Napoleon considered Constantinople the strategical key to Asia. It is still the key to Asia, although not in the same sense, for any attempt to remove the Sultan from his present position would undoubtedly involve the entire Eastern world in a war of religions, Christian and Mussulman.
The promontory on which the city of Stamboul is built, like ancient Rome, consists of seven hills, and is separated from Galata and Pera on the north by the estuary of the Golden Horn, and from Scutari, in Asia, by the Bosphorus. The entire city thus rests on two continents, Europe and Asia. The view of the ancient Byzantine city of Stamboul, the real Constantinople, from the sea, is considered one of the world's sights.
Here, facing the Bosphorus, are the old Seraglio and Museums, the Sublime Porte, the Mosques, Tombs of the Sultans, Fountains and Bazaars, and much that makes Constantinople attractive to the traveler. Assuredly it is, all in all, the most interesting city in Europe.
The Mosque of Aya Sofia, in Stamboul, is internally one of the most perfectly composed and beautifully decorated halls of worship ever erected. It witnessed the coronation of the Byzantine emperors for nearly a thousand years. On the 29th of May, 1453, Constantinople was taken by storm by Sultan Mohammed II, who, making straight for Aya Sofia through fearful carnage, took possession, and with drawn sword shouted above the din of battle, " There is no god but God, and Mohammed is his Prophet." In Aya Sofia are spoils of all the old-world temples, from the great temple of Diana of the Ephesians to the temples of Egypt, Athens and Rome, and it speaks volumes for Turkish toleration that there is so much left of the Christian church after 550 years of Mohammedan occupation.
The Mosque of Ahmed, erected by Ahmed I, occupies a superbly prominent site, and is considered the greatest architectural achievement of the Turks. Close by is the ancient Hippodrome (where the Romans held their races), ornamented with the obelisks erected by the Greeks in the Temple of Apollo at Delphos, to commemorate their victory over the Persians at the battle of Plataea and Salamis. The fountain of Ahmed III is a " prodigy of grace and patience."
Across the famous Galata Bridge are the suburbs of Galata and Pera, where are located the embassies, banks, foreign port offices and the business section. Apart from the city attractions there are many delightful excursions, up the Golden Horn to the Sweet Waters of Europe, or up the Bosphorus to the Sweet Waters of Asia. From the summit of Mount Bulgarlu, rising 850 feet above Scutari, a splendid view of the city, the Bos- phorus, the Sea of Marmora and the valleys of Thrace can be obtained. Yildiz Kiosk, the residence of the present sultan, is situated about three miles from Constantinople, on the hills that border the delightful Bos- phorus. Altogether, Constantinople is a delightful place for a week's sojourn.