The Seven Hills of İstanbul

It is said that İstanbul, just like Rome, has seven hills. These hills were formed during the cataclysms that created the valleys of the Bosphorus and Golden Horn in the 2nd and 3rd geologic eras. These seven hills, surmounted with monumental buildings, truly epitomize the classic İstanbul silhouette. As this historical city has filled up with rubble and, in the last fifty years, been surrounded by tall buildings, these mysterious hills are unknown to many of İstanbul's inhabitants. When mentioning hills, to most people Çamlıca Hill comes to mind. However all of these seven hills are either on the historical peninsula or within the perimeter of the Theodosian Walls.

The first hill, Saray Point (Sarayburnu), is approximately 45 meters high. Topkapi Palace, Aghia Sophia Museum and the Sultanahmet Mosque are located here. The second one is Nuruosmaniye Hill, which is 60 meters high. The Nuruosmaniye Mosque and The Burnt Column of Constantine (Cemberlitas) are on this hill. The third one is Beyazid Hill and on it are the The Bayezid Mosque, the main campus of İstanbul University, the Beyazid Fire Tower and, a little further down, The Suleymaniye Mosque.

The fourth hill is Fatih Hill, which is located above the Unkapani Valiey, south of Beyazid Hill. To the west of Fatih Hill, is the fifth, or Sultan Selim Hill, on which rests the Sultan Selim Mosque. The sixth hill is the 74 meter high Edirnekapi Hill which hosts the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, the Kariye Museum and the ruins of the Hebdomon Palace. This ridge drops down to 40 meters around Vatan Boulevard, which is a valley through which in antiquity flowed the stream of Ligos. The last hill is Cerrahpasa, which is at the center of the triangle formed by Topkapi, Aksarayand Yedikule. The Arcadias Pillar and the Mokios cistern reside on this hill.

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