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Sirkeci Gari
Sirkeci Railway Station
#About Istanbul's Orient Express Station

If you find yourselves thinking about the time of Agatha Christy and wanting to get a peak of the Orient Express, then the closest place to see this legendary train is in Sirkeci Gari.

In the fancy station the Orient Express stopped during its height in the 19th century. Today it is back in business, but is a train only for the rich, who have a connection and longing to the romantic train of the past.

At this station, the past has never looked so clear. The station is very well kept, and looks almost exactly how it did in the past. It is located in a European style fancy building, in the 19th century style. On its walls and windows there are many Oriental decorations and paintings.

There are luxury restaurants here, with excellent expensive food. On the walls are photos and placards from the old world, the Victorian, or Colonialism era, which is no more.

The place is impressing and certainly interesting, and worth the trip for a visit.

#A Closer Look:


#A Visit:


#Today's Orient Express:

Retro Museum Varna
Retro Museum Varna
#About the Museum of the Socialist Age of Bulgaria

On the first floor of the Grand Mall, the city's largest shopping center, is the Retro Museum in Varna. The museum, dominated by the color red, is dedicated to the period of the socialist rule in Bulgaria.

Don't undermine the quality of the museum because it is located in a shopping center. It is a little ironic that at the center of a typical place for capitalist consumerism, like a mall, is this fascinating and wonderful museum that documents life during a time when the Bulgarians lived under communism. This is during the period of the Cold War, between 1944 and 1989.

From household products, through everyday products, such as cigarettes and food items to toys and games - at the Varna's Retro Museum you will see a variety of tools and items from the socialist period. The music in the background adds to the atmosphere of the period and this time machine will bring you back to Bulgaria in the 60's.

The wax dolls in the museum rooms are also nostalgic, figures of socialist leaders from this era, Karl Marx to Stalin and Leonid Brezhnev.

Very impressive is the collection of "socialist" cars exhibited here. Visitors can see dozens of vehicles that were once used by the communist countries. Among them is the Czech Skoda, the Travent manufactured in East Germany, and from the Soviet Union the popular Volga. Pay attention to the famous Chaika GAZ-13, which drove the Politburo members of the Communist Party and other members of the Communist regime.


Entrance is free for children under the age of 6.

Opening hours: 10:00 am -10:00 pm.

A Closer Look:

Ortaky Camii
Ortaköy Mosque
#About the Magnificent Mosque on the Banks of the Bosphorus

Ortaköy Mosque (Ortaköy Camii) is a mosque built on the banks of the Bosphorus River, and located in the Ortaköy neighborhood. This neighborhood, whose name means "the middle village," is located in the district of Beşiktaş.

The mosque on the water's edge is a popular place in the city. It is an impressive building on the banks of the Bosphorus.

The mosque was built in the 19th century, where a church once stood. It was built by orders of the first Sultan of Abdalmajit, in 1856-1856.

It was designed by Niguas Balian, a Turkish architect of Armenian descent and the son of the architect who designed the Dolmabhça Palace. Balian planned the mosque in Baroque-eclectic style. Inside he added decorations based on exquisite calligraphic notes made by the first Sultan Abdalmajit, who was a true Calligraphy artist.

The mosque, whose official name is the "Great Imperial Mosque in the name of Sultan Abdalmajit I," was designed so that its large windows would bring in a lot of light. They also absorb the reflection of reflected light from the Bosphorus.

If you want to get a beautiful view of the waters of the fortress from here, it is worth climbing to the second, upper level of the mosque. A look from this place, lined with green prayer shawls, to the vast Bosphorus bridge and to the many waters seen through the huge windows, is a beautiful and special sight that widens the heart.

#Detective Exercise

They found the little crosses hidden among the church's barricades. These are the only elements left of the church that once stood here and the mosque was built above it.


Non-Muslims are not allowed to be in the mosque during prayer.

It is recommended to arrive here before the service and to enjoy watching the pre-prayer preparations.

A Visit:

Bulgar Kilisesi
Bulgarian St. Stephen Church
#About the Church that was Brought here by Boat from Vienna

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church (Bulgar Kilisesi), is the church for the Bulgarian community in Istanbul. This church is special because it is entirely made of metal.

The pieces used to built this church were built in Vienna, Austria in 1871. After having built the pieces, they were loaded onto ships and shipped to Istanbul on the Danube River.

From a religious point of view, this church serves the Bulgarian community in Istanbul who are Greek-Orthodox. Legend has it that in the 19th century, the Bulgarians wanted to leave the Greek-Orthodox church and build the Bulgarian church. The Sultan agreed to their request only if the new church will be built in seven days. This is why the community ordered the finished model from Vienna, so the church could be built within the time framce given by the sulten.

#A Closer Look:


#Another Look:


1 Hour

Yerebatan Saray
Basilica Cistern
#About the Basilica Shaped Water Reservoir with 335 Columns

Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayi) is an underground water reservoir, and holding the ceiling of the reservoir are no less than 336 columns.

