Tourist Attractions in Istanbul
Planning a trip? Explore tabs on the left, then click “Add” to start planning. Create Your Trip
Local attractions and tourist information in Istanbul, Turkey.
The best way to see most of Istanbul is on foot. What seems to be a somewhat formidable task is simplified by breaking each walk down into smaller sections of the city. The most touristy but also historical part of town is the old city, Sultanahmet,where at every turn you are greeted with a museum or a mosque. The European and Asian sides of the Bosphorus shore are rich in historical treasures just waiting to be discovered. Old Pera, or Beyoglu, deserves its own separate tour. The Bosphorus is well worth exploring by boat, as are the Princes Islands. There are also several places which can be visited on day trips out of town.
Iconic Istanbul in Sultanahmet
The old city of Sultanahmet is one of the world's most fascinating open-air museums. At the edge of the park between the magnificent Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia) and the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Mosque), the Baths of Lady Hürrem (a twin hamam-turned-carpet shop) preside over the surrounding areas. To see how the Pashas and Sultans of Ottoman days dressed, stop in at the Bazaar Ali Baba, and for a taste of Istanbul's mercantile culture of days gone by, head down the hill from Sultanahmet Square toward Gülhane, the Misir Çarsi (Egyptian Spice Bazaar) and the Yeni Camii (New Mosque) stand on Eminönü Square, overlooking the Golden Horn and the ferry terminals. Of course, after a long day of sightseeing in this historic district, a meal at a traditional Turkish restaurant such as Altin Kupa is a much needed restorative to prepare for a night on the town.
Palace of the Sultans
Close to Ayasofya by the waters of the Bosporus, you'll find Topkapi Palace. Topkapi, built by order of the Sultan who defeated the Byzantines and set the stage for centuries of Ottoman rule, is a truly awe-inspiring piece of history. With its nearly endless galleries of artifacts, historic chambers, halls, kitchens and harems, its almost worth a trip for itself! Make sure to come early so you can sign up for special tours and see what you want to see- Topkapi is too large to do all at once. After strolling the palace grounds, check out the nearby Yerebatan Serayi (Yerebetan Basilica Cistern) -- an ancient Roman aqueduct -- it's on the street to the left, and the upside-down head of Medusa in this watery museum is not to be missed. The 300-year-old Cagaloglu Hamam is also down this street, and is perfect for a post-tour soak to wash away the stresses of being on your feet all day. Afterwards, have a bite at the unabashedly touristy Cennet, or if you prefer something a bit more upscale, the excellent Amedros restaurant.
Istanbul Through the Ages
Behind Ayasofya is Sogukçesme Sokak -- a tiny cobbled alley lined with Ottoman-style townhouses, and the Archaeology Museum is behind it on Osman Hamdi Yokusu. The busy Arasta Bazaar and the fascinating Mosaic Museum can be found right behind the Blue Mosque. The At Meydani (Hippodrome) opposite the mosque welcomes guests with its Egyptian Obelisk and Serpentine Column. Nearby are Kaiser Wilhelm's Fountain and Ibrahim Pasa Sarayi (Ibrahim Pasa Palace). The Tourist Information Office is here too. As you head down Divan Yolu towards Beyazit, you will see the historical Çemberlitas Hamam beckoning you in for a good scrub. The Çemberlitas ("Burnt Column") is in the square outside the hamam. Hidden behind the walls of the Atik Ali Pasa Medresesi are a number of Ottoman cemeteries and tombs within, as well as secluded tea gardens that serve sweet tea and a choice of flavored tobaccos for your nargile (water pipe or hookah). The labyrinthine Grand Bazaar, with its 4,000 shops, needs almost a whole day dedicated to it. The Nuruosmaniye Mosque is nearby. Picturesque Istanbul University is just around the corner, as is the Calligraphy Museum and the bustling Russian Bazaar. One of the most beautiful mosques in the world, the Süleymaniye Mosque, presides over the area from the top of the hill. Afterwards, a meal at Rami, a restaurant with a gallery feel and a spectacular view of the old city, is just the thing to cap off a truly Turkish experience.
Beyoglu to Karaköy
Istanbul's famous Grand Rue de Pera has long since gone. In its place is Istiklal Cadessi, the main pedestrian thoroughfare in Beyoglu. Majestic Ottoman buildings line the street, bumping up against garish modern architecture in a wild dance manifesting the struggle between the decadent and the sublime. Taksim Square features the Monument to the Republic, and nearby is the tourist information office. The magnificent Greek Orthodox Aya Triade Church and the French Consulate are also close at hand. The historical Alkazar and Emek Cinemas hum with film lovers of all ages. This is also home to the neoclassical Cite de Rumeli, the Circle d'Orient, Anadolu Han, and the Cite d'Alep. The Surp Asdvadzadzin (an Armenian church) is on Sakiz Agaci Sokak. Further down the street are Atlas Pasaji and Beyoglu Pasaji, Çiçek Pasaji in the Cite de Pera and the Fish Market. Riotous Nevizade Sokak is here too. The American and British Consulate buildings are on Mesrutiyet Caddesi and the elegant Russian and Swedish consulates are on Istiklal, past the cavernous Church of Saint Anthony. The famous Pera Palas Hotel is behind Asmalimescit. The Tünel is the oldest metro in continental Europe, and the red Taksim tram is the only one of its kind still running. The Hall of Whirling Dervishes, Galata Mevlevihanesi is down Galip Dede Street toward Galata Tower. Much of the former glory of the little village of Karaköy has been lost, although there are still a few old bank buildings along Bankalar Caddesi. Also in the area are Kirkor Lusavoriç (the Church of St Gregory the Illuminator), Kiliç Ali Pasa Mosque and Hamam, and the Mimar Sinan University Culture and Arts Center. The dock is also home to several fish restaurants like the popular Degüstasyon and the ferry wharves.
Outside the City Classic Journeys offers a guided tour of Istanbul and the Turquoise Coast. Private Turkey Tours offers a variety of tour packages, including cruises to Istanbul, Ephesus, Gallipoli, Bodrum and Cappadocia.
Copyright © 1999-2009 wcities.com All rights Reserved - Contact wcities to report incorrect information