update: March 28, 2023
Attractions of Istanbul - 6 places, you must see
Istanbul's top attractions are first and foremost stunning monuments, witnesses to Turkey's former power and turbulent history. It's also exotic architecture, oriental flavors and smells, bustle, traffic, and aromatic tea, served literally everywhere! Isn't it true that Istanbul's myriad sights and attractions sound like the harbinger of a beautiful trip? If so, check out what you absolutely must put on your travel list!
What to see in Istanbul? Discover our TOP 6!
1. The most important attractons of Istabul – Hagia Sophia
What to see in Istanbul? The Hagia Sofia, without a doubt! It is one of the most important and recognisable buildings not only in Turkey, but in the world. It was built as an early Christian temple where the Byzantine emperors were crowned, and the last service was held there in 1453. After the Turks occupied the city, Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque and now functions as a museum. Step inside and be enchanted by its amazing architecture!
2. Landmarks of Istanbul – the Blue Mosque
Wondering which sights in Istanbul trump the grandeur of Hagia Sofia? The gauntlet was taken up in 1609 by Sultan Ahmed I, who created a true architectural icon of the city! The Blue Mosque, as it is referred to, has as many as six minarets - four at the corners of the building and two at the edges of the courtyard. Together with the myriad of domes, they form an incredible spatial programme! The colour of the mosque is also hugely impressive, achieved by thousands of closely arranged blue tiles.
Interested in free Istanbul attractions? Get ready for an amazing sound experience as the muezzins call to prayer - at one point, from all the minarets in Istanbul! The singing call to prayer breaking through the noise of the big city makes Istanbul freeze for a moment. If this is your first time in a Muslim country, be prepared for a real thrill!
3. Istanbul - what to see? Suleymaniye Mosque
Visiting the centre of Istanbul? The attractions that await you are countless! You will find, among others, the Suleiman Mosque, slightly smaller and older than the others. The building was built back in the heyday of Suleiman the Magnificent's empire and was meant to be an expression of the sultan's ambitions and achievements. One has to admit... it achieved the desired effect! Are you familiar with the Turkish series The Magnificent Century? If so, the figure of Suleiman the Magnificent is certainly not unfamiliar to you!
P.S. Did you know that Suleiman the Magnificent, together with one of his wives, Hürrem (Roxolana), was buried right in the vicinity of the mosque?
4. The most important landmarks of Istanbul - Topkapi Palace
You probably already know that Istanbul's most important monuments are mainly palaces and mosques? One of them is precisely the Topkapi Palace, formerly inhabited by the Sultan himself and his court along with his harem. Construction of the palace began in 1453 at the request of Mehmed the Conqueror, and its first occupants moved in after just 12 years. The Topkapi Palace served as the residence of Turkish rulers for nearly 400 years and it is hard to believe that it still impresses us today with its grandeur and opulence!
5. Free attractions of Istanbul – the Grand Bazaar
What to see in Istanbul at your leisure? The Grand Bazaar, which is the largest marketplace in Turkey! It covers an area of 30 hectares, which includes around 60 shopping streets. In the Grand Bazaar you can literally buy everything from spices to handicrafts. It is beautiful, fragrant and very noisy! When visiting a Turkish bazaar, be sure to buy something as a souvenir and remember - haggling is not a shame, but a custom!
6. Attractions of Istanbul – Basilica Cistern
Istanbul's monuments are not only mosques, but also technical facilities! The construction of one of them, the Basilica Cistern, was decided by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. The purpose of the building was to store water for the residents of the palace in case of war. The Cistern of the Basilica is an underground room measuring 143 x 65 metres, accessed by more than 50 stairs! At the bottom, a partially water-filled chamber awaits you, whose vaulted ceiling is supported by 336 marble columns. The whole thing is subtly illuminated and gives an almost mystical impression!
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