Discover Istanbul With A Tour Guide

Discover Istanbul With A Tour Guide

Istanbul is an amazing city with a lot of attractions. You may discover the Bosphorus, Golden Horn, Istanbul Historic Peninsula, Istanbul New City and Istanbul Asia Side.

In order to prepare a proper programme for your Istanbul visit, a professional tour guide can help you a lot. You may both save time and gain great information related to the local life of this unique city. More efficient and smooth journey is guaranteed with an official tour guide.

Discover The Beauty Of Spring In Istanbul
Istanbul Guided Tours By Serhat

Top Places To See In Istanbul

Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Dolmabahçe Palace, Taksim Square, Galata Tower, Istiklal Street, Grand Bazaar, Hippodrome, Istanbul Archaeological Museums, Fener (Phanar) Greek Orthodox Church, Balat former Jewish Quarter, Ortaköy and Bebek neighborhoods of Bosphorus.  Getting on the public ferry to visit Kadikoy Fish Market and shop in Baghdat Street.

Discover The Delicious Turkish Cuisine Of Istanbul
Local Food In Istanbul

These are must do things in cozy Istanbul city. A good plan can help you do as much as you can during your Istanbul visit. A Professional itinerary can be prepared by experienced people only. A knowledgeable and experienced tour guide can help you to fix all these things into your trip. Therefore,  It’s definitely recommended to book a private tour guide in Istanbul for a better Istanbul journey.

Istanbul Tour Guides

Beware non-official guidance is illegal in Turkey. Your guide must be bearing a badge (formal tour guiding license) on his shirt thorughout the tour. Official guides are graduated from University in order to be an official guide. They are specialized on this job. Therefore being a tour guide is a full time job and professional field in Istanbul and Turkey.

Istanbul Guided Tours By Local Guide Serhat
Guided Tours By Serhat

Istanbul Guided Tours By Serhat

Serhat Engül is an official private tour guide in Istanbul. He has been doing this job for the last 12 years. He is knowledgeable and trustworthy historian and tour guide. As featured in The Culture Trip, Dave’s Travel Corner, Trip Advisor and Istanbul Clues.

You may contact with him through in order to book a tour guide for your own tailor-made tour. Istanbul Guided Tours By Serhat is a concept of tour that you can create your own custom tour to take most out of your time that spent in Istanbul city.

Wish You Have A Great Time In Istanbul
Enjoy your time in Istanbul

Written By Serhat Engül

Further Recomended Reading:

Top Sightseeing Places In Istanbul

History Of Ottoman Empire

Short Istanbul Tour With Nice Photos


Suleiman The Magnificent Life, Family, TV Series

Sultan Suleiman Life, Family, TV Series

Sultan Suleiman Khan was born in Trebizond (Turkish: Trabzon) in 1494. He was the only son of Selim I. Sultan Selim is also known as Selim The Resolute in Turkish history due to his strong personality and successful commandership. Selim inherited the throne of Ottoman Empire at the age of 42 and doubled the boundaries of Ottoman Empire only in 8 years.

He was a fierce warrior and accomplished commander. He conquered vast lands in the Mesopotamia, Arabic Peninsula and Egypt. He seized the Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem, Alexandria and Cairo. These cities were the most civilized cities of Medieval ages, during the period of the Rise and Spread Of Islam.

Imperial Council Of Topkapı Palace
Imperial Council

Suleiman Becomes The Sultan Of Ottoman Empire

Şehzade Suleiman (Pronounced as Shahzade which means Prince) was elevated to the throne following the sudden death of Selim I (At the age of 50) caused by Anthrax. He was married to Mahidevran Sultan and had a son, named Şehzade Mustafa.

Young Sultan moved to Topkapı Palace, the royal residence of Ottoman Sultans located in Sultanahmet neighborhood of Istanbul.

Suleiman The Magnificent At Battlefield With Ibrahim Pasha
Suleiman The Magnificent

Sultan Suleiman And His Wife Roxelana or Hürrem

The Harem of Topkapı Palace was the house of Ottoman royalty. Mahidevran and Suleiman settled to the palace with the infant Mustafa. However there were a lot of other ladies in the Ottoman royal palace. Young and beautiful girls picked from all over the territories of Ottoman Empire that was covering a considerable section of known world in 16th century.

Sultan eventually fell in love with a lady named Roxelana, and married her. The name of Roxelana changed into Hürrem Sultan. She gave a birth to 4 sons and 1 daughter throughout the 25 years of relationship.

Sultan Suleiman And Hurrem Sultan
Sultan Suleiman And Hurrem Sultan

Sultan Suleimans Children

Apart from the first son, Mustafa, Sultan Suleiman had 4 other sons named: Şehzade Mehmed, Şehzade Selim, Şehzade Bayezid, Şehzade Changir. Yet he had only one daughter: Mihrimah Sultan.

