Istanbul Visiting Places, Turkey
Istanbul is the great city just like London, Paris and New York. It is situated on both sides of Bosphorus Ocean which divide the Asia and Europe. Unlike any city in the world, it splits the two continents. It is one of the ancient cities with the modern western culture along with the traditional eastern culture tastes. A truly east meet west point. Its population is estimated over 19 million making it among the largest city in the world. It is so beautiful and strategically important that many armies tried to invade this city before Ottomans including Romans, Greek, and Venetians. Let me tell you the Istanbul Visiting Places. You must know where to go to explore the extraordinary culture of this city.
For starters, let’s go to Old district of Sultanahmet. The Constantinople of the Roman, Eastern Roman/Byzantine, and much of the Ottoman periods, this is where most of the famous historical sights of Istanbul are located.
#1 of 22 Istanbul Visiting Places – Visit the Stunning Topkapi Palace
Among the world famous Palaces, Topkapi palace has its own recognition. Thinking about Istanbul visiting places – Turkey? Topkapi palace should be the start of historical sites. It was home to the generations of sultans and their wives, who were lived in the famous harems. A visit to the royal residence’s lavish structures, gem filled Treasury and sprawling Harem gives an entrancing look into their lives.
The most popular ones are the Harems sections where the sultan’s many wives and children would spend their days. The Second Court, where you can see through the vast Palace Kitchens and stand stuck by the look of the dazzling interior of the Imperial Council Chamber. The Third Court which confined the sultan’s private rooms. The Third Court also displays an impressive collection of reminders of the Prophet Muhammad in the Sacred Safekeeping Room. It is home to the Imperial Treasury, where you’re greeted with a collection of glittering gold objects and priceless gems. To see Topkapı Palace you’ll need at least half a day.
#2 of 22 Istanbul Visiting Places – Visit Hagia Sophia( Aya Sofya)
It’s said that when the Byzantine Emperor Justinian entered his finished church for the first time in AD 536, he cried out “Glory to God that I have been judged worthy of such a work. Oh, Solomon, I have outdone you!”
It was built between the years of 532 and 537, the building was a church for nearly a thousand years. It then served as a mosque from 1453 until 1934, before become the secular museum that it is today. The thrill of being able to experience this astonishing architecture, glorious interior and historical significance of this famous church-turned-mosque-turned-museum is hard to exaggerate. Downstairs the building is mostly empty. The Best of the glitzy Christian mosaics hang alongside brilliant Islamic calligraphy in the galleries upstairs including Christ flanked by Emperor Constantine IX and his wife Empress Zoe.
#3 of 22 Istanbul Visiting Places – See the Blue Mosque
Credit: Rev Stan
At the opposite of side of Hagia Sofia, there is this beautiful mosque. Sultan Ahmet I’s splendid architectural gift to its capital was this beautiful mosque, usually known as the Blue Mosque today. Built between 1609 and 1616, the mosque caused a commotion throughout the Muslim world when it was finished as it had six minarets (the same number as the Great Mosque of Mecca) A seventh minaret was eventually gifted to Mecca to stop the conflict. Because of its interior decoration of tens of thousands of İznik tiles in its interior and the impact of water shade of Marmara Sea, it is known as Blue Mosque otherwise it is not actually in blue color. A great joy of a trip to Istanbul is wandering between the gardens sandwiched between the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sofia to experience their conflicting domes in twin glory. Visit at sunset as the call to prayer rebounds out from the Blue Mosque’s minaret for extra vibes.
