Sultanahmet, which is the nose of the Istanbul Historical Peninsula that meets with the Bosphorus, has become a very important settlement throughout the written history. Some of Istanbul’s most beautiful historical streets and squares are located in Sultanahmet.
Istanbul was founded in B.C 638 and has a history of about 2650 years. Historical names of Istanbul: Byzantion, Constantinople and Istanbul.
The first settlement in the Sultanahmet district was found as a Greek acropolis in the hilly area where Topkapi Palace is today.
Byzas and their descendants who migrated from Ancient Greece in 638 BC set up a Greek colony and inspired them from their leaders and gave it a name of Byzantion (Byzantium).
With the capture of the Emperor Septimus Severus in 195, Byzantion becomes a Roman province. Years later another Roman Emperor, Constantine, liked the location of the city, made it the new capital of the Roman Empire.
It was the heart of Constantinople because of the presence of the Sultanahmet district, the Hippodrome and the Great Roman Palace.
In 395 the Roman Empire was divided into two and continued as a capital of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) for over a thousand years. After 1453, the city was conquered by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror of the Ottoman Empire and rebuilt with a brand new culture and architecture.
Pleasant Walking Routes in Sultanahmet
Today Sultanahmet is a tourism center which is closed to traffic. Especially in the last 20 years , tourism has been revitalized in a visible way; new hotels, restaurants, cafes and shops were opened.
The busiest streets of Sultanahmet are the most busy and enjoyable; Divanyolu, Akbıyık, Yerebatan and Nuruosmaniye and Small Hagia Sophia.
Divanyolu Street (Tramway)
This name is taken because it is the main road leading to Divan-ı Humayun in Topkapı Palace. During the Byzantine period, this road was referred to as Mese and again served as the main road between Forum Constantine (Beyazit Square) and the Great Imperial Palace.
Divanyolu Caddesi is the most vibrant and busy road of the Sultanahmet area today. During the Roman and Byzantine Empire period, the city starts with the Milyon Taşı (Million Stone), which is considered as the central point, and continues on the direction of the Grand Bazaar. Also known as the tram route.
Akbıyık Street (Street of Bars and Restaurants)
It is one of the most popular points in recent years. It can be said that normally night life in Sultanahmet is not enough to be tried. At around midnight, tourist restaurants are closing and the surroundings become silent. People who want to have fun go to Beyoğlu or Bosphorus.
With the restaurants, cafes and bars that opened behind Akbıyık Street in recent years, we can say that this situation started to change. The young travelers who stayed at the Akbıyık Street’s hostel brought a nice mobility.
Within easy reach of Akbıyık Street, there is Balıkçı Sabahattin, one of the best fish restaurants in Istanbul. With its appetizers and fresh fishes, Sabahattin is the most popular fish restaurant in Sultanahmet, over 10 years.