The Historical Peninsula nearly include all the places to visit for Istanbul. Because of that, it is hard to describe all the historical places and places to visit in Istanbul in just one article. You have to take them one by one differently according to their area and get the bottom of it. And the reason behind that is Istanbul’s having a marvelous historical structure. In this article, I will talk about places to visit for Istanbul, the history of the Historical Peninsula and the transportation options briefly. Let’s discover these fascinating streets together.
Istanbul’s historical peninsula was the ever-longing center of Istanbul, which was created BC 638. The city was built as a Greek colony at first but then conquested and used as a capital by the Roman, Byzantine and the Ottoman Empire. With all these great civilizations, of course, it has a similar greatness in its streets.
”Being chosen by the many most important emperorships as a capital city, of course is not just a coincidence.”
The peninsula has a strategical and elegant advantage by being surrounded by the Golden Horn, Bosphorus and the Mediterranean sea.
Moreover, as a function being the bridge between Europe and the Anatolia side, makes this peninsula the cradle of many great and small civilizations. You can still find many mini models of old civilizations in this historical county. Not also with that but also with being the gate which leads to the Black Sea from Egean or other seas, it has so much importance as the geographical location that sometimes nations went to war for it.
If we can see these things, of course, they wouldn’t have been missed by the Roman Emperor Constantine and the Fatih the Conqueror who conquered the Istanbul. Let’s look at what makes Istanbul so important through ages, in its own history.
The Hİstory of the Historical Peninsula of Istanbul
Our story begins at the BC 638 at Greece’s Corinth Bay. A king named Byzas decided to build a new colony with his people and goes to the oracle for his opinion about it.
The oracle tells them to go East and settle in the Country of Blinds.
”The Byzas and his staff couldn’t find any meaning in the oracle’s words but when they came to the Sarayburnu, which is the current location of Topkapı Palace now, they just couldn’t believe their eyes and fascinated by it.”
But what really surprises them was another Greek Colony which passed here before them and already settled in Kadıköy, located on the Anatolian Side. They say to themselves, ”How can they pass to the other side without seeing this beauty, they must be the blinds that the Oracle told us about.” and they built the ”Country of Blinds” towards Chalcedon, the Byzantion.
Even the first myth of Istanbul points to the historical peninsula’s magnificent location in history.
After 1000 years from Byzas, this time the Roman Emperor Constantine was fascinated by the same beauty in the BC 330. Later then he makes it the second capital of the Roman Empire and names it the ”Constantinople”.
”After the Roman Empirer divided into two parts as the West and the East Roman Empire, the Constantinople becames the capital of the East Roman Empire and serves as the capital for Byzantine Empire for 1000 years, and later to the Ottoman Empire for 500 years…”
As you can see from the first myth of settlement, the Istanbul is actually about the Historical Peninsula. Even though in Byzantine era there was a limited settlement in the Galata area, in the Ottoman Era the Beyoğlu or Pera with that era’s name starts to rumble.
To put it in a nutshell, the place which is known as Istanbul in the history is actually the Historical Peninsula’s itself.
Where is the Historical Peninsula and How To Go There?
Today, the peninsula located inside the Fatih Municipality borders. It is actually one of the first places that many local and foreign tourists visit.
”The Peninsula is a very busy place with its old, narrow streets and car traffic. If we take into consideration that many streets are close to the traffic, i don’t recommend coming here by car.”
As you come close to the heart of the Historical Peninsula, Sultanahmet, you will see the traffic getting very heavy and jammed.
Because of that, (if you are coming from Maslak, Şişli, Levent, Bosphorus) you can leave your car at Kabataş, Fındıklı, Tophane, and travel by the tramway. Without a car, you can explore the Galata Bridge and the Karaköy better and then you can just pass to the historical peninsula.
Transportation from the Anatolian Side
The peninsula connects to the Anatolian side with Atatürk and the Galata Bridges. It is possible to reach to the Kadıköy and Üsküdar with ferry or Marmaray. 10 or 5 years ago, it was really a trouble to reach to the Historical Peninsula from the Anatolian Side with a car. You had to take the Beşiktaş – Kabataş – Karaköy, and Eminönü via the Bosphorus Bridge.
But because of the Eurasian Bridge, it only takes 10 minutes from Göztepe to reach the heart of the Peninsula. As the transportation opportunities develop, the distance between the continents shortened too.
”As i have mentioned before, it is really hard to reach one of the most busy centers such as Kumkapı – Sultanahmet and Eminönü with your car. So you shouldn’t do it.”
Because of that, if you came from the Eurasia Bridge, you should leave your car at Yenikapı – Aksaray area and travel with tramway. It will definitely soother your nerves when we compare it with the traffic.