In this article, we are going to talk about the most famous hills of the historical peninsula of Istanbul which was surrounded by the old city walls just like Old Rome. This city is located on a strategically important area that served as the capital city of three great empires ; Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman, throughouh the history. Lots of people; poets, writers , sultans and ordinary folks ,even commanders fell in love with the bewithcing beauty of Istanbul city, yet nobody could truly tell its fascinating story.. Everybody tried to say and do the best they could via poems , songs or even building splendour structures for this lovely city and they helped to make this city as a great melting pot of cultures , languages and religions.
Here, we are going to share some small anecdotes about these famous hills which make the beautiful picturesque siluethe of Istanbul
The 1st hill of Istanbul is in Sarayburnu ( Seraglio ) where you can see the famous monuments of ancient world such as Milion Stone and Obelisks. There are also many architectural buildings in this Sultanahmet neighnourhood such as Hagia Sophia, Hippodrome , Basilica Cistern that belonged to the Roman era till the middle ages. After Fatih Sultan Mehmed (Mehmed the Conqueror) conquered the city in the 15th century, this hill kept its strategical importance hence Topkapı Palace was built within this area. Building the Ottoman Empire’s palace within this secure area was quite brilliant idea because this place was surrounded by the sea on its three sides and the land side was higher approximitely 30 meters high on the sea level.
Also known as Sarayburnu Hill or Topkapi Hill, this hill covers a wide land where you can visit Blue Mosque, Ibrahim Pasha Palace, and German Fountain , Archeological Museum and Cağaloğlu Bath. On the South skirt of the hill, there are Little Hagia Sophia Mosque
( formerly known as the Church of St. Sergius and Bacchus) and Boukoleon Palace, and on the North skirt of it, Yeni Camii stands tall with all its magnificence and the old train station , Sirkeci Garı challenges all the troubles of the time.
The 2nd hill is in the neighbourhood of Çemberlitaş and Nuruosmaniye but it was once called as the column of Constantine. This hill which is approximitely 40 meters high from the sea level, includes Grand Bazaar, Binbirdirek Cistern (The Cistern of Philexenos ), Çemberlitaş Bath, Çorlulu Ali Paşa Mosque and a medrese (muslim theological school) also Çinili Han (inn) in it. Under this hill, you can easily do some shopping at the Mısır Pazarı (The Spice Bazaar)
The 3rd hill, which is probably the most distinguished one for its being higher than the other hills, locates in Süleymaniye area. Because of its height, this hill makes the picturesque Istanbul siluethe by its own that is noticable easily while crossing the Bosphorous by ferries. Süleymaniye Mosque and its social complex (including the tomb of its architect after his death) which were made by the most famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan in 1557 , almost marks the the hill with its extraordinarily solemnity. Beyazıt Mosque and Laleli Mosque, Zeyrek Mosque and Çukurçeşme Bath are all in the outskirts of this hill.
The 4th hill is in Fatih district which is widely known with Fatih (Conqueror ) Mosqque and its fully – equipted social complex. Actually, that mosque was converted from the Church of the Holy Apostles dedicated to the fellow followers of Jesus.
The 5th hill is also known as Yavuz Sultan Selim hilllays on the beautiful slopes of Çarşamba district which hosts Yavuz Sultan Selim Mosque. Fethiye Mosque that converted from the Theotocos Pammakaristos Monastery is on this hill along with Kariye and Fener Rum Patrikhanesi (Greek High School )
The 6th hill is the highest amongst the other hills. This hill of Istanbul lays on the Edirnekapı district where one lovely monument with its holy atmosphere catches the sightseers’ eyes, Mihrimah Sultan Mosque.. The Palace of the Porphyrogenitus, known in Turkish as the Tekfur Sarayı, is a late 13th-century Byzantine palace is also in the north-western part of this hill.
The 7th and the last one of the hills of Istanbul is in Cerrahpaşa disrict where Ottoman made Haseki Hospital and its social complex are still in function today. This hill divides itself geographically with a valley and turns its face to the Marmara Sea. There is also Bayrampaşa Mescid (masjid) on this hill.
These are the most famous hills that makes Istanbul city unique with its enchanting siluethe. This historical peninsula of old city where most of my childhood period passed, known as the city with hills. One can only see all these beauties spending at least a week here.
Except from these hills mentioned before , there are also some other hills which stands outside of the old city walls. These are Yuşa Hill in Beykoz district, Şehitlik ( martry ) Hill in Rumelihisarı, Maden ( mine ) Hill in Sarıyer, Karlıtepe Hill in Paşabahçe district, Tepebaşı and Fetihtepe in Beyoğlu, Hürriyet Hill in Şişli, Gayrettepe, Esentepe, Kuştepe, Nurtepe in Kağıthane, Şirintepe, Seyrantepe, Gültepe, Çeliktepe, Fikirtepe in Kadıköy, Göztepe, İcadiye Hill in Üsküdar, Sultantepe, Nakkaştepe, Big Çamlıca and Little Çamlıca Hills.