Arguably the most spectacular example of Byzantine architecture, Hagia Sophia has been a cathedral, a mosque, and today is a museum and one of the country's biggest attractions. The intricate mosaics and frescoes throughout this majestic mosque are marvellous.
Grand Bazaar of Istanbul is one of the oldest and largest markets in the world. The Bazaar encompasses 64 streets, 4000 shops, restaurants, and banks, making it almost its own little city. It is often considered to be among the very first shopping malls in the world. It can be reached through the Beyazıt-Kapalıçarşı tram station.
This huge and beautiful Sultan Ahman Mosque sits right opposite the Hagia Sofia and houses hundreds of thousands of detailed decorations. It is famous for its blue interiors, thus known as the Blue Mosque. It is Istanbul's most picturesque building, complemented by the breathtaking architecture inside.
The Topkapi Palace is a majestic building which served as the main residence of the Ottoman emperors for nearly 400 years. Today it serves as one of the most important museums in Istanbul. It contains some of the rarest items in the world. Though the complex has several hundred rooms, halls and chambers, only the most significant of them are open to the public.
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Basilica Cistern is the largest cistern in the city of Istanbul, built underneath the Stoa Basilica. It has hundreds of decorated columns and is a simply breathtaking piece of architecture. There is only a few feet of water in the cistern today, above which platforms are built for people to tour it.
Sultanahmet Square, also known as the Hippodrome, is the centrepiece of Istanbul's Historical Peninsula. It is located a few minutes' walk away from the Sultanahmet tram station. It leads to the city's most fantastic attractions, including the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia and Ibrahim Pasa Palace. Sultanahmet Square is also lined with hotels, restaurants and other places of accommodation and leisure.
The Dolmabahce Palace was the main residence of operation for the Ottomans after the Topkapi. It is built along the Bosphorus Strait and is another stunning imperial structure which today serves as a major tourist attraction. It is home to the largest collection of Bohemian and Baccarat crystal chandeliers in the world.
Galata Tower is one of the most popular attractions of not just Istanbul but Turkey itself. This centuries old medieval monument erects straight in the middle of the capital and provides a panoramic view of the city. Also known as Galata Kulesi in Turkish, it makes its place in the skyline of Istanbul as one of the oldest and tallest towers in the city. Galata Tower is a nine-storeyed building having a height of 67 metres. A restaurant and a cafe sits on the top floors of the building from where you can enjoy your meal with the spectacular view of the city.
Chora Museum, also known as Kariye Museum, is located in Edirnekapı neighbourhood of Istanbul. It is popular as one of the most beautiful Byzantine churches of the 16th-century which was converted into a mosque and finally a museum in 1948. The interior of the building is covered in stunning mosaics depicting the life of Christ and Mary. These mosaics can be followed like a graphic novel. For many, the importance of the Chora Museum is as great as Hagia Sophia. The best way to get to this part of town is to catch the Golden Horn ferry from Karaköy.
Beylerbeyi Palace is a 19th-century Imperial Ottoman summer residence situated in the Üsküdar district of Istanbul, Turkey, that has now been converted into a museum. The palace is an impressive edifice constructed using white marble built in the Second Empire style of architecture. It has 24 rooms and 6 halls, one of which is the reception hall with a massive marble pool and fountain.
Gulhane Park is one of the biggest and most beautiful parks in Istanbul, popular among locals for picnics and recreation. It's especially known for its tulips and attracts many during the Istanbul Tulip Festival.
Camlica Tower is a telecommunications tower located in the Üsküdar district of Istanbul. Inaugurated in May 2021, it is the tallest structure in Istanbul as well as in Europe. The skyscraper has 49 storeys with an observation deck, a small café and a restaurant.
Yoros Castle is a ruined fortress from Byzantine rule, located to the north of Joshua’s Hill in Istanbul. Also known as Genoese Castle, it is one of the most beautiful castles in the city. Surviving in broken parts and a debilitating condition, the site still attracts dozens of tourists every year due to the historical value that it holds as well as the scenic beauty that it offers. Only the exterior of the upper castle is open to the general public. Located on Macar Bay, one can enjoy breathtaking views of the conjoining point of the Marmara and the Black sea from the top.
An archetype of the Ottoman Mosque, Rustem Pasha Mosque is located close to the Spice Bazaar in the Tahtakale neighbourhood of Fatih district. This Ottoman mosque is another of the stunning works of imperial Mimar Sinan, with various intricate details and designs all over.
Vialand, also known as Isfanbul Theme Park, is Turkey’s first mega theme park with exciting rides and shopping outlets. Located in the Eyüp district, it sprawls across 600 square metres and houses Nefeskesen, the 4th biggest rollercoaster in the world. It also houses an exhibition centre, a shopping complex, eateries and a luxury hotel.
The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art is an art museum situated in the Fatih district’s Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey. Located in the former palace of Pargalı Ibrahim Pasha, it is Turkey’s first museum to feature both Turkish and Islamic art together. The museum is filled with collections of manuscripts and inscriptions in calligraphy, Islamic paintings, traditional handwoven and detailed fabrics, and ancient artefacts. It is also famous for the best rug collection in the world, with some being rare 13th-century Seljuk carpets.
Miniaturk is a fascinating miniature model park of Turkish buildings. It is one of the largest such parks in the world. It is a representation of some of Turkey's most important buildings and has a total of 122 models, on a 1:25 scale.