Unfortunate events occured during the late years of Sultan Suleiman’s reign. Execution of Şehzade Mustafa (A black day for Ottoman history) was the result of plots against Şehzade Mustafa. They made Sultan believe his crowned prince betrayed him.

The death of Cihangir from the pain he had been through after his brother Mustafa’s death. The deadly fight for the throne between the Selim and Bayezid resulting with the slaughter of Bayezid. Suleiman had to witness all these things in his lifetime like some kind of curse.

Selim as the only remaining son of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, acceded to the throne after the death of Sultan Suleiman. He was the least capable person to be the Sultan, according to many Turkish people who lived then and now.

Another successful contribution can be experience from this article named Sultan Suleiman Wife Daughter Sisters. This particular write-up lead you to the series of articles about Suleiman that might be useful to help you grip the whole story.

Muhteşem Yüzyıl TV Series
Muhteşem Yüzyıl TV Series

Sultan Suleiman The Magnificent TV Series

There have been a local TV show related to the life of Sultan Suleiman. The series had been on the Turkish TV channels for about 3 years and became exceedingly successful. The production was exported to various foreign countries including all the former sub-countries of Ottoman Empire. Meaning all around the Eastern Europe, Middle East and Northern Africa. Nowadays it’s being displayed on Brazilian and other Latin American channels as well.

The show is named Magnificent Century Tv series. Commonly known as Sultan Suleiman TV Series Show. A very long term soap opera or drama that lasted for 139 episodes.

Suleymaniye Mosque Of Suleiman
Suleymaniye Mosque

Sultan Suleiman’s Legacy And Tomb

Suleiman the Magnificent built Süleymaniye Mosque in the center of Istanbul, as his eternal resting place. As traditionally Sultans are buried in the tombs near to their mosque, he and his dear wife Hurrem Sultan lies in the courtyard of Suleymaniye Mosque.

Sultan Suleiman inherited a massive Empire from his father, he went even farther, and enlarged the borders of Ottoman Empire exceedingly. Ottoman Empire reached to its peak point with the rule of Suleiman. Ottoman Empire Map was covering boundless lands on the earth by the death of Suleiman in 1566 at the age of 70. After 46 years of Sultanate, he left the throne to his son Selim I.

Ottoman Heritage Imperial Mosques Of Istanbul
Mosques Of Istanbul

Ottoman Heritage In Istanbul

Ottoman Empire left a vast heritage in Istanbul city including palaces, mosques, pavillions, monumental fountains and castles. It is definitely recommended to hire a private tour guide during your visit to Istanbul for having a culturally satisfying journey. The author of this blog, Serhat Engul, organize Istanbul Guided Tours that provides tailor made itineraries that could fit to your expectations. You may give it a try to experience a nice adventure in Istanbul old city.

Serhat Engül

Map Of Ottoman Empire With History Facts

Map Of Ottoman Empire History Facts

The article gives you overview about the history of the Ottoman Empire with explanatory maps. If you may be interested in the subjetct: Some other related articles given link by the blue colour. I hope you enjoy it.

Ottoman Empire’s Greatest Achivements

Ottoman Turks founded one of the longest-lasting and mighty Empire of the world following the collapse of Seljuk Turks. Ottoman Empire’s Kings (also known as Sultan) dominated majority of the central world from 15th century to the 19th century.

The heartland of Ottoman Empire was the Asia Minor (also known as Anatolia). The land has a significance due to its position like a bridge. The Asia Minor, however, key point that binds Asian and European continents after all.

Map Of Ottoman Empire At Its Height

Ottoman Empire At Its Height

Capturing Of Constantinople

Ottoman Empire stood out as a prominent power in Europe and Asia by the time of the seizure of Constantinople in 1453. Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II (The Conqueror) grabbed the great capital of Byzantine Empire and there shortly after proclaimed it as Ottoman State’s new capital.

The local historians take this date as the beginning of the imperial era for Ottomans. It’s evolved from a State into an Empire since the Constantinople was the center of trade routes. Most valuable city of middle ages.

Map of Ottoman Empire Greatest Achivements
Map Of Ottoman Empire

Domination Of Silk Route

The most important trade routes that are known to history of the human kind, silk and spice roads of the ancient ages. These lands are controlled by Romans, Byzantines and finally the Ottomans. Whoever dominated these lands, became a serious power in the past. The money flooded to the state treasury only until the geographical expedition of Europe’s enlightenment era, following the reform and renaissance.

Ottoman Sultan Greeting People In The Courtyard Of Topkapı Palace
Ottoman Sultan

Spread Of Ottomans In Eastern Europe

Ottomans made their way deep into the Balkans. They invaded Greece, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia, Albania, Croitia. Only until they are stopped by a united European army by the gates of Vienna. Vienna was a hilly city with the fortified defensive walls.

