In spite of the strong resistance for all those years, following a
conquer of 54 days, Sultan Mehmet, the Conqueror invaded Byzance on 29th May 1453. As the
Emperor Constantinos XI died in panic, the Turks got hold of the city within two hours.
The panic throughout the city calmed down in three days and the Sultan ordered the
submission of the ones who escaped and were hidden. He guaranteed the public would keep
living as the way they used to in terms of their religious and traditional practices.
He also asked someone to be elected for the vacant Bishop position. When Georgios
Skholarios was elected as the Bishop, Sultan muted him for dinner and rehonored the Bishop
with the Crown and scepter of the church. Havariler Church was appointed as the official
residence for the Bishop and his community. On first Friday in the city, Sultan
the Conqueror went to St. Sophia Church for his Moslem religious practices. Then he
decided to restore the city and to keep it as a focus point of the contemporary world.
Firstly the walls surrounding the city were repaired. Monasteries and the churches were
converted to Mosques and mescits (small mosques). The élites of the city were
allowed to build mosques, medreses (schools), imarets (houses to
deliver free food), darussifas (hospitals), hamams (baths) and
bedestens (bazaars) wherever they would like to build them. Therefore, these
gave a new impetus to the city. Sultan Mehmed, the Conqueror had his first palace built in
Beyazit, where University of Istanbul stands today, however later on he had Topkapi Palace and the walls surrounding it built in 1462-1478 and
left his first palace to move in the greater new one. Sultan Mehmed also had (Fatih
Kulliyesi) Fatih Complex built on the fourth hill of the city in 1463-1470 and
Eyup Monument-tomb and Mosque in memory of Ebu Eyyub El Ensari who died in
Arab Conquer. To improve the trade within the city, Ic Bedesten (interior
market) was built and that is the core of todays Kapalicarsi (Covered Bazaar). By the end of 15th century the quantity of
temples, baths, schools and the buildings of that kind was about 300.
The destroyed city was restored. The public surrounded by the walls, no
matter which ethnic group they belonged to, led a peaceful and free life in terms of their
traditions and religious practices. An internal castle called Yedikule
(Seventowers) was built to keep the treasury. Sultan Mehmed, the Conqueror died in Gebze
in 1481 on his way to expand the country borders by conquering new land. His son Beyazid
II was throned after him. Fatih rests in the monument-tomb nearby the Mosque built during
his life. In 1488 during the reign of Beyazid II there had been frequent earthquakes. 109
mosques and 107 houses were destroyed and the losses were great. Fatih Mosque was also
destroyed by an earthquake and it was restored later on.
During this period of restoration, Sultan Beyazid II had Architect Yakup Shah Bin
Sultan Shah built Beyazid Kulliyesi on Forum Tauri square of ancient Byzance
in 1501- 1506. Following the death of Beyazid II, Yavuz Sultan Selim was throned and went
over Caldiran and Egypt, therefore Islamic Caliphate was handed to Ottoman
Empire from Egypt. Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, who took over from Yavuz Sultan Selim
(1520-1526), had Sultan Selim Mosque built on a Halic front hill in memory of
his father in 1522-1526 and the great Yavuz Sultan Selim rests there. The famous architect
Mimar Sinan, contemporary of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent first built Sehzade Mosque
in memory of the Sultans son Prince Mehmed, in 1543-1548, then in 1550-1557 Suleymaniye Mosque on a hill above Golden Horn. Mimar Sinan
designed the silhouette of the city with the buildings known as Mihrimah Mosques, one of
which stands at the end of Beyazid-Edirnekapi Arch and built in 1562-1565 and the other in
Uskudar built in 1548. He also built Rustem Pasha Mosque at Eminonu by the Golden
Horn in 1560 and this mosque has the quality of a Tile Museum.
Suleyman the Magnificent entitled Mimar Sinan to find a solution for
water shortage in the city and he built the Moglova and Guzelce additional to the Halkali
Aqueduct to transfer water from Belgrad Forests to the city. Sinan had a long life during
which he could have the opportunity to serve several Sultans. In 1551, for wife of
Suleyman the Magnificent, Hurrem Sultan, he built Haseki Kulliyesi; in
1571, for Sokullu Mehmet Pasha, he built Sokullu Kulliyesi at Kadirga.
