Things to do in Istanbul

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Whant can you do in Istanbul? Here are some information about things to do in Istanbul. There are four major sections of the city with touristic interest. Simply these are the places to visit in Istanbul Turkey :

1. Old Town: Mostly the region around Sultanahmet.
2. Beyoglu, (Pera District)
3. Bosphorus
4. Prince’s Islands (suggested during summer)

Asian side is a residential area only. Nothing of historic or special interest exist, except the Asian side of Bosphorus. it is quieter compared to European side.
Follow below for the things to do in Istanbul.

Things to do in Istanbul

The Blue Mosque – Sultanahmet Mosque

Blue Mosque, Things to do in Istanbul

You are at the famous Sultanahmet Square and you are checking your things to do in Istanbul list. This is number one or two at that list. (Ahmediye Cami, Sultanahmet Mosque). Built 1609-1619, by court architect Mehmet Aga, a student of the renowned Sinan (responsible for the Suleymaniye palace). It is one of the top places to visit in Istanbul. The Ahmedhiye Cami was Aga’s way of showing the world he could outdo not only his master but also the Byzantine architects who designed the nearby St. Sophia cathedral, which the Blue Mosque resembles in many ways. Aga outfitted his design with no less than six minarets. The popular name Blue Mosque derives from the exquisite blue Iznik tiles which cover the inside. It is one of must  places to visit in Istanbul.

Hagia Sophia (Ayia Sophia, Santa Sophia, St. Sophia)

hagia sophia, Places to visit in IstanbulHagia Sophia is the second or first item at your things to do in Istanbul list. Originally, Is was a chruch during Constantinople. Church of the Holy Wisdom. it is commissioned by Justinian I and constructed from 532-537(!) to the designs of Anthemius of Tralles and Isodorus of Miletus .It is one of the top places to visit in Istanbul. It was converted to a mosque upon the Turkish conquest of Constantinople in 1453 by fatih Sultan Mehmet, at which time the four minarets were added, and hundreds of mosaics on the walls were covering over with plaster. Today it is a museum of Byzantine art, revealing both its Islamic heritage — in the great discs suspended from the vaults, covered with Arabic script — and its Christian heritage: a cross surmounting the main dome. This place is also cover in National Geographic’s ancient megastructiers documantary.  It is an other one must  places to visit in Istanbul.

Süleymaniye Mosque

suleymaniye mosque, Places to visit in IstanbulThe largest and most imposing mosque in Istanbul, the city of domes and minarets, is the Suleymaniye.  Located in the old city and it is at the top lists of places to visit in Istanbul. The aesthetic supremacy of its interior and exterior and its perfect proportions have been captivating the visitors for centuries. The Suleymaniye Mosque is an architectural masterpiece.

The complicated surrounding the place of worship was composed of faculties, a library, baths, public kitchens, hostel, a hospital and outlets. the wonder of the outside of the mosque is best appreciated from a distance. This imperial building are often seen all told its magnificence from the Galata Tower or the Galata facet of the Golden Horn.

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Istanbul’s Byzantine Hippodrome was the heart of Constantinople’s political and sporting life, and the scene of games and riots through 500 years of Ottoman history as well.

It’s now a calm city park called the At Meydani (Horse Grounds) because of its function in Ottoman times

The site of the original Hippodrome, which extends away from the Sultanahmet mosque was laid out in 196 by the Roman emperor Severus. Constantine the Great turned it into a vast stadium capable of seating a hundred thousand spectators who watched horse and chariot races, gladiatorial combats, and other spectacles.

The Hippodrome was where the heart of Constantinople’s social life beat and also where popular displeasure was given voice and sometimes erupted into riots and rebellion. Like other parts of the city, the Hippodrome was lavishly decorated with monuments and works of art of which only three examples from the Spina (the long structure running down the center of the stadium’s course) have survived.


obelisk, Places to visit in IstanbulA second Spina monument that has survived is called “Orme Sutun” in Turkish and is known as the Column of Constantine Porphyrogenetus, after the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenetus (912-59) who sheathed the roughly-built pillar of stone in bronze. The bronze plaques were stripped away and looted during the Latin invasion of 1204.

