Istanbul, with both its natural beauty, rich historical heritage, many lodging facilities and developed transportation system is one of the most important tourism centers of Turkey. The point of entry for the majority of the tourists coming into Turkey is Istanbul. The Istanbul Ataturk Airport is one of the most modern facilities of its kind within the European standards. The majority of the five star hotels in Turkey are also located in Istanbul. Because of the ease in communications, endless shopping opportunities, sight seeing possibilities, 85% of the convention in Turkey are organized in Istanbul. As may be seen from the convention up to this date, Istanbul is on its way in becoming a city of conventions. Since the arising need for more space and capacity because of the increasing number of delegations, the Ministry of Tourism on 2 November 1994, for conversion into a International Convention Center, has taken over Lutfi Kirdar Indoor Sports Arena which is located at the utmost focal point of Istanbul, towards Taksim-Harbiye direction, from the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. The convention hall which was readied for the HABITAT-II Conference during 3 -14 June 1996, has alleviated a major shortcoming of Istanbul.

The building was projected to accommodate a 2500 convention capacity. Also a convention center, to commensurate with the international reputation of Istanbul, with a capacity to accommodate 3000 people, and a superior quality concert hall construction to be completed by 1998, was started by the support of Istanbul Culture and Art Foundation at Ayazaga district. TUYAP Fair and Convention Center: Located within the borders of Buyukcekmece Municipality, at Beylikduzu Gurpinar intersection, has 106,000 m2 indoor, and 30,000 m2 outdoor fair area. A 9000 capacity convention hall, 15,000 indoor, 20,000 outdoor concert halls are also contained within the center, along with sub units to provide services which is being planned for opening in September of 1996.

Since convention centers are actively functioning, a need to introduce Istanbul as city of conventions is arising rapidly to the foreign countries. In order to realize this matter and market the facilities a Convention and Visitors Bureau was established within TUGEV, Istanbul Convention and Visitors Center. The Center became the members of International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus (IACVB) located in Washington D.C., USA and European Federation of Conference Towns (EFCT) whose center is located in Brussels. The 33 Bureaus located around Europe, today cooperate under the umbrella of the EFCT.

The EFCT provides consultation services to both large an small firms organizing conventions, conferences, incentive trips, and also disseminates relevant information to its members. EFCT, which is the most important tourism organization in its field is in a very efficient position as the Tourism Advisor of the European Union since it is located in Brussels.

Istanbul still maintains its importance as being a major tourism center. Of the 7,726,886 tourists arriving in Turkey, 2,006,413 has visited Istanbul. There are 40,586 beds in 265 lodging facilities bearing touristic license and 19 of which are 5 star hotels, in Istanbul. Once the facilities presently under construction is completed, the number of beds will increase up to 59,475. The number of travel agencies including the branches reach up to 1026 in Istanbul.

There are actively functional 2065 professional tour guides trained by the Ministry of Tourism, in Istanbul.


Istanbul Wall Gates The walls surrounding Istanbul were repaired after the conquering of the city, with the exception of the land side. There are 57 gates at the Halic and Marrnara sides of the city enabling access and exit.Small St. Sophia Mosque (Sergios Bakhos Church) Was built during the era of Emperor Justiniaus in 527-536. And was dedicated to the memory of two saints named Sergios and Bakhos. Hagia Eirene Church (Aya Irina) Located in the court yard of Topkapi palace. It is one of the first Christian art works of Istanbul. During the Istanbul Festival is being used as concert hall. Zeyrek Church-Mosque (Pantakrator Monastery Church) It is the leading church of one of the most important monastery complexes of the Byzantine era. Was formed by three churches. The larger church was built during the era of loannes Kommnenos the II and his first wife Eirene (1118 - 1143), and was dedicated to Jesus Christ. Khora Monastery (Kariye Mosque) It was claimed to be a small church or a chapel outside the walls of Constantinople, and was built during the era of Constantine the Great. During the era of Emperor Justinien, the monastery was renovated by a monk named Theodore, but was demolished during the 6 October 557 earthquake, and was rebuilt by the Emperor Justinien's orders in a more magnificent manner.