Moreover, in Besiktas, Sinan Pasha Mosque and Kulliye (1553-1555) and Cihangir Mosque
(1559) were also built by him. When Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent died in Zigetvar in
1566 while he was away on command of his army for the 13th time, his corpse body was
brought to Istanbul and buried in a monument-tomb, built by
Mimar Sinan besides Suleymaniye Mosque, to rest in peace. Selim II who took over after
him, had Mimar Sinan built Selimiye Mosque in Edirne. When Selim II died, his body was
buried at St. Sophia in a monument-tomb built by Mimar Sinan in 1577. Sultan Murad III was
throned in 1574 and there was a spectacular celebration of the circumcision ritual of
Crown prince Mehmed at At Meydani (Horse Place)
The Sultan watched these celebrations from the Ibrahim Pasha Palace
which serves as Islamic Works Museum today. During the long-lasting festivities, the
vendors procession paraded and clowns entertained the people. These events have been
reflected quite frequently in the Ottoman miniature art. When the Sultan died in 1595 he
was buried in the monument-tomb built by Architect Davut Aga in the garden of the St. Sophia and his son Mehmed III took over. After a succession of
sultans who did not go to war since the death of Suleyman the Magnificent, he led the
army into battle, conquered Egri Castle, won the Hacova war and returned to Istanbul.
When Sultan Mehmed III died in 1603, he was buried in a monument-tomb built by Dalgic
Ahmet Aga at the St. Sophia Church in 1608 and his son Ahmed I (1603-1617) became the
In tradition with the monuments created by Architect Sinan, Sultan Ahmed had Architect
Sedefkar Mehmet Aga build Sultanahmet Mosque with 6 minarets
opposite St. Sophia between the years 1609-1617. The mosque was fitted with a cupola of
36.6 m diameter and 43 m height and the interior was adorned with Nicaea glazed tiles in
the 17th century. Together with a medrese and turbe it was
treated as kulliye. In this turbe are buried Ahmed I, Osman II, Kosem Sultan, Mustafa
IV and their children. Following Sultan Ahmed I, Mustafa I was throned. He was found
incompetent after a short while and replaced with the 14 year old Osman II named Genc
(Young) Osman because of his young age but he was killed in a revolt of
Janissaries and cavalry soldiers and Mustafa I was throned again
But since he was mentally deranged, he was toppled soon after, and Murad
IV took over. Between the years 1623-1640, Murad IV reigned who successfully smothered
upheavals and disciplined the army by undertaking expeditions to Iran, Baghdad and Revan.
In memory to them, the Revan and Baghdad Kiosks were built in Topkapi Palace. Meanwhile,
one fifth of Istanbul was destroyed in fire that broke out in Cibali. The building that
Safiye Sultan ordered architect Davut Aga to build Eminonu was started in 1657, upon his
death was continued by Mehmed Cavus and finally in 1663 Turhan Hatice Sultan had it
completed by Architect Mustafa Aga. This mosque and kulliye as well as the
Misir Carsisi (Bazaar) that was conceived to finance it where the best of their kind
built in classic style in Istanbul. In the tomb of this kulliye are buried
Turhan Hatice Sultan, Mustafa II, crown princes and the distinguished individuals of that
In the 17th century, following Murad IV Sultan Ibrahim was throned in 1640, but since
he was incompetent he was dethroned in 1648 and Sultan Mehmet IV took over. At this time
sultan mothers like Kosem Sultan and Turhan Sultan had gained great influence over the
throne, and during the reign of successive sultans the Ottoman Empires old glory
slowly diminished. While revolts continued to break out, Koprulu Mehmed Pasha was
appointed Grand Vizier in 1657 and succeeded in reinstating states authority.
Following the reigns of Suleyman II, Ahmed III and Mustafa II, in the 18th century Sultan
Ahmed III came to power between the years 1703-1730 and during his time, referred to as
Tulip Era, peace and entertainment prevailed. This sultan had Mehmet Emin Aga
build the Ahmed III Fountain in front of Topkapi Palace in 1728.
Civilization activities continued with the Iskele Fountain built in Uskudar in 1728 and
Ahmed III library built in the Topkapi Palace.
