Places to Visit in Istanbul



Istanbul, with us long historical past and natural beauty, is a city that offers abundant choices for its visitors. You may have a hard time deciding what to see and where to go especially if your time is limited If you have reserved only two days to get acquainted with the city, and Istanbul’s past intrigues you, then you should start by visiting Topkapı Palace and slow I y making your way to Hagia Sophia Museum and Sultanahmet Mosque, devoting the last two hours of the day to the Covered Bazaar Dining in Beyoglu will allow you to get a clear understanding of what the city’s vibrant district is like. On the second day, you can start with a tour of the Bosphorus and spend the rest of the day at Dolmabahce Palace and conclude the evening in the unique atmosphere of the Ortakoy district. If, on the other hand, you have more than two days to spend in the city, follow the main guidelines provided above, but spend more time m each area and visit various museums and historical sights in the vicinity. For instance you can also include the Hagia Eirene church, the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of the Ancient Orient and the Ibrahim Pa>a Palace in your Topkapi. Hagia Sophia, Sultanahmet tour. A visit to these sights which are within walking distance from one another, will give you a peek into the progress of both Istanbul and mankind over the past 10,000 years. Your tour schedule can be extended by a ferry boat trip to one of the Princes’ Islands for a horse-drawn carriage ride, and upon return, stopping at a cafe lacing Leander’s Tower for refreshment, and/or a nice brisk morning walk in the Belgrade Forest. Those who have a planned schedule of the places they want to visit in this city will see that the alternatives are abundant. To facilitate your visit in such a complex city, and to make every minute of your visit worthwhile, the “must-sec” sites and architectural structures such as museums, historical monuments and mosques are indicated on the map.

Istanbul: Treasure of Culture
Istanbul is one of the most beautiful, historical cities in the world. With numerous mosques, churches, synagogues, museums, cisterns, fountains, palaces, libraries, squares and buildings left from Roman, Byzantium and Ottoman eras Istanbul continues to become the cradle of civilization where Asia meets Europe. It has a unique color, style and customs of us own because here prospered a unique concept of civilization, the concept of culture and the concept of tolerance Istanbul is a city, which combines all these differences within her structure with all their glory and without corrupting or harming them.


Istanbul’s Museums and Palaces
Istanbul is a city of palaces and museums. Unfortunately little remains of Byzantine palaces except the tales of Mangana, Bucoeon and Blachernae. Ottoman palaces, however, remain standing in their full glory. Topkapi Palace bears witness to 400 years of the 600-year history of the Ottoman Empire. Dolmabahce, Yildiz and Beylerbeyi Palaces are evidence of the Westernization movement Most of the buildings housing the museums are relics of the splendour of the past. Stepping through the door of each is like entering a whole new world.

Topkapi Palace: The construction of Topkapi Palace, which is the top of the list places to be seen in Istanbul, was launched in 1478 by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror who took the city in 1453. Located atop a hill where an old Byzantine palace originally stood, the palace grew gradually by new pavilions and buildings added by various sultans. It served as the seat of imperial rule and the official residence of Ottoman sultans for 380 years until Sultan Abdulmecid relocated the centre of administration to the newly built Dolmabahce Palace. The palace, a city within a larger city, was composed of roughly two parts: Enderun and Birun. The Enderun was the private residence of the sultan and his close associates, while the Birun housed the government, the administration, and services related to the palace. Around the inner walls of the palace were the outer court and gardens that provided a broad zone of security for the palace. With the Holy Islamic Relics displayed in a renovated pavilion, with its unmatched jewellery, weaponry, hooks, manuscript and garment collections ii is the most frequently visited museum of Istanbul.

Sogukçeşme Street: The Street runs parallel to the walls of Topkapi Palace and contains 12 houses and a Roman cistern. The wooden houses are typical examples of Ottoman house architecture.

Archaeological Museum: Historical relics collected during the Ottoman rule were first housed in the Church of Hagia Eirene in 1846, an enterprise which grew to include the Tiled Pavilion as well. From 1872 to 1881, the museum grew under the direction of Anton Dethier, who was appointed as its director by the Minister of Education Vefik Paşa. The museum came into its own in 1891, when its new director, the painter Osman Hamdi Bey, commissioned a building to the architect Alexander Vallaury. Enlarged with a new building in 1991, the recently reorganized museum now comprises the Museum of the ancient Orient, the Tiled Pavilion and the main building of the Archaeological Museum.