During the Turkish Republic era, Kariye became a museum. The most attractive part of Kariye are the tile decorations realized during the first quarter of the XIV century in Paleologos era. St. Sophia (Ayasofya) The construction of this structure which was built on one of the seven hills of Istanbul and was planned by Constantine the Great. In fact the foundation was personally laid by the Emperor himself. The completion and opening of the St. Sophia with a magnificent ceremony in the year 360 for worship was realized by the Emperor's son Constantine. The remaining Palace and Churches from Byzantine era are as follows: The Big Palace (Buyuk Saray), Hormisdas Palace (Catladikapi Byzantium Palace), Tekfur Palace Hebdomon (Tekfur Sarayi), Studios Monastery Church (Imrahor Ilyas Bey Mosque), Hagia Euphemla Martyrion (next to Palace of Justice in Sultanahmet), Hagios Theodoros (Vefa Church Mosque), Nyrelaion Monastery Church (Bodrum Mosque in Laleli), Eglise d'Hagia Thekia (Atik Mustafa Pasa Mosque in Ayvansaray), Gul (Rose) Mosque (in Cibali), Ahmet Pasa Masjid (in Carsamba), Pantepoptes Monastery Church (Eski Imaret Mosque), Akataleotos Monastery (Kalenderhane Mosque in Sehzadebasi), Lios Monastery Church (Fenari Isa Mosque), Koca Mustafa Pasa Mosque, Pammakaristos Monastery Church (Fethiye Mosque), Moukhilotissa (or Panaghiotissa) Church, Petra Theodokos Church (Odalar Mosque).


Built during the era of Byzantine Emperor Valens, during 364-368. The name during the Byzantine era was "basilica" cistern. Was built in Constantine I era (306-377). At present time, located approximately 6.5 meters underground. Christ Cistern The cistern located in Gulhane Park which was closed, is open to visitors at present time. Mazlum Kemeri (Mazlum Arch), Egri Kemer (Egri Arch), Kemerburgaz Arch, Aetius Cistern, Mocius Cistern (at Cukurbostan), Aspar Cistern, Binbirdirek Cistern, Atatiirk Bulvari Cistern (in Sarachane), Karagumruk Stadium Sarayburnu Cistern, Goths Column, Arkadius Monument, Markianus Monument (Kiztasi) are the other important historical ruins. Cemberlitas The Column which was brought in from Appolo Temple by Constantine in 328 is 35 meters in height. Hipodrom The largest entertainment and competition area of the Byzantine era is located in Sultanahmet Square. It is 118.5 meters wide and 370 meters long with a hundred thousand people capacity. Theodosius I Obelisk The original is an ancient Egyptian art. Was erected in 1457 B.C. at Heliopolis for Pharaoh Toothmesis. Made out of pink granite in from a single block. Thevictories of Toothmesis were engraved on by hieroglyph. Was brought into Istanbul around the year 390, by Byzantine Emperor Theodosius I and was erected in Hipodrom. Kiz Kulesi (Maidens Tower)

The Maidens Tower was built during the era of Byzantine Emperor Manuel Komnenos in XIIth century. In 1796 Nevsehirli Ibrahim Pasa had it rebuilt from rocks. Galata Kulesi (Galata Tower) Was built against the Byzantines by the Geneose. Renovated in 1967, equipped with elevators, now houses restaurants and cafes. Konstantine Sutunu (Constantine Column), Yilanli Sutun (Column with Snakes), Theodosius Aniti (Theodosius Monument) are the historical heritages remained from the Byzantine era.


Topkapi Palace The construction of the building was started in 1466, and was completed in 1478 several years prior to the demise of Mehmet the Conqueror. This palace, like the others is formed by many smaller palaces and apartments. The population of the palace of 750 during the Mehmet era, has continually increased and reached up to 5000 in XIXth century.

On 3 April 1924, in accordance with the Decree of Ministers the palace was converted into a museum, and opened to the public on 9 October 1924. Beside the historical and art values, it is very attractive with the displays of the collections. With temporary and stationary 200 display halls and 86,000 pieces of historical artifacts is the worlds largest and richest palace museum. Dolmabahce Palace Located in Besiktas, was built by Master Architect Karabet Balyan in 1853, during the Sultan Abdulmecit era. The palace which sits on a 15,000 m2 foundation has cost 5 million gold lira when it was built.

Beylerbeyi Palace This palace has hosted important personalities such as Empress Eugenia, the Shah of Iran Nasreddin, King Nicholas, Russian Prince Grand Duke Nicholas. Yildiz Palace Yildiz Palace is the first complex of palaces which was built during the Sultan Selim III era by the request of his mother Mihrisah Queen Mother. Uskudar Palace It is a summer palace built during the era of Suleyman the Magnificent around the environs of Selimiye Barracks of today. Ciragan Palace, Aynali Kavak Summer Palace, Goksu Summer Palace, Bebek Humayunabat Summer Palace (was built in Bebek during the Yavuz Sultan Selim era), Beykoz Summer Palace (was built in 1854), Nes'at A'bat Palace, Alay Palace are some of the palaces which are intact today from the Ottoman era.