These columns used here are secondary buildings. Meaning they were taken from ruins of other locations around the city, and used here during a later period. The custom to reuse buildings from ancient ruins was popular in the past, and not only in Turkey.

The reservoir, built in the year 532 by 7,000 workers, is an impressive example of Byzantine architecture. The columns are lit with dim lighting, giving the place a special feeling, being helped by background music, and a visit here is a magical moment in Istanbul.

#History of the Basilica

The reservoir was built by Emperor Justinian in 532 BCE. It was meant to lead drinking water into the city, and preserve water for the palace and the adjoining buildings.

The Ottomans apparently did not understand the importance of such a place, for they used the space as a dump. Legend has it that dead bodies were occasionally through in here. In the 20th century the basilica was renovated and has since become a romantic setting for couple photos, engagement photos, and many, many tourist photos.

Today the basilica is lit by colorful lighting, and many coy fish swim around in the water. On summer days many locals and tourists visit this sport, as a way to escape the hear. From time to time there are musical and dance performances here.

#Children's Detective Activity

Look for the jellyfish's head at the foot of 2 of the columns. They will appear to be upside down. They used to be submerged by water. Did you find it?

Also look for "The Crying Column," shaped like one big tear. According to legends if you place your hand on the hole, and manage to turn the entire column around, you will have good luck!

#A Closer Look:


#A Tour:

Byk Saray Mozaikleri Mzesi
Great Palace Mosaic Museum
#About the Museum With the Mosaics

The Great Palace Mosaic Museum (Büyük Saray Mozaikleri Müzesi) displays a wonderful collection of mosaic art from the Byzantine Emperor's Palace.

In the museum you can see wonderful mosaic, where scenes of hunts and mythology stories are illustrated. The mosaics were found by archeologists near the Sultan Ahmed Mosque.

#A Closer Look:

Museum of Turkish Jews
Jewish Museum Turkey
#About the Museum with the Story of the Jewish Community of Istanbul

The Jewish Museum of Turkey is a cozy museum that presents and describes the history of the Jewish community of Istanbul. The atmosphere here is unique and does not include the alienation we feel in many museums.

Through a collection of exhibits from the past, donated by families, Turkish synagogues and various Jewish institutions, visitors can learn about the Jewish past, professions, art, commerce, and economy,

The museum exposes visitors to the significant role that the Jewish community brought to the culture and society of the Ottoman Empire, and the unique place of the Jewish community in Turkey in general. It is interesting to see, especially compared to other Jewish communities are the world.

The three floors of the Jewish Museum of Turkey present the long-standing heritage of the Jewish community in Istanbul, which is closely linked to Turkish and Ottoman history. This, by the way, was built up largely by Jews who emigrated to Turkey during the expulsion from Spain.

The museum contains a wealth of exhibits related to the life of this magnificent community, including items related to religious worship in the city and the state, and other items illustrating the place, integration and historical role of this community in Turkish society in the old days.

Although from time to time there are activities related to Turkish Jewish heritage, this museum deals more with the display of a Jewish world existed, and is no longer there.

Closer look:



Roman Thermae
#About the Ancient Baths of Varna

In ancient times stood in place of the city of Varna and the Roman city of Odessos. It left ruins and various archaeological sites excavated by the researchers. One of the most impressive sites in the ancient sites of Varna is the Roman Baths, which operated here until the end of the 3rd century AD and in the absence of bathing in the houses, was an important component of daily life here.

This is a fascinating structure, probably built in the 2nd century AD. The visit is a must for anyone interested in the wonderful connection between history and technology, architecture and science.

These Roman baths are also called The Roman Spa. In the past, they spread over a vast area of ​​about 7 square kilometers, which ranks them as the largest in Bulgaria and the fourth largest in all of Europe.

#What Will you See Here?
At the Odysseus Baths, one of the most important historic sites in the area, you will see the wonderful infrastructure and architecture of the baths, built in the ancient Roman style.

These baths are of a type that the Romans call "a small imperial type". The place has two entrances, with identical waiting rooms on both sides - at the western entrance of the baths and the eastern entrance.

This public bath complex, one of the most important cultural sites in Bulgaria, has been well preserved. It is considered one of the most preserved sites from the ancient Roman period. The wandering between the various rooms, used two thousand years ago by the bathers here, is impressive and even a little moving.

Pay attention to the ancient and sophisticated heating system built under the bathrooms. It is hard not to be impressed by the sophisticated heating systems built by the Romans. Here they used the most advanced subterranean heating technology. It is based on hot air that came in pipes from the kitchens of the place and the room of the water tanks (praefurnium) and warmed the water. After heating the water, the air was released in the chimneys installed on the roof of the baths.

The wonderful preservation of the various intelligent systems installed here thousands of years ago enables us to see the genius of the Roman engineers and their understanding of the technology required for the supply of hot water, in an era where electricity is not used or water is heated by the sun.

