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Places to Visit in Istanbul



Istanbul is Turkey's largest city and one of the most famous cities in the world. Bridging the gap between the two continents of Asia and Europe, the city is a blend of traditions and cultures. Here, the western and eastern ways of life collide to form one of the most interesting and beautiful places to visit. Formerly Constantinople, the heart of the Eastern Roman empire, Istanbul has seen many changes over the centuries. It has grown to form a large metropolis and is home of over 12 million people.

One landmark of Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia was originally a Byzantine church, but was later turned into a mosque. Now this huge museum is an architectural wonder of the medieval times. The size, the shape, the stone details, and the history-filled exhibitions make a trip to the Hagia Sophia one of the first places a tourist must visit when vacationing in Istanbul.

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque or the Blue Mosque stands next to Hagia Sophia. One of the symbols of Islam, the Blue Mosque is a blend of Ottoman and Byzantine architectural styles. The Blue Mosque is an especially interesting place to visit on your excursion throughout the city of Istanbul.

For a real treat, book a room at the former pasha mansion known today as the A'jia Hotel. This luxury hotel is worthy of a pasha and offers quality services, dining, and a great view of the Bosphorus strait. The building itself is a wonderful example of Ottoman architecture in the late 19th century.

A visit to the Istanbul Modern Art Museum is a journey through time. The historic art is wonderfully unique and the contemporary art galleries and the modern Turkish painting exposition are a delight for the senses.

While in Istanbul you need to make at least one trip to the famous Istiklal Avenue. Take a long walk on this avenue and visit the Galata Tower, one of the best preserved medieval fortification towers in the world. Further away, on Istiklal Avenue, you will find the modern Taksim Square, a great place to shop and dine.

A former port filled with history, the Golden Horn is the place where ships from four empires have docked and set sail. One of the main naval bases of the Greek, Ottoman, Byzantine, and Roman empires, the Golden Horn has been painted in several famous pictures down through the time. A visit to this estuary should include a trip to Eyup, one of the holiest Islamic shrines in the world.

To the southeast and near the coast of Istanbul, you will find a small chain of nine beautiful small islands. Their name, Princes’ Islands, comes from the days entire families of Byzantine princes, and later Ottoman sultans were exiled there. The visiting tourist can experience a glimpse of those early days as many of the residences of the exiled are well preserved and open to the public.



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