[Picture] Dernschwam arrived a century after the Turkish conquest on 25 August 1553 while Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent was away on his Eastern Campaign. He stayed at a han in Tavukpazari and travelled widely through the city, later penning detailed descriptions of Çemberlitas (Column of Costatine) which he could see from the han, Atikalipaþa Mosque and the kervansarays.Of the houses and wine shops he remarked,
"The Turks build no new houses in the city, and have not taken sufficient pains to preserve the old buildings. Almost all the houses within the walls, which are partially in ruins, are single storey dwellings made of poor materials. There are many inns where wine is drunk, but these do not provide accommadation for guests wishing to stay overnight. The properties of these wine shops are Greeks and Jews.The Turks are not permitted to open such establishments and can only drink in secret. Those who drink are captives who have turned Muslim and the janissaries. Armed with cudgels, the men of the Pasha responsible for governing Istanbul patrol the city searching the wine shops and imposing fines, whether just or unjust."

[Picture] As an example of such indiscriminate penalties, Dernschwam describes how three young men caught in a wine shop together with the proprietor were set back to front upon donkeys and paraded through the city. He also notes the prices of some goods: One okka (1.283 kilogram) of honey cost 4.5 akçe (a small silver coin), sugar 17 akçe and beeswax 12 akçe, one dirhem (3.21 grams) of saffron cost 2 akçe, one dirhem of pepper 45 akçe, and one kile (37 liters) of rice cost between 10 and 12 akçe.

The Austrian ambassador Busbecq, who arrived in Istanbul on 20 January 1554, began his tour of the city at Haghia Sophia, for which be obtained an official permit to enter:
"As for the site of the city itself, it seems to have been created by Nature for the capital of the world. It stands in Europe but looks out over Asia... No place could be more beautiful or more conveniently situated, (but) you will look in vain for elegant buildings in Turkish cities, nor are the streets fine, being so narrow as to preclude any pleasing appearance... At Constantinople I saw wild beasts of various kinds, lynxes, wild cats, panthers, leopards and lions... I also saw a young elephant which greatly amused me, because it could dance and play ball."

[Picture] The ambassador describes the city's ancient ruins, the Hippodrome, the monumental columns and the statues surmounting them, the villages and headlands along the Bosphorus, and the waterway's currents, the lighthouse at the entrance to the Black Sea, and Rumeli Fontress. Üsküdar, where he spent one night on 9 March, was apparently no more than a village then. From here Busbecq set out on his journey into Anatolia the following morning, passing between fields from which arose the scent of various herbs and lavender.

Of the many seventeenth century accounts, those of Tavernier and and Thevenot are among the most interesting.Like Busbecq a cenuty earlier, Tavernier set out from Üsküdar to jouerney thorugh Anatolia. He describes this district in 1632:
"Only rarely do caravans leave Istanbul for Persia.To join them you must pass across the waterway to Üsküdar.The first day of the journey from this place us most pleasant.The road passes through countryside bright with flowers of the season and cemeteries to either side. The tombs of men and women are eas- ily distinguished by the carved headstones depicting either a turban or a headdress."

[Picture] Thevenot first saw Istanbul at dawn on 2 December 1655. When his ship berthed at Galata he learnt that a large fire which had broken out the day before had still not been extinguished. He first lodged with a Flemish man named Monsieur de la Roze, but a few days later rented a "pretty house at Pera, which had a garden and a prospect into the mouths of the two seas (the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus)". He remarks that the Serraglio (Topkapi Palace) "affords a very pleasant prospect" but is "very plain in respect of what the palace of so powerful a prince ought to be". At the entrance to the harbour there is a kiosk (Yali Kösk) upon the quay built upon marble columns where "the Grand Signior comes often to take the air" and to embark on excursions by boat. According to Thevenot there were many other "Serraglios of private persons", beautifully appointed within but ugly without. The hans reminded him of monasteries and were "well-built of stone", but the dwellings of the inhabitants were "very ordinary and almost all of wood", which was the cause of great havoc when fires broke out. Three large fires broke out during the eight months that Thevenot spent in Istanbul, and 8000 houses burnt down in the fire which was blazing the day he arrived. Thevenot relates the customs of Istanbul's inhabitants, their food and drink, costumes, medicines, religion and beliefs, the customs of Ramazan, hospitality and love of animals.