It was built in 393 during the reign of Theodosius 1, as the largest square in the city. A gigantic victory arch used to stand in the middle of the square which was called the Bull’s Square (Forum Tauri) because of the large bronze bull’s head there. There was a bronze statue of the emperor on the arch.Today, only a few marble blocks remain of the arch itself, but nothing remains of the monumental fountains which were to the North of the square. They used to be the largest fountains in the city then, and the Aqueduct of Valens used to supply water to them. The buildings of the University of Istanbul occupy the large courtyard on the grounds where the Conqueror had built a palace. The monumental gate and the tallest tower in the city, the Bayezid fire lookout tower, which stands in the gardens of the University, were built in the 19th century. The Bayezid Mosque and its complex (school and baths) are the main buildings around the square.
A BriefHistory of BeyazitSquare
BeyazitSquarewasalso used as a square in the Byzantine Era (Forum Tauri). When Fatih conquered İstanbul, he built the first palace in the area where the Istanbul University is located. The square has göne through various changes throughout history and survived up to the present. BeyazitSquarewascalled Forum Tauri (The Bull’s Square). The square, which has been changed in various aspects up to now, has great importance in terms of our political history. Thedistrict of Beyazit is wherethefirstOttoman palace was built. As in the Byzantine Era, the square kept its importance in the Ottoman era. The various buildings built here until the 19th century showthattheOldPalace in Beyazitwas not abandonedafter Topkapı Palace was finished. BeyazitSquaregained a new look and status in the 16th century when the külliye (social complex) was built here and various other edifices were added within this square. After the month of Ramadan, herds of sheep and other sacrificial animals were presented to Muslims for their Islamıc duties until the 18th century. Theimportance of BeyazitSquareincreasedmore in the Period of the Restoration of State (Tanzimat) and the Old Palace served as the headquarters )(Serasker Building) fort he new military formation. This was following the Vak’a-i Hayriyye (the “favorable event”) which lead to the abolishment of the former military force, the Janissaries, which had göne out of control of the Sultan. In 1866, the Seraskerat (the general staff) of Sultan Abdülaziz left its mark on the history on this square. It was mainly a social gathering area where political views were exchanged: therefore, Sultan Abdulhamid 2 prohibited political activities as part of his heavy censorship measures. After the announcement of the Constitutional Monarchy, this square was called by various names due to the important political events occurring there. The Serasker Building is presently the main building of Istanbul University.
BeyazitSquare is visited by nearly ninety million tourists every year. BeyazitSquare has somehistoricalplaces, likeBeyazitMosque, TheBeyazitTower, TheTurkishBath of Beyazit, Simkeşhane.
This mosque is considered to be a turning point of Ottoman architecture. A section of the külliye of the mosque, whose architecture is influenced by Hagia Sophia, is now used as the Museum of Turkish Foundation of Calligraphic Arts. The museum is a spectacular place where examples of the art of calligraphy as well as materials and tools used in calligraphy are exhibited. The coffee house under the famous old chestnut tree has maintained its fame throughout all history. Particularly on Sundays, there is a colorful bazaar around it.
The tower built in 1828 in the courtyard of Istanbul University was used as a watchtower by firemen. The first watchtower was built from wood and it burnt down during a fire, it was subsequently rebuilt of stone.The first palace after the conquest of Istanbul was built here but is hasn’t survived into present.
This is the place where craftsmen processing silver and golden threads worked. It was formerly in theareawhereCorlulu Ali PasaMadrasahwaslocated and later on it wasmovedfromBeyazitto Aksaray. The first mint of Istanbul was inside Simkeşhane. Silver Ottoman coins used to be minted here. This building, which is also known as Simkeşhane Bazaar with the addition of a public fountain and school, wasbuilt as “Simkeshane-i Amire” in 1707 byUmmetulah Hatun, thefavoritewoman of
Third Sultan Ahmet. The building is presently used as the Istanbul Provincial Public Library of Orhan Kemal and the Library of Manuscripts.
TheTurkishBath Of Beyazit (Patrona Halil Bathhouse)
The bathhouse which might be seen at therightwhilewalkingfromBeyazitto Aksaray holdsgreat importance in the Ottoman history. The leader of the 1730 rebellion that ended the Tulip Era (the westernization attempt of the Ottoman Empire), Patrona Halil, was a masseur in this Turkish bathhouse. It has been since restored and used for cultural activities.