#4 of 22 Istanbul Visiting Places – Check out the Basilica Cistern
The Basilica Cistern is one of Istanbul’s most amazing vacation spots. This tremendous, underground corridor, bolstered by 336 sections in 12 columns, offers an insight into the complicated system that once brought water supply into Istanbul from Thrace for the Byzantine Empire. Thrace is an area of the southeast Balkans now constituting Turkish land and the European mainland, and a portion of Bulgaria The venture was started by Constantine the Great yet wrapped up by Emperor Justinian in the sixth century and then forgotten for many centuries. Large portions of the segments utilized as a part of development were reused from before traditional structures and highlight brightening carvings. The most renowned of these are the segment bases known as the Medusa stones in the northwest corner with their Medusa head upside down carvings. It is a proof that Byzantine builders saw Roman relics as little more than reusable rubble. The cistern has been fitted with lights and music now.
#5 of 22 Istanbul Visiting Places – Get busy in Grand Bazaar
Located a little more than a mile west of Sultanahmet, The Grand Bazaar is where everyone comes while visiting Istanbul. This enormous covered market is basically the world’s oldest shopping place surrounded by thick walls. It’s 60 streets contain no less than 5000 shops, 60 restaurants, 18 fountains, 12 mosques. It includes the Nure Osmanıye Mosque and Beyazıt Mosque. The Beyazıt Mosque (built in 1498-1505) itself occupies the site of Theodosius I’s Forum and has the architecture inspired by the Aya Sofya. Entrance to the bazaar is through one of 11 gates from where a network of vaulted-ceiling laneways. Near the bazaar’s Divanyolu Caddesi entrance is the Burned Column. This remnant (still 40 meters high) of a porphyry column was established by Constantine the Great in his forum. A statue of Constantine in bronze was Put up here till 1105.
Although the bazaar is a huge, busy and rushy place but you will find the rhythm according to the pace. As Fodor’s says, “Oddly enough, though, the sales pitches, the crowds, and the sheer volume of junky trinkets on offer can be hypnotizing, and you’ll probably find it hard to spend less than a couple of hours wandering through the maze.”
The bazaar is very famous for Turkish carpets, leather apparel, glazed tiles and pottery, copper and brassware, souvenirs and jewelry.
#6 of 22 Istanbul Visiting Places – Visit the Istanbul Archaeology Museum
Among Istanbul visiting places Turkey list, this is the museum you don’t want to miss. It is near to Topkapi Palace.This displays one of the world’s richest collections of classical antiquities along with the history. It has around one million objects of antiquity. There are three separate sections in the complex. The Museum of the Ancient Orient, the main Archaeology Museum and the Tiled Pavilion of Mehmet the Conqueror.
It houses the glorious sarcophagus of Alexander which portrays scenes from the life of Alexander the Great in bright 3D. Kids will love the model Trojan Horse in the children’s section. Then go into the exquisite Tiled Pavilion, one of the city’s oldest Ottoman structures, beautifully renovated to demonstrate its finest ceramics. Also, see the peace treaty from 1269 BC preserved in the part of the museum near to the gate.
#7 of 22 Istanbul Visiting Places – Go back to old times at Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
It is originally situated in the palace of İbrahim Paşha who was Grand Vizier for Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, this museum is a must-see attraction for people interested in Ottoman and Islamic art. The collection has over 40.000 items on display.
This museum houses a magnificent collection of gigantic carpets hanging from the ceiling along with carpets from the Caucasus and Iran and turkey. There are also exquisite ceramics, calligraphy, and wood artifact exhibits ranging in date from the 9th century AD to the 19th century.
#8 of 22 Istanbul Visiting Places – See the Beautiful Suleymaniye Mosque
This Süleymaniye Mosque was actually designed by the well-known architect Sinan. He was a very special architect of Sultan Suleyman so he designed it for Süleyman the Magnificent. This mosque holds a big tribute to both the Sultan and Sinan. It’s actually much more than a Mosque. It’s a complex of buildings containing a hospital, a kitchen, a school, etc. it is different than a blue mosque. the similar architectural design might confuse som people.
Don’t forget to visit the tombs of Süleyman and His wife Roxalana behind the graveyard. The tomb of Sinan, the architecture of this mosque is outside the complex.