Between the rooms you will see the large apoditeria halls, next to the halls used for meetings and sports (basilica termarium), where visitors were entertained before and after bathing.

The baths themselves had halls of varying heat. There were lounges in lukewarm water (frigidarium), or in hot water (tepidarium) and even in very hot water (caldarium). There were also toilets here (latrinae).

In addition to the bath infrastructure itself, the site also contains a host of other cultural artifacts. In the historical site you will find many ancient inscriptions that were well preserved. These are Roman inscriptions with wall paintings alongside them, which were then part of the usual design in public buildings and within luxurious villas. Here and there there were statues of Roman gods that adorned the baths.

Try to arrive during the day. In the evenings it might be crowded here.

A Closer Look:


Gülhane Park
#About the Park that Once Was a Palace Garden

In the distant past, Gülhane Parkı, located at the footsteps of Topkapi Palace, was part of the external garden of the Sultan's Palace. Today it is considered one of the most popular parks among Istanbul's residents.

The park, which spreads out all the way to the beach, contains a small zoo, picnic areas, playgrounds, cafes, and trees hundreds of years old.

The city's residents often come here on weekends and vacations. In summer there are performances and concerts, all outdoors.

In the park, also called Guuml Park, are wooden ruins of the summer houses that once were here, for the Ottoman rulers and their royal families. Many similar building in this areas were burned down in a great fire in 1863.

At the bottom of the part. near the beach, you can see a gothic column 15 meters high with Latin writing, estimated to have been put there in the 3rd century.

#A Closer Look:

Bosphorus Bridge
#About the bridge that connects Asia to Europe

The Bosphorus Bridge is a bridge in Istanbul, linking the Asian part of the city with its European part. Crossing the bridge is over the Straits of Bosphorus, straits that separate the continents.

The bridge itself is a suspension bridge, 1,510 meters long and 39 meters wide. Although they dreamed of building it since the 5th century BC, it was built only in 1973, when it cost about $ 200 million.

This bridge is spectacular in its beauty, both in the view from it and in the unique experience of the passage between it, between the two continents.

To pass the bridge there is a toll on the Asian side of the bridge.

Due to many cases of suicide, it is now impossible to cross the Bosphorus by walking, but only in vehicles.

Remote view:

Pobiti Kamani
#About A Forest Made of Stones Only

The Stone Forest, or Stone Forest, is the name of a rare and mysterious natural phenomenon of cylindrical stone pillars at an average height of 7 meters and a width of about 3 meters in the center of a desolate area.

Bulgarians call the place "Pobiti kamani" which means "stones that stuck them in the ground." Surprisingly, these strange rocks are not solid from the inside, but hollow and filled with sand.

The stone forest covers a huge area of ​​7 square kilometers and is 18 kilometers west of Varna, on the road between Varna and Sofia, one of the first nature reserves to be declared in Bulgaria.

This look is beautiful and unique and makes the visit to the Stone Forest an amazing experience, reminiscent of a visit to a distant star or a landscape from a wonderful fantasy movie.

This "forest" is an unexplained natural phenomenon, unique and unique. It is amazing to wander here along a mile of tall stone pillars. The only trees in this forest are columns made of stone, some of which reach 10 or even 12 meters high.

Many researchers speculate that the site is 50 million years old, but there are quite a few arguments about its origin and how it was created. No one is able to explain exactly how and when the impressive stone pillars that filled the area were created.

# What will you see here and where?
The Pobiti Kamani contains stone columns resembling trees planted in the ground, reminiscent of an especially large and ancient building site. The columns have a variety of shapes, including columns that resemble animals, or similar to fountains.

The site extends over a huge area, where several clusters of natural rocks are unique and different from each other. Some of the most interesting:

The Dikilitash group - where the rocks were best preserved.

The Creyrate Group - a cluster of man-made rock-cuttings.

The "Center-South" cluster - the most popular cluster, around 300 large and small stone columns, rising to a height of 6 meters and centered mostly south of the old road to the town of Devnya, about 18 kilometers west of Varna.

# How was the forest of columns?
The stone forest is a rare geological phenomenon that is still being studied by scientists, and there are various attempts to explain its origins in the process of the rocks' extinction, and it was hypothesized that the sandstone pillars were devoured by sediments about 50 million years ago, below sea level. These great stones, which you will see here today.

There is also another theory that tries to link these stone columns to corals that grew in the sea.

But the better explanation is for methane gas that bubbled into the water after being oxidized by single-celled organisms. This caused the penetration of calcium and magnesium into the sand and from them to the formation of rock resistant and particularly strong. After the sea had receded, for millions of years, the sand around them had been lost, and the strong and durable pillars of rock had been exposed.

Visiting the site towards sunset is a great experience.

They brought a bottle of water, because walking here can be tiring and there are no buffets or restaurants here.

