After visiting the Blue Mosque, we decided to check out what Sunday in Istanbul is like, it definitely was not quiet. We visited the Spice Bazaar, the square out the front of the Yeni Cami, the underpass to the Galata Bridge, watched the fishing off of the Galata Bridge, enjoyed the sunset behind the Yeni Cami and then walked across the Galata Bridge to the other side of the Golden Horn before heading back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.
Next to the Spice Bazaar is the Yeni Cami. The construction of this Mosque commenced in 1597, at the time it was known as the Valide Sultan Mosque and took over half a century to complete due to its location, political and financial issues, the Janissaries were unhappy about the expense and the Valide Sultan (Queen Mother) who was given the responsibility for the construction of the Mosque. At the time the Eminönü area was the city’s foremost commercial center, and home to a largely Jewish population. Construction ceased in 1603 and the partially completed Mosque started to deteriorate and was further damaged in the Great Fire of Istanbul in 1660. Construction of the Mosque re-started late 1660 in conjunction with the construction of the Spice Bazaar, construction was completed in 1663 and the Mosque was inaugurated in 1665 as the Yeni Valide Sultan Camii, New Valide Sultan Mosque. In time the locals shortened the name to the Yeni Cami, New Mosque. We did not have time to visit the Mosque, will add it to the list for next time!
A Quiet Sunday in Istanbul
There is an underpass from the square out the front of the Yeni Cami to the Galata Bridge, it was packed with people shopping or, like us, just crossing under the road. Pretty busy place.
The Galata Bridge spans the Golden Horn. The first bridge was built in 1845, a second bridge was built to replace the first, both were wooden. A third bridge was built by an English firm who completed the build in 1875, this bridge was used until 1912 when it was floated upstream to replace another bridge.
The fourth bridge was built in 1912 and was in use until 1992 when it was damaged by fire and had to be towed up the Golden Horn to make way for the building of the fifth and current bridge, this was completed in 1994 and was used by both cars, other vehicles and pedestrians.
The bridge is a favourite haunt for local fishermen and was packed on Sunday with people fishing, watching and enjoy the view!
Tram Tracks Across the Galata Bridge
Access to cars and other vehicles was ceased when tram tracks were added to the bridge later.
The Galata Tower stands out no matter where you are when near the Golden Horn. The tower is nine-stories, 66.90 meters, tall and, when it was built in 1348 during an expansion of the Genoese colony, it was the tallest building in Constantinople. Its original names were the Christea Turris (Tower of Christ) by the Genoese and the Megalos Pyrgos (The Great Tower) by the Byzantines.
The tower has been restored a number of times to repair the damaged caused by an Earthquake in 1509, fires in 1794 and 1831 and a large storm in 1875. The conical roof of the tower was destroyed by the storm and it was not repaired until 1965 / 67 as a part of the restoration of the entire tower. During the Byzantine and Ottoman Periods the tower was used as observatory and prison, now it is a tourist attraction with a café and restaurant at the top. Another to return to Istanbul.
This funicular connects Taksim Square with Kabataş and was opened in 2006. Great service, very clean and quick, plus a bit of fun. About 35,000 people per day use it.
Time to find out what Sunday Night is like in Istanbul.