Ottoman artillery were unprepared for this strong walls so they stopped by the gates of Vienna.  They are attacked by the united army and defeated. They regrouped and considered attacking once more, but they minded about the upcoming winter and retreat eventually.

Ottoman Army On The Field With Janisarry Soldiers
Ottoman Soldiers

Ottoman Empire’s Largest Borders

Ottoman Empire reached to its peak point by the Sultan Suleiman. The period from 1451 to 1566 refers to the greatest time of the Ottomans. Because Sultan Mehmed II elevated to the throne by 1451 and Ottomans reached to their heyday by the 1566 the death of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.

Suleiman the Magnificent was the greatest ruler throughout the Ottoman History. He was a great statesman known for his just personality. He is known as the Suleiman the Lawgiver (In the eastern world) because of his regulations about the Turkish law. His legislations are known to entire Middle East, Caucasus and Egypt.

The people of those lands, lived in peace for hundreds of years due to the foundations of Suleiman. Only until the 19th century, the collapse of the Ottoman Empire caused Middle East turned into disorder.

Ottoman People In 19th Century
Ottoman People

Fall Of The Ottoman Empire

Ottoman Empire’s long and steady collapse started with the Treaty of Karlowitz (in 1699) and lasted until the Great War of 1914.

The three illustrative maps that are showing the rise of the Ottoman Empire as well as the fall of the Ottoman Empire in a very clear way. For more information you may visit Map Of Ottoman Empire post.

Decline Of The Ottoman Empire On A Map
Ottoman Empire Map

Ottoman Heritage In Istanbul

Ottoman Empire left a vast heritage in Turkey, especially in its former capital Istanbul. Topkapı Palace, Dolmabahçe Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace and Çırağan Palace are the well-known palaces of Istanbul. Blue Mosque,  Süleymaniye Mosque, Fatih Mosque, New Mosque, Rüstem Pasha Mosque, Ortaköy Mosque are the widely-known mosques of Istanbul.

By Serhat Engül

Istanbul Public Transpotation

Istanbul Public Transpotation

Istanbul is an expanding city. There are currently two airports, the third one is under construction. There used to be two bridges to cross over the Bosphorus but nowadays a new one has been just completed and opened to service. Many new metro lines, undersea passenger metros (Marmaray) are under construction or just finished.

Nostalgic Tram Of Istanbul

Growing Population And Public Transport Necessities

The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality working hard to keep up with the local people’s needs. However they are still not ahead of problems and necessities. The population of the city is 15 million according to the last census but it is now estimated nearly 20 million.

It’s not easy to provide busses, metros, trams, ferries and funiculars to this demand. As people of Istanbul we are sure that the İstanbul public transportation systems are growing and the standarts getting better. On the other hand we are also sure that the traffic is getting worser everyday. Imagine just %10 of the city would have their own cars. That would be 2 million cars. Excluding the business cars, trucks, public transportation busses and official government vehicles.

Driving In Istanbul

The Istanbul has a long way to improve better public transportation but it’s on its way now. The only thing that we are worried is the car traffic. I personally avoid getting out with my car in rush hours and weekends.

To Get Around Touristic Places

People who visit Istanbul for several days, usually interested in the Beyoğlu, Sultanahmet, Beşiktaş, Şişli, Levent, Nişantaşı, Kadıköy, Üsküdar. Metro and tram nets provide you advantages to reach to these touristic districts without getting stuck in the heavily used roads of Istanbul. Because once you get stuck, there is no way to get rid of it! You spend 1 hour for 10 minutes distance. So you have to calculate well to get to your restaurant or appointment on time. It’s not very easy to be punctual in Istanbul city and the traffic is a good excuse to come up with.

Istanbul Public Transport Information

Istanbul Public Transport Options

Here are the best public transportation options to get around Istanbul just like locals.

Marmaray Undersea Pass Of The Bosphorus

Marmaray which is introduced to people of Istanbul only two years before, extremely fast and easy way to get to the Asia side or the other way around. To be able to use this kind of faster vehicle in a megacity like Istanbul, helps the city folk a lot.

Istanbul’s practical metro system can carry you between the Taksim, Levent, Maslak business districts. Besides Tram helps you get from the Historical Peninsula Sultanahmet to the more modern area Beyoğlu.

Obtain An Istanbul Card For A Budget Journey

IstanbulKart is a boarding pass in the shape of a credit card. The machines charge from your IstanbulKart 2.30 Turkish Lira per ride per direction. There’s a further discount if you take another ride within two hours. It charge 1.65 Turkish Lira for the second time, 1.25 Turkish Lira for the third time.

Istanbul nostalgic ferry journeys are recommended.

