Beyazit Square or Beyazit Meydani Istanbul
The square sits between Beyazit Mosque and Istanbul University and is constantly busy with people coming and going to each place.
After his victory in 1453 Sultan Mehmed II set up his camp behind the Forum of Theodosius and built his first home in Istanbul, the Old Palace (Eski Saray), as the Blachernae Palace had almost been destroyed. The Sultan would commute between this and the Old Palace of Edirne during the construction of the Topkapi Palace . When he moved out he left the buildings to the wives and concubines of dead sultans and it became known as “the Palace of Tears” and stood in the grounds of what is now Istanbul University and is below the Suleymaniye Mosque . The buildings were eventually pulled down in 1866 to make way for the Ministry of War.
History of Beyazit SquareIn the 4th century, it was the largest square in Constantinople, known as the Forum Tauri and named after a statue of a bull that was the centrepiece there. The forum covered almost all of the area you see today. Emperor Theodosius redesigned the square in 393 and named it Forum of Theodosius after himself. The square was surrounded by elegant porticoed buildings and the emperor’s new additions included a column, similar to the Trajan Column in Rome, and huge triumphal arch with statues of Theodosius and his sons Honorius and Arcadius rising above.
Places to Visit in Beyazit Square
Bit Pazari and Sahaflar Book MarketThe Beyazit Square has a flea market (Bit Pazari) and the famous 2nd hand booksellers market (Sahaflar Carsisi Bazaar). The book market dates back to the 18th century but long before this the site was a Byzantine book and paper market. As the Ottomans were uncomfortable using illustrative depictions of people they used calligraphy for their artistic expression. This tradition can be seen in the Museum of Calligraphy situated on the west side of the square and has very interesting examples of this highly developed art form.
Beyazit MosqueThe Beyazit Mosque on the east side of the square was completed in 1506 and is the oldest surviving mosque in Istanbul.
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