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Islamic Arts museum

Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum is re-opened after restorations.

Museum Pass

You can buy the "Museum Pass" for foreigners which is valid for 3 and 5 days in various museums of Istanbul.

Museums open 7 days

The museums in Istanbul will operate 7 days a week, except Topkapi Palace.

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Towers & Columns in Istanbul

Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi)

Galata tower at the Golden HornA 55 meter (180 feet) tower providing 360 degree view of Istanbul, Galata Kulesi was built by the Genoese in the 14th century as part of the defense wall surrounding their district of Galata directly opposite ancient Constantinople (old Istanbul). The Genoese colony had commercial relations with the Byzantines and the tower was used for the surveillance of the Harbor in the Golden Horn. After the Conquest of Constantinople by sultan Mehmet II, it served to detect fires in the city. The tower now houses a cafeteria on top. Today there is an elevator but there are still three more floors to climb by stairs to get on the panoramic terrace. It's open from early morning until late afternoon everyday. Please Click Here for more information on Galata Tower.

Maiden's Tower (Kiz Kulesi)

Kizkulesi on the BosphorusA 12th century stone tower erected on a rock at the entrance of the Bosphorus by Byzantine Emperor Komnenos. This tower, which has served as a prison and a lighthouse, became the source of many legends in ancient days, such as Leander's or Maiden's. It's now open to the public as a cafeteria & elegant restaurant which hosts concerts and meetings as well. Transportation to the Tower is made by private shuttle boats from both shores of the Bosphorus. Please Click Here for more information on Maiden's Tower.

Beyazit Tower (Fire Tower)

Beyazit tower in Beyazit SquareIt was built by architect Senekerim Kalfa of the Balyan family in 1828 under the reign of sultan Mahmud II. The tower is 85 meters (279 feet) high and has four floors with 180 steps of staircase to the top. It was built on a high ground in Beyazit Square to detect fires in Istanbul; baskets during the day or large red, green and white lanterns in the evenings were hung on the tower to indicate if there was a fire in the city. It's still used for the same purpose today. The tower stands in the courtyard of the University of Istanbul and is completely renovated. At the moment it's closed to the public but there are plans to open it to the visitors.

Tower of Justice (Kasr-i Adl)

Tower of Justice in Topkapi PalaceThe tower is a part of Topkapi Palace and is located in the second courtyard, right above the Council Chamber next to the Harem. It was built under the reign of Sultan Mehmet II and served as a watch tower for the surveillance of the Golden Horn. Several restorations were made to the tower during the Ottoman period, the last one was made by the architect Sarkis Balyan. The name of the tower comes from the Council Chamber known as Divan in Turkish, where there was a small window on the wall from which the sultan himself (or one of his spies) listened the Viziers behind a curtain and if he didn't like any words than he ordered to kill or imprison that member of the Council, so this was of course the "justice" of the sultan.

Old Columns

Egyptian Obelisk (Dikilitas)

Egyptian Obelisk in the HippodromeThe obelisk was originally erected in the 16th century B.C. by the Pharaoh Thutmosis III in honor of the God of Sun Amon Ra in the city of Teb, Egypt, in front of the temple of Luxor. It was brought to Istanbul by the emperor Theodosius I in 390 A.D. for the decoration of the ancient Hippodrome. The granit obelisk is approximately 19 meters (62 feet) high covered with hieroglyphic writing on all four façades, standing on a marble base with several friezes depicting the Emperor and his family in the Hippodrome. After decoding the hieroglyphs, it has been discovered that the last 5 or 6 meters (16 feet) of the Obelisk was missing from the bottom, probably it was broken during the transportation. Click for more information about the Egyptian Obelisk.

Stone Obelisk (Örme Sütun)

The column was erected in the 10th century AD by emperor Constantine VII, known also as Porphyrogenetus, for the decoration of the Hippodrome. It was made of limestone blocks and completely covered with bronze slabs bearing inscriptions which were dedications made to his grand father Basileus I. Unfortunately all of these bronze slabs were removed during the rule of the 4th Crusade to melt them in order to make coins and weapons, therefore none of the inscriptions survived until our day. The column is about 32 meters (105 feet) high and stands on a small marble base.

Serpentine Column (Burmali Sütun)

Originally this column was erected in 479 B.C. in front of the Temple of Apollo in Delphi, Greece, to commemorate the naval victory of the Greeks against the Persians and to show their respect to Apollo for winning the battle thanks to his oracle. The bronze column was formed by 3 intertwined snakes and names of the 31 Greek city-states that participated in the war were written on them. It's also said that there was a big golden pot on top of the snake heads, which were disappeared many centuries ago. The column was brought to Constantinople in the 4th century AD by the emperor Constantine I, for the decoration of the Hippodrome. The Serpentine column was originally 8 meters (26 feet) high but today only 5.30 meters (17 feet) left because nobody enjoyed this statue here for the snakes being a representation of the devil, so everybody took a piece off to destroy it. Therefore, the 3 snake heads were also destroyed and only pieces of one of the heads is found during the excavations and it was taken to the Archaeological Museum.

