Istanbul is a melting pot of cultures with a long history. A capital of four great empires, Istanbul is full of historical wonders and embraces the new and avant-garde lifestyle. A blend of traditional and modern, Istanbul offers the visitors a unique experience.
Here are top 10 things not to miss in Istanbul:
Built in 537 A.D. Hagia Sophia is an Eastern Orthodox cathedral. After the conquest, used as an Ottoman mosque, today Hagia Sophia is open as a museum. One of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture, it is said that Hagia Sophia have “changed the history of architecture”.
The Blue Mosque also known as The Sultan Ahmed Mosque was built between 1609 to 1616. Takes its name from the blue tiles decorating its interior walls, this unique mosque combines Byzantine and Islamic characteristics.
Ottoman Empire’s seat for more than three centuries, Topkapi Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Overlooking the Bosphorus, Topkapi Palace offers a deep insight into Ottoman Era. Topkapi Palace also hosts holy Muslim relics.
Separating Asia and Europe, the Bosphorus offers some spectacular views. One of the most vibrant areas of the city, the Bosphorus shores are a must-see. You can have a boat tour around the Bosphorus to get a deeper insight of the city.
One of the oldest and largest historical bazaar of the world, the Grand Bazaar is a lively and colourful place. Grand Bazaar hosts over 3000 shops such as antique shops, jewellers, leather and carpet shops on 61 covered streets.
The Galata Tower is a medieval stone tower in the Galata/Karaköy built by the Genoese in 1348. One of the city’s most striking landmarks, it is a high, cone-capped cylinder that dominates the skyline and offers a panoramic vista of Istanbul’s historic peninsula and its environs. One of the best places to enjoy Istanbul view, the tower is open for visitors and also hosts a restaurant at the top.
Located on the European coastline of the Bosphorus, Dolmabahce Palace served as the main administrative centre of the Ottoman Empire and was also the residence of Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Istanbul Modern is Turkey’s first private museum to host contemporary art exhibitions. Founded in 2004 and located on a 8000 square meter site on the shores of the Bosphorus, Istanbul Modern also hosts events and workshops.
Istanbul’s culture and entertainment hub, Beyoglu, is a must see for the architecture, daily life and cuisine. Full of theatres, restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs Istiklal Street is at the heart of this large district.
A Turkish bath (Hamam) is the Turkish variant of a steam bath. Popular in Turkey for thousands of years, there are many historic baths in Istanbul. The Cemberlitas Hamami, designed by architect Sinan, is one of the city’s most beautiful and classic Turkish baths.
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