Kabataş – Bağcılar – Light Tram Directions

This T1 tramline covers most of the famous sightseeing places. Visitors heavily use this line to get to Taksim area from Sultanahmet Old City. However to get to Taksim, you need to change the tram and go underground funicular vehicle, which is a one-stop metro up to Taksim square from the seaside Kabataş. You will be very familier with this tram if you ever visit Istanbul.

Istanbul’s Downtown Metro Lines > M1 and M2

M1 is not that popular among the tourists. Because it’s useful only for getting from the Ataturk Airport to the downtown. This is basically airport metro line.

M2 is much more popular comparing to the M1, for the fact that it’s covering major part of modern Istanbul, such as Taksim, Beşiktaş, Levent, Şişli, Mecidiyeköy and Sarıyer. People who are on a business trip, would benefit from this line most.

The largest shopping malls of the city placed around the M2 metro stations, such as Levent’s Metrocity, Cevahir, Kanyon, Sarıyer’s Istinye Park. The long and wide boulevard of Istanbul Barbaros Bulvarı also parallel with this metro line. Many business places, offices, plazas, hotels, newspapers, banks and holding companies located on this busy boulevard.

Istanbul Tram Stations And Istanbulkart & Token Machines

Link For An Istanbul Metro Map

To benefit from Istanbul metro, you need to study the Istanbul Metro Map very well. It’s sometimes not easy to make necessary hop on and hop offs. You need to know exactly where you should change from metro to tram, or tram to funicular etc.

Serhat Engül

Istanbul Private Tour Specialist

Süleymaniye Mosque Of Sultan Suleiman

Süleymaniye Mosque Of Istanbul

Süleymaniye is more than a mosque, it’s a historical symbol of the Turkish history. The Süleymaniye Mosque unites the two foremost figures of Ottoman History: Sultan Süleyman and Architect Sinan. One representing the best of the local arts and the other utmost power of political strenght.

Süleymaniye Mosque

Ottoman mosques are usually not just a mosque but complex buildings. Mosques usually have public soup kitchen, asylum, school, turkish bath, tombs, fountain next to them.

Suleimaniye Mosque is one of the finest examples of this system in Turkey. It represents the peak of Ottoman art, power and prosperity.

Architect Sinan

Architect Sinan was a very important figure of Ottoman Empire in 16th century because he was the chief architect of the empire and assigned to most important constructions such as this mosque. He built not only for the Sultan himself, but his daughters, sons, high ranking officers, grand viziers and admirals. Sinan adorned Istanbul and some other cities of Turkey with his great buildings. Still today, he is considered as the best architect of Turkish history.

Dome Of Suleimaniye Mosque

Sultan Suleiman The Magnificent

The Süleymaniye Mosque is built on one of the hills of historical peninsula and overlooking to grea view of Istanbul and Bosphorus. It was placed on the top of the dominating hill of old city and representing the, greatest ruler of Ottomans: Sultan Suleiman.

Further Reading For Sultan Suleiman The Magnificent

Süleymaniye Mosque Center

The Mosque is built in 7 years. The construction started in 1550 and lasted until 1557. The architectural features of the building amazes everyone.  The massive dome is 47 meters from the ground and it look like hanged on the sky. This unique dome represents the holiness of God.

Make sure that you do not miss this important sightseeing place when you visit Istanbul. So many people visit Blue Mosque which is more centrally located and do not worry about seeing another mosque but it definitely worth it.

If you visit the Süleymaniye Mosque, don’t forget to give a lunch break in lovely restaurants, located beside the mosque complex. The restaurants are famous for serving Kuru Fasulye (Stewed Beans) this meal is served with rice and pickles. Delicious example of Turkish cuisine. At least 5 out of 10 people would count Kuru Fasulye (Stewed Bean) & Pilav (Rice) as his favorite meal, alongside with the Iskender Kebap.

Recommended Articles:

Serhat Engül

Beauty Of Istanbul’s Bosphorus

Beauty Of Istanbul’s Bosphorus

People of Istanbul enjoy the spectacular view of Istanbul. They prefer to get a ferry to commute between the Asia and Europe and they enjoy this beauty almost everyday.

Istanbul is such a busy city, with a lot of traffic jam. Inhabitants contantly complaining about living in this bustling city. “The city is shortening our lives” they say. On the other hand, they love it so much. It’s like a love and hate relationship.

These does not count for the foreign visitors, they usually do not face this side of Istanbul, since they do not work here and go to work everyday. Perhaps they might have stuck in the traffic from the airport to the hotel that’s all. However people of the city suffers from troubles of a Megacity everyday.

Photos Of Bosphorus

Bosphorus cruise tour is most enjoyable activity ever. So you can take these photos during the boat tour. Turyol Bosphorus Boats leaves from Eminönü pier, go up to the Fatih Sultan Mehmed Bridge (second bridge) and come back.

