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Here we will highlight practical information on what to see and do in Istanbul. This means I don’t want to repeat the history of many attractions. Instead, we focus on practical advice for visiting many important locations. This includes the best ways to get to certain places, money-saving tips and more. In the Places To Visit In Istanbul section, the building lets you know your favourite places including visiting, buying, drinking and dining.
There are no specific arrangements, these are the 15 things you can do in Istanbul. I chose it not because it was popular, but because I thought it was worth a look or a try. So, for example, I did not include the famous Blue Mosque, but I made a different proposal. I also want to draw attention to many hidden gems that are often overlooked when you are preparing to visit. Enjoy it
The rotating altar may seem like a tourist attraction, but for Mevlana’s followers, this is true worship. During the ceremony, Dervish became a bridge between God and man through the ecstasy caused by prayer.
Although it topped the list of many tasks for Istanbul tourists, people eventually had to overtake it as seats were exhausted. Don’t make the same mistake, please reserve your seat as early as possible.
This wonderful church has become a mosque, a museum, and is one of the greatest architectural achievements in the world. After years of restoration work, Hagia Sophia has no scaffolding at all and can properly absorb its brilliance.
Standing in the middle of the amazing and spacious boat under the dome, 43 to 65 meters from the top of your head, goes against belief and physics. Follow the spiral ramp to the exhibition and admire the magnificent Byzantine mosaics, including Christ surrounded by Emperor Constantine IX and his wife Queen Zoe.
Topkapi Palace (Topkapi Saray) is an offer you can’t miss in Istanbul. This intricate stall and wing contain four lush green courtyards where generations of sultans have lived here for nearly half a century.
The main attractions of the Topkapi Palace are the harem, a “cage” decorated with Sudanese women, treasures for the jewels in the crown (with the famous Topkapi dagger) and a weapon room for increased craftsmanship. The thin Ottoman Empire even involved making bows and arrows
Also, don’t forget to go to the end and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Marmara Sea, Bosphorus Strait and Golden Horn Bay.
Without a Bosphorus tour, the journey to Istanbul is incomplete. Not only does it provide a good overview of the city, but the European and Asian coasts of the famous waterways can also provide many services: the Centennial Palace and a large number of palaces.
You can take many cruises: short trips (to the second suspension bridge and back), long trips (to the Black Sea and back) and summer sunset tours.
Not only is Istanbul grand, but it also has a cathedral cistern (Yerebatan) underground. This magnificent Byzantine project is a marvellous groundwater tank that brings drinking water with water from today’s Bulgaria to Istanbul.
Dim lights and classical music with a flowing background sound make some people feel romantic, while others are a little creepy. Walk down the aisle and watch the fish swim between the 336 pillars supporting the roof. Go to the end and look at Medusa’s head, face down as the bottom of one of the pillars.
Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is a must-visit place in Istanbul. It has more than 500 years of history, but he is still one of the largest covered markets in the world. There are at least 5,000 shops, 60 restaurants, 18 fountains, 12 mosques and even a school on 60 streets.
Some claim that this is not a tourist trap. Locals buy goods here every day, but their bargaining power may be better than you. The bazaar is a popular commodity for carpets, leather, ceramics, souvenirs and jewellery. It’s hard not to get lost in this mess, so remember where you entered before wandering.
It is a pity that people often bypass the Arkeoloji Müzesi museum. This is Istanbul’s true hidden gem and it showcases one of the world’s richest collections of classical antiques.
The main landmarks here are the magnificent sarcophagus representing the important stages of Alexander the Great’s life, the blue tiles of Karman Mehrab, the beautiful court loft and the oldest peace treaty in the world, the Treaty of Kadash. Isn’t this the option to bring children? Wait until you see the Trojan horse model in the children section.
You can go downhill on the first terrace of Topkapi Palace or reach the Archeological Museum via Gulhane Park.
