The day began with a visit to Fatih Sultan Mehmed's mausoleum, located in the courtyard of the Fatih Mosque. Later, celebrations commenced with a march by the Janissary band from Beyazıt to Sultanahmet and the evening boasted a visual effects show and screening of 'Conquest 1453' on the Golden Horn.
High level officials including Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş, Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu and District Police Chief Hüseyin Çapkın started the day by laying flowers on Fatih Sultan Mehmed's tomb. Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu stated, "It gives us pride and honor to be from such an exceptional city that has been founded on two continents."
The ceremony commenced with a performance by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality 'Mehter' Janissary Band which conducted a 'Conquest March' from Beyazıt Square to Sultanahmet Square. Starting at ten a.m. yesterday, the band marched along the tramway line as they distributed flowers to residents and tourists alike. The march lasted approximately an hour and ended in the Sultanahmet Square, where the band proceeded to perform a concert.
Yesterday's deliberations varied from those staged in the past. According to new regulations, passed on May 5th, official holiday celebrations are now designated by a special celebration committee established by the district governor. Official celebrations will now be geared towards educational gatherings, conferences, exhibits, contests, plays and folk dances. As a result, certain celebratory rituals were not held this year, including the reenactment of the 'conquest' traditionally staged at Belgradkapı.
Yesterday's celebrations did stage a number of firsts as a reading of the Koran and a prayer service held at Hagia Sophia Museum was broadcasted on TRT 1. The Golden Horn was transformed into a show of water, lights, sounds and visuals, with a Rainbow demonstration repeated this year. Also the film 'Conquest 1453', fully equipped with 3D technology was shown on a mega 1,088 square meter screen, using eight different projectors.