View from above:


And closer:


And a nice presentation:

Süleymaniye Mosque
#About the Big Mosque in the City that Many Consider a Perfect Mosque

There are no shortage of magnificent mosques in Istanbul, but above all stands the Mosque of Suleyman (Süleymaniye Mahallesi). With place for 25,000 worshipers at a time, is undoubtedly the largest mosque in the city and one of its most famous icons. Many consider it the most beautiful structure of the Ottoman architecture and the most impressive mosque in the city.

It is an Ottoman Sultanit mosque, wide and open from the inside, filled with the light coming in from the 249 windows where everything is visible and has nothing to hide. The splendor of Islamic architecture and the Sultan's purpose was to prove the superiority of Islam, in contrast to the impressive Hagia Sophia built here by the Byzantine Christians.

Contruction began in 1550, and lasted seven years. Even today the casual visitor will be impressed by the genius of the designer, one of the greatest architects of all time, Mimar Sinan.

The Süleymaniye Mahallesi is located on the third hill of Istanbul. It is in the center of a barred walled courtyard. Like other mosques in Istanbul, it was also built as a "kulliye" compound, where several buildings serve both the cultural and religious needs of the community.

Indeed, in the past, in addition to the mosque itself, there was also a hospital, schools that tought the Koran and Hadith, a public inn, public bathhouses and imaret, a soup kitchen for the poor. The latter is today a well-known restaurant in town. Many of the other structures still exist, most of them in different uses than in the past.

#Architecture of the mosque

The Mosque of Suleyman was created by an Ottoman architect who is perhaps the best known in the history of the empire, and one of the greatest architects ever. Mimar Sinan lived and worked in the 16th century, one of the most prominent architects of Istanbul at that time.

This mosque is the largest of Sinan's works. He built a mosque that was no less than perfect. Pay attention to its central dome, supported by four half-domes, inspired by the church of Hagia Sophia, which Sinan wanted to overshadow.

Pay attention to the perfect symmetry of the structure. This mosque is an example of accuracy and rigor in every detail, both in planning and in construction. It is well lit and in its central part there are almost no columns, which creates a large and impressive congregation of worshipers, without separation. The researchers found that Sinan also experimented with blue tints in the inner space, but eventually preferred to give it a unique reddish tint.

Even though Sinan's work is still clear, over the years the mosque was damaged by a fire, renovated, experienced an earthquake and again was renovated. Some of the buildings in the mosque compound were added over the years and were not originally planned. Among them the Mausoleum of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, who constructed the mosque, and his wife Roxelana. Outside the walls of the mosque is the grave of architect Sinan himself.

#What will you see here?

The Mosque of Suleyman conveys the wealth the empire experienced in the 16th century. It was opened in 1557, after being built in just 7 years, and today it is a complex with several separate buildings.

Entrance to the mosque - through a large courtyard. It is surrounded by a portico, a covered building, held up by granite columns and marble.

The four minarets - some say they symbolize the fact that Suleyman the Magnificent is the fourth Sultan who controls the city of Istanbul.

The mosque itself - a perfect and symmetrical structure with a central dome supported by four half-domes.

A mausoleum for Suleyman the Magnificent and his wife Roxelana - was added years later and was not designed by Sinan, and includes a small and impressive cemetery with tombs of other personalities in the history of the Ottoman Empire.

The grave of Mimar Sinan, architect and builder of the mosque, who has lived in the compound for many years, is buried outside the walls of the mosque, near the northwestern corner of the mosque's courtyard.


Entrance to the mosque is free

#A Closer Look:


#A Tour:



Caddebostan Coast
#About Istanbul's Favorite Beach

Caddebostan Coast (Caddebostan Sahili) is a long stretch of beach, about a kilometer, where anyone can enjoy swimming or sunbathing. During the day the beach offers all the typical things, like chairs, umbrellas, lifeguards, eateries for food and drink.

The beach is surrounded by ancient wooded houses, and the grass here is green. It is also really nice to visit in the afternoons and evenings. Istanbul's residents love this place, nothing better than sitting here on a warm summer night.

If it's a picnic on the grass, volleyball on the sand, or a walk or a run - this is a wonderful way to spend an evening. One of the nice things is that you can see the Prince's Islands in the distance.


Trying getting here by sunset, and bring some snacks and drinks with you for a calm Istanbul-like evening.

Near the parking lot is a supermarket, where you can buy anything you need.

#A Closer Look:


# A View from Above:

Dolmabahce Palace
#About the Palace Used by the Sultan in the 19th Century

The Dolmabahce Palace (Dolmabahçe Sarayi) in Achça is the palace that served as the rulers of Turkey from the 19th century. It was built in 1854 by Sultan Abdul Majid.

The palace, decorated in the style of the Turkish Renaissance, is located in the district of Siktis in Istanbul, on the European bank of the Bosphorus Strait.

This is a "modest" palace, covering almost 45,000 square meters, with 285 rooms, 43 halls, 68 bathrooms, 6 bathrooms and 6 balconies.

The meaning of Dolmabahce Sarayi is "a full garden".