Turyol Bosphorus Tour Boat

Turyol’s pretty boats

House By The Fatih Sultan Mehmed Bridge

A very different style Yalı House By Sultan Mehmed Bridge

Super Expensive Yalı Houses On The Bosphorus

Expensive Houses Of Bosphorus

Rumeli Fortress or Rumeli Hisarı

Rumeli Fortress

Yeniköy Yalı House On Bosphorus

Yeniköy Yalı

I hope you enjoy my photos of Bosphorus. Hope it will inspire you to visit Istanbul

Further Reading From The Blog: Istanbul Tour With Photos

Serhat Engül

Istanbul Private Tour Specialist

Short Istanbul Tour With Nice Photos

Short Istanbul Tour With Nice Photos

Istanbul is an impressive city located in the Eastern Europe or Middle East. It’s a great place to visit for the photographers. I am an Istanbulier and I love taking photographs too. So here is my photos of beautiful Istanbul city.

Topkapı Palace

Topkapı Palace used to be the residence of Ottoman Sultans. 25 Sultans had lived in the palace from 1481 to 1856 until Sultan Abdülmecid decided to move to the new palace located in the Bosphorus, which is named Dolmabahçe Palace.

Topkapı is unique with its architecture, it’s made like a fortress or castle. It was the office and barracks for the Fatih Sultan Mehmed. Became a home to Ottoman family palace later on. When Sultan Suleiman decided to move the Harem from Old Palace (Eski Saray) to here.

Topkapı Palace In Istanbul © Serhat Engul

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is the common inheritance of the people of the world. It was a church once, then became a mosque. Finally a museum. It’s a great place to visit. It’s arhitectural features still mesmerize the visitors. Even in the modern time, engineers can’t explain exactly how they were able to built it in five years. (532 A.D. to 537 A.D.)

Hagia Sophia mosaics are a must-see in Istanbul. Make sure that you don’t miss the mosaics on the second floor of this magnificent church, mosque or museum. It has many titles and many stories in it! Hard to tell without personally being inside and experience all those specilities of it!

Hagia Sophia View From Sultanahmet Park © Serhat Engul

A lot of street vendors hang around Hagia Sophia since it’s the main attraction point for tourists. The Hagia Sophia square is always bustling with people.

Istanbul Street Food © Serhat Engul

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque is obviously a perfect example of Ottoman architecture. It represents the golden age of the empire. The Ottoman Empire had reached to its greatest borders in the 16. and 17. centuries. Ths Blue Mosque is built by Sultan Ahmed from 1609 to 1616 (7 years) so it was just the peak time of the empire.

Blue Mosque Courtyard © Serhat Engul

Seljuk Architecture

Seljuks are forefathers of the Ottomans. They had migrated from Central Asia to west. When they arrived to Persia, they settled to Isfahan and created a powerful empire with hybrid culture. They had appointed as the protector of the Islam by the Abbasid Caliph. Seljuk Turks battled with mighty Byzantines and became victorious in the Battle Of Manzikert. (1071) So they embraced the Anatolia (ASia Minor) as their homeland. Anatolia has been Turkish land ever since.

Four Seasons Hotel Sultanahmet © Serhat Engul

New Mosque And Suleymaniye Mosque

New Mosque is built by a Valide Sultan (Queen Mother) It’s like a symbol of the hub (Eminönü District) of Historical Peninsula. A large mosque might catch your eye in the photo, that is seen in the distance. That grand mosque is Süleymaniye Mosque of the Ottoman Empire. Built by greatest architect Mimar Sinan, in the name of Sultan Suleiman The Magnificent.

Mosques Of Istanbul © Serhat Engul

Seagulls Of Istanbul Bosphorus

Having A Bosphorus Tour is of course exciting and joyful activity. To see the houses built by Bosphorus like a magic. Hundreds of years old waterfront houses that worth millions of dollars. The most popular and attractive districts are Ortaköy and Bebek. You may consider visiting these two trendy villages in the Bosphorus.

Bosphorus Cruise
Seagulls Over The Bosphorus © Serhat Engul

Spice Bazaar Of Istanbul

Spice Bazaar is a nice place to visit. You smell the attractive scent of spices from a hundred metres away. Then it makes you dizzy to look at these colorfoul and attractive shops.

Mısır Çarşısı Baharatları
Shops Of Spice Bazaar © Serhat Engul

Grand Bazaar Of Istanbul

Grand Bazaar is absolutely greatest tourist magnet in Istanbul. Everybody wants to see it and everybody wants to make a shopping in it. Built in 15th century, a great building to visit.

