Istanbul’s strategic location linking Asia and Europe on the old silk road has made it one of the most important cities in history. In this article, we will introduce 10 places you must visit in Istanbul:
1- Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia, one of the masterpieces of architectural history, hosted two great celestial religions, with its dizzy dome hanging in the air, carved marble columns, and unique mosaics. Hagia Sophia, which started to serve as a museum in 1935, is the largest Byzantine church built in Istanbul. Built three times in the same place, the church is the oldest and fastest completed cathedral in the world.
With the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1453, the building was reorganized as a mosque and continued its existence as a sacred place and place of worship with additions made with Ottoman architectural elements. It is now open to visitors as a museum.
2- Dolmabahce Palace
Dolmabahçe Palace was built between 1843-1856 as a mixture of European art styles. It is the work of Garabet Balyan, the architect of Sultan Abdülmecit. Ottoman Sultans had many palaces in every period. However, the main palace, Topkapı Palace, was abandoned after the completion of Dolmabahçe Palace. Dolmabahçe Palace has 3 floors and a symmetrical plan. It has 285 rooms and 43 halls. In the middle of this coastal palace surrounded by a well-kept and beautiful garden, there is a ceremony and ballroom that is higher than the other sections.
3- Galata Tower
The Galata Tower was first built as a lighthouse tower by the Byzantines in 528 and needs to be constantly renewed and repaired until today, due to fires, storms, and many other reasons. The tower, which took its current form with the restoration in 1967, continues to host thousands of guests who want to take a panoramic view of Istanbul every day. Galata Tower, which gave its name to the district it is located, is one of the most photographed buildings in Istanbul. However, the real beauty of the tower is not in itself, but the unique Istanbul view you can see from its terrace. The total height of the tower is 66.9 meters and there is an elevator used to go upstairs.
4- Gulhane Park
Gülhane Park is one of the most beautiful parks in Istanbul. It is one of the most beautiful places in the city that used to be a park and used as a park. The area, which has been neglected for a long time, has gained its current appearance after it was renovated in 2003.
Among the parts and works to be seen in the park are the 3rd century Goths Column, Kennedy Avenue in the northeast, and its unique view. Gülhane, one of the biggest and most famous parks in Istanbul, is also important in terms of witnessing many historical events. It was used as a barracks by the Byzantines and as a celebration area during the Ottoman period. The Gospel Pavilion was built in Gülhane, which became more important after the conquest of Istanbul. The Edict of Tanzimat, known as the first democratization movement in the Ottoman Empire, was read here. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk introduced the Latin Letters here during the Republican period. Gülhane Park, which was used as a garden of the palace for a period, was opened to the public in 1912.
A zoo was opened in 1955 in the park, which is one of the places to visit in Istanbul. One of the best things about the park is that you can enjoy tea against the Bosphorus.
5- Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar is the oldest and largest bazaar in the world, located in the center of Istanbul. The Grand Bazaar, with its 60 streets, more than three thousand shops, is a unique center of Istanbul to be seen, like a giant maze. This site, which resembles a city and is covered with a whole, has developed and grown over time. The surrounding of two old buildings with thick walls remaining from the 15th century covered with a series of domes became a shopping center in the following centuries by covering the developing streets and making additions.
6- Maiden’s Tower
It is a building built on the small islet in Salacak offshore of the Bosphorus, close to the Sea of Marmara, which is the subject of legends, which has various narrations about the Maiden Tower. The watchtower has been used as a lighthouse in history. The tower, which has preserved its appearance in the last century, serves with a restaurant and cruise balcony dedicated to tourism.
7- Sultan Ahmet Mosque
The mosque was built by Sultan Ahmad I and includes a school, a mausoleum, shops, a bath, and a hospital. It was built between 1609-1620 by Architect Sedefkar Mehmed Ağa. Sultan Ahmet Mosque, one of the most famous monuments of the Turkish and Islamic world, is visited with admiration by everyone who comes to Istanbul. Another example of Classical Turkish Art, this Sultan Ahmet Mosque is the only mosque originally built with 6 minarets. Its location is surrounded by other important monuments of the city of Istanbul, built earlier.
8- Suleymaniye Mosque
Süleymaniye Mosque is the most magnificent mosque built by Mimar Sinan in the Süleymaniye region of Istanbul Eminönü District at the request of Suleiman the Magnificent between 1551-1558. This work by Mimar Sinan, which was built at the age of 85, is known as his masterpiece. Around the Suleymaniye Mosque, there is a library, a bath, a school, shops, and a treasury which together with the Suleymaniye Mosque, each is part of the Suleymaniye Complex. Also, this imperial work can be seen with all its majesty from the Galata Tower.
9- Topkapi Palace
Topkapı Palace Museum must be seen to understand the administrative structure of the Ottoman State, to observe the palace life, and to witness the richness of the Ottoman Empire. In the museum, you can visit the Treasury, Sacred Relics, Weapons Collection, Sultan Portraits, Kitchens, and Porcelain collections besides the Harem, where the Ottoman state’s administrative buildings and the family of the sultan lived. This palace, which has been visited by many sultans in history, also displays its magnificent view of the city under its feet.
10- Basilica Cistern
The Basilica Cistern built by Emperor Justinianus in 532 is named the Basilica Cistern because it is located under the Basilica Stoa. The cistern is a giant structure that covers a rectangular area of 140 m in length and 70 m in length. This cistern, which is descended by a stone staircase with 52 steps, has 336 columns, each of which is 9 m high. These columns, erected at 4.80 m intervals. There are 12 rows of these columns, and there are 28 columns in each row. These columns rising in the water remind an immense forest and affect the visitor as soon as they enter the cistern.