the city's most important historic monuments. Sultan Ahmet I, the architect of the Blue Mosque, which sits at one end of the leafy square, was named after the neighborhood. The glorious Hagia Sophia stands at the opposite end of the square, facing the Blue Mosque.
Many of Istanbul's Byzantine and Ottoman monuments were constructed in the Old City, and with so many historical attractions in and around Sultanahmet Square, it's a great place to launch any sightseeing tour of the city.
The Hippodrome, which was once the center of public life in Constantinople, is a good place to launch your tour of the Sultanahmet quarter. The Hippodrome was the site of ferocious chariot races, which the Byzantines liked as much as the Romans enjoyed gladiator battles. The Obelisk of Theodosius, the Serpentine Column, and the Column of Constantine are among the most important landmarks in this stadium. There's also a lovely domed fountain commemorating Kaiser Wilhelm II's 1898 visit to Istanbul. The Hippodrome has been transformed into a public park that stretches the length of the Blue Mosque building.
The Blue Mosque, with its six majestic minarets, and the majestic Hagia Sophia, which face each other at opposite ends of the square, are Istanbul's two most famous monuments.
When visiting Hagia Sophia, don't forget to stop by the nearby Basilica Cistern, which is one of Istanbul's many secret gems. Justinian built this massive underground cistern in Yerebatan Caddesi in 532 to supply water to the city in the event of sieges. The Milion, a marble pillar near the Basilica Cistern's entrance, was used to quantify all distances during the Byzantine period.
We still enjoy stopping at the Lale Restaurant on Divan Yolu Cd. for lunch or a coffee break, which used to be the popular Pudding Shop during the hippie period. Tony was one of the young travelers chasing Eastern adventures, and the Pudding Shop evokes fond memories for him. The Pudding Shop was founded by the Olpan brothers in 1957, and the restaurant is still owned by the family today.
Sultanahmet Square and Blue Mosque
Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, formerly known as the Hippodrome, is a popular meeting place and a fantastic tourist destination. From this square, you can visit many important archaeological sites nearby, including Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts. The Egyptian obelisk, the serpentine column, the giant column or column of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, and the German fountain are all located in this square.
The "Blue Mosque" or "Sultan Ahmed Mosque," Istanbul's most prominent and beautiful mosque, is one of the closest archaeological sites to this square. Sultan Ahmed I ordered this mosque to be constructed between 1603 and 1617. Because of the vast number of blue-colored Iznik tiles that cover the majority of the mosque, it was dubbed the Blue Mosque.
The many stalls and hawkers selling everything from beverages and watermelon to snack food, postcards, and souvenirs add color to the cultural sights in Sultanahmet Square. The drink vendors are particularly vibrant. The Cavalry Bazaar, located at the southern end of the Blue Mosque, specializes in carpets and handicrafts.
Hotels in Sultanahmet
It takes more than a day to completely appreciate all of the attractions around Sultanahment Square. If you want to stay in the city, there are hotels to suit any budget, and many of them have roof-top terraces with panoramic views of Sultanahmet Square and the Sea of Marmara.