Shopping At Grand Bazaar © Serhat Engul


Istanbul Travel Clues

I strongly recommend you to check this qualified blog before you plan your visit to Istanbul. You may search in the Google as “Blue Mosque Clues”, “Hagia Sophia Clues”, “Grand Bazaar Clues” it comes up in the results right away on the top. Make sure that you have your clues about the place of interest. Hope you find it useful. 🙂

Istanbul Clues Travel Blog

I hope you have a great time in my hometown Istanbul, cheers!

Photos and article by Serhat Engül

Istanbul Private Tour Specialist

Ortaköy Trendy Village At Bosphorus

Ortaköy Trendy Village At Bosphorus

Ortaköy is a trendy place located along the Bosphorus shore. It has a cozy atmosphere and it is well-known for the nice cafeteries and restaurant that lines along the waterfront. Locals also like Ortaköy for its nice seaside view and atmosphere, ideal for coming to stroll around and having a breakfast as do local people do oftenly. Continue reading Ortaköy Trendy Village At Bosphorus

Sultan Suleiman The Magnificent Of Ottoman Empire

Sultan Suleiman The Magnificent Of Ottoman Empire

Sultan Suleyman ruled the Ottoman Empire for 46 years, from 1520 to 1566. He is granted a long life and at the same time he became the ruler at the age of 25.

He was the 10th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and luckier than most of the previous Sultans since he was the only heir of his predecessor Sultan Selim I. Therefore he was not perished by the power struggle to capture the priceless throne of the extremely rich Ottoman Empire.

The young Ruler immediately displayed himself to be a King of many talents and many titles. His official title is Sultan Suleiman I of Ottomans but he is better known as Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in the Western world and as Kanuni Sultan Süleyman in Turkey and Middle East.


Greatest Borders of Ottoman Empire

Suleiman created major legislative changes related to society, education, taxation, criminal law. His ground-breaking Codex-Suleiman synthesized Turkish local traditions with Islamic law. His concept of “Justice” fixed the form of the Turkish Empire for centuries after his death as a milestone of the Ottoman Law. That is how he got the hobourable title of Kanuni “Lawgiver” in 600 years of Ottoman History.

His skill as military man tripled the size of his Ottoman Empire. Suleiman personally leaed his legions in conquering the Christian strongholds of Belgrade, Hungary and even Rhodes. He went as far as the gates of Austria in 1529. Turkish fleet patroled Mediterranean Sea and major trade routes under his rule. He used to have brilliant military strategist Abraham Pasha as his Grand Vizier (Like A Prime Minister) and Hayreddin Barbarossa (Red Beard) as admiral of his dreadful fleet.

16th Century is known as Age Of Great Kings

The 16th century is also described as Age of Great Kings. The Tudors: Henry VIII, then Elisabeth I in the England, Ivan the Terrible in the Russia, Francis I in the France, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V were all rulers of the world by the time of Suleiman the Magnificent.

At home, he was a talented poet and skillful goldsmith. He was also a generous patron of arts, textile, woodwork, architecture, calligraphy, painting, tiles. His reign was always mentioned as the golden age of Ottoman Empire.

Genious and productive Ottoman Architect, Mimar Sinan, served to him for long years. Sinan built his great mosque: Süleymaniye as a eternal resting place for Suleiman The Magnificent and his beloved wife Roxelana. Their tombs are located within the courtyard of Suleymaniye Mosque which is located right at the heart of the old  Istanbul.

Room Of Roxelana In The Topkapı Palace

Rise of Roxelana

Ottoman Sultans never ever married except one or two. Suleiman The Magnificent broke the imperial traditions and rules and married to his concubine Roxelana. She had an Russian origin. Suleiman fell in love with this eye-chatching lady and married her. In nearly 25 years of marriage Sultan Suleiman is believed to had been monogamous.

She was one of strongest women in Ottoman Empire’s history. She gained too much power and influence and involved in the politics of the Ottoman Empire through Suleiman and played an active role in state affairs of the Ottoman Empire. Her rule was the beginning of the Sultanate of Women. A time when the Ottoman ladies became so powerful. They ruled the Empire in the name of their husbands or sons.


Magnificent Century TV Series

Their renowned love story was the subject of TV series in Turkish TV channels. Magnificent Century TV series had been on screen for the last several years and millions of people watched Suleiman’s love story with Roxelana. The show became very succesful in entire Asia and Eastern Europe.

Suleiman And Roxelana

Sultan Suleiman’s Heritage

At the time of Suleiman’s death, the Ottoman Empire was the world’s most powerful state. Sultan Suleiman’s gathering had brought under the control of the Empire the majority of Middle Eastern Muslim cities, many Balkan provinces, almost entire North Africa. His expansion to the central Europe had given the Ottoman Turks very powerful presence in the European balance of power. He failed only at the gates of Vienna. His army had to retreat at the Siege of Vienna due to some mistakes of his Grand Vizier.