#9 of 22 Istanbul Visiting Places – Visit the Chora Church
The Chora Church, Church of St Savior, or Kariye Museum, lay just outside old Constantinople’s city walls. It is one of the most amazing religious buildings Istanbul has to offer. The church is world-famous for its walls and ceilings which are adorned with stunning Byzantine mosaics and fabulous frescoes. These incredible examples of Byzantine artistry cover a wide range of themes from the genealogy of Christ to the New Testament stories. Some are considered as the most significant in the Christian world.
Like Aya Sofya, it has made the journey from Byzantine church to Ottoman mosque and then to the modern museum. Now it stands in the neighborhood of restored Ottoman wooden houses beautifully painted in pastel colors. It’s nearby walls ringed old Constantinople and date back to the fifth century.
#10 of 22 Istanbul Visiting Places – Stroll around the Hippodrome
The prehistoric Hippodrome was begun by Septimius Severus in AD 203 and completed by Constantine the Great in AD 330. This place was the social, political and sports center of Byzantine. This has become a park now with free wifi internet connection. There is not much of the Hippodrome left to see, except for a small section of the gallery walls on the southern side, but the At Meydanı (park) that now stands on the site is home to different monuments. At the northwest side of this place is a fountain which was a present to the Ottoman sultan by the German Emperor William II in 1898. Then, if we head straight to the southwest, there are three ancient monuments: a 20-meter high Egyptian obelisk (from Heliopolis); the Serpent Column brought here from Delphi by Constantine; and a stone obelisk that originally was clad in gold-covered bronze plating until they were stolen by the soldiers of the 4th Battle in 1204. Basilica Cistern is beneath this park. Also check the Colosseum in Rome too.
#11 of 22 Istanbul Visiting Places – Visit the Hammam
Nothing feels better than taking a bath after a long day. There are several magnificent steamy Ottoman bathhouses to choose from in the city, including the Çemberlitaş, Cağaloğlu, Galatasaray, Sülemaniye and Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamam. These royal bathhouses are now turned into public baths. Some other bathhouses are for couples too.
#12 of 22 Istanbul Visiting Places – Get into Lavish Dolmabahçe Palace
The luxurious and lavish Dolmabahçe Palace displays the clear influence of European decoration and architecture on the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century. It was built by Sultan Abdülmecid I in 1854. It replaced Topkapı Palace as the main residence of the sultans and to prove that Ottomans empire is not declining by any means. The formal gardens are dotted with fountains, ornate basins, and blooming flower beds. Inside are the complete splendor and display of the Turkish Revitalization style. The interiors include mix Rococo, Baroque, Neoclassical and Ottoman elements, with mammoth crystal chandeliers, liberal use of gold, French- Victorian style furniture, and dazzling frescoed ceilings.
After the foundation of the Turkish Republic by great leader Ataturk, he adopted this palace as his residence, and died there on November 10, 1938, at 09:05. As a tribute, all clocks in the palace show that time.
#13 of 22 Istanbul Visiting Places – Shop at Spice Bazaar
Turkey’s kitchen is full of many rich tastes. The spice bazaar is the place from where you can buy Turkish cuisine. It is also called as Egyptian Market.
#14 of 22 Istanbul Visiting Places – Rustem Pasha Mosque
The next stop near Spice bazaar is this beautiful yet small mosque. Its interior and exterior are decorated with inzik tiles, not only with blue but also green and red.
#15 of 22 Istanbul Visiting Places – Visit the Yedikule Fortress
This old and lavish fort was built by the great Emperor Theodosius II. This fortress section made up the Constantinople’s defensive walls. The mammoth arch was known as Golden Gate with doors plated in gold. It was blocked up in the late Byzantine era. When the Ottomans ruled this city they used the fortress for defense, and later as a prison and execution place.
