EnjoyIstanbul Blogs

Just Enjoy Istanbul

You are currently browsing the Culture & Arts category.

Yasmine Hamdan


Yasmine Hamdan, she is amazing sound which comes from Middle East. It is far away from classical East style that mixed with newest.

Yasmine Hamdan was born in Beirut in 1978. She had travelled many times during her life. She spent part her life in Greece, Gulf countries and Paris, and now she is living Beirut. Actually, she was born with Soapkills which is the one of famous electonic band in Middle East. This band became real with her friends. Soapkills is the only one indie/ electronic band in Arabic language and 4 band is following them. After all of them Yasmine Hamdan was called icon underground music area in Arabic world.

She went to Paris several years ago and had started to team up with Mirwais who was past of French electronic new wave band Taxi, Girl In The 80s and procuded/co-wrote Madonna’ s ”Music” as well as ” The American Live” album. And she set up Arabology album (2008) by using name Y.A.S.

After that she team up with Marc Colin who mastermind in this case, became real her own solo album which is called ” Ya Nass”. Ya Nass is vibrant and soft band which has own style. The forgetten details from Arabic woman singer, some of them are Aisha, El Marta, Asmahan, inspired all of song meaning, melody and harmony in every each song which are written in Ya Nass.

Songs are telling us what happened in Middle East history about freedom and developing and there are many irony in it.

Yasmine Hamdan is different from the other because of quality which she has specific style only belongs to herself that is innovative, amazing and the most precious reason is that she is using different dialects in Arabic language. She is helping people to lose theirself in her songs with amazing Arabic pronounciation and soft sound. And when she is doing that she is getting help from present day technology and presenting her renewable structure.

This amazing, gergous sound was in İstanbul İKSV saloon on 6th october. I hope she will come again.

Posted October 12th, 2013.

Add a comment

Basilica Cistern

Medusa Head
Two of medusa head pillar
Basilica Cistern Columns
Columns of the cistern and the path-way
There are 336 marble columns
Medusa Head
One of the two Medusa Head pillar
Floor of The Basilica Cistern
The floor of the cistern is always filled with water
Marble Columns
Hen's Eye, slanted braches, and tears..
General View
General view of the Basilica Cistern
Path Way
There is a path way for tourists to travel

Taking visitors to the tranquil depths of Istanbul, the Basilica Cistern is the city’s largest covered reservoir. Built in 532 AD on the site of a great basilica, the Basilica Cistern once supplied water to nearby palaces such as the Great Palace of Constantinople and Topkapi Palace.

Also known as the Sunken Palace, the underground site takes up 9,800m2 and has the capacity to store up to 100, 000 tons of water. The water which fed the Cistern came through a viaduct, which connected the source of supply at Belgrade Forest to the Basilica Cistern, a distance of about 19km. Five meter thick walls surround the Cistern and are specially coated to ensure waterproofing.

Its domed ceilings are held up by intricately designed marble and granite columns which vary in style between Corinthian, Doric and Ionic. There are 336 columns in all, arranged in 12 rows of 28 columns.

There are two columns of particular interest at the Basilica Cistern; those bearing the head of Medusa. Medusa is a female monster from Greek mythology with hair made of snakes, which is said to have turned those who looked at her into stone. She was beheaded by the hero Perseus who then gave her head to Athena to use as a weapon on the top of her shield as a way of averting evil.

 Medusa’s upside down head is found on the base of one column. There are various theories surrounding why her head was placed upside down, but many believe that it was done to ward off evil spirits.

Next to the upside down head is another head depicting Medusa which has been placed sideways. Why the two heads were placed in different directions has only served to deepen the mystery, but some think that placing the heads in the same direction would give rise to evil forces.

Massive restoration was required to make the Basilica Cistern as visitor-friendly as it is today. In 1985, 50,000 tons of mud was removed from the site and walking platforms were constructed; in 1994, another revamp was carried out.

Now, visitors can stroll along the platforms and watch resident goldfish swim in the Cistern’s cool waters. The Basilica Cistern also houses its own candlelit café, where soft lighting and classical music contributes to the overall atmosphere of the place.

Nowadays, Basilica Cistern has gained another fame in people who like to read the novels of Dan Brown. At his last book named with “Inferno”, Bailica Cistern is one of the fantastic places which usually hide clues of a secret.

Posted May 17th, 2013.