The Museum of the Ancient Orient: The Museum today figures among the world’s most important museums on the ancient Near Eastern civilisation. The collection features pieces from ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, pre-Greek Anatolia, and pre- Islamic civilisations of the Arab peninsula.

Tiled Pavilion:
It houses a collection of the best examples of Turkish tile and ceramic work. The Archaeological Museum was awarded the European Council of Museum Award in 1993.

Sultanahmet Square (Hippodrome): This Square, which was the Hippodrome in Byzantine times, the Horse Square in Ottoman times, and Sultanahmet Square in Republican times, witnessed the festivities and bloody mutinies of Byzantine times, Ottoman weddings and games of horsemanship (cirit), as well as the uprising of the janissaries. Today, it is pretty much an open air museum, sporting the relic of the time when it used to be the site of gatherings, mutinies, commerce and pleasure.

Sultanahmet Mosque Complex: This mosque complex, containing Istanbul’s only mosque with six minarets, was built by Sedefkar Mehmet Aga for Sultan Ahmed I early in the 17th century*. Referred to as the Blue Mosque by foreign travellers due to the colour of the light reflected by the cobalt tiles, the structure is one of Istanbul’s most beautiful mosques, with its six elegant minarets and large central dome by smaller domes, creating a wave effect as they decrease in size and height from the centre.

Rustem Paşa Complex: This complex was built by the architect Sinan in 1561 in Tahtakale, one of Istanbul’s commercial centers, at a site influencing the city’s silhouette. It is located on Uzuncarsi, one of the oldest commercial streets in Istanbul. Rustem Pasha Mosque, considered to be one of the most decorative mosques in Istanbul, is famous for its walls which are completely covered with 16th century Iznik tiles.

Haghia Sophia (Avasofya): The Emperor’s Gate. Calligraphic Disks, The Mosaic of Virgin Mary’ and Infant Jesus, Calligraphy under the Dome, Ablution Fountain. Time Keeper’s Place, Tomb of Selim II and Tombs of Murad III and the Crown Princes.

Basilica Cistern: Basilica Cistern is devoted to the most magnificent period of the Eastern Roman Empire. It was built by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century to meet the water requirements of the city. Measuring 143m in length and 65m width m, the area of the cistern is 9.800m2 and its ceiling rests on 336 marble columns, each 9m high. Two Medusa heads were used to form bases for two columns in a far comer of the cistern. Currently the cistern is managed by the municipality.

The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts: Across the Hippodrome. Ibrahim Paşa Palace is a fine example of 16th c. architecture. Following repairs in 1983, it became The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts. The museum boasts an extensive collection of carpets and a collection of around 15,000 manuscripts dating from the 8th century to the 19th century, as well as numerous stone, ceramic, wooden and mineral objects from the early Islamic period to the present, revealing the lifestyles and production techniques of different periods. In 1984 the museum was awarded a special jury prize by the European Council in the Museum of the Year competition and a European Council-UNESCO award in 1985.

Attraction of the District: Haghia Eirene, Gülhane Park, Islamic Science and Technology Museum. Feriye Restaurant. The Mint (Istanbul City History Museum). Sepetçiler Mansion. Fountain of Ahmet III, Hamam of Haseki Sultan, Binbirdirek Cistern. The Mosaic Museum, Sphendone. Madrasah of Cafer Aga (Applied Turkish Handicrafts Centre) The Sultanahmet Prison ( Four Seasons Hotel), Kabasakal Madrasah, Fuat Paşa Complex. Firuzaga Mosque

Hamams of Istanbul: Istanbul is famous for its baths as much as its natural beauty and ancient edifices. In the old districts of the city, hamam were de rigeur. There are nearly 237 hamams in Istanbul. 60 of these are still operational. Turkish hamams comprise of sections called the Cemekan (dressing rooms), Ilıklık (warm or cool section) and Harrare (the hot section). The warm section, harrare, is the washing area. In this section there are kurnas (the fountains with basins underneath them, the gobek tasi or the hot marble section) in the middle as well as the halvet.
The popular hamams in Istanbul: Cagaloglu Hamamı, Galatasaray Hamamı, Haseki Hürrem Hamamı, Cemberlitas Hamamı, Süleymaniye Hamamı, Örücüler Hamamı, Havuzlu Hamam and Gedikpasa Hamamı.

