Even if we deal with only the artistic contents of the structure motifs including the mosques, churches, synagogues, museums, fountains, complexes and old buildings, we realize that the city remaines at the top of the list in the field of artistic architecture with its Islamic calligraphy, marbling art, carving, colouring, and craftsmanship.
On the other hand, activities, such as theaters, cinemas, live concerts, exhibitions, communion, poetic concerts, art galleries, in which works of internationally famous artists are exhibited, show the meaning and importance of art in Istanbul.
Istanbul is the city which has held the title of capital city for three great civilizations with a deep culture of love and tolerance. Istanbul… The city of dialogue where religions, languages, and races have lived side by side in the same streets in peace and harmony. The city of freedom, opened by Sultan Fatih, has seen the end of one age and the beginning of another with its conquest. Istanbul has promised to give this experience to its visitors, and it has kept its promise.
Istanbul has been at the junction of great civilizations because of its geographic and strategic location and has hosted several beliefs and traditions of many people for ages. Being very unique from this angle, the city is a civilization on its own with its history, globally renowned historical artifacts, institutions, culture, and traditions. For this very reason alone, it is a city that had been the target of several sieges and which has been sacked and conquered.
Hosting the capital city of Rome, the Byzantines, and the Ottomans for almost 16 centuries, it had become one of the centers of Christianity under Emperor Constantine. After its conquest in 1453 by the Ottomans, it was considered as one of the most important cities of the Islamic World.
During the reigns of these Empires’, it was also the administrative center of each of its respective religions. It has held the Patriarchy of Eastern Christianity until today, errecting the first and largest church and monasteries of the Christian World on top of pagan temples. Istanbul then assumed its Islamic character with the decoration of artifacts, mosques, palaces, schools, baths, and other facilities under the Ottomans. The current ruins of churches have been repaired, restored, and converted into mosques almost a century after its conquest.
On the other hand, Istanbul became the center of the Muslim world when the Ottoman Sultans’ obtained the caliphate of the Islamic World until the first year of the Turkish Republic in 1924. Judaism anchored itself in Istanbul more than any other of the port cities on the Mediterrean. The Jews that were saved from the Spanish Inquisition with the help of the Arabs excaped and began a happy new life in this city.
Translated by Mr. Irfan KOKSAL