Indeed, the gardens of the Dolmabahce Palace are one of the most amazing wonders in Istanbul.

#History of the palace

Dolmabahce Palace was built in 1856 for the Sultan Abdul Majid. The Sultan was suffering at that time in the Topkapi Palace. He wanted to impress kings and rulers in the great world, he sought a modern palace different from the one in his possession, Topkapi Palace. Instead of the palace, which was designed according to the Ottoman tradition, he decided on a palace like in Europe. Thus was born this palace, which looks like an imperial charm but is completely Turkish.

Dolmabahce Palace was built quite quickly, in a beautiful, open bay for construction. It was built on land created after filling the beach with the Bosphorus in the ground. Since its construction, the palace has served as the main residence of the Sultans. This continued until the 1920's, with the end of the sultanate and the Ottoman Empire, due to the defeat in World War I.

Throughout this period, the palace and its beautiful defenders, the Sultan and his aides, have been watching over their sinking Ottoman Empire, which historians call the "sick man of Europe," fading towards the end.

After Ataturk came to power, at the end of World War I, he, too, chose to spend his last years here. He died here in 1938. To this day, all the clocks in the palace teach about the death of the leader and the great Turkish nation.

Today the palace serves as a museum. The Turkish government uses it for various official receptions and ceremonies.

#What Do You See Here?

The entrance to the palace is through the imperial gate. If you arrive at the palace during the summer months, you can watch a band of Janissary soldiers playing on Tuesday afternoons in a style that was common during the Ottoman Empire.

The palace has three main parts: the section dedicated to the Sultan, its ceremonial and official area and the harem, where the Sultan's women and his mistresses lived and lived.

Already at the entrance to the palace you can see the great splendor of the Turkish sultans. In the crystal foyer and the crystal-laden stairwell, all the balustrades, chandeliers and lamps from Crystal Baccara are made of glittering crystal. This is the most famous of the palace rooms and rooms.

Later on, especially in the main hall, the tour continues and displays beautiful carpets and a range of luxury objects in the palace. Along with the abundance of furniture, many rugs and luxurious crystals in the magnificent palace, you will also see the Royal Bathroom, a fascinating sight that illustrates the magnificence here, in every detail of the life of the Turkish sultans.

A historical component of the tour of the palace is that of Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. The leader, known as "the father of the Turks," spent the last few years in the palace. Visiting the Dolmabahce Palace, you can see the bed on which Atatürk lay at the time of his death. Pay attention to the clocks at the palace, indicating the time when the revered leader died.

The tour usually ends in the courtyard leading to the beach. Dolmabachce's well-kept gardens have a spectacular view of the Bosphorus and the Asian Bank of Istanbul.


It is recommended to buy tickets in advance and not wait and stand in the lines.

The visit to the palace is with guide - a tour starts every few minutes in the museum, with museum guides.

It's worth sitting in the cafeteria opposite the Bosphorus in the palace!

#A Closer Look:

Çiçek Pasajı
#About the Alley that Turned into a Restaurant Complex

Çiçek Pasajı, usually very crowded with popular restaurants, in the 19th century was a a covered street, of the prettiest and most expensive in the city. It was used for commercial and residential purposes. The stylish building, with its metal and glass ceiling, used to be compared to the famous gallery in Milan, Italy, the second Vittorio Emanuele Gallery.

The alley received its name because many flowers can be seen in every window. The tradition of the flowers started apparently in the start of the 20th century, when immigrant Russian women would sit here, after the Bolshovik Revolution, and sold flowers.

The close proximity of the flower alley to the center of attractions in the city, makes this a place you'll want to visit and eat at. It is located in next to Galata Palace, and not far from the Balik Pazari fish market.

The boulevard next over is Istiklal, which starts here and ends at Taksim Square, of the central locations in the city.


It's easy to find your way into the flower alley in the town center, and highly recommended, when you get hungry and want to eat in the ancient Turkish atmosphere.

#A Closer Look:


#Restaurant Players:



Antique Hippodrome
#About the Constantinople Hippodrome with the Obelisk

The hippodrome is a combination of the Greek words hippos, meaning "horse," and dromus, which is a track, or a race. Indeed, antiquity was used in antiquity like the one you are now in, for horse races and chariots. During the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods it was a very common sport and an inseparable part of the leisure and entertainment culture of the citizens of these empires.

The Hippodrome of Constantinople, near the Blue Mosque, leaves the Blue Mosque through a gate in the courtyard of the mosque. The exit to it is like going back in time to the Roman and Byzantine periods. This hippodrome was very large and could accommodate 100,000 viewers. It spanned a wide area, 480 meters by 117 meters.

An organized archaeological excavation was never conducted in the hippodrome. During renovations in 1993 near the Blue Mosque, the builders discovered several rows of benches, columns and ornaments from the ancient hippodrome. Some of the columns and snake heads found here can be seen in the Museum of Archeology of Istanbul at the Topkapi Palace.