Miniaturk: The Miniaturk-Turkish Miniature Park is a gift by the İstanbul Municipality lo the city on the 550th anniversary of the Ottoman conquest. As the only mıniature park in Turkey, it features the famous monuments scattered across the nation, built by civilizations whose past spans millennia. Miniaturk is a large complex featuring cafeteria, restaurant, shopping centre, bookstore, library, movie theatre and exhibition hall. There are also special activities for children, such as the Express train and playground featuring the Trojan Horse, the Ottoman fort and galley.

Haliç Congress Center (The Old Sütlüce Slaughterhouse): İstanbul Municipality’s Haliç Congress Center, Sütlüce Concert and Congress hall, and the theatre. It was opened ın March 2009 after 10 years of renovation. Spread over an area of 73,000m2 the facility also features a convention building for 3,200 people, a theatre for 1,250 people, a concert and convention centre movie theatres and multi-storey car parks.

Little Hagia Sophia (Church of Sts Sergius and Bachus): Once called the Church of Sergius and Bacchus, after the saints who spared Justinian (527-565) from punishment during his youth, this church is now called Little Hagia Sophia. This church is one of the most beautiful example of early Christian churches, with a central nave surrounded by aisles and surmounted by a gallery. In the time of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque and the central space was decorated with Ottoman style trimmings.

Kariye (Chora) Museum: Famous for its late Byzantine mosaics and frescoes, Kariye is one of the most important Byzantine sites in İstanbul. The first church was known as Chora, which carried a double meaning of being affiliated to a monastery outside the city walls, and as one of the adjectives used to describe Jesus, “the widest sphere enclosed by man’s spiritual world”.

Istanbul’s Places of Worship: Istanbul offers a vast array of places of worship for different religion and denominations Most of them are open the public for religious service hut more importantly they offer first-hand information on how the architecture and design of each religion s temple evolved in time.

Fener Greek Patriarchate: Byzantium was the center of the Orthodox Church from the 6th century. Since 1602 it has been located at the Haghios Yeoryios Monastery. The Patriarchate shares the courtyard with the sacred Haghios Harambalos Spring, a library, and the Haghios Yeoryios Patriarchate Church. The relics sacred to the Orthodox faith, such as the stone column to which Jesus was bound while he was whipped, relics of the saints Euphemia and the ceremonial cross are here.

Eyup Sultan Complex: Halid bin Zeyd, called Eyup Sultan by the public, was the standard bearer of the Prophet’s campaigns and his close friend, and died during the Ummayad siege of Istanbul. A small settlement was founded around his tomb. The tomb was discovered by Mehmed the Conqueror’s teacher Aksemseddin during the siege of Istanbul. The Eyup area being considered sacred meant that the most valuable artistic Works were brought here, making the place as a veritable museum of the tile-makers’ and calligraphers’ art. Eyup is more than just place of pilgrimage Fatih built a large tomb, a mosque and a soup kitchen here. Built in 1458, the walls of tomb are covered with tiles dating from several different periods. For hundreds of years, those seeking miracles to solve their problems made pilgrimages to the wishing windows that open onto the inner courtyard. This window was opened in the 17th century by Ahmed I.

Panorama 1453 Museum of Conquest: The heart of Panorama is a painting on large hemisphere, 38 meters in diameter The painting covers the interior of the hemisphere, Its total area is 2350 m2 . an area of 650m2 and between the painting and the visiting platform are 3-D objects which give the impression of the heat of a battle ground. The total area of 3000m2 makes visitors feel like they are actually watching the Ottoman Conquest, right at the moment in which the walls were breached.

