Beyazıt, laleli


Beyazıt Square was also used as a square in the Byzantine Era (Forum Tauri). When Fatih conquered İstanbul, he built the first palace in the area where the Istanbul University is located. The square has gone through various changes throughout history and survived up to the present. Beyazıt Square was called Forum Tauri (The Bull's Square). The square, which has been changed in various aspects up to now, has great importance in terms of our political history. The district of Beyazıt is where the first Ottoman palace was built. As in the Byzantine Era, the square kept its importance in the Ottoman era. The various buildings built here until the 19th century show that the Old Palace in Beyazıt was not abandoned after Topkapı Palace was finished. Beyazıt Square gained a new look and status in the 16th century when the külliye (social complex) was built here and various other edifices were added within this square. After the month of Ramadan, herds of sheep and other sacrificial animals were presented to Muslims for their Islamic duties until the 18th century. The importance of Beyazıt Square increased more in the Period of the Restoration of State (Tanzimat) and the Old Palace served as the headquarters (Serasker Building) for the new military formation. This was following the Vak'a-i Hayriyye (the “favorable event”) which lead to the abolishment of the former military force, the Janissaries, which had gone out of control of the Sultan. In 1866, the Seraskerat (the general staff) of Sultan Abdülaziz left its mark on the history on this square. It was mainly a social gathering area where political views were exchanged: therefore, Sultan Abdülhamid II prohibited political activities as part of his heavy censorship measures. After the announcement of the Constitutional Monarchy, this square was called by various names due to the important political events occurring there. The Serasker Building is presently the main building of İstanbul University.


The current campus of Istanbul University was built as Harbiye Nezareti (Military Administration) in the 19th century. However, İstanbul University has a history of 550 years as the longest-established and biggest university institution of our country. The university offers about 55 thousand students bachelor's and master's degrees with 17 faculties, 12 academies, 13 institutes and over 30 research centers. The additional branch program offers certificates to students for secondary fields of specialization. İn additiont, there are student exchanges with European, American and Asian countries. This year the application of double diplomas for bachelor's and master's degree started based on agreements with various foreign universities such as Köln, Bonn, Ruhr and Bochum Universities in Germany this year. The university is now spread over various residential areas of İstanbul. Different academies and faculties of the university and the rectorate are located in Beyazıt, Laleli, Saraçhane and Vezneciler. Two big campuses are located in Avcılar and Bahçeköy, which are about 25 km from the city centre.


This mosque is considered to be a turning point of Ottoman architecture. A section of the külliye of the mosque, whose architecture is influenced by Hagia Sophia, is now used as the Museum of Turkish Foundation of Calligraphic Arts. The museum is a spectacular place where examples of the art of calligraphy as well as materials and tools used in calligraphy are exhibited. The coffee house under the famous old chestnut tree has maintained its fame throughout history. Particularly on Sundays, there is a colorful bazaar around it. The Beyazıt Tower The tower built in 1828 in the courtyard of İstanbul University was used as a watchtower by firemen. The first watchtower was built from wood and it burnt down during a fire; it was subsequently rebuilt of stone. The first palace after the conquest of İstanbul was built here but it has not survived into the present.

The Turkish Bath of Beyazıt (Patrona Halil Bathhouse)

The bathhouse which can be seen at the right while walking from Beyazıt to Aksaray holds great importance in the Ottoman history. The leader of the 1730 rebellion that ended the Tulip Era (the westernization attempt of the Ottoman Empire), Patrona Halil, was a masseur in this Turkish bathhouse. It has been since restored and used for cultural activities.



This is the place where craftsmen processing silver and golden threads worked. It was formerly in the area where Çorlulu Ali Paşa Madrasah was located and later on it was moved from Beyazıt to Aksaray. The first mint of İstanbul was inside Simkeşhane. Silver Ottoman coins used to be minted here. This building, which is also known as the Simkeşhane Bazaarwith the addition of a public fountain and school, was built as “Simkeşhane-i Amire” in 1707 by Ümmetulah Hatun, the favorite woman of Sultan Ahmet III. The building is presently used as the İstanbul Provincial Public Library of Orhan Kemal and the Library of Manuscripts.