Featured Article:

By Serhat

Istanbul Private Tour Specialist

Grand Bazaar Shopping Advices

Grand Bazaar Shopping Advices

The Grand Bazaar, one of the biggest and oldest marketplace in the world accommodating more than 3000 shops, is more than just a sightseeing place. Ever since the Istanbul became Ottoman Capital, it has been bustling with activity. The Ottoman Ruler Fatih Sultan Mehmed constructed the first building in the Bazaar which is known as Cevahir Bedesteni (Old Bazaar) Then afterwards it expanded to every possible direction, until it gets stuck to its final size of today.

Every day local sellers and tourists are haggling to get the best deal for their buck. Here are some useful bargaining tips for the Covered Bazaar and other shops around Istanbul City.

Grand Bazaar Shopping Streets

Shops Of Grand Bazaar Look Similar To Each Other

After you spent a few hours walking up and down in Istanbul, you will notice streets where all shops seem to sell same type of items. At Taksim Square you find a a lot of Kebap shops next to each other, in Galata Tower Area a street full of music instrument shops, in Karaköy District. The Grand Bazaar naturally follows the same logic, but of course much larger scale. As we will see later on, this gives you as a potential purchaser a good advantage.

The Seller Has The Advantage At First

Shops in the Grand Bazaar offer both good quality products and, junk items. The shop keepers definitely knows the quality of their own mechandise, the cost to have it made, and how much profit he can put in his wallet. At best you know a few tricks to check whether it’s real leather, a genuine hand-woven carpet, or an authentic jewellery. You need to be very careful about it though! You would not want to be given a cheap chinese knock-off, do you?


Look For The Right Time

It’s not possible that you can deal with the shop owner in the Grand Covered Bazaar. The person attending you is most likely a shop attendant working for him. This means that he has to sell a certain amount of merchandise to reach his daily quota. While reaching his quota is a must, he also receives a fare amount of commission on what he sells.

Therefore, at the beginning of the day he will be very eager to sell. Even at a lower price, earning small  or no commission, just to make sure he gets his daily quota. After a few hours, he may have reached his quota. At this point, the focus will change from just selling to please his shop-owner, to selling to make a very good commission.

This does not mean you gotta wait in front of the shop for the gate to be opened. Besides looking too eager, you will not strike a good bargain until the salesman has finished a few glasses of Turkish tea to get the day going. In my own experience, between 11:00 and 13:00 is a best time to strike the best deal.

Never Seem Very Interested

“Welcome my friend. How are you?”, is a line you will hear a multiple times while browsing the streets of Grand Bazaar. In nearly every language on the earth. It’s their way of touching base and get you to have a curious look around their window.

If you are looking for an mechandise they have enter the shop and take a good look around. Once you see mechandise you want, do not let them understand it! Just check out some other pieces and make your mind up of what the shop gotta offer. At the same time, refrain from showing you are eager to purchase a certain item. Only then you are ready to start bargaining, you take the item you like and casually ask about its price.

Do Not Ever Tell Your Best Price

At this moment, he will have you value the product by asking what would be your best price. Never fall for this dirty trick. Once name your price on it, that is it: you can never ever to go under it.

Instead of that, make him take the first step, put the starting bid of the bargaining process. Of course, you should look confused and find the cost outrageous. Put down the merchandise, do not check at any other product slowly start walking against the door while looking at the items of the shop across, he will probably shout after you “Ok, come I make a discount” or if he already made a discount, he would say “Ok, I will make more discount” it will goes on and on. Until you both get exhausted.

Mısır Çarşısı Baharatları

Tea Offerings

Slow and steady finish the game first. Never rush for the bargaining process. It is important to keep on sending positive signals that you are not sure you really need to buy the merhandise, let alone at the price he is offering it for. His urge to sell should always be higher than yours to purchase.

It is not uncommon that they will offer you a glass of tea. The reason for this he want to build good relationships with you and having you owe something to him. Kind of social pressure. But do not take me wrong it is also sign of humour of course.

Do not buy a word from this. His child will still be able to go to school if he drops the cost a bit more. At the end of that day, he isn’t obliged to sell.

So, keep on playing the game, until you strike the right bargain for both parties.

What Kind of Discount Should You Aim For?

Well, there is no golden key. In most cases they make %20 discount and it’s still possible to push it for more. If you are buying an expensive product you might purchase it with %50 percent discount. The problem is you never know what’s the real bottom price, you have to deep as much as you can. Practice makes it better and better I guess. You will be more experienced oriental shopper at the end.


Istanbul Private Shopping Tours

You better have a tour guide in istanbul with you to experience the shopping on the safe side. When you have your guide with you, the badge that guide carries, scare the annoying people away. You will never get disturbed by unnecessary shop-keepers for sure and you will have somebody who can have the best price for you.