Suleymaniye Complex: This mosque complex is the architect Sinan’s most splendid work, built at the zenith of the Ottoman Empire, and has become one of the most important edifices defining the skyline of the city. Its building, which turned the entire city into a huge construction site, began in 1549, and was completed in 1557. Suleymaniye Complex consists of the mosque, the school of theology, the hospital, the pantry, soup kitchen, the Caravan, and the madrasahs. The Tomb of Suleyman was the last building to reach completion.

Galata Tower: Called the “Great Bastion” by the Byzantines and the “Jesus Tower” by the Genoese, the first foundations of the Galata Tower were laid in 528. Due to numerous repairs the Galata Tower has undergone over time, its appearance has changed. The tower rises 140 meters above the Golden Horn, 61 meters from its foundations, and has walls which are 3,75 meters and have an internal diameter of 8, 95 meters, Locals call the neighborhood where the tower is located “kuledibi”. Kuledibi has been refurbished by the municipality and made into a tourist attraction, Galata Tower is one of the places that visitors to Istanbul absolutely must explore.

Spice Bazaar: The Spice Bazaar or Egyptian Bazaar acquired its name due to the arrival of goods via Egypt. Western travelers referred to it as the Spice Bazaar because the spices from Arab lands, India and the Far East were brought here by a special boat. Located to the north-west of the Valide Sultan Mosque, the L-shaped bazaar contains 100 shops. The bazaar is vibrant with rich aromas and colours, at all hours of the day. Those who have an affinity for food and spices could spend a whole day here lost among the mixture of odours coming from shops selling everything from the finest pastirma, olives and cheese, to linden tea, coconuts and a vast array of spices and medical herbs.

The Tomb of Mimar Sinan: The tomb of this master craftsman, who left such an impression on the city of Istanbul, is located next to one of his greatest works, the Suleymaniye Complex. The humility and simplicity of this open Mausoleum that the architect Sinan designed for himself is profoundly inspiring.

The Important Places for the Muslim Visitors: Istanbul was for Jive centuries the capital of the largest Islamic empire in the world history. Hence in every’ corner of the city one finds traces of Islamic cultural treasures. Istanbul is rich in tombs of important people and the foundation of different Islamic Sufi orders representing Islamic Philosophy in all its facets. Istanbul is able to offer a feast of culture and history to its Muslim visitors who will be made to feel at home whilst guests in the city. The Tomb of Eyup Sultan, The Grave Sites of the Companions of the Prophet. The Tomb of Merkez Efendi. Joshua Hill ( Yusa Tepesi), The Aziz Mahmud Hudai Monastery, Husameddin Ussaki Monastery, Kadirhane Monastery, Nurettin Cerrahi Monastery, Ozbekler Monastery, Mevlevihaneler (Monastery of the Whirling Dervishes), Sumbul Efendi Monastery, The Tomb of Karacaahmed, Sahkulu Sultan Monastery, Yahya Efendi Monastery.

Istanbul Modern: Founded in 2004, Istanbul Modem is the first private museum to organize modem and contemporary art exhibitions in Turkey and it occupies a large site on the shores of the Bosphorus, encompassing 8,000 square meters. On the upper floor of the museum there is a restaurant with a panoramic view of old Istanbul and a souvenir shop with replicas of works by famous artists. The museum also has a small performance hall and a very rich arts library, Istanbul Modem Arts Museum brings Turkey’s artistic creativity to the masses and shares its cultural identity with the international art scene, via interdisciplinary activities.

The Attractions of Old Istanbul on the Asian Side: Mihrimah Sultan Complex, Kanaat Restaurant, Ahmet III Fountain, Aziz Mahmud Hudayi Mosque Complex, Ayazma Mosque, Semsi Pasha Complex, Camlica Hill and Camlica Coffee House, Heating and Lighting Devices Museum. Mansion of Kucuk Camlica, Yanyali Fehmi Restaurant, The Old Wholesale Market, Kadikoy Market, Sureyya Cinema, The Kadikoy-Moda Tram, Haydarpasa Train Station, Florence Nightingale Museum, Karacaahmed Sultan Tomb, Karacaahmet Cemetery, Sakirin Mosque.