Also, the first printing house was founded by Ibrahim Muteferrika in
Istanbul. However, this era ended with a revolt led by Patrona Halil in 1730 and Sultan
Ahmet III was dethroned. Mahmud I, who was throned after Ahmed III in 1730 had Architect
Mehmet Aga built a fountain in Tophane in 1732 and the foundation of Nuruosmaniye Mosque
was laid in 1748, but upon his death it was completed by Osman III. Following Osman III,
Mustafa III took over and later Abdulhamid I. Following his death, Sultan Selim III, who
known for his love of art, was throned in 1789. This Sultan who was at the same time a
composer, decreed the Janissary Fraternity as useless and set out to design a
new and disciplined army. Thus an army called Nizam-i Cedid (New-order) was founded in
1792. Those opposed to his reforms revolted under the leadership of a strongman named
Kabakci Mustafa and dethroned and killed Selim III in 1807, installing Mustafa IV in his
Alemdar Mustafa Pasha led a campaign to Istanbul to take revenge of Selim III, but
since Selim III had already been killed, he dethroned Mustafa IV and helped Sultan Mahmud
II take over. After arranging for a big funeral for Selim III he had his murderers killed.
His tomb is in Laleli, where he is buried side by side with Mustafa III. A pestilence,
brought to Istanbul from Izmir by a ship in January 1812 caused
the death of thousands of people. Thereafter Istanbul was devastated by a smallpox
epidemic in 1825.
The reformist Sultan Mahmud II had Nusretiye Mosque built in Baroque
style in Tophane and the construction of Selimiye Garrison was completed in 1829. Sultan
Mahmud II ordered initially, the army, members and then the people to wear a
fes, sort of a hat, to adapt European clothing to the Ottoman life-style.
During his reign the first daily news paper, Takvim-i Vakai, was published and the first
Military School was founded. When Mahmud II died in 1839 he was succeeded by his 16
year-old son Abdulmecit I, who had a tomb built for his father in Divanyolu where he was
buried. During his reign, the Foreign Minister Mustafa Resid Pasha announced the
Tanzimat Fermani (Reforms Decree) in 1839 intending to adopt the Turkish
people to western standards.
He left Topkapi Palace and had Dolmabahce Palace built in
place of the wooden Besiktas Palace between the years 1843-1856 where he moved thereafter.
Architectural progress was significant and saw the completion of Ihlamur Pavilion in
Besiktas in 1855, Goksu Pavilion in Kucuksu, Ortakoy Mosque in 1853, Tesvikiye Mosque
in 1855 and the mosque in Baroque style built for his mother Bezmialem Valide Sultan next
to Dolmabahce Palace. His tomb takes place within the Sultan Selim Kulliye. When Sultan
Abdulmecit died at a young age, Sultan Abdulaziz took over who is the first sultan to
make a journey to a foreign country upon the invitation of the French Emperor.
He had Beylerbeyi Palace built at the
Anatolian side of the city, Ciragan Palace at the European side, the Yildiz Palace and
the Valide Mosque in Rococo style. When Sultan Abdulaziz died, Sultan Murat V took over,
reigned for a short period and was succeeded by Sultan Abdulhamit II, who had quite a
This sultan abandoned Dolmabahce Palace to settle in Yildiz Palace and in addition to
Yildiz, Valide, Cit, Malta, sale, Buyuk Mabeyn Kiosks and others such as Bahcivanbasi,
Talimhane, Av Kiosks, Kucuk Mabeyn and Harem were built, thereby expanding the palatial
area considerably. When Abdulhamid was dethroned on the advent of the 20th century,
Sultan Mehmed Resad V took over and after having the neglected Dolmabahce Palace repaired
he moved there. He was buried in the tomb built by Architect Kemalettin in Eyup after his
death in 1918.
The Ottoman Dynasty ended as Mehmet Vahdettin VI, who was throned after
Mehmet Resad V, left the country on board of an English vessel in 1922.
The Ottoman Empire, being defeated in World War I dissolved
and Anatolia was divided up between the invading nations. Mustafa Kemal led and won the
Independence War against the invading nations. In 1923, the Parliament (Great
Peoples Parliament of Turkey) determined Ankara as the capital of the young Turkish
Above text and pictures are from the book titled "Capital of Three Empires Istanbul".
You can purchase "Capital of Three Empires Istanbul" book and other Turkey related books from Explore Turkey Bookstore.