The Istanbul University continues its activities at 12 campuses in Beyazıt-Central, Laleli-Vezneciler, Vefa, Horhor, Avcılar, Çapa, Cerrahpaşa, Şişli, Kadıköy, Bahçeköy, Bakırköy and Büyükçekmece; however its symbol is the historical campus at Beyazıt.
The Beyazıt-Central campus includes Faculty of Law, Faculty of Economy, Faculty of Political Science, Faculty of Communication and the Hasan Ali Yücel Faculty of Education.
The campus, which is located in a great garden in the Antique City and in the middle of the city’s busy quarter, is of great importance with its historical and aesthetic architectural buildings.
The main campus at Beyazıt of the Istanbul University was previously used as the Ministry of War. On September 12, 1923 this building was handed over to the Istanbul University.
The MAIN building with its three floors was built in an eclectic style where many styles were used together. Marble columns, stone dressing and especially the decorations on the walls and ceilings of the Blue Hall are the interesting features of the building. Today a great part of the building is used as the administration center of the Istanbul University and is also at the same time a center for the most important cultural and artistic events of the university with its scientific meetings, exhibitions and concerts.
The most famous part of the main campus is the main gate which was printed on the 500 Turkish Lira banknote during the years of 1971-84.
Previously there was a different gate at the place of today’s gate. The first gate which was built in 1827 was very similar to the magnificent gate of Bab-ı Ali at the Soğukçeşme-Procession Kiosk. While the Bâb-ı Âli Gate represents the power of the state in the Ottoman period the Serasker Gate represent the military power.
The construction of today’s gate started in 1864. When the expansion works began in 1869 at the Beyazıt Square the new Serasker Gate and the kiosks at both sides of the gate were used as main elements governing the square.
This monumental gate is not only the symbol of the Istanbul University in Turkey but also the symbol of the “concept of university”. Actually being a student is in the dreams to enter through this gate.
Another historical architectural building in the main campus is the Istanbul University Beyazıt Fire Tower. Before today’s tower there had been two different towers constructed in various times. The first of the towers in order quickly determine and interfere with the fires in Istanbul was built in 1749 and the second in 1826 as wooden towers. The third tower of today was ordered by Sultan Mahmud II. It consists of 4 floors, starting from above comes at first the banner floor, then the basket floor, the sign floor and the guard floor. At the side of the tower overseeing the Beyazıt Square there is a tughra inscription of Sultan Mahmud II.
The Beyazıt Fire Tower which is one of the most important elements of the Istanbul silhouette can be seen from many places of Istanbul. Therefore the Fire Tower is used during some time as a weather forecast. Its yellow light shows the Istanbul citizens that there will be fog, red light shows snow, green light rain and blue light shows that the weather will be sunny.
Another symbol of the campus is the statue of Atatürk, who has an important place in the history of the Istanbul University, which has been placed in the garden of the main campus by the students. The story of Atatürk and the Youth Monument is one of the beautiful examples of the solidarity of the students.