Istanbul was formerly known as Constantinople until it felt to Sultan Mehmed II. This amazing city has always stood as a pillar of freedom and beauty for ages. It is full of treasures the entire world should appreciate and any visitor to Turkey needs to come here for this city rich in history as well as in culture. You cannot escape the history that the entire city is covered in and there is no reason why you would want to. Istanbul should be the first stop on your visit to Turkey. Here are the best places to visit in Istanbul.
The Hagia Sophia is one of the world’s greatest treasures and a build full of history and splendor. This dome that graces the top can be seen from almost any point in the city and it is a marvel of construction for the age it was built. It was once a marvelous Christian Church, but with the fall of Constantinople, it was repurposed into a mosque. As mentioned above, the dome is amazing being 43 meters above your head and being 65 meters wide. It is one of the many Byzantine structures to survive in modern times and still amaze.
Topkapi Palace In Istanbul
Topkapi Palace is a beautiful structure. It was once the home of many rulers and sultans it is now an open museum to a time in history. You can see the famous Harem where the sultan kept his chose women to the treasure room where the jewels of the age are on display for visitors to marvel at. This includes the famous Topkapi dagger and weapons from the Ottoman empire the displays of the ancient world’s most amazing craftsmanship.
Every ancient city seems to be sitting on top of other more ancient cities or pieces of history. In Istanbul, this is also true. The Basilica Cistern dates back to the Byzantine Era and the engineers of the time. They designed the cistern to bring water to the entire city. This is an amazing feet from the age it came out of. Today, you will enjoy the dim light with a light and peaceful selection of classical music while you walk the underground passages and look at the fish swimming around the 336 columns that support the roof.
The Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar is over 500 years old and if you visit it you will find no less than 60 streets full of vendors and restaurants. They have 500 shops, 12 mosques, 60 restaurants, and 18 fountains to marvel at. They even have a beautifully preserved school. You might think this is a tourist trap, but it is not. You will find the locals doing their showing here and there are deals everywhere. You may not find as good a deal on the real jewelry, but they still are pretty to look at. The carpets are exquisite too.
The Archaeology Museum
The archaeology museum is not a place to be missed. The ancient treasures of Istanbul are on full display and it is a shame that a lot of people do skip it. It is one of the largest collections in the world. It even has the sarcophagus from Alexander the Great which has his life done in blue tile. It tells of Karaman Mihrab the pavilion and the Treaty of Kadesh which is one of the earliest known peace treaties. There is even a Trojan Horse model for children to enjoy.
The Süleymaniye Mosque
While it is not as famous as the Hagia Sophia, the Süleymaniye Mosque is still worth a visit. This mosque is one of the most impressive structures in Istanbul. It is also not overrun with tourists every day. Sinan was the architect who designed the structure for Süleyman the Magnificent as a tribute to the Emperor. This is a building for worship, but it is also a hospital, a school and a kitchen making it a multi-use place for everyone to go.
The Kariye Museum In Istanbul
The Kariye Museum is also known as the Chora Church and the Church of St. Savior. While this museum is not one of the big ones in Istanbul, it is worth a visit. The building is built next to the old city walls in Chora and it offers some of the most beautiful religious attractions in Turkey. Built in the Byzantine era, the walls and the ceilings are covered in mosaics and frescoes showing scenes from religion and the history of the city.
The Dolmabahçe Palace
If you want to see an amazingly beautiful grand old structure, then you need to visit the Dolmabahçe Palace. It has 285 rooms and salons which run 600 meters through the city. Constructed by Sultan Abdüi the palace was built in 1856 to prove that the power of the Ottoman Empire was still strong. The sultan used a good portion of his treasury to build it covering the rooms in gold leaves, crystal, and marble. He also installed a 4.5-ton chandelier in his main ceremonial hall.
The Galata Tower In Istanbul
If you want to see all of Istanbul laid out below you, you need to visit the Galata Tower. You will be able to see the entire city from the top. You can even see the Princess Islands located to meters away on a clear day. If you get hungry on the way up or down, you can visit the restaurant that is on the 9th floor that serves an amazing meal. The tower is also surrounded by quaint little cafes so you can enjoy something at the bottom of the tower as well.
Bebek is a places to visit In Istanbul at the weekend. It is in the wealthy section of town, but the restraints serve some of the best food. It is also a good place to see a lot of beautiful old structures that were and are owned by the wealthier inhabitants of the city. You are also near the boardwalk and you can enjoy a nice cold drink while soaking up the sun on your walk up and down. It is also a good spot to find nightlife action if that is what you enjoy.