Istanbul is a world capital, the only city that merges two continents and a homeland for many civilizations that ruled the world years ago. Here 50 places to visit in Istanbul part-1.
Just like the Napoleon Bonaparte said:
”If the Earth were a single state, Istanbul would be its capital.”
Every civilization that had been here, had left their cultural and ethnic traces and the reason behind Istanbul’s being so fascinate can be that. And in a city like that, there are nearly infinite places to visit too. Here are our exclusive 50 places to visit in Istanbul list, part 1.
1- Blue Mosque:
First place in our 50 places to visit in Istanbul is Blue Mosque. Blue mosque with its skyscraping six minarets takes its name from the beautiful blue and turquoise İznik tiles. Built four hundred years ago, 1603-17, by Sultan Ahmet I, it was designed to rival the great church of Hagia Sophia, which is actually pretty close. And today, many tourists think the Hagia Sophia is actually bigger than the Blue Mosque, but it is not.
2- The Hagia Sophia Museum
One of the most prominent symbols of Istanbul and even Turkey, the Hagia Sophia Museum dates back to the glorious day of Byzantine, Constantinople. Moreover, the first Friday prayer after the conquest of Istanbul was performed in here. Firstly it was transformed into a mosque, but later it stood as a museum. The mosaics in the upper gallery houses of Hagia Sophia is definitely worth a visit. Among the mosaics, there is one that belongs to Empress Zoe from the 11th century. And according to a myth, the biggest door – which is named as the Emperor Door – was made of wood from Noah’s Ark.
3- The Basilica Cistern
The cistern was made specially to supply the water demand of Istanbul and the palace. Inside of this mysterious place, the most interesting column is the one with the Medusa head on it. Water, lights and the location of these columns, will make you wonder the meaning of life. Even though it is a museum today, there are still lots of activities are being done inside. And if you are a Hollywood fan, you will remember the James Bond movie, ‘‘From Russian with Love” in which he gets across underground Istanbul on a boat, via the Basilica Cistern.
4- The Maiden’s Tower
The Maiden’s Tower can be classified as one of the iconic landmarks of Istanbul’s skyline. The tower has an unmatched history which dates back to the fourth century and has many myths surrounding it. Island of the tower was built has been used for many different purposes over the centuries, such as tax collecting station, Byzantine garrison in 1453, a quarantine hospital during the cholera epidemic and as a lighthouse of course. After the conquest, Ottoman Empire replaced the tower with a wooden one but later it was defeated by the fire. So the new form of the Maiden’s Tower is not actually the original one. But still, isn’t it fascinating?
5- The Galata Tower
When we look at the silhouette of Istanbul, the Galata Tower is among the first ones that catch the eye. From its 360-degree view, you can see the historical peninsula, the Bosphorus and many more. It is as old as the Genoese too. The Genoese though it was so fascinating and holy, they named it Christea Turris which means the Tower of Christ in Latin. Today, you can have a coffee or a nice meal in its restaurant with your loved ones. If you get bored, which we don’t think so, you can just walk to the Golden Horn or Eminönü which are pretty close too.
6- The Istiklal Avenue
Istiklal Avenue has an important role in the history of Turkey. It had witnessed many invasions, festivals, civilizations, and even coup attempts! Today, it is serving as the heart of fun, entertainment and many more. Most of the Istiklal residents are currently foreign people and it is the most metropolitan avenue of Istanbul.
7- The Topkapı Palace
Topkapı Palace bears many secrets of 700 years old Ottoman Empire and the past. It was used as the center of governance during the Ottoman era and the location of the palace makes it perfect to do so. Even though it was the place where Sultans, prince’s and emperors live, it also has harem and treasury sections too. Today, it is being used as a museum and has many historical artifacts apart from the Ottoman Empire, such as the holy relics and etc.
8- The Spice Bazaar
The Spice Bazaar or the Egyptian Bazaar is famous for its spices as you can understand. There are many healing herbs and spices out there and moreover, you can find lots of organic food from the best sellers. In this place of mystical smells and exotic aromas, be careful not to get addicted so much to the attractive smells of cumin, cinnamon, mint and infinite herbs, and spices. Even though it is good to visit it in nearly every day, when you visit the Bazaar at Ramadan, you will be amazed by the aura and the colors.
9- The Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar currently is the biggest bazaar in Istanbul. It was built by the Mehmet the Conqueror in order to create some free market for people to sell their goods. In contrary to the spice bazaar, you can find many carpets and rugs that are being made by hand. Even though it has a popularity for the number of jewelry stores, you can find nearly everything you want from there. It has more than 3.000 shops and 61 covered streets. In the year that it was built, even though there is no historical proof, it can be the biggest medieval-era style shopping mall in the world.
10- The Dolmabahçe Palace
Dolmabahçe has witnessed the two most important states of the Anatolian history. It had hosted the last emperors of the all might Ottoman Empire, and the newly created The Republic of Turkey, thanks to our founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. It actually has a sad side too. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk gave his last breath in his bed, at Dolmabahçe Palace. It is being used as a museum today and you can see the bed, the special items of Mustafa Kemal with the same condition that he had passed.