The museums, witnesses of the history makes up for a separate richness of the city of Istanbul. Some of the museums are as follows: Archaeological Museum Is the oldest museum in Turkey. Of the approximately 65,000 coins, 67,000 tablets, 5000 archaeological pieces, only 9000 are exhibited.

Encaustic Tile Palace Used as a museum displaying the belongings of Sultan Mehmet. Turkish Script Arts Museum The museum houses, script artists' hand written plates, some hand writings of the emperors, the Holy Koran, and Imperial Seals, where each and every one of them is a piece of fine art. Paint and Statues Museum Was opened on 20 September 1937, in the Prince Quarters of the Dolmabahce Palace. It is the only plastic arts museum in Turkey.

Ayasofya ( St Sophia ) Museum : A Christian and Moslem house of worship was opened to the public as a museum in 1935. Maritime Museum The museum which was opened in 1897 is located in Besiktas, adjacent to the Barbaros Tomb. Ataturk Museum The museum used to be a three storey house where Ataturk lived earlier. It is located in Sisli. It was converted into a museum by the Municipality in 1942 Ibrahim Pasa Palace (Turkish Islamic Work of Arts Museum) The first museum displaying Turkish and Islamic works of art. With over 4000 pieces the collection has any and all kinds of work from every era of the Islamic history. At the tapestry department, the worlds most valuable rugs are on display. Sadberk Hanim Museum Is located in Buyukdere. This is the first private museum founded in 1960. Some of the other museums of Istanbul are : Old Eastern Works of Art Museum, Turkish Construction and Works of Art Museum, Mosaics Museum, Military Museum, Reforms Museum, Municipality Museum (Humor and Caricature Museum), Asiyan Museum (Ancestral Literature Museum), Kariye Museum, Yedikule (Seven Towers) Museum, Press Museum, Medical Museum, Maritime Products Museum.

Covered Bazaar Was built in 1461, during Sultan Mehmet era. The number of shops were 950 during the same period. The covered area of the bazaar is 3070 m2. It is a city in the city of Istanbul, housing post office, restaurants, pastry shops, fountains, stores, tea houses, a small mosque and central buildings. There are 4 central buildings, 2 of which are in the covered bazaar and one each at Galata and Uskudar Square respectively. The Egyptian Bazaar (Misir Carsisi) It is the second covered bazaar of Istan- bul. Was built during the era of Mehmet IV, in compliance with the request of Queen Mother Hatice Turhan. The Covered Bazaar located under the Kuleli Mosque and Bakircilar (Coppersmiths) Bazaar are some of the important structures from the Ottoman era.


Beyazit Tower In 1818, by the orders of Mahmud II, was built by Jannissary General Huseyin in compliance with the eras' architectural design. The monument which is 50 meters in height, with its obvious size is a characteristic line of the city. Mualla Arch, Uzun Arch, Guzelce Arch (Cebeci Koy Arch), Bahcekoy Arch (Sultan Mahmut Arch) are known as the historical arches of Istanbul during the present day.


Since offering water is considered as a good deed in the Islam religion, following the conquering of the city by the Ottomans, and during the restructuring of the city, many fountains and water resources were built in the city. It is a known fact that, there used to be over 1000 fountains and water resources. However, as the time passed by the majority were demolished and at the present day there are approximately 500 fountains and 70 water resources.

The some of the important fountains of Istanbul are: Sultan Ahmet Fountain, (Ahmed III. Fountain), Uskudar Ahmed III Fountain, German Fountain, Tophane Fountain, Beykoz Ishak Aga Fountain, Ayazkapi Fountain, Azapkapi Saliha Sultan Fountain, Goksu Fountain, Bereketzade Fountain, Esmasultan Fountain.