The Ortakoy Mosque is one of Istanbul’s most beautiful mosques and one of the most popular ones in the Bosphorus. Built sometime in the mid-19th-century, it is situated in the Beşiktaş district of Istanbul and is officially called the Büyük Mecidiye Camii. The mosque is best seen from the Bosphorus Cruise which takes tourists from the Asian to the European side of Istanbul on a ferry boat.
The Little Hagia Sophia mosque is a former Greek Orthodox Church located between the Cankurtaran and Kadırga districts, in the west of the Sultanahmet neighbourhood in Istanbul. It is one of the original buildings in Istanbul, belonging to the early Byzantine period, known for its stunning architecture. The beautiful marble columns on the ground floor and the gallery on the second floor are a must-see.
Also called Fortress of the Seven Towers and the Dungeons of the Seven Towers, Yedikule Fortress is one of the oldest forts of Istanbul. Located 3 miles south-west from Sultanahmet, it is quite popular among tourists for its dreadful history and fantastic views.
The Fatih Mosque is an Ottoman inspired mosque in Istanbul with one of the most beautiful inner courtyards in the city. Located in Fatih, on Fevzipaşa Avenue, the mosque complex houses a hospice and the tombs of Mehmet II and his wife Gulbahar. On Wednesday, the Fatih Mosque hosts the largest street market in Istanbul (Fatih Pazarı) selling food, clothing as well as household goods.
Maiden’s Tower is an iconic tower and landmark situated on a small islet off the coast of Üsküdar. Also known as Leander’s Tower, it houses a museum, a cafe and a restaurant offering scenic views of the Bosphorus. It is easily accessible via a ferry or boat.
The Anatolian Fortress on the Anatolian (Asian) side of the Bosporus in Istanbul, Turkey is a medieval fortress and an open-air museum. It is also known as Güzelce Hisar or the Beautacious Castle. Istanbul’s oldest surviving Turkish structure, it dates back to the 14th century and was built as a watch fort made of bricks and square-cut block stones. Although a museum, one can only visit its outer walls; the main road passes through it.
Rumeli Hisarı or the Rumeli Fortress is a medieval 15th-century fortress now converted into an open-air museum. It is located on the European banks of the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey. The fort is known for its magnificent views of the Bosphorus Strait, the Sultan Mehmed Fatih Bridge and the Asian part of Istanbul.
The Suleymaniye Mosque is the largest mosque in Istanbul. It took 7 years to build till 1557 and is an iconic landmark of the city. The interiors of the building are simple yet breathtaking.
The Istanbul Akvaryum is the biggest thematic aquarium in the world situated close to the Atatürk International Airport in Istanbul, Turkey. The aquarium houses over 1,500 land and water species and is divided into 17 themes. Some of the most popular species here include Gentoo penguins, Capybaras, Cownose rays, Musky caimans, Lemon sharks and Redbelly piranhas.
Istanbul Archaeology Museums is an incredible museum complex of 3 buildings that houses archaeological collections of more than 1 million items. It contains collections of items dating back thousands of years from ancient Mesopotamia, pre-Islamic Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula.
Nuruosmaniye Mosque is an 18th century Ottoman Mosque located close to the Grand Bazaar in the Çemberlitaş neighbourhood, Fatih district. It derives its literal name “the light of Osman” from the 174 windows adorning the mosque's interiors. It boasts of prime Ottoman Baroque architecture and stands tall with the fourth largest dome in the city and unique minarets made up of bronze instead of the usual stone.
Also known as Saint Irene, Hagia Irene is the oldest Byzantine church situated in the outer courtyard of Topkapi Palace. The second-largest in Istanbul after Hagia Sophia, it is now converted into a museum and concert hall. Easily accessible by tram with the nearest stop being Sultanahmet, its atrium offers spectacular architectural beauty with structures such as a narthex, three-nave naos and abscissa.
Bayezid Mosque or Beyazit Mosque is a 16th-century Ottoman selatin mosque located in Beyazit Square close to the Forum of Theodosius’ ruins. It is one of the most famous mosques in Istanbul. The mosque's interior is replicated after one of the most famous mosques in Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia.
Istinye Park is a luxurious shopping complex situated in the Istinye quarter of Istanbul and divided into 3 separate sections. The first section has 280 stores laid out in a blend of enclosed and open space along with lush-green gardens. Its entertainment centre, The Grand Rotunda, has a four-level arena space with a moving stage and kinetic water sculptures. The third section, The Turkish Food Bazaar, consists of numerous fine-dining restaurants and fast-food eating outlets.
Zorlu Centre is a vast multi-purpose complex in the Besiktas district. It is home to a high-end shopping centre, Raffles hotel, offices and Zorlu PSM. The centre is a four-tower structure with over 200 shopping outlets including Balenciaga, Dolce&Gabbana and Bvlgari and many restaurants and cafés.
Located within the Forum Istanbul Mall in Bayrampasa, the Legoland Discovery Centre is a fun and interactive entertainment park. Enjoyed most by families of children aged between 3-10 years, Legoland’s activities include rides, play zones, workshops, a LEGO 4D theatre, and more. Some other wonderful attractions are Miniland, a mini Lego city built with replicas of famous monuments of Istanbul.
Madame Tussauds Istanbul is a museum chain for wax replicas of historic icons & celebrities located on İstiklal Caddesi (the Independence Avenue). There are nearly 60 figures of well-known celebrities, including statues of Suleiman the Magnificent, Muhammad Ali, Fatih Sultan Mehmet, Leonardo Da Vinci, Steve Jobs, Ronaldo, Neymar, Beren Saat, and more.
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