Add a comment

Ayasofya (Haghia Sophia) Museum

Inlay Mosaic
Virgin and Child flanked by Justinian-I and Constantine-I
Inside View
Inner panoramic view of the Hagia Sophia museum
General View
South inlet panoramic view of the Hagia Sophia
Angle picture in the historic museum
Hagia Sophia Museum
Panoramic view of Hagia Sophia Museum
Central dome candles of the museum

Haghia Sophia Museum is located in Sultanahmet across from Sultan Ahmed Mosque. Considered one of the finest architectural works in the world, it was originally built as a church. Construction began during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine 1, but was only completed in AD 360 during the reign of Constantine II.

The first Haghia Sophia was partially burnt during an uprising. It was repaired by Theodosius II and opened to worship in 415, but was burned to the ground during another public uprising in 532.After the revolts, Emperor Justinian determined to build an unparalleled place of worship and entrusted two architect-engineers from Anatolia, Isidoros and Anthemios, with the task. Building materials were brought in from all the Mediterranean countries. In addition, the columns of a number of Pagan temples in Anatolia, including the Temple of Artemis, were dismantled and used in the building. The construction lasted five years, and Haghia Sophia was once again open to worship. The structure standing today is that which was built as a church by Justinian. Haghia Sophia was occasionally damaged, but was repaired and additions were built. Despite the changes, its essence remains untouched.

Haghia Sophia experienced its darkest days during the Latin occupation, it was looted, damaged and a number of its valuable furnishings were removed and taken to the churches of Europe. When the city once again passed into the control of the Byzantines, the church was in terrible condition. Using limited resources, efforts were made to restore it. It was then badly damaged in the earthquake of 1344 in which parts of it, including a section of the dome, collapsed. The increasingly impoverished Byzantines were unable to repair it and it remained closed for a period. Through the levy of special taxes and collection of donations, the church was once again repaired in 1354. Despite these efforts, Haghia Sophia was not to return to its full glory after the Latin occupation until the conquest of Istanbul. Immediately following the conquest of the city, Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror went directly to Haghia Sophia. But it was in ruins. He decided on that day to convert the church to a mosque, and thus a new period began for Haghia Sophia.

From the first day it became a mosque, Haghia Sophia became a place of enormous significance for Muslims living within the borders of the Ottoman Empire, as well as others. For hundreds of years it has symbolized and been a reminder of the conquest of Istanbul.

The Conqueror created various pious foundations with the aim of ensuring revenue and constructed a mihrab (mosque niche), minaret and medrese. Haghia Sophia was shown special attention after the conquest, and the additions built on its grounds turned it into a great ‘kulliye’ or religious complex. One minaret was added by Sultan Beyazit II and a second by Sultan Selim II. Sultan Mahmud I added a reservoir for ablutions, a primary school, a soup kitchen, a library, a chamber for sultans and a mosque niche. The mosaics were completely plastered over, previously, only the faces had been covered. During this period a number of sultans and members of royalty were buried in the complex. They include: Sultan Selim II, Sultan Murad III, Sultan Mehmed III, Sultan Mustafa I and Sultan İbrahim. Haghia Sophia underwent minor repairs during the Republican period, but was left relatively alone during the war years. American scientists obtained permission from the Turkish government to uncover the mosaics in 1932. While these works were underway, Haghia Sophia was changed to a museum in 1934 and opened to the public in 1935. Haghia Sophia presently functions as a museum.

The dome of the Haghia Sophia, believed to represent the infinity of the cosmos, is most impressive. To think that this dome was built in the 530s contributes even more to the importance of the mosque. Despite being damaged, the mosaics found within Haghia Sophia are among the most precious in the world. The additions of the Ottomans, far from spoiling its original beauty, have only reinforced its magnificence. The calligraphies, on plates 7.5 meters in diameter, the stone work, which gives it a lace-like appearance, and the glazed tiles are all priceless. The primary school, tombs, fountains and reservoir which make up the complex are also of major significance from an architectural standpoint.

Nowadays, Hiaghia Sophia has also gained interest from readers of Dan Brown who is the famous author of the worldwide best-seller “The Da Vinci Code”. At his last novel named with “Inferno” begins in Italy’s Florence, then moves on to Sienna and ends in Istanbul, with approximately 100 pages devoted to ancient sites in Sultanahmet including Hagia Sophia, the Basilica Cistern, the Galata Tower and the Spice Bazaar.

Ever since the novel’s release, Istanbul’s appeal and draw to the writer has been mentioned regularly in the world press. “Inferno picks three of the world’s most strategically significant, antiquity-rich cities as its settings, and Langdon makes a splendid tour guide and art critic throughout,” writes The New York Times.

Posted May 17th, 2013.

Add a comment