The original structures of the Hippodrome still contain few remains today, which can now be seen in the Sultanahmet Meydani Square, adjacent to the Blue Mosque.


#History of the Hippodrome

The hippodrome where you stand is the sports and cultural center of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire and one of the great cultural centers of Europe at the time.

From the Roman era, the hippodrome was used for horse racing and chariots, and for large social events. It also served as an amphitheater and held various shows.

The original racecourse was founded by Emperor Septimius Severus in the 2nd century CE. Later Emperor Constantine renovated the hippodrome to seat 100,000 spectators.

Its importance in the Byzantine period only grew, and its enormous size demonstrated its popularity and centrality in the life of the city.

After Constantinople was conquered by Mehmet II during the Ottoman period, the hippodrome continued to serve sports, but mainly hosted polo games and royal ceremonies such as the circumcision of the Sultan's princes.

Today, on the hippodrome sits on Sultan Mehmet Square and an open garden, whose shape and structure preserve the outline and structure of the hippodrome. In the square and in the public garden where the vestiges of the glorious past of Constantinople are embedded.

While the obelisk, the Column of Constantine, and the Serpent Column can be fully seen, who stood along the fence between the racetrack, the racetrack itself is located 2 meters below the current surface.

#What Do you See Here?

In the Hippodrome you can see the remains of the original seats south of the ring. Even more interesting are some works brought here by Constantine from across the empire to glorify his new capital, Constantinople:

#Obelisk of Theodosius (Egyptian Obelisk)

This is the upper part of an obelisk from pink granite, purchased by Emperor Theodosius I in 390 in Egypt. The obelisk was transported to Constantinople in 3 parts and was mounted at the center of the hippodrome between the two race tracks. It came from the temple of Karnak in Luxor and was built during the reign of Pharoah Thutmose III in 1490 BC. The other parts of the obelisk are no more.

On the obelisk you can see Egyptian hieroglyphs, commemorating one of the Egyptian war campaigns, and present Pharaoh offering sacrifices to Amun-Re. The Byzantines built a square base for placing the obelisk in the Hippodrome, which was decorated with reliefs depicting Emperor Theodosius watching the race.

#Serpent Column

This is a spiral pillar, once coated with gold and diamonds. The three snake heads that were once here were taken off over the years. It is the only remnant of Palataya's three-foot metal altar. The altar is glowing in memory of the Greek victory over the Persians in the Battle of Palataya, held in the 5th century BC. The altar was brought to Constantinople from the Temple of Apollo in Delphi, by the Byzantine Emperor, Constantine. The column was placed in the center of the hippodrome. Most of the damage to the altar was caused by destruction and looting during the city's conquest of the Fourth Crusade, when many of its pieces were stolen, leaving only the copper pillar from the base.

#Column of Constantine

This is a second obelisk, 32 meters high, built by Emperor Constantine VII at the edge of the Hippodrome in the 10th century. Only the obelisk rocks remain today, and it's believed that the gold and bronze planks that covered it in the past, were looted by the Venetians during the Fourth Crusade and turned into coins.

#The Octagonal Fountain (German)

The octagonal fountain is at the entrance to the hippodrome. It was built in 1898, after being given to the city by the German Kaiser Wilhelm II, as a token of gratitude for the hospitality he received on his official visit here. He gave the fountain as a gift to the Sultan who hosted it, Abd al-Hamid II. Relations between the two countries were getting stronger at that time, and they are due to mature into an alliance during World War I.


#A Closer Look:


#The Hippodrome in Ancient Times:


#A Tour:

Taksim Square
#About the Central Square of Modern Istanbul

Taksim Square (Taksim Meydanı) is considered the heart of modern Istanbul, and the heart of its commercial industry. Around this area are luxury hotels, fancy boutiques, clubs, fast food chains, and popular restaurants.

This square is the symbol of secularism in Istanbul. This is a popular place for public events. It seems that everything happens here - parades, protests, New Year's Eve celebrations, and other gatherings.

In the past, in the square concentrated the city's main water system, and the square was named after the system. The central station for Istanbul's underground subway is also here, what makes the square a public transportation center.

The circular square is located in the Taksim area, the historic Beyoğlu district, in the European half of the city. North of here you can see the Taksim Garden (Taksim Gezi Parkı), along the Cumhuriyet Caddesi avenue.

From the south-west corner of the square starts Istiklal Avenue (İstiklal Caddesi), translating to Avenue of Independence. This is the main pedestrian mall in the İstiklal district.

In the back of the square there is a statue of Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Republic.

From the square there is a nostalgic street car, along the Istiklal Avenue, and ends near the Tunnel station. This station was built in 1875, only 12 years after the London underground, which means the "Tunel" was the second underground train in the world.

#A Closer Look:


#Another Look:


Hagia Sophia
# About the Wonderful Church that Became a Mosque, and Today a Museum

For centuries, the Church of Hagia Sophia was considered the largest and most magnificent church in the world. This is a very beautiful and impressive building.