#16 of 22 Istanbul Visiting Places – Have a Panoramic view from Galata Tower
Beautiful and historic Istanbul city needs to be viewed from the high. You can have that bird-eye view from the precious landmark Galata Tower. There are great panoramic views over the city from the top balcony of this Tower. You can spot the prices island from there. You can explore the streets around there. It also hosts the modern Istanbul area Beyoğlu, Istiklal Street, and Taksim Square.
It is likewise popular spot for nightlife in Istanbul. Nightlife here can compete with the rest of the world. You can enjoy a local live performance while sipping on your favorite drink, attend concerts of current and past world stars, or dance the whole night away in an open-air party by the Bosphorus or while enjoying a rooftop 360 view, Istanbul has it all.
#17 of 22 Istanbul Visiting Places – Go to the Princes’ Island and relax
Princes’ Island or Adalar are the nine small islands about 20 km southeast of the center of Istanbul in the Sea of Marmara. It is said that the Byzantine emperors had a practice of sending bothersome princes to these islands to be blinded, exiled or executed, but today’s citizens of Istanbul call them simply Adalar “The Islands”.
It is car free zone and everyone there walk, ride bicycles or use horse-drawn carriages. In this modern age, it has become as a summer resort. Istanbul’s wealthy Ottoman families, Greeks, Jews, and Armenians have built here summer cottages along the narrow island-village streets. The bigger island is called as Buyukada.
#18 of 22 Istanbul Visiting Places – Take Bosphorus Cruise
Bosphorus has its own importance alongside Istanbul. A trip to Istanbul cannot be complete without a Bosphorus cruise. Not only it provides a nice view of the city and sea breeze but both the European and Asian shorelines of the famous Bosphorus and Golden Horn have a lot to offer. Plus you get to enjoy the continental distinction along with their cultures.
#19 of 22 Istanbul Visiting Places – Go to the Istanbul Modern
It is a private modern art gallery located near the Bosphorus. The thorough display of old to modern art paintings shows that Istanbul is not about history sightseeing but up to date modern too. The nearby cafes and mouthwatering food restaurants make it more incredible place.
#20 of 22 Istanbul Visiting Places – Get lost at the Taksim Square and İstiklal Caddesi
Taksim square is located in the Beyoglu. It is considered as the heart of Istanbul. Taksim is an important transportation center in Istanbul, with a metro terminal and subway station. It is a vibrant, modern neighborhood located in the European part of Istanbul. The republic monument of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is displayed here. It is an important site as official ceremonies are held here. Nearby places include Maçka Park, which is home to the interesting Military Museum.
The İstiklal Caddesi is Independence Street by its name. It is a pedestrianized street. It is an actively busy modern shopping street with a number of restaurants and cafés including Burger King, McDonald’s, KFC. Also, InterContinental and Ritz Carlton hotel are here. It has the same importance as of MM Alam Road in Lahore, Pakistan. The area around İstiklal Caddesi has many churches and old consulate buildings with decorative fronts. Nearby is Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence. Pamuk is Turkey’s famous writer and the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. This conceptual art museum is based around the theme of his novel The Museum of Innocence.
#21 of 22 Istanbul Visiting Places – Know the Art at Sakip Sabanci Museum
It is a private university fine arts museum. This museum is dedicated to calligraphic art, religious and state documents and the paintings of the Ottoman era. Is has become well known to the world because of recently displayed work of Pablo Picasso and Auguste Rodin.
#22 of 22 Istanbul Visiting Places – Visit the Ural Ataman Classic Car Museum
It is great to find a great classic car museum in Istanbul. There are mostly American cars but some British and German cars are on display too. This museum features a collection of sixty-three old model cars that date back to the glory days of the automobile era. It is placed within a glossy glass building. The museum takes on an airy, vibrant atmosphere that balances the nostalgia of the 1950s and 60s in America. The building is decorated with hundreds of other industrial and automotive equipment, such as fuel pumps, jukeboxes, and wheel covers.
It was founded by URAL Ataman in 2012. He was inspired to create such an exhibition since his childhood days. The museum is only open on Saturdays.