Istanbul travel guide. Top 10 Istanbul attractions.
Istanbul, one of the top travel destinations in the world, has a lot to offer to its visitors. Top 10 Istanbul attractions are:
Topkapi Palace Museum
The Topkapi Palace constructed between 1460 and 1478 by Sultan Mehmed II (the conqueror of Constantinople), the imperial palace of the Ottoman sultans and the most extensive and fascinating structure of Ottoman Empire with its marvelous green courtyards and interior design as the home of the sultans and with unrivalled collections of porcelains, fabrics, jewels, manuscripts, as a museum.
Following the abolishment of the Ottoman monarchy in 1922, Topkapi Palace was converted into a museum on 3 April 1924, on the order of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
Hagia Sophia Museum
The Hagia Sophia, the Church of Divine Wisdom located at the European part of the city in Sultanahmet area (old town) near the Topkapi Palace. It was the center of Orthodox Christianity and served as the cathedral of Constantinople for more than 900 years until 1453 when the city was conquered by the Ottomans and became one of the imperial mosques of Sultans for 500 years.
In 1935, Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum.
Sultan Ahmet Camii, known as The Blue Mosque, located in Sultanahmet at the east side of ancient Hippodrome is accepted by many to be the most splendid of the imperial mosques in Istanbul with its six slender minarets and the interior design with Blue Iznik Tiles.
The Basilica Cistern is the largest and most magnificent covered cistern in the city located in the west of the Hagia Sophia Square. The name of the cistern comes from a basilica that was once located nearby.
The Grand Bazaar, Kapalı Çarşı in Turkish, is the oldest and biggest covered bazaar in the world with about 4000 shops and over 60 alleyway, covering a huge labyrinth in the city centre. In Ottoman times the Grand Bazaar was the centre of trading, and a vital area of town. The Grand Bazaar Survival Tactics for Tourists in the Grand Bazaar
The Egyptian Market (Mısır Çarşısı in Turkish), also known as the Spice Market, is Istanbul’s second bazaar constructed in the same complex as Yeni Camii (or New Mosque). The L-shaped market with six gates and the mosque was built for the mother of Mehmet IV.
The Galata Tower, originally known as the Tower of Christ, was built by the Genoese in 1348 during their occupation of the area and stood above the fortification surrounding the Genoese city-state. There is a spiral rock staircase to the top viewing platform offering visitors spectacular 360 degree panorama of the entire city. The tower was restored in 1967. There is also a restaurant on the top floor.
The Maiden Tower considered to be a symbol of Istanbul was established on a small island at the entrance of the Bosphorus. In the past, it was used as a watchtower and a lighthouse, until its present purpose of a tourist attraction. Some describes the Galata Tower as the Leander’s Tower who was drowned while swimming to reach his lover Hera. Some suggests that it was the tower where an emperor put her daughter for security to protect her to be bitten by a snake.
Haydarpasa Train Station
The Haydarpaşa Train in Kadikoy on the Asian Side was built in 1908 with Prussian-style architecture as the first stop along the Baghdad railway. Now it is the main station going to eastbound destinations both within Turkey, and international.
The Princes’ Islands in the Marmara Sea in the south of Istanbul was a popular summer retreat for the palace officials. It is still a popular escape from the city with wealthier owning summer houses. Princes’ Islands Guide
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