The Church of St. Sophia, whose name means "Church of Holy Wisdom," was built in the 6th century, during the Byzantine Empire. For about 1,000 years it was the center of the Byzantine Empire. In the 15th century, when the Ottomans took over Istanbul, they converted it into a mosque.

The Hagia Sophia is considered one of the most famous buildings in the world. This is a very impressive building with enormous dimensions, the size of which competes with its beauty. In fact, it is the largest Christian cathedral in Turkey. Do not miss the beautiful mosaic decorations.

In front of the Hagia Sophia you will see the stone that marks the zero point. This stone survived from the Byzantine period. It was then used as a landmark of the "center of the universe," as they saw the world at the time. From it were marked mile stones, distances all over the empire.

#History of Hagia Sophia

Between the 4th and 6th centuries the Hagia Sophia was rebuilt several times in Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire that was in Istanbul today and was burned down. The present structure is the last one to survive 1,400 years since the 6th century, when it was built as a church of Constantinople.

It was built at the time, by Emperor Justinian I, by 10,000 workers and builders. At the end of 536 CE, it was inaugurated, and for a thousand years it was considered the largest church in the world.

In the 15th century, after the Byzantine Empire sank, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottomans who hastened to turn it into the Hagia Sophia Mosque. They added to it fountains and high minarets, the mausoleum minarets characteristic of the mosques.

In the 1930's, the mosque became a museum and up to today.

#Church Architecture

The Hagia Sophia, originally a Greek Orthodox church, is one of the most prominent examples of the art and architecture of the Byzantine Empire. The church, which was destroyed during the 6th century CE, was renovated and preserved with techniques that were developed specifically for it, giving it the glory of the most important building of Byzantine architecture.

Its exterior and slightly grayish exterior, may be misleading. Because this large church is well planned.

And it is not only because of the size, that the church of Hagia Sophia, which has become a mosque, can be considered an architectural work of art. It has wonderful and unique gold mosaics, which cause the breath to shift from its entrance. In these golden mosaics you can see iconic figures in the history of Christianity, such as the Virgin Mary, the Archangel Gabriel and various Byzantine emperors.

Even in the foyer, before leaving the church, on the way to her large, impressive exit gate, she looked back and up. See and notice the magnificent mosaic, in which Jesus and Madonna are seen in the center, to the right of which the Emperor Justinian holds the Hagia Sophia and to the left the Emperor Constantine presenting the model of the city.

So both artistically and architecturally it is a masterpiece that is no less incomprehensible. You are entitled to feel lucky - from the day of its construction until today, the Hagia Sophia influenced many buildings and churches in the world and is a real world icon!


It is worth going up to the gallery on the second floor and looking out into the vast space of the church. Notice also the special mosaics of the Middle Ages.

# A View from Above:


#Church Pictures:


#A Tour:

Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin
#About Varna's Magnificent Cathedral

Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin is one of the most impressive and beautiful in Bulgaria and one of the symbols of the city of Varna. From almost every corner of the city the church's golden domes can be seen.

The magnificent cathedral is located in Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius Square in the center of the city. The cathedral is dedicated to Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna, patron of Bulgaria. In this orthodox cathedral sits Varna's bishop.

This is the largest cathedral in Varna, and the third-largest in all of Bulgaria. Its construction began at the end of the 19th century, and was inaugurated at the beginning of the 20th century. Pretty fast the cathedral became the beautiful symbol of the city.

The cathedral is beautiful on the inside and out. Its magnificent façade draws visitors inside into the equally beautiful church. Pay close attention to the impressive frescoes, the magnificent stained glass windows, and the wonderfully beautiful icons.

Even in the early evening it is worth passing by the cathedral and seeing its wonderful lighting, even more impressive than the church's look during the day.

#History of the Cathedral

The cornerstone of the cathedral in Varna was laid in 1880 by the Bulgarian prince Alexander of Battenberg. The cathedral was designed in inspiration of the famous Peterhof Temple in St. Petersburg.

Even before the Ottoman conquest, Christianity was recognized as an official religion in the Bulgarian Empire and the construction of the cathedral was an important stage in the return of Christianity to the city of Varna, a city that was once considered one of the largest religious centers in the whole Bulgarian Empire.

This was the revival of Christianity in Bulgaria after the liberation of the Ottomans, the conquerors of the Bulgarian Empire, who destroyed some of the churches, and turn the rest into mosques.

During the late 19th century and early 20th century the impressive cathedral was built, and was inaugurated in the first half of the 20th century. It quickly became clear that, in addition pilgrims of devout Christianity who flocked to it, it became a focal point of interest for architectural enthusiasts, many came from far away to admire its beauty and its magnificent and invested architecture.

In the middle of the century, many resources were invested in its magnificent interior decoration.

#What to Pay Attention to Here?

From outside the cathedral you can admire the beautiful golden domes, as well as the bell tower. This tower, at a height of 38 meters, visitors can climb the 133 spiral steps leading to a wonderful view, which offers a beautiful panoramic view of the city.