The arch of victory ordered by the last emperor of the Roman Empire, Theodosius, is located on the southwestern side of Beyazıt Square. The archaeological items in this square, which used to be surrounded with public and civil buildings decorated with arcades and marble, were uncovered while Beyazıt Square and Ordu Caddesi (Military Avenue) were being renovated between 1948 and 1961. The victory arch was an arched structure which had three entrances, two of which were short entrances on both sides and one big entrance in the middle. It was planned as an arch similar to those on the avenues of Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire. A sculpture of Theodosius stood in the middle and the sculptures of his sons, Arcadius and Honorius, stood on both sides. The avenue, called the Mese Road, used to be the spine of the old city and continued on to the west. This road passed through the victory arch of Theodosius and went on to the Balkan Peninsula through Thrace. It is still being used in the present.



Laleli is a district whose name was not usually mentioned historically until the 18th century. No important building was constructed in this district during the period between the development carried out by Sultan Bayezid II and the construction of Laleli Mosque after the conquest of İstanbul. After the restoration, there was not a change in the function of Laleli until World War I. New street planning studies were carried out after the fire of 1918. People of the middle class and old families resided here.

LALELİ MOSQUE The architect of this building was Mehmet Tahir Ağa (1760-1730). The most important characteristic of Laleli Mosque is that it was constructed with the influence of baroque architecture. Wavy domes, many windows, and animated facades were usually used in Ottoman architecture at that time. The background is square. The main dome is situated on eight pillars and it is surrounded by six semi-domes. There are two entrances to the courtyard at the side of the façade. The graves of Mustafa III and Selim III are within the tomb near the mosque. The stair courtyard is situated at a high level and there is a cellar below it. The tomb of Laleli Baba, after whom the mosque was named, was pulled down in the 1950's. The bathhouse was also demolished. The gate in the avenue was relocated to the back in the 1950's, as it was in the way of the road construction. Since it was the last Külliye ordered by a sultan, this building has special importance. No other Külliye was ordered by a sultan thereafter.

LALELİ BODRUM MESİHPAŞA MOSQUE The Bodrum Mosque (Bodrum Mesihpaşa Mosque or the Church of Mireloin as it was formerly named) is a religious building that dates from the Eastern Roman Era. It was ordered by Emperor Romanos Lekapenos as a church for the Mireloin Monastery in the 10th century. It was turned into a mosque by the Grand Vizier Mesih Paşa during the reign of Bayezid II. There is a rotunda that dates from the 5th century near the church. Romanos Lekapenos covered the top of the building in the 10th century and ordered the building of a palace which has not survived to the present. The church was also built in this period. The church is built of brick. It is planned as a closed cross with four brackets. The main building is covered with a high dome with windows in it. To the east of the building there is an apse with three facades. It is semi-circular inside and cells designed as clovers are on both sides of this apse. The original structure of the dome has been preserved. There is also a cistern near the mosque.

ŞEHZADEBAŞI MOSQUE The outer courtyard of the Şehzade Mosque has six gates. The double minarets of the mosque, each of which has two minaret symbols, are the most interesting details of the mosque. The plain structure of other mosques and minarets is not present here. The approach of Mimar Sinan in terms of decoration in these minarets is unique.


BOZDOĞAN ARCH This is one of the oldest water structures of İstanbul. It is also called the Hadrianus or Valens Aqueduct. Its construction dates back to the Byzantine era. However, the precise date of its construction is not known. The aqueduct built by the Byzantines to provide water to İstanbul was damaged over time. It was put into service again after the conquest of İstanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmet. Additions were made to the structure during the reign of Bayezid II. Its total length was about 1 km but its length today is only a few hundred meters. It is now protected as it is a historical structure. It is located near the building İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality City Hall in the district of Saraçhane in İstanbul.