Istanbul Sights

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Istanbul University

Istanbul University Review

The main campus of Turkey's oldest institution of higher learning originally served as the Ottoman war ministry—hence the magnificent gateway arch facing Beyazıt Square and the grandiose, martial style of the main buildings, which surround a long greensward filled with giant plane trees. The stone 85-meter (279-foot) Beyazıt Tower, built in 1828 by Mahmud II as a fire-watch station, is the tallest structure in the Old City and is still one of the most recognizable landmarks in the area. At night, it is lit up with LED lights in different colors indicating weather conditions. Though it can no longer be climbed, it's worth seeing up close. Because of its history as a nexus of political activism over the past several decades, the campus is not very publicly accessible, though in theory tourists are allowed entrance from 10 am to 3 pm on weekdays during the school year and until about 4 pm during the summer. Proceed along the main drive and past the rectorate building to the garden behind it, from which there is a stunning view overlooking the Süleymaniye Camii.

Updated: 11-19-2013

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