Istanbul is a city with a rich history and a lot of culture. There are a number of sights in Istanbul to see, and you’re sure to find something that interests you.

It’s a city that has been home to many different cultures and religions over the centuries. This is a place where East meets West. It’s a place where you can find traditional Turkish culture side by side with modern Western influences.

Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and one of the most populous cities in the world. The city has a population of more than 14 million people, probably around 20 million.

The city is located on the Bosphorus Strait, which separates Europe from Asia. The strait also serves as a natural boundary between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Istanbul has been inhabited since Neolithic times, but it was first settled by Greeks in around 1000 BCE who named it Byzantium after their king, Byzas. The city rose to prominence after it was conquered by Alexander.

Top sights in Istanbul

There are a number of sights in Istanbul to see, including the following:

Basilica Cistern – The Sunken Palace

The Basilica Cistern is a must-see in Istanbul. It’s one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, and it’s easy to see why.

The Cistern is an enormous underground water storage system that was built in the 6th century. It’s a fascinating piece of history, and the atmosphere inside is incredible.

This subterranean structure was commissioned by Emperor Justinian and built in 532. The largest surviving Byzantine cistern in İstanbul, it was constructed using 336 columns, many of which were salvaged from ruined temples and feature fine carved capitals.

Its symmetry and sheer grandeur of conception are quite breathtaking, and its cavernous depths make a great retreat on summer days. This underground structure is the largest surviving Byzantine cistern in Istanbul, it was built with 336 columns, many of which are from destroyed temples and have finely crafted capitals. Its symmetry and enormous conception are breathtaking, and its cavernous depths provide welcome cooling on hot summer days.

How long does it take to visit the Basilica Cistern? Visiting the Cistern takes about 45 minutes, and the fee is around $20 USD. It’s worth buying a ticket online or go for a guided tour, to skip the lines at the entrance.

The opening hours are 9:00am to 5:00pm.

Is it worth to visit the Basilica Cistern? Yes, definitely! The Basilica Cistern is an amazing place, and it’s well worth visiting.

It reopened in summer 2022 and there are a few art pieces installed. These, but especially the changing colors add to the atmosphere. The paths are well placed into the cistern, so that the people are not really in your view when taking photos. And you’ll find many different angles to take new nice photos, and then in different colors.

The Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque is one of the most iconic landmarks in Istanbul and is famous for its beautiful blue tiles and six minarets. The mosque was built in the early 1600s under the rule of Sultan Ahmed I and is a prime example of Ottoman architecture. Visitors from all over the world come to marvel at the mosque’s grandeur and beauty.

The Blue Mosque is situated in the heart of Istanbul and it’s about 10km from Istanbul Ataturk Airport and it’s around 50km to Istanbul’s new airport Tayakadin, further outside of the city.

The Blue Mosque is open from 8:30am to 5:00pm, and it’s best to visit early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.

The mosque was built by Sultan Ahmet I in the early 1600s, When visiting, be sure to dress modestly (cover your shoulders and knees) and remove your shoes before entering. If you’re visiting Istanbul, be sure to add the Blue Mosque to your list of things to do. You won’t be disappointed!

Extra tip: To take a similar photo, head to the roof terrace of the Seven Hills Restaurant (map), which you can visit for free. Take the elevator to the top and then the extra stairs to the rooftop.

Book this Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia small-group tour.

The Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia is a former Byzantine church that was converted into a mosque. It is one of the most iconic buildings in Istanbul.

It was built in the 6th century as a Christian church and later converted into a mosque. It houses some of the world’s most valuable Byzantine artifacts. The Hagia Sophia is known for its large dome and beautiful architecture.

It was converted to a mosque in 1453 when the Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople. The Sultan, Mehmed II, ordered that the Hagia Sophia be turned into a mosque and had the minarets built. For centuries, it remained one of the most important mosques in Istanbul.

Hagia Sophia is open to tourists. The iconic Byzantine cathedral, reopened as a mosque in May 2019 after nearly 90 years. It is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and visitors can explore its beautiful architecture and history.

Extra tip: To take a similar photo, head to the roof terrace of the Seven Hills Restaurant (map), which you can visit for free. Take the elevator to the top and then the extra stairs to the rooftop.

Book this Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia small-group tour.

The Topkapi Palace

The Topkapi Palace is one of the most iconic buildings and sights in Istanbul. It’s known for its opulent architecture and its extensive gardens. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the history of the palace and its place in modern Turkish culture.

The Topkapi Palace was built in the 15th century by the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II. It served as the primary residence of the sultans for centuries, and it was also the seat of government for the Ottoman Empire.

The palace is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Istanbul. The Topkapi Palace is a symbol of Ottoman power and luxury. It’s one of the most visited museums in Turkey, and it’s also a popular spot for weddings and other special events. If you’re planning a trip to Istanbul, be sure to add the Topkapi Palace to your itinerary!

It is also known for its harem, its extensive gardens, and its lavish architecture.

The Palace is the subject of more fascinating stories than most museums in the world. The lustful sultans, ambitious courtiers, beautiful concubines and cunning eunuchs who lived and worked here between the 15th and 19th centuries provide a captivating glimpse into their lives.

Book this Topkapi Palace skip-the-line with guide and audio guide app.

The Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. It’s known for its hundreds of shops selling everything from spices to jewelry.

The Grand Bazaar is located in the heart of the city and is one of the city’s most iconic sights in Istanbul.

The market dates back centuries and is a bustling hub of activity, with stalls selling everything from spices to jewelry. The market is safe and easy to navigate, and is a great place to find souvenirs and gifts.

Good to know:

  • When is the best time to visit the Grand Bazaar? The Grand Bazaar is open every day from 8:30 in the morning to 7:00 in the evening. However, during religious holidays, the stores are closed.
  • How much time should you spend in the Grand Bazaar? You need to spend at least 3 hours to visit the Grand Bazaar, including coffee and lunch break. If you say I will skip lunch, say take at least 1.5 hours.
  • Is there an entrance fee to the Grand Bazaar? No, you do not pay an entrance fee when you visit the Grand Bazaar.

There are 22 gates in the Grand Bazaar. The most common ones are Beyazıt and Nuruosmaniye, because Kalpakçılar Street, the main street of the bazaar, stretches between them. However, the other big gates are Çarşıkapı, Çuhacıhan, Jewelers, Mahmutpaşa, Örücüler, Sepetçihan, Takkeciler, Tavukpazarı and Zenneciler.

Each gate also has a number. So I recommend to choose one of the major gates and remember its number, so if you should get lost, you could meet up there again.

Get more tips here: Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar: A Shopper’s Paradise

Dolmabahçe Palace

Dolmabahce Palace, built in the 19th century, is one of the most magnificent palaces in the world. It was the administrative center of the late Ottoman Empire and was home to the last of Ottoman Sultans.

Nowadays, it is trendy for architects and critics influenced by the less-is-more aesthetic of Bauhaus masters to sneer at buildings such as Dolmabahçe.

There are plenty of things to see in the palace, including the beautiful gardens and the grand interior of the palace.

You can explore the Ceremonial Quarters and Harem. Both are visited on a self-guided audio tour (included in ticket cost). Of the two, the Ceremonial Quarters are more interesting.

You can visit the palace by taking a ferry from the European side of Istanbul. The palace is open from 9am to 6pm.

It’s a beautiful palace that is definitely worth seeing.

Book this Dolmabahce Palace skip-the-line ticket with guide and audio guide.

Istanbul has many other sights as well, including parks, museums, and historic buildings. It’s a great city to explore and we recommend to spend several days here.

Author

  • Melvin
    Melvin