The third monument on the “Spina” is also the oldest work from the ancient Greek world to have survived in Istanbul. Known in Turkish as “Yilanli Sutun”, the Serpentine Column was brought here from the Temple of Apollo in Delphi. The shaft of this unusual monument consists of the intertwined bodies of three serpents whose heads originally supported a gold bowl measuring three meter’s in diameter. The bowl disappeared long before the Christian era but the shaft of the column and part of the head of one of the serpents (albeit in a somewhat fragmented state) have nevertheless survived.

Things to do in Istanbul continues…

Basilica Cittern – Yerebatan Sarayi

basilica cittern, yerebatan, Things to do in IstanbulThe Basilica Cistern, also called the Yerebatan Sarayi or Yerebatan Sarnici is located in the old town. It is one of the top things to do in Istanbul places at Sultanahmet Square. It is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that still lie beneath the city of Istanbul Turkey. Many citterns are still undiscovered. You should add here to your places to visit in Istanbul list to feel the mood under earth.

The cistern was built by Emperor Constantinus I during the 4th century and was restored and extended by Justinianus in the 6th century. The water came from the Belgrad forest via the Cebecikoy arch.

At the far end of the Cistern, there are two heads of Medusa which are put upside down or horizontal. The Medusa Heads are taken from an ancient Pagan site but they complement the pillars very beautifully and add a different taste to the building.

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Grand Bazaar – Kapalicarsi

istanbul grand-bazaar, Places to visit in IstanbulAnother hot things to do in Istanbul point. The world’s biggest covered historic Bazaar with more than 58 streets and 4000 shops. It is one of the most famous spots of Istanbul and it is one of the best places to visit in Istanbul. It is always filled with crowds who not only come to shop but to look at  the carpets, jewellery, leathers, handcrafts, home decoration items and many more.

The Grand Bazaar includes more than 4000 stores today, and it is surrounded on all sides by tens of hans (commercial buildings). The hans that used to host caravans now host workshops where many goods are manufactured. In the Valide Han that was built in 1650 and has a set of stairs with 200 steps, there is no longer any sale. in the Mercan Ali Pasa Han and the Cebeci Han carpet washing and repairs are carried out.

Coloured Anatolian weavings can be found in the Mercan Cukur Han, and beds, blankets and linen in the Safran Han. Another of the most beautiful hans in the bazaar is the Zincirli Han. Jewellery processors are the majority here, and it has pink-painted walls that soften even the greyest air in winter. In Cebeci Han, on the other hand, you can find port-hale lids, bells, fans, watches, to torches, propellers, anchors in the shop where second-hand sea materials are said, get your carpets repaired in carpet repairing workshops and find replicas of old artifacts at the coppersmith ‘s shop in the corner. One of the two bedestens that form the core of the bazaar is the Ic Bedesten (inner bedesten), a.k.a. the Cevahir Bedesteni.

The other is the Sandal Bedesteni, taking its name from a kind of fabric woven using silk and cotton threads alternately for each line. This is where you get attracted by the gleam of antiquities. You can find antique specialists for ancient objects, porcelains, silver, ceramics and ornamented engravings, and tour the stores filled up with ancient, valuable and beautiful artifacts. You can touch coffee cups of finest porcelain, silver cigarette boxes from the 18th century, spoons, glasses, candlesticks with stems of coloured glass, and see the jewels of the Ottoman era.

grand bazaar, Things to do in IstanbulCarpets, kilims, sumachs, ‘cicim’s… Next to the traditional carpets coming from Usak, Gordes, Sivas, Ladik, Kayseri, Konya, and Hereke, the tulles flowing in from the east of Konya plain are also worthy of attention.There are also the Filikli spreads, the production of which has stopped since many years ago. The fabrics known as Angora or mohair used to be woven in 60 cm wide and 200 cm long pieces, then brought together in threes tir fours to form wall covers, bed spreads or sitting groups. These, too, are among the artifacts that come out of the trunks of the Grand Bazaar.

The Grand Bazaar is a whole culture in itself, a whole wride ocean that has preserved its existence for many centuries. Let’s enter into the gleaming world of the Grand Bazaar through one of its 18 gates, find its hidden prizes and mix into its cultural atmoshphere.