The most famous mosque is not the most famous blue mosque but little known. I think it is the most beautiful mosque in Istanbul, and thousands of tourists conquer it every day. The Sulaymaniyah mosque was designed by Sinan the famous architect of Suleiman the Great, which is a great tribute to both. It is more than a place of worship. This is a building containing a hospital, kitchen, school, etc.
Don’t forget to visit the Sulaiman Mausoleum and Roxalana Mausoleum behind the cemetery, the Senan Tomb outside the complex, and taste Koro Vasolay (beans) in one of the many restaurants in the Addicts’ Alley.
Chora Church, San Salvador Church or Kariye Museum are less than usual but worth a visit. Located in Chora / Edirnekapi, next to the ancient city walls, it is one of the most amazing religious buildings in Istanbul.
The walls and ceiling of this church are decorated with magnificent Byzantine mosaics and frescoes. Some are considered the most important in the Christian world. While you are there, you can admire the remains of the 5th-century city walls and Ottoman chalets.
Dolmabahçe Palace is immensely wonderful. Some facts prove my point. The palace is huge, 600 meters long and contains no less than 285 rooms and 43 rooms. It was built by Sultan Abdul Mecit in 1856, and its main purpose was to show that the declining Ottoman Empire worked well, and the building was just the opposite.
However, there were no cost savings, which indicates excessive use of gold foil, glass and marble. The main highlights are the baccarat glass staircase, the master bathroom and a ballroom with 4.5 tons of chandelier. Seeing the last one is awesome! After the establishment of the Turkish Republic, Ataturk adopted the palace as his residence, where he died at 9:05 on November 10, 1938. As a tribute, all times in the palace show that time.
The Galata Tower is the best place for a 360-degree panorama of Istanbul. On a clear day, you can see the Princes Islands from this 60-meter-tall tower. There is also a restaurant/cafeteria on the 9th floor, but it can be skipped entirely. Alternatively, you can stroll the cosy Galata streets around the tower and have a drink or a meal on one of the many terraces. Not only will you like it better, but you will also get a better offer.
The villages of Bebek and the smaller Ortaköy next to the Bosphorus are worth visiting, but little is known among tourists. Bebek is a lively, green and rich neighbourhood near the Bosphorus. As we all know, locals frequent here on weekends. Breakfast (latest) has always been a local favourite, and its magnificent views later stroll along the seafront promenade, dotted with a drink in one of the many cafes. Some people come late and enjoy the lively nightlife.
If you visit the Bosphorus, it is difficult to lose yourself in front of Ortaköy. Before the first bridge appeared, its cosy mosque was right next to the beach. Another thing that attracted a lot of attention was the Sunday handicraft market and many cobbled streets without cars full of restaurants and cafes.
Nightlife in Istanbul can compete with the rest of the world. Whether you want to enjoy a live (local) presentation, enjoy your favourite drink, take part in current and past world star concerts, dance all night in an outdoor venue next to the Bosphorus, or enjoy the 360-degree ceiling at any time, Istanbul can meet your needs.
Turkish cuisine is one of the richest foods, blending flavours from different continents and cultures. All of these dishes are made with fresh products and you can buy them directly by visiting the local market in Istanbul. These local bazaars may seem endless at first glance, but rest assured that sellers will be warmly welcomed. Communication can be difficult, but the experience is invaluable.
Nothing rejuvenates the body more than scrubbing it in the bathroom. After a long day of walking, you can imagine: using only a piece of cotton, first relax in a room soaked in hot marble, and then listen to the echo of the flowing water. Then, wipe the body with active soap, then massage the sultan until the skin becomes soft and smooth.
There are many baths in the city. Among the ancients, there were recently renovated (Hürrem Sultan Hamam and Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamam) in Hagia Sophia. The first is located in Sultanahmet Square and the other is in Tophane-Karaköy, not far from modern Istanbul.
Since 2017, Saba Ghani has been serving as the talented and dedicated chief content writer for Pakistan Tour and Travel & EMHI Solutions. With her exceptional writing skills and in-depth knowledge of the travel industry, she has been instrumental in crafting engaging and informative content that captivates the audience. You can catch her at [email protected] or Twitter