Istanbul travel guides. Top 10 things to do in Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul’s strategic location between Europe and Asia on the ancient Silk Road has made it one of history’s most important cities. A list of its points of interest would be long enough to bridge the Bosphorus, so here’s a top 10 to make your itinerary more manageable!
1. Visit Hagia Sophia Museum
The Hagia Sophia Museum, one of the must-see places to visit in Istanbul, was built as a church by the Emperor Constantinus II in 360. The first church with a wooden roof was burned and destroyed in 404. Similarly the second church was burned down in 532 during the riots called Nika Revolt against the Emperor Justinian I Read more about Hagia Sophia Museum »
In Hagia Sophia, the immense dome crowning this church turned mosque turned museum was an architectural miracle in its time, although it took a lot of trial and error to get to that point: it collapsed twice!
2. Visit Sultan Ahmed Mosque
Also commonly known as the Blue Mosque, the fine İznik tiles adorning this magnificent structure may make it appear bluer than it actually is!
3. Visit Dolmabahçe Palace Museum
Dolmabahce Palace Museum is an impressive European-style palace built by Karabet Balyan, one of the members of the Imperial architect family, the Balyans, is one of the best places to visit in Istanbul beside the Topkapi Palace Museum, Hagia Sophia Museum and many other palaces and museum in Istanbul Read more about Dolmabahce Palae Museum »
The glorious Dolmabahçe Palace dominates the European shoreline of the Bosphorus where it served as the key administrative center in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire.
4. Visit Topkapi Palace Museum
The Topkapi Palace museum is one of the must-see attractions to visit in Istanbul. The palace visited by thousands of tourists every year (796.588 visitors in 2013) is located on hill 1 of 7 hills, the Seraglio (Sarayburnu) Point, overlooking the Golden Horn, Marmara Sea and Bosphorus Read more about Topkapi Palace Museum »
Topkapi Palace, the one-time home of many Sultans, not only offers spectacular views of the city, but also houses treasures that make the Crown Jewels look like Claire’s Accessories!
5. Visit Galata Tower
The Galata Tower, Galata Kulesi is a medieval stone tower located in the Galata , Beyoglu on the European side of Istanbul overlooking the Bosphorus, the Golden Horn and the old city of Istanbul Read more about Galata Tower »
As early as the 1600s, Ahmet Çelebi is said to have flown across the Bosphorus from the top of the Galata Tower. Most visitors will probably be content with the incredible views!
6. Visit Grand Bazaar
Worldwide famous Grand Bazaar or Kapalıçarşı in Turkish language (meaning closed/covered shopping street in Turkish) located between Nuruosmaniye and Beyazit was built by Mehmet II the Conquerer in 1461. The area of the bazaar was also a trade center during the Roman times Read more about Grand Bazaar »
The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest markets on the planet. A constant source of wonder, it’s also one of the world’s most visited places. Expect crowds at any time!
7. Visit Süleymaniye Mosque
The stunning Süleymaniye Mosque was built for Suleiman the Magnificent by the great architect Sinan. If you’re feeling peckish, Ali Baba across the road might be the best restaurant in town for Turkish beans!
8. Visit Spice Market
The Spice Bazaar otherwise known as the Egyptian Bazaar was created in 1660 and remains the place to go for spices, nuts, Turkish delight, and other divine tastes and smells!
9. Visit Basilica Cistern
One of Istanbul’s most unusual sights, Roman relics have been reappropriated by Byzantian builders to support this complex system that once brought drinking water into the city.
10. Visit Maiden’s Tower
Perched on top of a tiny islet in the Bosphorus strait, this historic lighthouse was once a watchtower. It now also serves as a popular restaurant and café with splendid views of the city’s shoreline.