Spice Bazaar – Misir Carsisi

Spice Bazaar, Places to visit in IstanbulThe second largest covered market in the city, was part of the mosque complex. It is located at the old town of Istanbul and you can add it to your list to the places to visit Istanbul as it is very close to Grand Bazaar and the holly mosques. Other surviving parts of the complex are the tombs and the magnificent fountain. On the mosque side of the L-shaped Spice Bazaar, there is a popular flower market and cafes, and fish, vegetable and grocery stores occupy the other side. Once all of the shops inside the bazaar used to sell spices, but over the time some have turned into dried fruit, grocery and gift shops or jewelers. It is one of the attractive sites in Istanbul with its vivacious and distinctive atmosphere.

Galata Tower – Galata Kulesi

The Galata Tower (Turkish Galata Kulesi) is located in Istanbul in Turkey to the north of the Golden Horn. One of the city’s most striking landmarks, it is a huge, cone-capped cylinder that dominates the skyline on the Galata side of the Golden Horn.

The original tower was destroyed during the Fourth Crusade, but it was rebuilt as the Tower of Christ in 1348 during an expansion of the Genoese colony in Constantinople. It was the apex of the fortifications of Genoese Galata. The view from it is spectacular. Give it a try.

Maiden’s Tower – Kiz Kulesi

maiden tower, Places to visit in IstanbulToday it is giving service as arestaurant and a sightseeing spot of Istanbul Turkey. The architectural structure of the Maiden’s Tower (Kiz Kulesi) dates back to 341 BC. This cape, which was an extension of the Bosphorous straits at the time (there are rumours that it was a peninsula before) used to be called “vus”. At this date, after being a mausoleum built on marble columns for the wife of Commander Chares, a chain was pulled from its location at Sarayburnu to the island where the tower was located, in 410 BC, to make it a customs area controlling the entries and exits of the Bosphorous strait. At 1110 AD, the first apparent structure (tower) was built by the Emperor Manuel Comnenos.

Chora – Kariye Camii

The Church of the Holy Savior of Chora, called in Turkish, Kariye Camii, is after Hagia Sophia the most interesting Byzantine church in the city. Not so much for the building itself, pretty as that is, as because of the superb series of mosaics and frescoes which it preserves and which have been magnificently restored and cleaned by the Byzantine Institute of America.

Things to do in Istanbul still continues…

Princes’ Islands

 The Princes’ Islands are a chain of nine islands off the coast of Istanbul Turkey, in the Sea of Marmara. The largest island is Büyükada. You may add the islands to your Things to do in Istanbul list. But it will take time.

Today, the islands are popular tourist destinations for day trips via ferry from Istanbul. Motorized vehicles are forbidden on most of the islands, so visitors explore the islands by foot, bicycle, in horse-drawn carriages (fayton), or by riding donkeys. It can be on your list of places to visit in Istanbul, especially on summer days.

Istiklal Avenue – Taksim Square

istiklal street, Places to visit in Istanbul, things to do in istanbulIstiklal Caddesi (Istiklal Avenue), is one of the most famous avenues in Istanbul Turkey. Located in the Beyoglu neighborhood of Istanbul, it is a gallant pedestrian street, approximately 3 km long, that houses tens of exquisite boutiques, music and bookstores, art galleries, cinemas, theaters, cafés, bars, libraries, pubs, coffeehouses, historical patisseries, chocolateries, technological centers, and restaurants, all of which are seamlessly integrated into the elegant 19th century Turkish architecture.  You may add Istiklal street to your things to do in Istanbul list.

The cosmopolitan Avenue also houses an array of historical and politically significant buildings, such as the Çiçek Pasaji (“The Flower Courtyard”, where small, intimate restaurants and taverns are found), Balik Pazari (“The Fish Bazaar”), the St.Antoine, Santa Maria and the Armenian Churches (among many others), several sinagouges, a mosque, academic institutions established by various European nations such as Germany, Italy, Austria, and France in the early 19th century, consulates of several nations including France, Greece, Sweden, Armenia, Russia, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and United Kingdom.

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These are the top places to visit in Istanbul. Before you plan a visit to Istanbul make your things to do in Istanbul list accordingly. But please do not forget that time is important during a visit , so arrange your self a Istanbul sightseeing tour or hire someone at your visit. Othervise you will suffer understanding the history and meaning of many things. Check your things to do in Istanbul Turkey list and be prepared. 🙂

istanbul bosphorus bridge, Places to visit in Istanbul, things to do in Istanbul

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