12 Perfect Places to Visit in Incredible Istanbul

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Incredible Istanbul. Once named Constantinople and before that Byzantium. The history in present-day Turkey's largest and most populated city is neverending. 15 million residents makes Istanbul the fifth largest city in the world measured on population and the largest i Europe. Istanbul is literally the bridge between Europe and Asia as the historical parts of Istanbul lies on the European side, almost a third of the population lives in the suburbs on the Asian side of the Bosphorus.

#1 Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey
Hagia Sophia is without comparison the most visited, most important and most historical place in the entire city of Istanbul. Buildings of the same name has lied in Hagia Sophia's place, but the structure standing today was built between 532 and 537 after a fire burnt down the former building. Hagia Sophia was almost destroyed in earthquakes in 558, 989 and 1346. Hagia Sophia was the main church in Constantinople, was later conquered by the several different kingdoms and rulers. After the city was conquered by the Turks in 1453 the Sultan reworked Hagia Sophia into an Ottoman mosque and it remained so until 1931. Hagia Sophia then reopened as a museum in 1935.

#2 Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey
Sultan Ahmed Mosque is most often referred to as Blue Mosque, which remains a functioning mosque but also attracts a large crowd of tourists. Besides Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque is the largest and most important landmark of Istanbul.

#3 Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey
Shopping in Istanbul is best done at the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world! Hundreds of thousands of people visits and shops at Grand Bazaar every single day. In 2014 it was the most visited tourist attraction in the world.

#4 Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, Turkey
Basilica Cistern is the largest of among the several hundred cisterns located beneath the city of Istanbul. Today the subterranean Basilica Cistern is open for the public as a tourist attraction. The very special atmosphere in the cisterns makes a visit underneath the streets of Istanbul inevitable.

#5 Galata Tower

Galata Tower in Istanbul, Turkey
Galata Tower in latin is named Christea Turris, meaning the Tower of Christ. The tower was built in 1348 and was the tallest building in Istanbul at the time. Today you can enter the tower and get a great view over Istanbul and the Bosphorus separating Europe and Asia.

#6 Misir Carsisi

Misir Carsisi
Misir Carsisi is the Spice Bazaar of Istanbul. The various smells is an attraction in itself and it's the perfect place to grab some spices to bring home. Misir Carsisi is also the second largest covered market in Istanbul after the Grand Bazaar.

#7 Maiden's Tower

Maiden's Tower in Istanbul, Turkey
Maiden's Tower is sometimes called Leander's Tower is a small tower located on a small islet on the southern entrance of the Bosphorus. In the long period of history Maiden's Tower has played an important politic role in controlling and benefiting from the Bosphorus.

#8 15 July Martyrs Bridge

15 July Martyrs Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey
15 July Martyrs Bridge or more commonly referred to as the Bosphorus Bridge is one of three suspension bridges spanning across the Bosphorus. A literal passage way between Europe and Asia. Pretty cool!

#9 Topkapi Palace Museum

Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul, Turkey
Topkapi Palace means Cannon Gate Palace. In the 15th and 16th the palace served as the residence of the Ottoman sultans. Today the Topkapi Palace functions as a museum. The palace had many rooms and structures added over the years and is an enormous place to explore. Make sure you have enough time.

#10 Süleymaniye Mosque

Süleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey
Süleymaniye Mosque was ordered built by Sultan Süleyman around 1550. The mosque is one of the countless mosques in Istanbul, but also one of the more prominent ones as the sultan hired Mimar Sinan who was the greatest architect at the time.

#11 Galata Bridge

Local Fishermen at Galata Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey
Galata Bridge is the bridge you'll have to cross if you want to enter the Galata Tower. The bridge spans across the Golden Horn. The bridge has featured in anything from movies to poetry. Today it's home to many local fishermen looking for their catch of the day.

#12 Laleli Mosque

Laleli Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey
Laleli Mosque might not be the most central place in Istanbul. But watching it from the rooftop swimming pool at Hotel Zagreb makes it just perfect. If you haven't booked you trip yet, what are you waiting for?

BONUS: Kumpir

Local potato dish; Kumpir in Istanbul, Turkey
And don't forget to taste the local Turkish dish; Kumpir. Which is basically a large baked potato with everything you can imagine inside. Down it with an Efes local beer. Happy travels!

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