Asian Part Walking Tour (Self Guided), Istanbul

Istanbul, Turkey's wealthiest and biggest city is split by the Bosphorus in two parts - European and Asian. In this tour you can experience the eastern side and feel the true spirit of the Orient with small, crowded streets and countless mosques.
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Asian Part Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Asian Part Walking Tour
Guide Location: Turkey » Istanbul (See other walking tours in Istanbul)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.1 Km or 3.2 Miles
Author: kane
Leander's Tower

1) Leander's Tower

The Lenders Tower is also called the Maidens Tower and the Kız Kulesi in Turkish. The “Lenders Towers” was the name given to the tower during the ancient Greek and the medieval Byzantine periods which means “Tower of Leandros”. The tower is located on a small island in the middle of the Borphorus Strait, near its Southern entrance, approximately two hundred meters off the coast of Üsküdar in Istanbul.

The tower was built to control the movements of various ships in the Bosphorus Strait by the ancient Athenian general; Alcibiades in 408 BC. During those times the tower was located between the ancient cities of Chrysopolis and Byzantion. Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus enlarged the tower and built a fortress in 1110 AD. The Ottoman Turks also enlarged and modified the tower several times. The most recent restoration was the addition of steel supports in 1999, to serve as precautions against earthquakes.

The tower was originally used as a lighthouse, but in recent times, the first floor of the tower contains a popular restaurant and the top floor contains a café. It has also been featured in many Hollywood and Turkish movies, Turkish plays and reality shows. The tower can be visited by boat by tourists.
Şemsi Pasha Mosque

2) Şemsi Pasha Mosque

The Şemsi Pasha Mosque is an Imperial Ottoman Mosque located in the district of Üsküdar, in Istanbul. Designed by the famous Ottoman Imperial Architect Mimar Sinan, the Mosque is a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture. The Şemsi Pasha Mosque was designed for the Grand Vizier Şemsi Pasha in 1580.

Although small in size compared to other mosques designed by Mimar Sinan, the mosque’s waterfront location makes it a popular tourist spot for visitors to the city of Istanbul, and it is one of the most attractive and skillfully designed mosques in the city.

The mosque is built in a square design and consists of a single dome. It consists of a madrassah (Islamic School), gardens, and the tomb of Şemsi Ahmet. The interior of the mosque is adorned with colored glass windows, a mirror vault, and three casement windows. The mosque is surrounded by a large complex, situated on the coast of Üsküdar, also built by the imperial architect Mimar Sinan. The complex is situated near the Şemsi Pasha Palace. The mosque complex consists of two gates, one facing the land and one facing the sea.

In the year 1940, the mosque was restored by the General Directorate of Religious Endowments of Turkey. The mosque is open to public 24 hours a day, except during prayer times.
Mihrimah Sultan Mosque

3) Mihrimah Sultan Mosque

The Mihrimah Sultan Mosque is also known as the Iskele Mosque and the Jetty Mosque. It is an Imperial Ottoman mosque located in, Üsküdar Square, Istanbul. This mosque is one of the best land marks of Üsküdar. This mosque was built on the order of the Princess Mihrimah Sultana, the most favorite daughter of Sultan “Suleiman the Magnificent” and the wife of Grand Vizier Rüstem Pasha. The mosque was designed by the famous Imperial Architect Mimar Sinan, and completed in 1548, and it takes its nick names from the ferry landing near which it is located.

The mosque has been built in the typical style adopted by Sinan, with a blend of Ottoman and Byzantine architecture. For the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, he opted for a more modern style as compared to the Hagia Sofia. The mosque is large, with slender minarets and a high vaulted basement. There is a single large dome surrounded by three semi-domes.

The mosque complex consists of a madrassah (Islamic school), a caravanserai, a kitchen to feed the poor, a hospice for traveling dervishes and a tomb. It also contains a sadirvan (ablution fountain) and this fountain is one of the best in all of the mosques’ in Istanbul. The kitchen and caravanserai have not survived and the primary school is used as a health center today.
Fethi Paşa Korusu

4) Fethi Paşa Korusu

Fethi Paşa Korusu park, recently renovated, is one of the best places in the Asian part of the city to enjoy the beautiful view over the Bosphorus. Here you can have a walk in the vast green area, far from the crowds of the narrow streets outside the park.
Bosphorus Bridge (Asian Side)

5) Bosphorus Bridge (Asian Side) (must see)

The Bosphorus Bridge is the famous bridge in Istanbul that connects the Asian and European banks of the Bosphorus Strait. This is the first of the two bridges that connect the banks, the other being the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, also called the Second Bridge.

The Bosphorus Bridge links the chic Istanbul destination Ortakoy on the European side with the Beylerbeyi on the Asian side. Currently, it has the 25th-longest suspension bridge span in the world at over one thousand meters. The bridge was completed in 1973, constructed of inclined hangers and steel pylons, and cost more than 200 million US dollars to build.

The bridge offers a spectacular view of the Bosphorus Strait, both the Asian and European sides of Istanbul, which can be seen when you are crossing it. Centuries old architecture line the banks of the strait on either side and churches and mosques dot the landscape. When it was first built, a sidewalk was there for pedestrians, but now it has long been closed. The bridge can be best viewed from the Bosphorus cruise or tours that allow ample opportunities to view and photograph this spectacular architectural masterpiece.

Why You Should Visit:
The views from the bridge are actually nicer than the sighting of the bridge itself.
Besides, what can be more amazing than having one foot in Asia and another in Europe!

Note that the traffic of cars over the bridge is horrible during rush hours, so whether you cross it or get a view from afar, try doing so after dusk!
Beylerbeyi Palace

6) Beylerbeyi Palace

The Beylerbeyi Palace is a summer place overlooking the Bosphorus Strait from its Asian shore present in Istanbul. This summer palace was built for the Ottoman Sultan Abdulaziz. The Palace is located in Beylerbeyi, Istanbul.

This Imperial residence was often used by visiting dignitaries and royalty, and also by the Sultan himself. It is a tastefully decorated palace, with many chandeliers and a fountain present in the main salon. There are many decorative Chinese vases and Sevres, and the Palace Gardens are also beautifully kept.

Some of the famous guests who have stayed at the palace are: Empress Eugénie of France, Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia, Shah Nasruddin of Persia and many more. Sultan Abdulhamid II was placed under house arrest in the Beylerbeyi Palace in 1909 by the Turks, and he spent the last years of his life there. The Sultan was an accomplished cabinet maker, and he made a lot of furniture for the Palace during his confinement there.

The Palace can be reached by boat and by bus, but the preferred route is by boat so one can enjoy the scenic beauty of the Bosphorus Strait. It is open every day for visitors except Mondays and Thursdays and definitely worth a visit of a few hours.

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