You may want to check this article too: Top Sightseeing Places in Istanbul

Happy shopping and good luck to you.

By Serhat

Istanbul Private Tour Specialist

Empire Of Great Seljuk Turks

Empire Of Seljuk Turks

In Medieval 11th century, the Seljuk Turks of Asia, created a strong rule in Isfahan and Asia Minor that developed a great culture.

The Seljuk Turks (Selçuklular) were a Turkish tribe from Central Asia. They marched to Persia (1037) and set up a glorious state with Isfahan as their main capital. Renamed by modern historians as the Seljuk Empire of Turks (Turkish: Selçuklu Devleti)

Map Of Great Seljuk Empire
Map Of Great Seljuk Empire


Seljuks gets closer to Byzantine frontiers

The Abbasid Caliph who lives in Baghdat, gave their ruler Tughril, the impressive title “Ruler of the east and west of the world” designating the Seljuk warlord as his temporal deputy and defender.

Alp Arslan (Successor of Tughril) expanded significantly upon Tughril’s territories by seizing Armenia and Georgia (1064). Occupied eastern end of the Byzantine Empire borders. (1068) The war between Seljuks and Byzantine was inevitable from then on.

Rapid Cavalry Units Of Seljuk Turks
Seljuk Cavalry

Battle Of The Giants: Battle of Manzikert

In 1071 this Seljuk army engaged the legions of the Byzantine ruler Romanos IV Diogenes at Manzikert (Malazgirt) north of Lake Van.  Byzantine legions were strong and heavily outnumbering the Seljuk army. However Seljuk ruler Alp Arslan, used strategic tactics , surrounded and defeated Byzantine legions decisively. Seljuks captured Byzanrine Emperor Romanos IV himself. They did not drag him back to capital in victory but release him for a ransom and massive tracts of Byzantine lands.

Battle Of Manzikert 1071


Rise and Fall of Seljuk Empire

Alp Arslan’s decisive victory at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 effectively broken the Byzantine defence to the Turkish invasion of Asia Minor. With no Byzantine force to stop them, the Seljuk armies flooded into Anatolia, taking control of most of Eastern and Central Anatolian lands.

The reigns of Alp Arslan and his successor Malik Shah, were the most glorious years of the Great Seljuks of Persian lands. The death of the Malik Shah marked the decline of Seljuk Turks and by 1192 the dynasty collapsed. The bir pressure from the Crusaders and new Turkish clans caused the Grand Seljuk Empire to collapse.

Army And Soldiers Of Seljuk Turks
Soldiers Of Seljuk Turks

Sultanate of Rum in Asia Minor

The remaining Seljuk clans created their new capital at Iconium (Konya) around 1150 and ruled what would be known as the Sultanate of Rum (Anadolu Selçuklu Devleti) The small Seljuk ruling class governed a population that was mostly greek- speaking (Byzantine origins) Christians of Asia Minor, with a large Jewish minority.

Seljuk Sultante Of Rum Map
Seljuk Sultante Of Rum Map

Seljuk Empire to Ottoman Empire

Just as they had overwhelmed the Byzantines two hundred years before, the Seljuk Empire could not resist the most recent wave of nomadic pressure. The Mongols were approaching from the eastern borders. Once strong Turkish Seljuk army was utterly routed at Battle of Kösedağ against the Mongol tribes.

Seljuk Architecture In Istanbul Turkey
An example of Seljuk Architecture in Istanbul.

Mini vassal city-states were established in Asia Minor after the collapse of Seljuk Empire. Among the new warlord principalities of the 1290s was one based near İznik (Nicaea) on the Byzantine frontier and led by a leader named Osman Bey (Othman Ghazi) grew quickly in strength and size. Osman was about to establish one of the mightiest empires of the world: Ottoman Empire.

Map Of Ottoman Empire
Map Of Ottoman Empire

Selçuklu Devleti or Seljuk Empire left a diverse heritage to Turkey.

Seljuk government was tolerant of all races and religions. Many of Churches and synagogues built during their rule in Asia Minor. most of the finest examples of Seljuk architecture, such as mosques, caravansary and palaces can be seen majorly in central and eastern part of Turkey (Anatolia). Erzurum (Theodosiopolis) , Sivas (Caesareia) and Konya (Iconium)

By Serhat

Istanbul Private Tour Specialist

Top Sightseeing Places In Istanbul

Top Sightseeing Places In Istanbul

These are the sights you are recommended to see in Istanbul, ranked in order of significance and ease of access.

Luckily, the first six sights are very close to each other near Sultanahmet Area. You can visit them on your own, or you can hire a private tour guide to see these beautiful sights. Tour guide is very useful about the fast track advantage as well as being well informed about the sights. Continue reading Top Sightseeing Places In Istanbul