Istanbul – Top 10 Places You Must See – Part 1

Istanbul is the capital of history with its mosques, palaces, walls, museums and other things that we cannot count. If you haven’t explored this magical city yet, we have listed 10 places that you must see!

Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia Museum with its magnificence architectural style has left many tourists amazed and it still continues to do so. It is one of the most prominent places you must see in Istanbul. The famous museum was built in 404 AD but afterward, a rioting crowd burned down the church. Fortunately, in 415, the church was rebuilt but this was ended up as ashes too in 532 AD rebellion. Then finally, it had gained a solid structure – at least not burned down – when Emperor Justinian I ordered construction to start at 532 AD, the church was finally built completely at 537 AD. It was made of Brick with limestone and sandstone in some sections and was the largest cathedral in the world during 537 AD – 1520 AD period.

The Hagia Sophia was a former basilica before the Ottoman conquest and later it became a mosque then finally changed into a museum. Millions and maybe billions of tourists come to this place every year to marvel at this unique design and stunning interiors.

Maiden’s Tower

The Maiden’s Tower which is located in Bosphorus, near Salacak offshore, has many legends about itself and is also one of the most prominent symbols of the city. According to a myth, this place was built by a king to protect his girl. The myth states that there was a prophecy that she would die from the bite of a serpent and it actually comes true when she finds a snake in a basket of apples or grapes. The Tower also is known as the Leander’s Tower. Just to understand this mystery, it is worth going there. The evidence of the Tower goes back to even 1422.


Even though this elegant structure is serving as a restaurant and a pub currently, it will be unforgettable to have a dinner with your loved ones at the Tower’s unrivaled scenery. It was so important and symbolic for Turkey that until the 1980s, it was printed on the Turkish 10-lira bill.

Basilica Cistern

The outstanding Basilica Cistern with its columns inside of the shallow waters has many great myths inside of these brick stones. It was first built by a Byzantine Emperor to meet the Istanbul’s water demand, was used for the same purpose after the conquest of Istanbul, but most specifically for the Topkapı Palace too. The Cistern had many years of disuse and neglect and after a lot of wearing down, the cistern was rediscovered in the 16th century by Dutch explorer, P. Gyllius, and has since undergone restoration. According to a myth, it is not a coincidence to symbols on the columns resembles tears. It is believed that these tears are symbolizing the sadness for the slaves who lost their lives during the Basilica Construction.

The entrance to the Basilica Cistern is nearly a five-minute walk from Hagia Sophia or six minutes from the Blue Mosque.

Topkapı Palace

Topkapı Palace has all the eyes on ‘him’ with all his magnificence and magical architecture. It was built by Mehmet the Conqueror at 1478 and it was the main home of many Ottoman Empire for 400 years. The governance of the Empire was conducted from this powerful place. At the beginning of the 1850s, the Sultan and his loved ones moved to other palaces such as Dolmabahçe, Çırağan, and Yıldız so, Topkapı kind of a lost its importance. Currently, the most important things about Topkapı Palace are the Imperial Treasury, the Sacred Relics from the last prophet and Imperial Archives. The palace got today’s museum conversion in 1942. Palace has approximately 45.000 square meter area and has many residences, gardens, and harems inside. Currently, it is unavailable to visit all the places inside Topkapı Palace.

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