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Istanbul Turkey Architecture and streets


In the course of its long history as a melting pot for cultures and nations, Istanbul incorporated various architectural styles, often interwoven and combining in unique way. There are many historical monuments of different epochs.

Remnants of Roman style can be seen in the Column of Constantine, which was built in 330 and is believed to contain some fragments of the Original Cross and the bowl with which Virgin Mary washed the feet  of Jesus, along with some other important artifacts. Mazulkemer and Valens aqueduct are parts of typical Roman water-carrying system, Column of the Goths and Milion, used for counting distances between Constantinople and other cities of the Roman Empire, the Hippodrome of Constantinople, built according to Roman models represent this period in the city history.

The Walls of Constantinople were commenced under Constantine the Great, the construction thence continued, with some elements of fortification added by Ottoman sultans. Under Byzantine rule extensive church construction began. Stoudios (Imrahor) Monastery is the oldest surviving in its original form. Hagia Sophia, the city's symbol and one of the greatest Christian churches of the world, was inaugurated by Justinian in 536. The Hagia Irene and the Basilica Cistern are of the same period. Their magnificent interior was demolished during the Iconoclasm.

The Anatolian Castle was built by ottoman Turks on the Asian side of Bosphorus, and the Rumeli castle of the European side. Sultan Mehmed initiated a wide scale reconstruction plan, including construction of grand Eyup Sultan Mosque, Fatih Mosque, Topkapi Palace, the Grand Bazaar and the Yedikule Castle. The famous Sultan Ahmed Mosque, distinguished by six minarets instead of four, as well as conversion of Hagia Sophia into the mosque, belongs to this time.

In 19th century European styles merged with oriental ones in a picturesque exuberant ensemble. New palaces and mosques were built in Baroque, Rococo and neoclassical styles. Magnificent Dolmabahce Palace is a blend of all three. Grandiose embassy buildings around Istiklal Avenue feature Neoclassical and Art Nouveau styles.  In 20th century there appeared striking examples of urban design, such as Akmerkez shopping complex, Bagdat Avenue and Mayadrom.

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