The main attractions in the cathedral are the impressive bishop chair, as well as the three magnificent altars, magnificent stained glass windows, well-preserved beautiful windows, beautiful artistic frescoes and iconostasis, an icon area full of the icon and popular in many churches - the collection of Christian saints here is particularly beautiful.


Entrance is free.

It is worth walking up the 133 steps to the cathedral's bell tower for a spectacular view of the city. From here you will see the panoramic and surprisingly beautiful landscape of the city of Varna.

Opening hours: 8:00 am -6:00 pm all week long.

A Closer Look:

Erawan Museum
#About the Museum Shaped Like an Elephant with Three Heads

The Erawan Museum is already recognizable from afar, thanks to the huge three-headed elephant flying above it. In fact, the 3-headed elephant (Chang Sam Sean) is a huge building with a small museum and temple, incredible and stunning.

Incidentally, this elephant is not an elephant at all, but the Hindu god Aravan, or Airavata, shaped like a three-headed elephant.

The museum was started as a private collection by a Thai businessman, Lek Viriyapant. The man, a traditional art collector, wanted to build a proper boardinghouse for the ancient artifacts he had accumulated and displayed them to the public, while illustrating the spiritual wealth of Southeast Asian religions. He did not realize how much the place would gain religious importance and how many would come to pray.

At a height of 29 meters and a width of 39 meters, this huge building has 250 tons of pure bronze. It offers a perfect encounter between the religious tranquility of the Buddhist temple and the artistic and colorful surrealism.

The Erawan Museum has a concentration of exhibits, which is so spectacular and religiously important that it has become a prayer temple with religious significance for Thais. The elevator in the building ensures that no physical effort will be required to move between its various floors. It is also air-conditioned and is a pleasant stay in any weather.

The three floors of the Erawan Temple represent the three worlds of Thai Buddhist belief. The first floor represents the underworld, the second the human world, and the upper heavenly world.

At the end of the visit, go to the beautiful garden of the museum, where exotic plants, small pools, sculptures, waterfalls, canals and benches are located. Want to be excited? - Float a lotus flower in the water, as is the custom, in one of the pools and make a wish, hoping it will come true.

Do not miss the visit here, which many tourists have noted as an unforgettable experience for anyone interested in religion and world culture.

#What Will You See Here?

The Erawan Museum is devoted entirely to Buddhist mythology. On its three floors, you will see a wealth of religious objects, faith and historical tradition. These are wonderful and special items that have been assembled here from all corners of Thailand and have been collected for many years and with great amounts of money. The concentration here is so spectacular and religiously important that it becomes a prayer temple with religious significance for Thais.

On the first floor, which represents the "lower world," there is a small antiquities museum that displays precious antiquities and special artifacts collected over the years.

On the second floor, which represents the center of the world according to Buddhism, you will see a magnificent hall with four bronze pillars representing the four major religions in the world. On the pillars are a variety of religious symbols, each page and the religion it represents.

The top floor is actually a colorful temple in shades of gold and blue, sitting in the belly of the elephant above the building. Here you are in a kind of "paradise", according to Buddhism (Tavatimsa Heaven). Observe the roof of the world, the solar system, the stars and the zodiac, painted on its vaulted glass ceiling.


The visit takes 45 minutes to an hour.

If it rains, you'll be allowed to bring in your umbrellas.

You can also enjoy Muang Boran in the area, and Bang Poo Beach,

The Temple for the Laying Buddha in Thailand is 54 meters. There is a crocodile farm and a zoo in the area.

A Closer Look at the Elephant Temple and its Three Heads:


Touring the Museum:

Galata Bridge
#About the World's Biggest Draw Bridge

Galata Bridge was built in 1994 above the Bosphorus and is considered one of the best vantage points of the city. It is the largest draw bridge in the world.

Galata Bridge reveals a wonderful view of the Istanbul skyline, paved with minarets and churches. It is an exciting urban landscape, one of the oldest and most impressive cities in the world and undoubtedly one of the most inspiring and historic ones in the world. If in the past the city authorities charge residents a half-tax, today you can view from here in the landscape free of charge.

The current bridge is not the first one built here. Plans to bridge the Bosphorus were made in the city as early as the 15th century. Leonardo da Vinci was in charge too, and Michelangelo was also invited to design such a bridge, but rejected the request.

The first bridge was finally built here, only in the middle of the 19th century. Various bridges have been built here, all of them connected between the old city of Istanbul and the newer neighborhoods on the other side. Five bridges were built here.

#A Visit to the Bridge:

Sultan Ahmed Mosque
Galata Tower

אֵאוּרִיקַה - האנציקלופדיה של הסקרנות!

העולם הוא צבעוני ומופלא, אאוריקה כאן בשביל שתגלו אותו...

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בואו לגלות, לחקור, ולקבל השראה!

אֵאוּרִיקַה - האנציקלופדיה של הסקרנות!

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