Shopping in Istanbul: Catering to all kinds of customers Istanbul is a paradise for shoppers. From covered ancient bazaars and workshops to shopping plazas and shopping malls. Istanbul offers a wide variety of shopping opportunities. Cevahir Istanbul Entertainment and Shopping Centre, Kanyon, Istinye Park, Akmerkez, Astoria Shopping and Living Centre, Profilo Shopping Centre, Metro City, Olivium Outlet Shopping Centre, Galleria, Capitol, Carousel.

Istiklal Street: All great cities have a main avenue: 5th Avenue in New York, Champs Elysees in Paris, Piccadilly or Regent Street in London, and no doubt Istiklal Street in Istanbul. It starts from Taksim
Square, passes through Galatasaray and then runs until Tunel. Istiklal Street is the place where the hearth of the city beats for 24 hours.

The World’s Third Oldest Underground Train: This metro, built between 1871-1876, is the work of French engineer Eugenc-Henry Gavand. The world’s third subway, after those constructed, in New York and London, it is also the world’s shortest subway, connecting Istanbul’s two busiest neighbourhoods, Karakoy and Beyoglu. where traffic is highly congested. The subway is currently operated by the Istanbul Municipality.

Your ads will be inserted here by

Easy Plugin for AdSense.

Please go to the plugin admin page to
Paste your ad code OR
Suppress this ad slot.

The Covered Bazaar: Renowned for centuries for its vibrancy and legendary atmosphere. The Covered Bazaar is one of the most picturesque and enchanting bazaars and a great market place, which visitors to Istanbul, whether native or foreign, flock to see. Founded by Fatih Sultan immediately following the conquest of Istanbul, this magnificent construction complex sprawling on 30.000m‘, with more than 60 streets around 4400 shops and 2000 craftsmen’s ateliers connected by high vaults has expanded around the Old Jewellery Market by addition of new shops. Spending half a day here can take you on a time trip extending back a few centuries.

Places in Beyoglu District: British Consulate, Nevizade Street, Galatasaray Hamam, Italian Consulate, Galata Dervish Lodge, Borusan Music House, The Crimean Church, Cervantes Institute, Adam Mickiewicz Museum, Pera Museum and Istanbul Research Institute, Pera Palas, Deniz Palas (IKSV), Koc University Research Center on Anatolian Civilization, Arter.

The Congress Valley (Lutfi Kirdar International Conference Centre): Hosting many important sport events and fairs for over forty years, the building was restored in the middle of 1980s and transformed into the international conference center.

Cemal Resit Rey Concert Hall: The first building in Istanbul designed for concerts. It opened its doors for the first time with the recital of Idil Biret accompanying the Lucerne Festival Chamber Orchestra under
the direction of Rudolf Baumgartner.

Cemil Topuzlu Open Air Theatre: The open air theatre, with a seating capacity for 4, 000 people is home to many events in the summer and houses a major part of the performances of the annual Istanbul Music Festival.

Harbiye Muhsin Ertugrul Theatre and Istanbul Congress Center: The Congress Center opened its doors in 2009 for the World Bank and IMF Congress and has a multi-purpose architecture which allows it
to host international congresses, organizations, exhibitions, summits, meetings, and performances.

Maiden’s Tower: Boasting the status of Istanbul landmark, Leander’s Tower, or Maiden’s Tower, is built upon a rock facing Uskudar at the mouth of the Bosphorus. The restoration of the tower was recently completed and it was transformed into a restaurant and tea lounge.

Mehter (Military Band): The Turkish Military Band (Mehter) is the oldest known military band in the world. In the West, the band’s music is also often called Janissary music because the janissaries formed the core of the bands. With its percussion, it instilled strength, confidence, and courage in the soldiers while intimidating the enemy and also performed in peace time to help the morale of the people. Mehter also inspired European Composers such as Beethoven and Mozart. These musical pieces were referred to as Alla Turca.

Dolmabahce Palace: Built by architects Garabet and Nigogos Balyan in 1844-1855, is a single-roofed European-style palace on a monumental scale and with a richly ornamented facade far removed from the concept of Ottoman palace design. Its interior decoration brought from Europe by Fethi Ahmed Pasa. The founder of Turkish Republic, Ataturk resided at the palace which was turned into a museum following his death on 10 November 1938.