Goths Column (Gotlar Sütunu)

The column is located at the outer courtyard of Topkapi Palace, in Gulhane Park, and surrounded by trees. It's one of the oldest columns from the Roman period, erected probably in the 3rd or 4th centuries AD, carved from a single piece of stone and decorated with a Corinth style capital containing an eagle relief. Because of the inscriptions mentioning the victory over the Goths, it's called as Goths Column. The column is 15 meters (49 feet) high and rests on a small base.

Çemberlitas Column (Constantine Column)

The column, known as Cemberlitas (column with rings) in Turkish, was brought to Constantinople from the Temple of Apollo by the emperor Constantinus I between 325-328 AD. There was a statue of Apollo on top which was replaced by a cross during Christianity. The column also symbolizes the end of Pagan tradition on the Byzantine lands. It was erected in the middle of an oval square known as Forum Constantini, located on the second hill of the city. The cross was removed after the Conquest of Constantinople during the Ottoman period. The 35 meter (115 feet) high column was damaged by big fires and weather conditions during the ages therefore Sultan Mustafa II re-enforced the column with iron rings. The marble capital is from the 12th century and the reinforcing pedestal from the 18th. Today, the Metropolitan Municipality is carrying restoration works of Cemberlitas column which can be seen just accros the Cemberlitas Turkish Bath.

Marcianus Column (Kiz Tasi)

The column was erected around 450 AD and dedicated to the Byzantine Emperor Marcianus. It's made of 17 meter (55 feet) high granite and rests on a marble base. The Corinthian style base is decorated with a relief depicting angels (or victory goddess Nika) therefore it was called "Kiz Tasi" by the local people, meaning "Maiden's Stone" in Turkish. Today, the column is located at Fatih district and the Metropolitan Municipality is restoring it.

Arcadios Column

The column is located at Cerrahpasa neighborhood. It was erected in the 5th century AD by emperor Theodosius I and dedicated to Arcadios with a statue on top. According to old sources and travelers, the column was about 50 meters (164 feet) high and decorated with friezes describing victories against Barbarians, but today only the pedestal remains. The column was badly damaged during the earthquakes and it was reinforced by banding metal rings during the Ottoman period.

Theodosius Triumphal Arch

The emperor Theodosius I erected a huge Triumphal Arch in the 4th century AD which was crowned with the statue of the emperor and a column in the center of the old Forum Tauri (today's Beyazit Square). Some marble pieces of the Arch can still be seen today in its original location but the column and monumental fountain were destroyed by an earthquake in 557 and completely vanished around 16th century being used as construction material. Some of the pieces were used in the construction of a Turkish Bath next door, of which friezes can still be noticed today on its walls and in the base.

Million Stone

It's located at Sultanahmet neighborhood, in the center of old city. The Million Stone was always put in the center of a city and distances to all corners of the Byzantine Empire were once measured starting from this point. The stone was erected under the reign of Constantine the Great around 4th century AD in the northeastern corner of Augusteion Square, marking the starting point of an extensive road network.

Clock Towers

Dolmabahçe Clock Tower

The Clock Tower was built right after Dolmabahçe Palace by Sultan Abdulhamid II between 1890-1895, at the entryway of the Palace. The architect was Sarkis Balyan again. The clock has a European style and is 27 meters (88 feet) high with four floors, and on two sides the Tugra (monogram) of the sultan can be noticed. The Paul Garnier Clock was installed by master clockmaker Johann Meyar and its mechanism was partially equipped with electronics in 1979.

Etfal Hospital Clock Tower

The Clock Tower was built by the Sultan Abdulhamid II in the 19th century in the grounds of Hamidiye Etfal Hospital (Etfal Hospital today in Sisli district). The architect was Mehmed Sükrü Bey. It was made of marble and local stones, has an height of 20 meters (65 feet), and the Tugra (monogram) of the Sultan Abdulhamid II can be seen in the front façade.

Yildiz Clock Tower

The clock Tower was built in 1890 by Sultan Abdulhamid II in the courtyard of the Yildiz Hamidiye Mosque. It has an octagonal shape with three floors. The first floor has four separate inscriptions, the second floor contains a thermometer and a barometer, the top floor is the clock room, and finally there is a compass rose on the roof. The clock was repaired in 1993.

Nusretiye Clock Tower

The Clock Tower was built in neo-classical style by Sultan Abdulmecid next to the Nusretiye Mosque, at Tophane neighborhood. The tower is 15 meters (49 feet) high and contains the Tugra (monogram) of the sultan on the entrance. Unfortunately today the Clock Tower is in bad conditions and the original clock and its mechanism couldn't survive until our days.

Hope to see you soon in Istanbul.