Ayasofya Tombs: Selim II Tomb, Murat III Tomb, Mehmet II Tomb, Mimar Sinan Tomb, Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa Tomb, Sultan Mahmut II Tomb, Eyup Sultan Tomb (was built in 1458. It's the tomb of Halit Bin Zeyd who went to Mekka, accepted Islam and was a supporter of Wholy Muhammed) Yusa Nebi Tomb, SunbuI Efendi, Merkez Efendi Tomb, Aziz Mahmut Hudal Tomb, Yavedut Tomb, and Tezveren Dede Tomb. Anadolukavagi Geneose Fort The Geneoese captured the fort in 1350 and rebuilt the fort. Todays' ruins belong to Geneose. Anadolu Hisari (Fort) Was built over the ruins of an ancient Byzantine Zeus temple at the point where Goksu stream joins the water. Rumeli Hisari (Fort) Was built during the era of Sultan Mehmet in 1452 across from Anadolu Hisari, in order to control the access and passage through the Bosphorus. It is a known fact, the structure designed by the Architect Muslihiddin was completed in three months. Yedi Kule (Seven Towers) Hisari


Eyup Sultan Mosque the first mosque built in Istanbul following its conquering by the Ottomans. In 1458, during Sultan Mehmet (the conqueror) era, it was built along with its tomb. Suleymaniye Mosque One of the prime examples of the Islamic architecture. The Suleymaniye collection is the second largest collection with its social and cultural ties following the Mehmet the Conqueror collection. Was built between the years 15501557, during the era of Suleyman the Magnificent by Mimar (Architect) Sinan. Rustem Pasa Mosque The mosque is known as a museum of encaustic tile displaying the 16th century Iznik tile works. Sultan Ahmet Mosque Was built between the years 1609-1616, during the era of Sultan Ahmet I, by Sedefkar Mehmet Aga, due to the magnificence of the mosques encaustic tiles, the second name of the mosque is Blue Mosque. The remaining important mosques of Istanbul may be identified as: Fatih Mosque, Firuzaga Mosque, Takkeci Ibrahim Aga Mosque, Atik Ali Pasa Mosque, Beyazit Mosque, Sultan Selim Mosque, Haseki Mosque, Mihrimah Mosque (located in Uskudar), Mihrimah Mosque (located in Edirnekapi), Sehzade Mosque, Kilic Ali Pasa Mosque, Yeni Mosque, Sokullu Mehmet Pasa Mosque, Yeni Valide Mosque (located in Uskudar), NuruOsmaniye Mosque, Laleli Mosque, Nusretiye Mosque, Dolmabahce Mosque (Maritime Museum), Ortakoy Mosque, Valide Mosque, and Hamidiye Mosque.


Parks The Princess Islands One of the most attractive locations of Istanbul which draws interest. There are nine islands and altogether called Princess Islands. Buyuk Ada, Heybeli, Burgaz, Kinali, Sedef and Yassiada are inhabited. Military units are stationed at Yassiada. Sedef Ada has beach facili- ties. Kasik Island is a private property. Sivri Ada and Tavsan Ada are not inhabited. Yildiz Park Located between Besiktas and Ortakoy in its natural setting. Access is through paved and unpaved roads under the centuries old trees. The palaces of Malta, Sale and Cadir are located in this park. Gulhane Park Located in Sarayburnu. It is the home for centuries old trees. The Istanbul Zoo is also located here. There are cafes and entertainment facilities in the park and the sea shore. Bogazici is one of the most majestic looking locations in the world. It may be accessed through highway or by sea. When a boat is taken, 16 different docks are visited on the Rumeli side. It is possible to observe the historical water-front mansions in this location. The Bosphorus During a recent geological era, it was created by the floods over a deep valley. It connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara and extends in the direction of north east to south west. The total length in a straight line is 29.9 kilometers. The Rumeli shores is 46 kms, and Anatolian shores is 34 kms. There is an obvious parallel line between the two shores of the Bosphorus. The width changes intermittently. The widest location is the north tip. (The distance between the lights is 3600 meters). (The narrowest point is between the Anadolu Hisar and Rumeli Hisar is 689 meters). Polonezkoy A forest village, 25 kms to Beykoz. The inhabitants of the village are the children of Prince Cartorinski, who has fled the Cremian Wars in 1846 and has taken refuge in Turkey. Kumburgaz Located on the way to Tekirdag. A summer vacation spot very much favored by the inhabitants of Istanbul.

Kilyos, Piyerloti Kahvesi, Sile, Belgrad Ormani, Ataturk Ormani (located in Florya), Camlica, Tasdelen, Beykoz Cayiri, Karakulak, Emirgan Korusu, Buyuk and Kucuk Cekmece Lakes are some of the most beautiful resort areas of Istanbul.