Features of the Dolmabahce Palace: Muayede Salon, Mabeyn-i Humayun, Hunkar Hamamı, Red Chamber, Crystal Staircase Salon, Zulvecheyn Salonu, Harem-i Humayun, Ataturk Chamber, Abdulmecid Chamber, Blue Salon, Crown Prince’s Quarter (The Painting and Sculpture Museum), Treasury gate, Sultanate Gate, Dolmabahce Mosque, Dolmabahce Clock Tower.


Sultanahmet Square, Eminonu 0212 512 0480
Visiting days and hours: Tuesdays Closed Other Days: 09.00 – 19.00 (During Summer)

Anadoluhisarı, Beykoz 0212 2635305
Visiting days and hours: Reservation required from Directorate of Castle Museum.

Sultanahmet Square, Eminonu 0212 5221750
Visiting days and hours: Mondays Closed Other Days: 09.00 – 19.00 (During Summer)

Topkapi Palace Garth, Sultanahmet, Eminonu 0212 5284500
Visiting days and hours: Reservation required from Topkapi Palace Museum

Yahya Kemal St. No:42. Rumelihisari, Sarıyer 0212 2635305
Visiting days and hours: Wednesdays closed Other Days: 09.30 – 16.30

Horse Square No: 1 Sultanahmet, Eminonu 0212 5182919
Visiting days and hours: Mondays and Tuesdays Closed Other Days: 09.30 – 16.00

Kariye District, Kariye St. No:26 Edirnekapi, Fatih 0212 6319241
Visiting days and hours: Wednesdays Closed Other Days: 09.00 – 16.30

Barbaros Boulevard, Serencebey Upgrade No:62, Besiktas 0212 2583080
Visiting days and hours: Tuesdays Closed Other Days: 09.00 – 16.30

Arasta Bazaar, Sultanahmet. Eminonu 0212 5284500
Visiting days and hours: Wednesdays Closed Other Day

Inside the Gulhane Park, Eminonu 0212 5288065
Visiting days and hours: Tuesdays Closed Other Days: 09.001 16.30

Fethiye St, Draman, Fatih 0212 6351273
Visiting days and hours: Wednesdays Closed Other Days: 09.00 – 18.00

Osman Hamdi Bey Upgrade, Gulhane, Eminonu 0212 5207742
Visiting days and hours: Mondays Closed Other Days: 09.00 – 18.00

Beylerbeyi District, 34676 Uskudar 0216321 9320
Visiting days and hours: Wednesdays Closed Other Days: 09.00 – 17.30

Dolmabahce St. Besiktas 0212 236 9000
Visiting days and hours: Mondays and Thursdays Closed Other Days: 09:00-16:00

Sutluce District, Imrahor St. Sutluce – Beyoglu 0212 222 28 82
Visiting days and hours: Working days: 09.30 – 19.00 Weekend: 09.00-21.00

Alemdar District, Seftali St. No:6, Fatih 0212 522 12 59
Visiting days and hours: Everyday: 09.00 – 18.30

Ibrahim Pasa Palace, Horse Square, Sultanahmet, Eminonu 0212 5181805
Visiting days and hours: Mondays Closed Other Days: 09.00 – 17.00

Galip Dede St No: 15 Tunel Beyoglu  0212 2454141
Visiting days and hours: Mondays Closed Other Days: 09.30 – 17.00

Sinanpasa District.Besiktas 0212 327 4345
Visiting days and hours: Mondays and Tuesdays Closed Other Days: 09.00 – 17.00

Piri Pasa District, Haskoy St. No:5, Beyoglu 0212 369 6600
Visiting days and hours: Mondays Closed Tuesdays – Fridays: 10.00 – 17.00 Saturdays – Sundays: 10.00 – 19.00

Merkez Efendi District, Topkapi City Park, Topkapi 212 415 14 53
Visiting days and hours: Working days: 09.30 – 19.00 Weekend: 09.00 – 21.00

Yildiz District. 34349 Besiktas 0212 258 30 80
Visiting days and hours: Tuesdays Closed Other Days: 10.00 – 16.00



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *