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The Best 100+ Places to Visit in Istanbul – By Turkish Guy ­čç╣­čçĚ

Discover the top 100+ places to visit in Istanbul, a city that blends Eastern and Western cultures. Start planning your Istanbul vacation with this comprehensive guide.


If you are looking for places to visit in Istanbul, T├╝rkiye, you must have taken a big step to discover this world wonder. A city built on two continents, Asia (Anatolia) and Europe (Rumelia), divided by a strait (called Boshphorus) in the middle, the capital of several empires, a synthesis of Eastern and Western cultures… This article is a great place to start your Istanbul vacation. But first, let’s talk about Istanbul.

Istanbul is one of the largest cities in the world, a modern Western city combined with traditional Eastern culture. From ancient times to today, it has been important throughout human history. Due to its strategic location, many empires throughout history wanted to conquer this region, and those who succeeded left traces of their own culture. Today, it is possible to see all of these traces in every city corner.

In recent history, it has been the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman empires, respectively. It has been subjected to great wars but retains its splendour. Archaeological research in the Yar─▒mburgaz Cave has revealed the existence of life in Istanbul, dating back 400,000 years. It has been under Turkish rule since Constantinople was last conquered in 1453 by the 21-year-old sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Fatih Sultan Mehmet.

Although foreign powers occupied it in the last century, these attempts could not be realised with the establishment of the Republic of Turkey due to the liberation struggle initiated by Mustafa Kemal Atat├╝rk. After this date, Istanbul, which has shown continuous development, has become the centre of people’s attention worldwide.

Life in Istanbul never ends. You can find something to do every day of the week. In addition to eating, drinking and shopping alternatives, many culture-art and sports events are also organised.

Although the population is 16 million according to official records, this number is estimated to occasionally reach 20 million if we consider the visitors, immigrants, refugees and unregistered population. This makes it the most populous metropolis in Europe and the 6th most populous metropolis in the World.

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Its historical architecture from the past is accompanied by modern architecture. Many people from different religions, languages, races, economies, and various thoughts live together. For this reason, it is possible to come across a different lifestyle in each district.

Istanbul has over 350 buildings and historical monuments protected by the World UNESCO Cultural Heritage Committee. Due to these features, it places its name on the list of the world’s most touristic cities every year.

Istanbul will greet you with surprises in many areas, from rest to holiday to art culture, so we have prepared a comprehensive list of Istanbul places to visit as an Istanbul travel guide, which includes more than 100 historical and tourist spots as a response to your question about what to do in Istanbul.

Places to visit in Istanbul

Maiden Tower

Istanbul Maiden's Tower (Kiz Kulesi), T├╝rkiye
Istanbul Maiden’s Tower (Kiz Kulesi), Turkey – ┬ę Photo Credit: Mehmet Cetin / Shutterstock

Maiden Tower, located on a tiny island at the entrance point of the Bosphorus, 150-200 metres from the shore of the Salacak district in ├ťsk├╝dar, is the second most famous tower in Istanbul. At 23 metres high, it is the most important symbol of the city’s skyline. For this reason, it is also one of the top places to visit in Istanbul.

Although it is not known precisely when the Maiden Tower was built, some sources refer to 340 BC based on the tower’s architectural style. Since it has no written history, it is also known for its painful, sad and romantic legends, usually spread by word of mouth. Apart from romantic stories, it was mostly believed to have been built as a watchtower for defence purposes or to collect taxes from passing ships through the Bosphorus.

The tower has been used for various purposes for centuries: sometimes as a place of execution and exile for prisoners, sometimes as a quarantine hospital for sick people, and sometimes as a lighthouse and security tower.

The Maiden’s Tower, which was repeatedly demolished and restored and rebuilt, gained its current modern appearance in 1943-1954. After this date, it has undergone restorations following the original, taking its classic and symbolised form today.

Hagia Sophia-i Kebir Mosque (Hagia Sophia Museum)

Istanbul Hagia Sophia, T├╝rkiye
Istanbul Hagia Sophia, T├╝rkiye ÔÇô ┬ę Photo Credit: Aquila chrysaetos / Shutterstock

Ayasofia, another place at the top of the list of places to visit in Istanbul, is one of the world’s leading monuments in terms of art and architectural history and is shown as the 8th wonder of the world. For this reason, this place must be at the top of your to-do list.

During the Byzantine Empire‘s rule of Istanbul, it was the largest church in the city. All the rulers of the Eastern Roman Empire were crowned in Hagia Sophia.

Today’s Hagia Sophia is the third building built using a different architectural approach. When it was first built by Emperor Constantine I in 324, it was called Megale Ekklesia (Great Church), and from the 5th century onwards, it was known as Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom). It has undergone numerous fires and restorations.

Serving as an Orthodox church throughout history, the building was converted into a mosque with the addition of four minarets and a mihrab in the southeast corner after the Ottoman Empire‘s conquest of Istanbul in 1453. The last Christian service in the cathedral was held on the night of 29 May 1453.

In 1935, with the establishment of the modern Republic of Turkey, a decree issued by Mustafa Kemal Atat├╝rk turned it into a museum and transferred it to future generations. During these arrangements, the frescoes and mosaics were cleaned and protected. Daily visitor restrictions have been imposed in recent years to minimise damage to the structure.

The Ayasofya Museum, which has become the centre of attention for millions of tourists since the foundation of Turkey, was removed from its status as a museum with a new decree taken in 2020. It was turned back into a mosque and named Ayasofya-i Kebir Mosque Sharif. With the decision taken, ticket turnstiles and visitor limits were removed.

The upper floor, with frescoes and exhibitions, is closed to visitors. The building, carefully preserved for centuries, is now exposed to more visitors and is often even vandalised. After this change, the famous cat Gli, who acted almost like the owner of Ayasofya, also died.

The iconic dome is 56 metres high and 30 metres in diameter. The thickness of the walls of the building reaches 5 metres in places. Twelve types of marble were used in its construction. Its architecture is designed to carefully receive sunlight through its windows and create an impressive ambience. It has 361 gates, 101 of which are of remarkable size and covered with symbols.

Although there are many legends about Hagia Sophia, the most well-known one is that after the city’s conquest in 1453, the church suddenly lit up brightly with fire, and light rose to the sky. According to Turkish and Greek sources, it is believed that the guardian angel left his post that day.

Topkapi Palace Museum

Istanbul Topkap─▒ Palace Museum, T├╝rkiye
Istanbul Topkap─▒ Palace Museum, T├╝rkiye ÔÇô ┬ę Photo Credit: Tatiana Popova / Shutterstock

Topkapi Palace, whose construction began a few years after the Ottoman Empire‘s conquest of Istanbul in 1453, served as the main residence and administrative centre of the Ottoman dynasty from 1478 to 1856. It has witnessed the rule of 30 sultans since 1478.

The palace accommodates approximately 1,000 – 4,000 people, 300 of whom are in the Harem (accommodation) section, has undergone many restorations until today and has gained various traces of Islamic, Ottoman and European architectural styles in each restoration.

Since 1924, it has been hosting visitors as a significant historical museum and palace complex where the most unique collections of the Ottoman Empire are exhibited.

You should definitely visit this palace, which consists of many courtyards and where you will find yourself at a different point in history in each section, on a possible visit to Istanbul and add it to your list of Istanbul places to visit. It is worth mentioning that there is an extra fee for the Harem section of the museum.

Galata Tower

Istanbul Galata Tower, T├╝rkiye
Istanbul Galata Tower, T├╝rkiye –  Photo Credit: Ruslan Kalnitsky / Shutterstock

The 67-metre-high Galata Tower, where the Bosphorus meets the Golden Horn, dominates the city. It is a historical stone tower that has become one of the most well-known symbols of the world and is also one of the top places to visit in Istanbul.

It is not known precisely when it was built and last used by the Cenevisers for economic and commercial activities in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Still, it is known that the tower was revived in 507 AD during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Justinianus. The tower was called Christea Turris (Christ Tower) by the Cenevizers and Megalos Pyrgos (Great Tower) by the Byzantines.

After the 1509 earthquake in Istanbul, the tower was heavily damaged and restored by the famous Ottoman architect Hayreddin. During the reign of Kanuni Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, the upper floor of the building served as a prison for prisoners sentenced to work in the Kas─▒mpa┼ča Shipyard. Although an observatory was added by the astrologer Takiy├╝ddin Efendi in the late 16th century, it was used as a prison again by Sultan Murat III between 1546 and 1595.

The tower, which the Mehter Team (Ottoman military band) also used for a while, was converted into a fire watchtower in 1717 due to its view of many areas in Istanbul. In 1794, the tower itself burnt down and was restored again during the reign of Sultan Selim III. In 1831, the tower once again suffered a fire, and under the reign of Sultan Mahmut, it underwent a major restoration that included the addition of the last two floors and the iconic spire.

The most interesting and prominent story about the Galata Tower belongs to the legendary Ottoman aerial scientist Hezarfen Ahmet ├çelebi. According to the story, which is also included in Evliya ├çelebi‘s Travelogue (Famous Turkish Traveller), Hezarfen Ahmet ├çelebi made a successful flight from the top of the tower to the Bosphorus with artificial wings specially prepared and attached to his arms, and ended at Do─čanc─▒lar Square in ├ťsk├╝dar.

This event, which is very important in terms of the history of world science, allegedly ended sadly with the exile of Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi to Algeria by Sultan Murad Han. For this reason, it was not given much importance and disappeared into the dusty shelves of history.

Since 1960, the tower, which had been restored and operated by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, was taken from the municipality by a presidential decree in 2020 and transferred to the General Directorate of Foundations. In 2013, Galata Tower was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List and is now open to visitors, offering a 360-degree panoramic view of Istanbul from its terrace.

Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque)

Istanbul Blue Mosque - ┬ę Photo: aslan ozcan / Shutterstock
Istanbul Blue Mosque – ┬ę Photo: aslan ozcan / Shutterstock

The Sultanahmet Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque by foreigners because of the blue tiles inside, is one of Turkey’s most magnificent architectural monuments. The construction of this mosque, which is one of the top places to visit in Istanbul, was started in 1609 under the direction of the architect Sedefkar Mehmed Aga on the land of one of the former palaces of the Byzantine Empire when Sultan Ahmed I took over the sultanate at a young age and was opened to worship in 1616.

The iconic 6 minarets of the Sultanahmet Mosque caused a rank crisis among religious buildings in the Islamic world, which ended with the addition of 2 additional minarets to the 5-minaret mausoleum in Mecca.

The mosque is made of stone and marble and has three main gates opening to the courtyard. It has a 23.5-metre diameter main dome, four half domes, eight small secondary domes and six minarets, and the area sizes of the courtyard and the mosque are equal. In the centre of the courtyard is an ornamental pool that used to be a fountain.

A plaque with the names of the first 14 sultans hangs above the main entrance. In the old years, there were also sections such as school, hospital, kitchen and caravanserai within the structure. It has a capacity of 35,000 people at the same time. It is located at a strategic point directly opposite Hagia Sophia.

It would not be wrong to say that the Blue Mosque is one of the most important buildings in Istanbul to visit.

Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul - Photo: Ruslan Kalnitsky / Shutterstock
Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul – Photo: Ruslan Kalnitsky / Shutterstock

Dolmabah├že Palace, built in place of the Besiktas Coast Palace complex, which was demolished during the reign of Sultan Abd├╝lmecid because its functions were insufficient, has become one of the most important palaces of the Ottoman Empire since the day it was built, as it was used even more than the official palace of the Ottoman Empire, Topkapi Palace. Started on 13 June 1843 under the leadership of Architect Sarkis Balyan, the palace was completed and opened on 7 June 1856.

The palace has a magnificent view of the Istanbul Bosphorus and is built on 110 thousand square metres. This area is an important coastal area that served as a harbour where navy ships were anchored, and naval ceremonies were held during the Ottoman period. The palace’s name comes from the fact that this area was called Dolmabah├že after the filling of the sea in the 16th century.

In 1856, after Sultan Abd├╝lmecid left Topkapi Palace and settled permanently in Dolmabah├že Palace, it became the new official palace of the empire and was used by 6 different sultans. The last inhabitants of the palace were Sultan Vahdettin, the last sultan of the Ottoman Empire, and Abdulmecid Efendi, the last caliph.

With the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, it became the palace that Mustafa Kemal Atat├╝rk used as a residence during his visits to Istanbul. Between 1927 and 1938, the palace was officially used by Atat├╝rk. Mustafa Kemal Atat├╝rk passed away at 9:05 am on 10 November 1938 in room 71 of the palace. The palace, which has been used for various purposes until today, has been open to visitors as a museum since 1984 and is one of the most important buildings among the places to visit in Istanbul.

In the 19th century, the palace, which is a symbol of the westernisation of the Ottoman Empire, therefore had Western-style baroque architectural features. There are 285 rooms, 46 halls, 68 toilets and 6 baths in the palace. The palace is functionally divided into 3 sections; “Mabeyn-i H├╝m├óy├╗n” (Selaml─▒k) where state affairs are conducted, “Harem-i H├╝m├óy├╗n” (Harem) used as a private residence and “Muayede Hall” (Ceremony Hall) reserved for important state ceremonies. The gardens of Dolmabah├že Palace consist of 4 large sections, namely Hasbah├že (Selaml─▒k), Ku┼čluk (bird garden), Harem and Crown Garden.

Basilica Cistern

Istanbul Basilica Cistern - Photo: IBB 150 Days 150 Projects
Istanbul Basilica Cistern – Photo: IBB 150 Days 150 Projects

The Yerebatan Cistern, one of Istanbul’s most mystical and magnificent architectural structures, is a well-preserved ancient underground water reservoir located 10-12 metres deep southwest of Hagia Sophia. It is also known as the Basilica Cistern because the cistern is located in a basilica. It can hold 80,000 cubic metres of water and contains 336 columns. The height of its ceiling reaches 8 metres. Each column has a unique design and size.

The construction of the cistern, which was started in 306-337 during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Constantine to store drinking water in case of drought or siege of the city, was completed in 532 during the reign of Emperor Justinian. After the conquest of Istanbul in 1453, the cistern was abandoned until 1553 and was first valued in 1723. The cistern, which has been open to visitors as a museum since 1987, is one of the top places to visit in Istanbul.

The most valuable parts of Yerebatan Cistern are the columns decorated with the heads of Medusa, also known as Gorgons in Greek Mythology, and her head is placed upside down due to the myth that you can turn to stone while looking at her. Another interesting pillar is the weeping Pillar of Tears, which is believed to weep because it is constantly wet.

The historical monument, which was last restored in 2017, was successfully restored by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and reopened to visitors on 23 July 2022 with its modern face. You should include the new version of Yerebatan Cistern, which is also the subject of many novels and films, in your list of Istanbul places to visit.

Theodosius Obelisk

Istanbul Theodosius Obelisk - Photograph: Istanbul Historic Areas Directorate
Istanbul Theodosius Obelisk – Photograph: Istanbul Historic Areas Directorate

Located in the heart of Istanbul’s historic peninsula, in the area known as Atmeydan─▒, the Theodosius Obelisk is an 18.74-metre-high historical monument erected in 390 AD by Roman Emperor Theodosius I in the centre of the Constantinople Hippodrome. Although today, the hippodrome is underground, the obelisk is still visible in its original position in the square.

Syene in Egypt, the 200-tonne monument was initially dedicated to Pharaoh Thutmose III, who ruled Egypt from 1479 to 1425, and erected in front of the Temple of Amon in Heliopolis. It was later dismantled by Emperor Constantine I to be sent to Rome, but the column never reached Rome and was kept in Alexandria.

In 361-363, it was brought to Istanbul on a ship specially built on the initiative of Emperor Julian. It was erected in its present position during the reign of Theodosius and is named after him. It is unknown what happened to the rest of the original 25.6-metre monument, and a bronze fragment that fell during the earthquake of 869 is still missing.

On the four sides of The Obelisk are Latin inscriptions in Egyptian hieroglyphics giving information about the life of Pharaoh Thutmose III, while on the marble base on which it sits are reliefs of Emperor Theodosius and his family.

Beyazit Grand Bazaar

Istanbul Beyazit Grand Bazaar, T├╝rkiye
Istanbul Beyazit Grand Bazaar, T├╝rkiye –┬á Photo Credit: Tekkol / Shutterstock

The Kapal─▒├žar┼č─▒ in the neighbourhood of Beyaz─▒t, consisting of 61 streets, more than 2,000 shops, mosques, cafes, fountains, schools, police stations, numerous warehouses and baths in the heart of Istanbul’s historical peninsula, is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. One of the top places to visit in Istanbul, the bazaar is visited by hundreds of thousands daily.

After the conquest of Istanbul in 1453, the bazaar was first opened with two bedestens completed in 1460. The bazaar, which has been rebuilt and expanded many times since its foundation, was rebuilt in 1894 after a devastating earthquake and became the most important commercial and financial centre of the Ottoman Empire. However, it was also the centre of the slave trade between Europe and Asia until the 19th century. In 1980, it was restored for the last time and became what it is today.

It has been the subject of numerous international films and books, most recently used as a location for action scenes in the Skyfall film of the James Bond series. Another popular production is Jackie Chan‘s Golden Fist in Istanbul (The Accidental Spy).

Egyptian Bazaar (Spice Bazaar)

Istanbul Spice Bazaar - Photo: StockphotoVideo / Shutterstock
Istanbul Spice Bazaar – Photo: StockphotoVideo / Shutterstock

Built in the 17th century, Emin├Ân├╝’s Egyptian Bazaar is one of Istanbul’s most significant historical markets, famous for its spice, food, souvenir, and textile shops. The historical bazaar consists of 384 blocks and features colourful Turkish delights, silk scarves, glass mosaic lamps, and piles of pepper, saffron, tea, and dried apricots.

When we go back a little, It is said that there was a bazaar called Makro Envalos in the Byzantine period where this bazaar is located. The construction of the bazaar that has survived to the present day was carried out in 1660 by Mimar Kaz─▒m A─ča with the initiatives of Turhan Sultan. The bazaar, known as New Bazaar and Valide Bazaar at the time it was built, became widely known as Spice Bazaar as the sales of products imported from Egypt increased over time.

Rumeli Fortress Museum

Rumeli Hisar─▒ Museum in Istanbul - Photo: Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock
Rumeli Hisar─▒ Museum in Istanbul – Photo: Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock

Rumeli Hisar─▒, also known as Bo─čazkesen Hisar─▒, located on the European Side of the Bosphorus; It is a historical fortress built in a total of 90 days by order of Fatih Sultan Mehmet before the conquest of Istanbul in 1452 to prevent the aid from the Black Sea to the Byzantine Empire.

The fortress, which lost its importance after the conquest, was also used as a prison. Destroyed in 1746 in a fire, the castle was restored during Sultan Selim III‘s reign. In 1968, it was opened as a museum for the first time.

The fortress, which attracts attention with its three large towers and magnificent walls, is now in Sar─▒yer district. In this open-air museum, which offers a splendid view of Istanbul, a piece of the giant chain used by the Byzantines during the conquest to close the Golden Horn to ships and cannons and cannonballs used in the war are also exhibited.

Although open-air concerts and events were held in the amphitheatre in the middle for many years, a decision was taken in 2015 to build a mosque and a masjid on this amphitheatre.

Another mystery of Rumeli Hisar─▒ is that when viewed from a bird’s eye view, its shape refers to the word Muhammed in Arabic. It is said that the fortress was designed this way because Fatih Sultan Mehmet believed that Istanbul could not be taken only with military power and needed spiritual support.

Rumeli Hisar─▒ should not be confused with Anadolu Hisar─▒, which was built on the opposite side of the Anatolian side by order of Sultan Y─▒ld─▒r─▒m Bayezit many years ago. We strongly recommend you add it to your list of places to visit in Istanbul.

Galata Bridge

Istanbul Galata Bridge - Photo: Viacheslav Lopatin / Shutterstock
Istanbul Galata Bridge – Photo: Viacheslav Lopatin / Shutterstock

The Galata Bridge, which has become one of the symbols of Istanbul, is a 484-metre-long and 42-metre-wide historical vehicle and pedestrian bridge that connects the Karak├Ây and Emin├Ân├╝ districts, separating the Hali├ž and the Bosphorus. It also plays a vital role in Istanbul’s sightseeing places.

The bridge we see today is the fifth version built after the original. Throughout its history, it has seen many fires, destruction, and reconstruction. It is known that the bridge was first built in 1845 as a wooden structure. In 1863, it was rebuilt in honour of the arrival of Napoleon III. Twelve years later, it was rebuilt again, but it was later strengthened by a German company in 1920 and remained standing until 1992.

Although it suffered a fire afterwards, the original form of the bridge was preserved. Today’s latest version has a two-storey design with mostly fish restaurants on the lower floor. At the same time, it has the feature of opening and closing from the centre to enable the passage of ships.

The bridge, which allows you to travel in time between the western Karak├Ây and eastern Emin├Ân├╝ neighbourhoods of Istanbul, is one of the best spots to enjoy a unique view of the city. It is famous for the tramway passing over it and the fishermen who are there at all hours of the day.

Pierre Loti Hill

Pierre Loti Hill in Istanbul - Photo: trabantos / Shutterstock
Pierre Loti Hill in Istanbul – Photo: trabantos / Shutterstock

Pierre Loti Hill, a hill overlooking the Hali├ž, known as the Golden Horn; Istanbul sightseeing places is one of the most interesting places. Ey├╝p Sultan district of Istanbul, this hill is named after the famous French sailor and writer Pierre Loti (Louis Marie-Julien Viaud). The author, who became famous for his colonial novels, tells the love story of a French officer and a young Turkish woman in his first novel, “Aziyade“.

Pierre Loti, stationed in Istanbul as a French officer, loved to spend time in Ey├╝p. He often visited the caf├ę on this hill and had a cup of coffee here, looking at the majestic Golden Horn and thinking long and hard. During the Balkan Wars, World War I and the National Struggle Period, he was named “Honorary Citizen of the City of Istanbul” in 1920.

At the same time, a street, a restaurant, and today’s famous hill are named after him. You can reach the observation deck on Pierre Loti Hill by climbing uphill from the Ey├╝p Sultan Mosque at the foot of the hill through the cemeteries or by using the TF2 Ey├╝p Sultan-Pierre Loti Cable Car Line. We recommend adding it to your list of Istanbul places to visit.

Golden Horn (Hali├ž)

Golden Horn in Istanbul - Photo: Mehmet Cetin / Shutterstock 
Golden Horn in Istanbul – Photo: Mehmet Cetin / Shutterstock┬á

One of the largest natural formations in the world, Hali├ž; although it takes its Turkish name from its geographical landform, foreigners know and define it as Golden Horn. The biggest reason for this definition is that its shape resembles a horn and makes an essential contribution to the historical treasure of Istanbul.

The total length of this waterway is 7.5 kilometres, starting from Sarayburnu-Galata towards the European Side at the point where the Bosphorus meets the Marmara Sea and ending with the Alibeyk├Ây-Ka─č─▒thane streams. Although the largest water sources of the Golden Horn are the Alibeyk├Ây and Ka─č─▒thane streams, the low flow rate of these streams has constantly dragged the Golden Horn into the swamp.

The Hali├ž, which served as the city’s main port from the Byzantine Empire to the Ottoman Empire and met the needs of Istanbul in the fields of transport, trade and defence, has always maintained its importance due to its strategic location. Emperor Constantine; 4. century, after he declared Constantinople the capital of the Roman Empire, he established the headquarters of his navy in the Hali├ž and built the Istanbul Walls against possible threats from the Hali├ž. It is also known that to prevent attacks from the sea; they also passed a giant floating chain to close the Hali├ž to the entrance of ships from the Bosphorus.

During the conquest of Istanbul by the Ottoman Empire, this chain played an important role and Fatih Sultan Mehmet, who could not enter the Hali├ž by natural means, lowered the navy ships into the Hali├ž from the Okmeydan─▒ ridges by manpower over greasy piles. This event changed the course of the conquest, favouring the Ottoman Empire. Today, parts of the chain are exhibited in the Istanbul Harbiye Military Museum, Istanbul Archaeological Museums and Istanbul Naval Museum.

Another issue that makes Hali├ž important is that it has inspired world-famous artists. The most remarkable name in this regard was Leonardo da Vinci. The beauty of Hali├ž inspired his poems, paintings and literature. Not content with this, he even participated in a public works project initiated by Sultan Bayezid II in the city in 1502 with an elegant bridge project that was quite anachronistic for the conditions of the time.

In fact, Leonardo da Vinci believed that the project would be so well received that he wanted to come and build the bridge himself. However, the sultan rejected the project as technically impossible. This 3 arch pedestrian bridge would have been one of the most important and longest bridges in the world if it had been built on the Hali├ž at the time. Although the project’s drawings are still in the archives of Topkapi Palace, they are not exhibited.

If you visit the Golden Horn in your list of Istanbul places to visit today, you should definitely add Pierre Loti Hill, Ey├╝p Sultan Mosque, Miniat├╝rk, Balat and Fener neighbourhoods, Rahmi Ko├ž Museum and Galata Bridge to your route. You can also use the city line ferry, which travels between Ey├╝p-├ťsk├╝dar and stops at the historical piers in the Golden Horn, to explore the entire Golden Horn.

Suleymaniye Mosque

Istanbul Suleymaniye Mosque - ┬ę Photo: aslan ozcan / Shutterstock
Istanbul Suleymaniye Mosque – ┬ę Photo: aslan ozcan / Shutterstock

Built between 1550 and 1557 by the famous architect Mimar Sinan on the orders of Kanuni Sultan S├╝leyman, Suleymaniye Mosque is a magnificent example of Ottoman architecture. The mosque, which Mimar Sinan described as “my journeyman’s work”, is also honoured by the people as “the mosque that will stand forever” due to its durability.

The four minarets of the mosque refer to the fact that Kanuni Sultan S├╝leyman was the fourth sultan after the conquest of Istanbul, and the 10 balconies refer to the fact that he was the 10th sultan since the empire was founded. 53 metres high and 27.5 metres in diameter, the dome is meticulously designed to be naturally illuminated by 32 windows.

Due to the clever design of the interior acoustics, something spoken in one corner can be easily heard from the other corner. In addition, when the width of the mosque is divided by its height, it gives a golden ratio of 1.618. These mysterious features of the building reveal how important an architect Mimar Sinan was.

Another counterpart of the Hacer-ul-Aswad stone at the entrance of the Tomb of Suleiman the Magnificent, located in the courtyard of the mosque, is located in the Kaba in Mecca. We can say that it is Istanbul’s one of the most beautiful mosques, and we recommend including it in your list.

Eyup Sultan Mosque

Ey├╝p Sultan Mosque in Istanbul - Photo: Sanatkar / Shutterstock
Ey├╝p Sultan Mosque in Istanbul – Photo: Sanatkar / Shutterstock

The Ey├╝p Sultan Mosque, one of the most famous mosques in Istanbul and also one of the holiest sites in the Islamic world, is a historical mosque built 5 years after the conquest of Istanbul on the site where the grave of Hz. Eyyub El-Ensari, the friend and standard bearer of Hz. Muhammad who died during the first Arab siege of Istanbul in the 7th century, was discovered.

The current version of the mosque, which has survived various restorations until today, is the version built by Selim Selim III to Uzun H├╝seyin Efendi between 1798-1800. It is rumoured that the Sinan Pasha Pavilion in front of it was also demolished during these works.

Two half domes support the 17.5-metre diameter main dome. Today, the Tomb of Ayup Sultan is also located in a special closed room in the mosque’s courtyard.

It is also known that the coronation and arming ceremonies of the new sultans of the Ottoman Empire who took office after the conquest of Istanbul were held here. With Pierre Loti Hill next to it, it holds an important place among the places to visit in Istanbul today.

Beylerbeyi Palace

Beylerbeyi Palace in Istanbul - Photo: muratart / Shutterstock 
Beylerbeyi Palace in Istanbul – Photo: muratart / Shutterstock┬á

The Beylerbeyi Palace, which served as a summer palace for the Ottoman Sultans throughout history, is a two-storey, 66-metre-long historical palace consisting of 26 rooms, 6 halls, a kitchen, a hammam and storerooms, famous for its ornate interior architecture and magnificent crystal chandeliers, located at one of the most spectacular points of the Bosphorus on the Asian continent.

The palace was built by Sultan Abd├╝laziz in 1861-1865 by the architect Sarkis Balyan. It was made of marble and white stones in Ottoman style with Classical Eastern Baroque ornaments. It was built in 1829 on the order of Mahmud II, replacing a wooden palace that had been built and burned down. It is a palace complex comprising the main palace and the surrounding Marble Pavilion, Yellow Pavilion, Horse Pavilion, and two small sea mansions.

During its existence, the palace was visited by many famous personalities, such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Prince Nikolai of Russia and the wife of Napoleon III.

Queen Eugenie of France also stayed here during her journey to the opening of the Suez Canal. During this visit, the queen was impressed by the palace’s architecture and had the exact design of the windows installed in her bedroom in the Tuileries Palace in Paris. With this visit, unregistered rumours about Sultan Abd├╝laziz‘s closeness to Queen Eugenie came to the fore. There are even rumours of tensions between the sultan’s mother Pertevniyal Valide Sultan and the queen that night.

St Antuan Catholic Church

St Antuan Church in Istanbul - Photo: Mert Kahveci / Unsplash 
St Antuan Church in Istanbul – Photo: Mert Kahveci / Unsplash┬á

Built in 1230 by the Franciscans who settled in Istanbul in 1221, the St. Antuan Catholic Church (Antoine of Padua Church) is the largest Catholic church in Istanbul. Dedicated to Saint Fransua and also known as the Hagia Sophia of the Latins at the time, the historic church suffered three fires in 1639, 1660 and 1696. It was converted into a mosque during the reign of Sultan Mustafa II. After the last fire in 1696, it was rebuilt in 1724 and opened for worship.

The year 1904 is known as the year it was demolished to lay tram tracks and moved to its current location today. Opened on 15 February 1912 and designed by architect Giulio Mongeri in a Gothic style, the church has survived to the present day. The two five-storey residential buildings around it were built to provide income for the church.

In front of the church is a statue of Pope John XXIII, also known as the “Turkish Pope“, with a dove in his head, symbolising peace. The cleric, who speaks fluent Turkish and often expresses his love for Turkey, especially Istanbul, preached here for 10 years as the Vatican ambassador to Turkey before being elected as pope. He is usually at the forefront of Istanbul sightseeing places lists.

Binbirdirek Cistern

Istanbul Binbirdirek Cistern - List of Places to Visit in Istanbul
Istanbul Binbirdirek Cistern – List of Places to Visit in Istanbul

Located in the heart of the historical peninsula of Istanbul, Binbirdirek Cistern is the second largest cistern in Istanbul after the nearby Yerebatan Cistern. In the 5th century, it is known that it was built with a water-holding capacity of 40,000 cubic metres under a palace, which is said to be called Antiochos Palace, but it is not clear.

The cistern, supported by 224 columns, each about 14 metres long, was restored in the 6th century but abandoned after the conquest of Istanbul by the Ottoman Empire. Today, it is used for various events and wedding organisations. If you are lucky, you can visit it on a day without organisation.

Bozdogan Arch

Istanbul Bozdogan Arch - Photo: Sadik Yalcin / Shutterstock
Istanbul Bozdogan Arch – Photo: Sadik Yalcin / Shutterstock

The Bozdogan Arch (Valens Aqueduct), which was built to deliver water to the palaces and baths in the middle of the historical peninsula of Istanbul, is one of the best historical monuments that have survived to the present day, bearing the traces of the Roman and Byzantine periods. The water reservoirs forming the foundations of the aqueduct were built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 117-138 AD. The Roman Emperor Valens built the aqueduct between 364 AD and 378 AD. Throughout its history, it has undergone numerous restorations and new additions.

After the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1453, the arch underwent a major restoration to solve Istanbul’s water problem fundamentally, and 921 metres of it has survived to the present day. The idea of passing a motorway under the arch was conceived by H. Proust, who was commissioned to prepare an organisation plan for the city during the Second World War. Since then, heavy traffic on Atat├╝rk Street has been under the arch.

Istanbul City Walls

Theodosius Walls of Istanbul - Photo: Alp Aksoy / Shutterstock
Theodosius Walls of Istanbul – Photo: Alp Aksoy / Shutterstock

Istanbul has always been a city that all empires dreamed of owning. For this reason, during the Byzantine period, Emperor Constantine needed to build a solid structure to protect this city. He started the construction of these giant fortress walls in 324 to close the city from both land and sea. When they proved inadequate, the new Emperor Theodosius was commissioned to build more extensive fortifications and the walls were extended 5.5 kilometres from the south to the north of Constantinople.

This extended section of the walls is called Theodosius Walls, and the sections towards the Golden Horn are called Blakhernai Walls. It is also known as Istanbul Walls or Constantinople Walls. Istanbul Land Walls: This form a complete protection, with the sea walls extending along the Hali├ž and Marmara Sea, which are weaker than the land walls.

The land walls, which are 7 km long in total, have a three-stage defence-oriented design consisting of an inner wall 3-4 metres thick and 13 metres high, an outer wall 2 metres thick and 10 metres high, and ditches. The most well-known ones are Belgradkap─▒, Silivrikap─▒, Mevlanakap─▒, Fetihkap─▒, Topkap─▒ and Edirnekap─▒.

These walls, which have protected the city throughout history, were first breached by the Ottoman Emperor Fatih Sultan Mehmet with the conquest of Istanbul in 1453. The section of the walls on the shore of the Marmara Sea, known as the Yedikule Walls, was built by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1457-1458.

The city walls today serve as the border between the districts of Zeytinburnu, Fatih and Ey├╝p Sultan, have undergone numerous restorations, during which some parts were almost rebuilt. Most parts are still in ruins today, and some points are too dangerous for a solo tourist to visit. It has suffered severe damage during significant earthquakes. Despite its historical importance, some parts are even used as a wedding hall as a social facility of Fatih Municipality.

Since 1985, it has been under the protection of UNESCO, but it does not have the status of a museum, and it was almost abandoned to its fate. In 2021, with a comprehensive conservation and restoration work projected by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, it was resurfaced following its originality. It was finally able to enter the Istanbul places to visit.

Kariye Mosque (Church of St Hora the Saviour)

Istanbul Kariye Mosque (Church of St Hora the Saviour) - Photo: Lepneva Irina / Shutterstock
Istanbul Kariye Mosque (Church of St Hora the Saviour) – Photo: Lepneva Irina / Shutterstock

Kariye Mosque (Church of St. Hora the Saviour) takes its name from the ancient Greek word “Chora”, meaning “outside the city”. During the Byzantine period, this Greek Orthodox church, which served as a chapel for important religious ceremonies due to its proximity to the Bleharna Palace, dates back to before the 5th century.

Since 1948, this world cultural heritage has hosted visitors from around the world, such as the Kariye Museum. The fact that the frescoes and mosaics inside have survived to the present day with very little damage reveals how valuable a historical artefact it is for Istanbul and the world.

Kariye Museum was converted into a mosque and opened for worship, with a decision taken in 2020. It was removed from the museum status and named Kariye Mosque. During this transformation, some of the world-famous artefacts inside were covered with a thin layer of paint and lime whitewash, while others were covered with white curtains.

After removing the ticket turnstiles, it has been subjected to an intense flow of visitors above its capacity. This situation caused the building to be damaged by not being sufficiently protected, like Hagia Sophia, which was the scene of a similar transformation in the same year. For this reason, it is good to put it on your list of Sights to see in Istanbul before it disappears.

Grand Mecidiye Mosque (Ortak├Ây Mosque)

Istanbul Ortakoy (Grand Mecidiye) Mosque - Photo: Rudy Balasko / Shutterstock 
Istanbul Ortakoy (Grand Mecidiye) Mosque – Photo: Rudy Balasko / Shutterstock┬á

Grand Mecidiye Mosque, one of the top places to visit in Istanbul and the number one element of classic Istanbul photographs, was built in 1853 by Sultan I. It was built in 1853 by Abd Abd├╝lmecid in one of the most beautiful spots on the European Side of the Bosphorus by the Neo-Baroque style under the leadership of Architect Garabet Amira Balyan and his son Architect Nigo─čos Balyan. It has undergone many restorations due to earthquakes and fires until today.

Although it is popularly known as Ortak├Ây Mosque, the official name differs. The mosque, which stands out with its magnificent and ancient architecture, is often accompanied by the 15 July Martyrs Bridge and Beylerbeyi Palace in the background in photographs.

Prince Islands

Istanbul Prince Islands - Photo: Oleggg / Shutterstock 
Istanbul Prince Islands – Photo: Oleggg / Shutterstock┬á

The Princes Islands (Princes Islands), consisting of 9 pieces on the Marmara Sea in the southeast of the Asian side of Istanbul, meet the short-term holiday and recreation needs of Istanbulites while offering spectacular views and a cultural treasure.

Named after the princes and empresses who were exiled to the islands during the Byzantine Empire, the islands became a popular holiday destination for the rich of Istanbul during the Ottoman Empire. In the past, Jewish, Rum and Armenian communities made up a large part of the islands’ inhabitants. The old Victorian-style wooden mansions, monasteries and historic buildings from this period are still visitable today, and most are still standing.

Only 5 of the islands under the control of Adalar Municipality as the local administration; B├╝y├╝kada, Heybeliada, Burgazada, K─▒nal─▒ada and Sedefadas─▒ are open to settlement. Except for Sedefada, the other 4 islands open to settlement can be accessed by city line ferries, ferry services and private tours departing from various points of Istanbul such as Bostanc─▒, Kad─▒k├Ây, Kartal, Be┼čikta┼č, Kabata┼č, Emin├Ân├╝, ├ťsk├╝dar. Hay─▒rs─▒zada and Sivriada are neither inhabited nor open to the public. Yass─▒ada was rebuilt by the government and opened to visitors in 2020 as Democracy and Freedoms Island.

The islands are closed to vehicular traffic except for the municipality’s service vehicles. For many years, horse-drawn carriages called phaetons and bicycles provided transportation on the islands. Due to this situation, faeces were intensely smelled throughout the islands. However, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality renewed the phaetons with environmentally friendly electric buses, a decision made in 2020. While this situation eliminated the bad odour on the island and gave it a new face, it also allowed our lovely friends to spend the rest of their lives more peacefully.

Aya Yorgi Greek Monastery (Y├╝cetepe) in Buyukada, Istanbul - Photo: Lepneva Irina / Shutterstock
Aya Yorgi Greek Monastery (Y├╝cetepe) in Buyukada, Istanbul – Photo: Lepneva Irina / Shutterstock

The highlight of B├╝y├╝kada, the largest island in terms of area and development, is the 6th-century B├╝y├╝kada Aya Yorgi Greek Monastery on the southern summit of the island, known as Y├╝cetepe. From Lunapark Square, visitors climb to the summit via a 1-kilometre uphill path and are greeted by a magnificent panoramic view. Other island highlights are Christos Monastery, Greek Orphanage, Isa Greek Monastery and Dilburnu Nature Park. The Adalar Museum sheds light on the historical past and lifestyle of the Islands.

The most striking point of the second-largest island Heybeliada is The Seminary. H├╝seyin Rahmi G├╝rp─▒nar Museum and De─čirmen Hill are other must-see spots. The Sait Faik Abas─▒yan─▒k Museum on the third-largest island Burgazada sheds light on the past of the short story master of Turkish Literature.

We recommend you put it on your list of Istanbul places to visit on a possible visit to Istanbul.

Beyo─člu (Pera)

Istanbul Taksim Square & Republic Monument - ┬ę Photo: Marianna Ianovska / Shutterstock
Istanbul Taksim Square & Republic Monument – ┬ę Photo: Marianna Ianovska / Shutterstock

The district of Beyo─člu, which symbolises the western face of Istanbul throughout history and is known as Pera, is a shopping, food and beverage, event, culture-art and entertainment district where nightlife is also intense in Istanbul today. The most important places to visit in Istanbul are usually in this region. It represents a large area covering Taksim, known as the place where the city’s main water pipes joined in ancient times, and the Galata and Karak├Ây neighbourhoods to the south.

Istiklal Street in Istanbul - ┬ę Photo: Darkdiamond67 / Shutterstock┬á
Istiklal Street in Istanbul – ┬ę Photo: Darkdiamond67 / Shutterstock┬á

Nostalgic trams run along ─░stiklal Caddesi, the city’s main pedestrian boulevard, which is 1.4 kilometres long, blended with fun cafes, live music clubs, historical patisseries, alleyway bars, family-run shops, young fashion designers’ studios, fashion boutiques, antique shops, music stores, bookstores, art galleries, theatres, libraries, chocolatiers, stores of international shopping chains, cinemas, rooftop restaurants with views of the Bosphorus, and historic buildings from the 19th century.

Istanbul Kamondo Stairs - Photo: Burcu Ergin / Shutterstock 
Istanbul Kamondo Stairs – Photo: Burcu Ergin / Shutterstock┬á

The most prominent areas in Beyoglu are Taksim Square, Istiklal Street, Galata Tower, Republic Monument, the new Taksim Mosque, Atat├╝rk Cultural Centre, St Antuan Church, Kamondo Stairs and Gezi Park. In the centre of Taksim Square is the Republic Monument, created in 1928 by Italian sculptor Pietro Canonica in honour of the fifth anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey.

The area was also home to the 19th-century Top├žu Barracks, but this was demolished during the construction of the famous Gezi Park. A new mosque, the Taksim Mosque, opened in 2021, was also built in the square. Bus, minibus, and rail lines from many parts of the city usually meet at Taksim.

Taksim Gezi Park

Istanbul Taksim Gezi Park - ┬ę Photo: IV. andromeda┬á/ Shutterstock
Istanbul Taksim Gezi Park – ┬ę Photo: IV. andromeda┬á/ Shutterstock

Located right next to Taksim Square, Taksim Gezi Park is a small park in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city, one of the last accessible green spaces in and around Beyo─člu.

In the 20th century, the park was the starting point of Modern Turkey’s most serious public uprising, the Taksim Gezi Park Protests, and its history is just as deep-rooted. Once a neighbourhood full of fields and vineyards, Beyo─člu was almost rebuilt from scratch in the 1800s under the Ottoman Empire to transform the area into a modern European-style structure.

During these works, another area was created to build Taksim Square, which would become the city’s most important square In 1806, Halil Pasha Artillery Barracks was built next to the square. These barracks were badly damaged during a revolt against the Ottoman government in 1909. In 1923, after the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, it was demolished, and Turkey’s first football stadium was built there. By the 1940s, this stadium was also demolished, and the area was turned into a public park.

Taksim Gezi Park, one of the city’s most important parks for many years, came to the agenda in 2013 with a new project designed by the country’s government. Following the government’s announcement that a modern barracks project with shops, restaurants, luxury residences, and hotels would be built here, the events that started with the protests of those who opposed the removal of trees during the tree removal process began to grow even more with the harsh intervention of the police and turned into a general protest against government policies. The protests spread throughout Turkey, caused serious repercussions in the world press, and resulted in one of Turkey’s most significant popular uprisings.

After the protests, Taksim Gezi Park underwent a modern and concrete restoration and remained as a park. In 2019, when the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality came under the administration of the opposition party, another environmentalist and green-oriented restoration project came to the agenda. Following the announcement of this project, the park was transferred to the Sultan Beyaz─▒t Khan Veli Hazretleri Foundation and was removed from the control of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.

Although it is not very important among the places to visit in Istanbul, it is one of the places you should see because of its story.

Camlica Hill

├çaml─▒ca Hill in Istanbul - ┬ę Photo: Aivita Arika / Shutterstock
├çaml─▒ca Hill in Istanbul – ┬ę Photo: Aivita Arika / Shutterstock

├çaml─▒ca Hill, one of the highest hills overlooking Istanbul; It is located in ├ťsk├╝dar district at an altitude of 265 metres on the Anatolian Side. The region, which is divided into two as B├╝y├╝k ├çaml─▒ca Hill and K├╝├ž├╝k ├çaml─▒ca Hill, includes a television tower, green areas, parks, landscape hills, mosques and restaurants.

The hill takes its name from the pine trees around it. In recent years, the silhouette of the hill seen from a distance has changed due to the work carried out. A tower called ├çaml─▒ca Television Tower was built in the part of the hill known as K├╝├ž├╝k ├çaml─▒ca and B├╝y├╝k ├çaml─▒ca Mosque was built in the area known as B├╝y├╝k ├çaml─▒ca.

On the front side of the hill, which offers a unique panoramic view of Istanbul, you can easily watch almost the entire Istanbul Bosphorus, and on the back side, you can easily watch ├ťsk├╝dar, ├ťmraniye, Ata┼čehir, Maltepe and Kad─▒k├Ây districts of the Anadolu side. We recommend you add this place to your list of Istanbul places to visit, especially at sunset.

Camlica Tower

Istanbul K├╝├ž├╝k ├çaml─▒ca Radio and Television Tower - ┬ę Photo: Engin Akyurt / Unsplash
Istanbul K├╝├ž├╝k ├çaml─▒ca Radio and Television Tower – ┬ę Photo: Engin Akyurt / Unsplash

At 587 metres above sea level, ├çaml─▒ca Tower, or K├╝├ž├╝k ├çaml─▒ca Radio and Television Tower, which has just joined the silhouette of Istanbul, has taken its place on K├╝├ž├╝k ├çaml─▒ca Hill in ├ťsk├╝dar district as the highest structure of Istanbul and became one of the places to visit in Istanbul.

The tower, built by removing the large and small iron radio and television towers, which were previously located here and became one of the symbolic structures of Istanbul, and turning them into a single tower, attracts tourists with its restaurant, observation terrace, souvenir shop and cafeteria. On the other hand, it hosts Istanbul’s radio, television and wireless telecommunication services.

Balat & Fener Districts

Historic Fener Greek School Building in Istanbul - ┬ę Photo: Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock
Historic Fener Greek School Building in Istanbul – ┬ę Photo: Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock

The Balat and Fener districts, which have become famous for their historical houses featured on TV series sets in recent years and boutique restaurant operators, are rising with the increasing demand. It is a very charming neighbourhood located on the coast of Hali├ž in the Fatih district, which forms the historical peninsula of Istanbul and the neighbouring Ayvansaray and Zeyrek districts. It would not be wrong to say that it is now on everyone’s list of Istanbul places to visit.

The neighbourhood’s name comes from the Greek word “palation” meaning “palace“. It was so named because of its proximity to the Blaherna Palace, the main residence palace of the Byzantine Empire. In the 19th century, it was known as a Jewish neighbourhood due to the immigration of Jews from Spain. Still, today, it is more culturally complex due to the community’s emigration back to Israel.

The neighbourhood’s fame, which we previously knew a little in the series Cennet Mahallesi, has increased even more with the series ├çukur. The neighbourhood is getting more colourful every day with the restoration of historical houses; on the other hand, it offers very different cultural landscapes due to its settlement.

Colourful houses in Balat, Istanbul - Photo: Murat Can Kirmizigul / Shutterstock
Colourful houses in Balat, Istanbul – Photo: Murat Can Kirmizigul / Shutterstock

It is possible to find every trace of life, from the clotheslines stretched between the buildings to the children running a ball on the street. You can discover the traces of the Ottoman Empire with the Istanbul Black Walls surrounding the south and the traces of the Jewish, Armenian and Orthodox communities with the religious and cultural treasures it harbours.

The prominent buildings worth seeing in the neighbourhood are Kiremit Street with colourful houses, Fener Greek High School for Boys, Saint Stefan Bulgarian Orthodox Church known as Iron Church, Fethiye Mosque, which was converted from a church to a mosque, Ferruh Keth├╝da Mosque, the work of Mimar Sinan, and Aya Yorgi Fener Greek Patriarchate Church, the centre of the Christian Orthodox sect.

Emin├Ân├╝ & Sirkeci Districts

New Mosque and Galata Bridge in Emin├Ân├╝, Istanbul - ┬ę Photo: Julien Hautcoeur / Shutterstock┬á
New Mosque and Galata Bridge in Emin├Ân├╝, Istanbul – ┬ę Photo: Julien Hautcoeur / Shutterstock┬á

Emin├Ân├╝ and Sirkeci neighbourhoods, which have witnessed the lives of many great empires throughout history and have been one of the trade points; Ca─čalo─člu and Sultanahmet, together with its proximity to historical districts such as Ca─čalo─člu and Sultanahmet and the cultural treasures it harbours today, are the prominent districts of the historical peninsula of Istanbul at the intersection of Hali├ž and Bosphorus.

Emin├Ân├╝ is named after the institution of Maritime Customs and Customs Eminli─či in the region during the Ottoman period, while Sirkeci takes its name from the Prosphorion Port during the Byzantine Empire.

It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Istanbul, and it has restaurants, historical buildings with traces of Ottoman and Western culture, boutiques, restaurants, markets, bazaars, inns, mosques, and trams. The neighbourhood, which merges with Mahmutpa┼ča Bazaar in the north, is also one of the places where the heart of trade beats today.

Istanbul Sirkeci Train Station and TCDD Railway Museum - ┬ę Photo: jokerpro / Shutterstock
Istanbul Sirkeci Train Station and TCDD Railway Museum – ┬ę Photo: jokerpro / Shutterstock

Designed by German architect and engineer August Jachmund on the orders of Sultan Abd├╝lhamit II in the Sirkeci neighbourhood, Sirkeci Train Station was famous for the Orient (Orient) Express running from Istanbul to Paris in the first years of its opening in 1888, but today it is almost abandoned to its fate as the main railway station lost its importance with the Marmaray project.

Must-see places in the area: Sarayburnu Coast, Sepet├žiler Pavilion, Historical Sirkeci Train Station, TCDD Istanbul Railway Museum, Emin├Ân├╝ Ferry Piers, Historic Fish Bread Boats, Historic Great Post Office Building, T├╝rkiye ─░┼č Bankas─▒ Museum, Mahmutpa┼ča Bazaar, Do─čubank Market, Egyptian Bazaar, New Mosque (Valide Sultan Mosque or Ku┼člu Mosque), R├╝stem Pa┼ča Mosque and Galata Bridge.

Nisantasi

Abdi ─░pek├ži Caddesi in Ni┼čanta┼č─▒, Istanbul - ┬ę Photo: Tom Carton / Shutterstock┬á
Abdi ─░pek├ži Caddesi in Ni┼čanta┼č─▒, Istanbul – ┬ę Photo: Tom Carton / Shutterstock┬á

Ni┼čanta┼č─▒ in ┼×i┼čli district, one of the most popular neighbourhoods of Istanbul, is one of the first places that come to mind when it comes to fashion and luxury shopping. Among the art nouveau-style buildings, there are many boutique cafes, bakeries and shops in the side streets of Ni┼čanta┼č─▒, with famous Turkish and international restaurants. The highlights of the neighbourhood are Abdi ─░pek├ži Street, Ma├žka Park and Ni┼čanta┼č─▒ City’s shopping centre.

When we go back a little into the past, we see that behind the name Ni┼čanta┼č─▒ lies the hunting passion of Ottoman sultans. The sultans immortalised this moment by erecting target stones at the farthest point where the arrows they shot fell. Starting this tradition in 1791, Ottoman Emperor Selim III erected the first target stone, where the Te┼čvikiye Mosque is today. Since that day, the area became known as Ni┼čanta┼č─▒. During the reign of Sultan Abd├╝lmecid, Te┼čvikiye Mosque and Harbiye Police Station were built in this area where the first target stone was erected.

Another neighbouring neighbourhood integrated with Ni┼čanta┼č─▒ is Te┼čvikiye. The Ottoman Empire named this neighbourhood to encourage people to settle there. After the Ottoman dynasty left Topkapi Palace and moved to Dolmabah├že Palace and Yildiz Palace, respectively, Ni┼čanta┼č─▒ became the number one centre of attraction for high-ranking officials and members of the dynasty. Even the area known today as Akaretler in Be┼čikta┼č was built to host palace guests.

Beyazit Square

Istanbul Beyazit Square - ┬ę Photo: yusuf.yilmaz / Shutterstock
Istanbul Beyazit Square – ┬ę Photo: yusuf.yilmaz / Shutterstock

Beyaz─▒t Square, located in the centre of Fatih district of Istanbul, is a historical square full of pigeons and street vendors in the middle of Kapal─▒├žar┼č─▒, Beyaz─▒t Mosque and Istanbul University. Today, the square is mostly known for the famous historical gate of Istanbul University and has been one of the important squares of the historical peninsula of Istanbul throughout history.

During the Byzantine period, the square was also called Theodosius Forum and is also known as Freedom Square. Although a nostalgic tram line passes through here in historical photographs, this line has not survived to the present day.

Istanbul Archaeological Museums

Istanbul Archaeological Museums - ┬ę Photo: Sadik Gulec / Shutterstock
Istanbul Archaeological Museums – ┬ę Photo: Sadik Gulec / Shutterstock

Dating back to 1869, the Istanbul Archaeological Museums is Turkey’s first museum, housing more than one million artefacts collected from cultures that have ruled over a wide geography for centuries. It is also known as Istanbul Archaeological Museums because it consists of 3 main sections as Archaeological Museum, Museum of Ancient Oriental Art and ├çinili Kiosk Museum. In terms of museums, Istanbul must be on your list of places to visit.

In 1881, the museum’s fate changed with the appointment of Osman Hamdi Bey (Ottoman Empire’s first modern archaeologist) as the director, and the museum was completed piece by piece after this date. The Chinese Pavilion was built during the reign of Fatih Sultan Mehmet and is included in the museum group as the oldest building in the complex. The section known as the Museum of Ancient Oriental Art was built in 1883 by Osman Hamdi Bey for the architect Alexander Vallaury. The main archaeological building was also built by architect Alexander Vallaury and the museum complex was completed with the construction of this building and opened to visitors on 13 June 1891.

The museum’s collection also includes the original Akkadian Treaty of Kadesh, the first known peace treaty in history, signed between the Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II and the Hittite ruler Hattusili III.

Istanbul Harbiye Military Museum

Istanbul Harbiye Military Museum 
Istanbul Harbiye Military Museum 

Dating back to a military school founded in 1841 to train officers for the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul Harbiye Military Museum was converted into a museum in 1985 and has accumulated a unique collection that sheds light on the military activity of the region until today.

The museum, which constitutes the buildings of Mekteb-i Harbiye, the military school from which Mustafa Kemal Atat├╝rk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, graduated; It spreads over a total area of 18,600 square metres on a 54,000 square metre land.

The museum houses extensive collections and archives from the Ottoman period to the foundation of the Turkish Republic. It also houses a fragment of the giant chain stretched between Karak├Ây and Sarayburnu by the Byzantine Empire to protect the Hali├ž against external threats. It is worth mentioning that other parts of this chain are exhibited in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum and Istanbul Naval Museum.

You should also not miss the Mehteran Concert (Ottoman Military Band), organised at certain intervals and days in the museum’s main hall.

Rahmi M. Ko├ž Museum

Istanbul Rahmi M. Ko├ž Museum
Istanbul Rahmi M. Ko├ž Museum

Located in the Hask├Ây neighbourhood of Beyo─člu on the northern part of the Hali├ž, the Istanbul Rahmi M. Ko├ž Museum is the first and largest museum in Turkey dedicated to the history of transport, industry and communication. It consists of three separate sections on approximately 28,000 square metres. In addition to historical buildings, it contains thousands of collections, the most important examples of industrial archaeology, from gramophone needles to full-size ships and aeroplanes.

The open-air section exhibits impressive artefacts such as submarines, steamers, trains, buses and aeroplanes. In the shipyard section, a former Ottoman shipyard, you can even come across a British ship as well as amazing artefacts.

From a replica of the 1966 Ford Anglia, known as the flying car in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, to the legendary talking “Gitt” car in Cem Y─▒lmaz‘s Opet commercial, From Ar├želik‘s ├çelik and ├çeliknaz advertising characters to the first Apple Macintosh computers, you can find everything about the industry in this museum. It is also an experiential museum where you can get information by operating a giant olive oil factory with a single button.

We recommend that you definitely spend time in this museum, which is one of the top places to visit in Istanbul.

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art

Istanbul Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts (Ibrahim Pasha Palace) - ┬ę Photo: Istanbul Governorship
Istanbul Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts (Ibrahim Pasha Palace) – ┬ę Photo: Istanbul Governorship

Formerly used as a house, prison and textile factory, Ibrahim Pasha Palace, one of the most important examples of Ottoman architecture in the 16th century, is now the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts. In its historic building dating back to Roman times, you can see Islamic arts including textiles, tiles and ethnographic dioramas, and one of the world’s largest carpet collections.

Museum of History of Islamic Science and Technology

Istanbul Museum of History of Islamic Science and Technology
Istanbul Museum of History of Islamic Science and Technology

Opened in 2008 under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin, the historian of Islamic science, in the Has Stables Building on an area of 3500 square metres in the G├╝lhane Park, the Museum of the History of Islamic Science and Technology consists of works invented and developed by scientists of the Islamic world between the 9th and 16th centuries.

The museum has 12 sections: astronomy, clocks and maritime, war technology, medicine, mining, physics, mathematics and geometry, architecture and urban planning, chemistry and optics, geography, and a screening room.

Grand Palace Mosaic Museum

Istanbul Grand Palace Mosaics Museum - Photo: Tatyana Bakul / Shutterstock
Istanbul Grand Palace Mosaics Museum – Photo: Tatyana Bakul / Shutterstock

Located in the Arasta Bazaar behind the Blue Mosque, the Great Palace Mosaics Museum consists of an exhibition of mosaics dating back to 450-550 AD, which is estimated to be from the Great Palace of the Eastern Roman Period.

The most remarkable mosaics in the museum are the mosaics depicting a lizard eating a gryphon, an elephant fighting a lion, a mare suckling her foal, goose-herding children, a man milking a goat, a boy feeding his donkey, a young girl carrying a jug, and bears eating apples. All of the mosaics, which do not carry any religious elements, shed light on the daily life of those times.

Istanbul Maritime Museum

Istanbul Maritime Museum - ┬ę Photo: AlpKaya / Shutterstock
Istanbul Maritime Museum – ┬ę Photo: AlpKaya / Shutterstock

Founded in 1897 by Hasan H├╝sn├╝ Pasha from Bozcaada, Minister of the Ottoman Navy, the Istanbul Naval Museum in Be┼čikta┼č consists of exhibitions on the history of the Turkish Navy and majestic imperial boats from the 19th century.

In 2013, after a major restoration, the museum was transformed into a modern museum, and there is also a piece of the giant chain stretched between Karak├Ây and Sarayburnu by the Byzantine Empire to protect the Hali├ž against external threats. It is worth mentioning that other parts of this chain are exhibited in the Istanbul Archaeological Museums and Istanbul Harbiye Military Museum.

Anatolian Fortress Museum

Istanbul Anadolu Hisar─▒ Museum - ┬ę Photo: nexus 7 / Shutterstock┬á
Istanbul Anadolu Hisar─▒ Museum – ┬ę Photo: nexus 7 / Shutterstock┬á

Anadolu Hisar─▒, also known as G├╝zelce Hisar, located on the Anatolian Side of the Bosphorus, was built in 1393 by order of Sultan Y─▒ld─▒r─▒m Bayezit on the ruins of an ancient temple dedicated to Zeus. The castle, consisting of 25-metre-high walls on a minimal area of 7000 square metres, is considered the oldest Turkish architectural structure in Istanbul.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to visit the historic castle, which is located within the borders of the Beykoz district and has the status of an open-air museum. You can only explore the outer walls on the road passing around it.

Anadolu Hisar─▒ should not be confused with the Rumeli Hisar─▒, built years later on the opposite side of the European side by the order of Mehmet the Conqueror.

Galata Mevlevi House Museum

Istanbul Galata Mevlevihanesi Museum - Photo: Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock
Istanbul Galata Mevlevihanesi Museum – Photo: Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock

Built-in 1491 by Iskender Pasha on land known as the Monastery of St Theodore during the Byzantine Empire and operating as a tekke, the Galata Mevlevihanesi (Kulekap─▒ Mevlevihanesi) was used for various purposes for some time after its activities were terminated by a law enacted in 1925, and made important contributions to Mevlevi culture, traditions, music and science.

Located at one end of ─░stiklal Avenue in the district of Beyo─člu, the building was opened to visitors in 1975 as the Museum of Turkish Literature, but in 2011 it was reorganised as the Galata Mevlevihanesi Museum and transformed into a museum reflecting the culture and art of its time.

Panorama 1453 History Museum

Istanbul Panorama 1453 History Museum 
Istanbul Panorama 1453 History Museum 

Panorama 1453 History Museum, which was created in 2008 by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality in the Zeytinburnu district of Zeytinburnu when the area formerly known as Trakya Bus Station was organised as Topkap─▒ Cultural Park; 2 thousand 350 square metres in size, it welcomes its visitors as a simulation museum that symbolises the conquest of Istanbul in a huge 360-degree picture drawn by eight artists. Consisting of 10 thousand figures, the work is accompanied by cannon carriages, gunpowder barrels used during the conquest, and the siege sounds.

The museum’s location, which has the title of “the world’s first full panoramic museum,” is historically significant as it is next to the first gate where Fatih Sultan Mehmet entered the city after conquering Istanbul.

Tekfur Palace Museum

Istanbul Tekfur Palace Museum -  Photo: Photo Oz / Shutterstock
Istanbul Tekfur Palace Museum –┬á Photo: Photo Oz / Shutterstock

Tekfur Palace Museum, which emerged with the restoration of the only surviving structure from the Blaherna Palace, the main residence palace of the Byzantine Empire, (Porphyrogenitus Palace), has a great historical significance. However, today it is dedicated chiefly to tile art.

The palace, which was badly damaged during the conquest of Istanbul, was used as a zoo and ceramic workshop for a while after the conquest but was later abandoned to its fate. With its three remaining floors, walls, roofs, balconies and courtyard, it has undergone a major restoration recently and opened as a tile museum.

Istanbul Aviation Museum

Istanbul Aviation Museum - ┬ę Photo: circle_15 / Shutterstock
Istanbul Aviation Museum – ┬ę Photo: circle_15 / Shutterstock

Opened in 1985 in Ye┼čilk├Ây to explain the development of civil and defence aviation in Turkey and to exhibit the development of aviation in the world, Istanbul Aviation Museum (Turkish Air Force Museum); Istanbul is one of the places to visit.

The 11.5-hectare open area of the museum consists of warplanes as well as heavy machine guns, bombs, guided missiles and cannons in the closed area. In addition, military pilot uniforms, maps, tablets, awards, personal belongings and service weapons of Turkish Air Force aviators are also exhibited in this museum.

Haydarpasa Train Station

Istanbul Haydarpasa Railway Station - Photo: Mehmet Cetin / Shutterstock
Istanbul Haydarpasa Railway Station – Photo: Mehmet Cetin / Shutterstock

First built by the Ottoman Empire N├ófia Nez├óreti (Ministry of Public Works) in 1872, Historic Haydarpa┼ča Train Station building was redesigned in 1908 by German architects Otto Ritter and Hellmuth Cuno in neoclassical style and put into service.

The historic railway station, a symbol of the Kad─▒k├Ây district on the Anatolian side of Istanbul, hosted intensive intercity and suburban train services until 2013. It is estimated that it was named after Had─▒m Haydar Pasha, who served as a vizier in the 16th century. It is also known that the Ottoman sultans prepared for their expeditions to Anatolia in Haydarpa┼ča Meadow when the station was not built.

The railway station, damaged by witnessing some unfortunate events, was last damaged by a fire in 2010 for an unknown reason. In the railway station, which lost its function within the scope of Marmaray works and remained closed for many years, the remains of the ancient city of Calcedon were found very close to the train tracks in recent years. It is planned that a part of the region will be evaluated as an archaeopark and will be opened to visitors again for High-Speed Train station.

Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

Istanbul Museum of Modern Art (Temporary Exhibition) 
Istanbul Museum of Modern Art (Temporary Exhibition) 

The Istanbul Modern Museum of Contemporary Art, which emerged from transforming a warehouse built as a dry cargo warehouse next to the Bosphorus into a museum by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (─░KSV), was opened to visitors in 2004. Aiming to shed light on Turkey’s art and cultural identity, the museum brings this world together with international art and hosts numerous exhibitions and biennials every year.

Operating since 2004, the museum, which is currently serving in its temporary building in Beyo─člu due to the complete demolition of its building in Karak├Ây with the Galataport Istanbul project, is counting the days to welcome visitors again in its modern building rebuilt in modern style within the scope of the project.

Borusan Contemporary (Haunted Mansion)

Istanbul Borusan Contemporary (Haunted Mansion) - Photo: Elena Barbaros / Shutterstock
Istanbul Borusan Contemporary (Haunted Mansion) – Photo: Elena Barbaros / Shutterstock

The Yusuf Ziya Pasha Mansion, popularly known as the Haunted Mansion due to the sounds emitted from its windows by the winds of the Bosphorus during its unfinished construction due to the First World War, is a contemporary art space that has been the head office of Borusan Holding on weekdays and a museum under the name of Borusan Contemporary on weekends since 2007.

Featuring individual artist and group exhibitions by nationally and internationally renowned curators, the museum sheds light on modern art in Turkey.

Pera Museum

Istanbul Pera Museum
Istanbul Pera Museum

Opened by the Suna and ─░nan K─▒ra├ž Foundation in 2005 in the Tepeba┼č─▒ neighbourhood of Beyo─člu district, the Pera Museum has been one of the most important modern art museums in the city ever since. The prominent historical building of the museum was built in 1983 by architect Achille Manoussos as the Bristol Hotel.

Although there are thousands of collections in the museum, which also hosts periodic exhibitions, the most remarkable work among them is the painting The Tortoise Trainer by Osman Hamdi Bey, the famous archaeologist and painter of the Ottoman Period, who also served as the first mayor of Kad─▒k├Ây and the director of the Istanbul Archaeological Museums.

santralistanbul Energy Museum

Istanbul santralistanbul Energy Museum - ┬ę Photo: tolgaildun / Shutterstock
Istanbul santralistanbul Energy Museum – ┬ę Photo: tolgaildun / Shutterstock

Located in the building of the Silahtara─ča Power Plant, which was opened in 1911 in Istanbul’s oldest industrial area, Hali├ž, santralistanbul Energy Museum has not only been an energy museum since 2007, but also been used for modern art exhibitions and cultural events in an area of 3500 square metres as an affiliate of Istanbul Bilgi University.

The first urban-scale power plant of the Ottoman Empire, it met the energy needs of Istanbul to a great extent until 1983. Today, it serves the city’s cultural heritage in its restored modern form.

Hisart Living History and Diorama Museum

Istanbul Hisart Living History and Diorama Museum 
Istanbul Hisart Living History and Diorama Museum 

Nejat ├çuhadaro─člu, who turned his passion for collecting paintings, sculptures and models at a young age into a museum, offers us military and ethnographic collections from the Ottoman period with Hisart Living History and Diorama Museum. The Diorama sections, where real events are modelled in three dimensions, take you on a journey into a living history.

Sakip Sabanci Museum

Istanbul Sakip Sabanci Museum
Istanbul Sakip Sabanci Museum

Sak─▒p Sabanc─▒ Museum is one of the most important private museums in Istanbul with world-class exhibitions in the Emirgan neighbourhood on the European side of the Bosphorus. In addition to a collection of late 19th-century Orientalist and Republican paintings, you can see rare examples of Ottoman calligraphy, magnificent vases belonging to the Sabanci family and fine antique furniture.

The museum has hosted exhibitions of important artists such as Picasso and leading contemporary figures such as Anish Kapoor. In addition to the museum, you can take a look at 150-year-old monumental trees and rare plants from around the world.

Istanbul Toy Museum

Istanbul Toy Museum - ┬ę Photo: Ilker Murat Gurer / Shutterstock
Istanbul Toy Museum – ┬ę Photo: Ilker Murat Gurer / Shutterstock

Istanbul Toy Museum, which was opened to visitors on 23 April 2005 under the leadership of poet and writer Sunay Ak─▒n in a historical mansion in the G├Âztepe district of Kad─▒k├Ây district of Istanbul, stands out with its collection of more than 4000 unique toys dating back to the 1700s.

The museum’s collections, which make a difference compared to its peers, consist of toy collectors worldwide purchasing at auctions and antique shops. Most of the toys were donated to the museum by collectors. If you have time or are passionate about toys, add it to your list of places to visit in Istanbul.

Yedikule Dungeons Museum

Istanbul Yedikule Dungeons Museum - ┬ę Photo: Viacheslav Lopatin / Shutterstock
Istanbul Yedikule Dungeons Museum – ┬ę Photo: Viacheslav Lopatin / Shutterstock

Built-in the 5th century as 4 towers during the reigns of Theodosius I and Theodosius II of the Byzantine Empire, Yedikule Dungeons (Yedikule Fortress) is actually known as the location of the most valuable gate of the empire, which is completely covered with gold and therefore known as the “Golden Gate“. After the conquest of Istanbul, Fatih Sultan Mehmet had 3 more towers built in this area, and after this time, this castle began to be known as Yedikule.

Located on the shore of the Marmara Sea at the southwesternmost point of old Istanbul, the fortress is one of the best-preserved castles from the past to the present. Today, it is known as Yedikule Dungeons because it was mainly used as a prison and treasury. In addition, Gen├ž Osman, one of the Ottoman sultans in history, was killed in these dungeons.

Yoros Castle (Genoese Castle) and Joshua Hill (Yu┼ča Hill)

Yoros Castle and Joshua Hill in Istanbul - Photo: Kenan Dikici / Shutterstock
Yoros Castle and Joshua Hill in Istanbul┬á– Photo: Kenan Dikici / Shutterstock

Located on a hill on the Anatolian shore of the Bosphorus in the Beykoz district of Istanbul, Yoros Castle (Genoese Castle) is a 500-metre-long and 60-130-metre-wide defensive fortress that stands out with its strategic position at the Black Sea’s exit.

Although the exact date of construction is unknown, the remains found point to the time of Palaiologos. It is believed that the castle walls used to go down to the waters of the Bosphorus and that there was a pier and a lighthouse here. The best evidence for this is an engraving by the British artists Walsh Robert and Allom Thomas dating from 1836.

The castle was last repaired by Y─▒ld─▒r─▒m Bayezid and Yoros Castle Masjid was built inside. Later, a bathhouse was built by Mehmed Aga, the castle manager.

Today, only the eastern side of the castle, consisting of two 20-metre-high towers and a gate, survives. This area is also known as Yusha Hazretleri Hill because it is home to a tomb dedicated to Hz. Yusha.

Florya Ataturk Sea Pavilion

Istanbul Florya Atat├╝rk Sea Mansion - ┬ę Photo: YoncaEvren / Shutterstock
Istanbul Florya Atat├╝rk Sea Mansion – ┬ę Photo: YoncaEvren / Shutterstock

Designed by Seyfi Arkan, one of the leading architects of the period, for the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atat├╝rk in 1935 upon the instruction of Istanbul Municipality, Florya Atat├╝rk Sea Mansion was used as an office for many important state affairs and invitations.

The mansion, which various statesmen also used after the death of Atat├╝rk, was recently restored and opened to visitors. However, it was abandoned to its fate due to losing the attraction of the region where it was located and the inability to clean the water.

The mansion has a bedroom, a bathroom, an extensive library and a study room. You can visit this mansion, one of the first works of the history of the Republic, to remember the photographs of Atat├╝rk swimming on the beach with the people.

Abd├╝lmecit Efendi Mansion

Istanbul Abd├╝lmecit Efendi Mansion - Photo: Birol Bali / Shutterstock
Istanbul Abd├╝lmecit Efendi Mansion – Photo: Birol Bali / Shutterstock

Built-in the 1880s as a hunting lodge by the grandson of Kavalah Mehmed All Pasha, the former Egyptian Khedive Ismail Pasha, this historical mansion, now known as Abd├╝lmecit Efendi Mansion, was first built on a 50-acre wooded area in the Nakka┼čtepe neighbourhood of ├ťsk├╝dar and later expanded with additional buildings such as a harem.

When the owners passed away, Sultan Abd├╝lhamit bought the mansion from their heirs and handed it to his nephew Abd├╝lmecit Efendi. Since then, it has been used for personal purposes by Abdulmecit Efendi, who was known for his Western views and his love of art. It was sold in 1924 with the abolition of the caliphate.

The entire mansion ownership was transferred to Yap─▒ Kredi Bank in 1972, and today, it is protected by the Ko├ž Holding Pension and Relief Fund Foundation. It also hosts important art events in the city during specific periods.

Beyazit Tower Memorial Museum

Istanbul Beyaz─▒t Tower Memorial Museum - Photo: Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock
Istanbul Beyaz─▒t Tower Memorial Museum – Photo: Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock

Beyaz─▒t Tower, also called Seraskier Tower, was built in 1828 by Sultan Mahmud II for Architect Senekerim Balyan; today, it is an 85-metre-high fire watch tower located in the main campus of Istanbul University. Initially built as a wooden tower in 1749, it was destroyed in a fire.

The tower is one of the most beautiful examples of Neo-Ottoman architecture. Today, when it gets dark, each tower colour indicates the weather in Istanbul the next day. When it is blue, it suggests that tomorrow will be clear; when it is green, it will be rainy; when it is yellow, it will be foggy; and when it is red, it will be snowy.

Accessible after 180 steps, the observation terrace is not open for touristic purposes today and can only be visited with special permits.

Cemberlitas Burnt Column (Constantine Column)

Istanbul Cemberlitas Column (Column of Constantine) - ┬ę Photo: Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality
Istanbul Cemberlitas Column (Column of Constantine) – ┬ę Photo: Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality

Erected in 330 by Constantinople to commemorate Constantinople becoming the new capital of the Roman Empire, the Circumblitas Column is one of the most important parts of the Forum Constantine Square project in the region. Brought from the Apollo Palatinus Temple in Rome, this 57-metre-long column consists of stacked cylinders with a diameter of 3 metres, each weighing 3 tonnes.

The statue of the mythological god Apollon greeting the rising sun at the summit of the column was later replaced by a statue of himself by Emperor Constantine. The later Byzantine emperors Julianus and Theodosius also removed and replaced the earlier statues with their own. In 1107, during the reign of Alexios I, a large cross was placed on the column after a great storm destroyed the last statue. After the conquest of Istanbul, this cross was also removed.

Column of Constantine became known as the Burnt Column after a fire in 1779 during the Ottoman period. You can still visit the column, which has undergone various restorations in every period, in the ├çemberlita┼č neighbourhood between Sultanahmet and Beyaz─▒t.

Serpent Column

Istanbul Serpent Column - Photograph: Istanbul Historic Areas Presidency
Istanbul Serpent Column – Photograph: Istanbul Historic Areas Presidency

The Serpent Column, a giant pillar coiled by three giant snakes, was first erected in the Delphi Temple of Apollo in 479 BC to commemorate the victory of the Greeks over the Persian Empire in the Battle of Plataea, and in 324 it was brought to Istanbul by Emperor Constantine to be placed in the Hippodrome of Constantinople, now known as Atmeydan─▒.

At the top of the bronze column, which is made of Persian weapon and shield parts, there is a golden cauldron that does not extinguish the fire, but this cauldron was melted down later to meet the war expenses. One of the 3 snake heads on the top of the column, which reaches a height of 8 metres with the cauldron, is in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum and the other is in the London British Museum. The third snake head of the column, which is believed to protect the city from snake and insect attacks, is unknown. In addition, 29 holes in the base of the column indicate that it was also used as a fountain during the Byzantine Period.

It is said that half of the column, of which only 5 metres remain today, was buried underground during the construction of the Sultanahmet Mosque.

Yildiz Palace

Istanbul Y─▒ld─▒z Palace - Photo: Alaa Kharrat / Shutterstock
Istanbul Y─▒ld─▒z Palace – Photo: Alaa Kharrat / Shutterstock

Yildiz Palace, built by Sultan Selim III for his mother, Mihri┼čah Sultan and later used as the main palace of the empire during the reign of Abdulhamid II, later became a palace complex with mansions, annexes and parks rising around it. The area also includes the Yildiz Clock Tower and the Yildiz Mosque.

The pavilion, which was looted and damaged during the events known as the 31 March Incident in 1909 when the people dethroned Sultan Abd├╝lhamit, can be visited today together with the surrounding Y─▒ld─▒z ┼×ale Mansion and other buildings.

Yildiz Park and Pavilions

Istanbul Yıldız Park - Photo: Kamil Kalkan / Unsplash 
Istanbul┬áY─▒ld─▒z Park – Photo: Kamil Kalkan / Unsplash┬á

Yildiz Park, which is not very popular although it is one of the largest green areas remaining at a point of the Bosphorus intertwined with the city, has been a forest of the Byzantine Period, a hunting spot of Suleiman the Magnificent‘s period, the backyard of ├ç─▒ra─čan Palace and the outer grove of Y─▒ld─▒z Palace, and has reached the present day without losing its function as a green area throughout history.

Built-in the 19th century by Sultan Selim III, Yildiz Palace was named Yildiz Park after the construction of Yildiz Palace. Two historical mansions, Tent Pavilion and Malta Pavilion, are in the park. If you have time, we recommend adding it to your list of Istanbul places to visit.

Hagia Irene Church Museum

Hagia Irene Church Museum in Istanbul - ┬ę Photo: milosk50 / Shutterstock
Hagia Irene Church Museum in Istanbul – ┬ę Photo: milosk50 / Shutterstock

Located next to Ayasofia, in the outer courtyard of Topkapi Palace, Hagia Irene is one of the most important Orthodox churches that was not converted into a mosque after the conquest of Istanbul. Today, it is the city’s foremost acoustic concert hall and museum, and its name means “Holy Peace” in Greek.

Although it is not known exactly when it was built, some sources indicate that the church was built in the 4th century AD by Byzantine Emperor Constantine I. After a fire, it was renovated by Justinian I with typical Byzantine architecture.

Until 1826, the church was used as an armoury by the warrior army of the Ottoman Empire; the Nenissaries and stairs were added inside the church, and an inscription was added to the entrance door. From the early 19th century onwards, Hagia Irene became a museum where old weapons were exhibited. Although it lost popularity in the 20th century due to long restoration works, it still preserves its historical importance.

In addition to visiting Hagia Irene as a museum, we strongly recommend you attend the concerts organised occasionally.

Ciragan Palace

Istanbul Ciragan Palace - Photo: Gary Yang / Unsplash
Istanbul Ciragan Palace – Photo: Gary Yang / Unsplash

The ├ç─▒ra─čan Palace, built by Sultan Abd├╝l├óziz to Architect Sarkis Balyan in the area known as Kazanc─▒o─člu Gardens, on which a building was constantly rising and collapsing, is one of the most valuable palaces on the Istanbul Bosphorus, the construction of which was completed in 1871 and 400,000 Ottoman liras were spent on its construction. In 1909, the palace, which served as the Assembly of Parliament Building, was completely burnt down in a big fire one year later.

Bizo Barracks by the French during World War I, the palace was bought by a Japanese company in 1987 and renamed ├ç─▒ra─čan Palace Hotel. Today, it is operated by the world-famous luxury Kempinski Hotel chain.

Kucuksu Pavilion

Istanbul K├╝├ž├╝ksu Pavilion - Photo: Alp Aksoy / Shutterstock
Istanbul K├╝├ž├╝ksu Pavilion – Photo: Alp Aksoy / Shutterstock

Built in 1856 by Sultan Abd├╝lmecit for Architect Nigo─čos Balyan, K├╝├ž├╝k>K├╝├ž├╝ksu Pavilion (G├Âksu Pavilion) is a nine-room Ottoman mansion on the Asian shore of the Istanbul Bosphorus. It was generally used for the sultans to rest during their travels around the country. After the proclamation of the Republic, the palace was used by Mustafa Kemal Atat├╝rk from time to time, and today it is open to visitors as a museum.

Molla Zeyrek Mosque (Monastery of Christ Pantocrator)

Istanbul Molla Zeyrek Mosque - ┬ę Photo: Autobahn / Shutterstock
Istanbul Molla Zeyrek Mosque – ┬ę Photo: Autobahn / Shutterstock

Built-in 1118-1136 as the Monastery of Christ Pantocrator on the Golden Horn, Molla Zeyrek Mosque was a significant monastery complex with a hospital during the Byzantine period. It was converted into a madrasah and mosque by Zeyrek Mehmed Efendi after the conquest of Istanbul in 1453.

When it was first built, it was known as Istanbul’s most important religious centre after Hagia Sophia. The historical building, which has undergone many restorations, exhibits Byzantine architecture’s most apparent characteristic features. It also bears traces of Ottoman architecture, including the additions made when it was converted into a mosque.

Today, Molla Zeyrek Mosque, which is located in the Zeyrek neighbourhood of the Fatih district of Fatih and consists of two churches with a chapel between them, stands out together with the nearby Zeyrek Cistern, the 3rd largest cistern in Istanbul. The restoration works of the cistern are still ongoing.

German Fountain

German Fountain in Istanbul - ┬ę Photo: Victor Jiang / Shutterstock
German Fountain in Istanbul – ┬ę Photo: Victor Jiang / Shutterstock

Located in the centre of Istanbul, north of the old hippodrome, now known as Sultanahmet Square, the German Fountain is one of the most beautiful monuments in Istanbul. It bears traces of German Neo-Renaissance and Ottoman architecture.

This fountain, commissioned by German architects Spitta, Schoele and Carlitzik and Italian architect Anthony as a gift to Sultan Abd├╝lhamid during his visit to the Ottoman Empire in 1898, is the most important symbol of the close relations between the Ottoman Empire and Germany in the early 20th century. The fountain, which was manufactured in Germany, was brought to Istanbul in pieces and assembled.

Rumeli Lighthouse Artillery Fortress

Istanbul Rumeli Feneri Artillery Fortress - ┬ę Photo: Ahmet Sali / Unsplash
Istanbul Rumeli Feneri Artillery Fortress – ┬ę Photo: Ahmet Sali / Unsplash

Rumeli Feneri Artillery Castle, also known as Rumeli Feneri Castle, is a historical castle located in Rumeli Feneri Village in Sar─▒yer, at a strategic point where the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea meet in the north of the European Side of Istanbul, and is one of the day trip attractions in Istanbul.

It is not known exactly when it was built, but a few sources indicate that it was built in the 15th century by the Byzantines and the Genoese. Most historical sources indicate that it was built around 1769 by an anonymous Greek engineer on behalf of the Ottoman Empire.

Today, you can visit the historic castle, which has not undergone any restoration and is abandoned to its fate, free of charge and stay alone with nature accompanied by the raging waves of the Black Sea.

Aya Yorgi Fener Greek Patriarchate Church

Istanbul Aya Yorgi Fener Greek Patriarchate Church - ┬ę Photo: Lepneva Irina / Shutterstock
Istanbul Aya Yorgi Fener Greek Patriarchate Church – ┬ę Photo: Lepneva Irina / Shutterstock

Aya Yorgi (St. George) Church of the Fener Greek Patriarchate in Fatih district, also known as the Ecumenical Patriarchate, is considered the spiritual capital of Orthodox Christians. Dating back to the 6th century, the church belonged to the Archbishop of Constantinople before Istanbul was conquered and was the most important religious centre worldwide in the Byzantine Period.

After the conquest of Istanbul in 1453, Fatih Sultan Mehmet issued an edict regulating the lifestyles of non-Muslim communities. Today, the patriarchate, including the library and other official departments, attracts a lot of attention due to its historical importance and texture.

Bulgarian Sveti Stefan Church (Iron Church)

St Stefan Bulgarian Orthodox Church (Iron Church) in Istanbul - Photo: Mitzo / Shutterstock
St Stefan Bulgarian Orthodox Church (Iron Church) in Istanbul – Photo: Mitzo / Shutterstock

The Bulgarian Sveti Stefan Church, also known as the Iron Church because it was built entirely of cast iron, stands out with its Art Nouveau-style architecture on the shore of the Hali├ž in the Balat neighbourhood. Originally consecrated in 1849 and wooden, the church was rebuilt from cast iron after a fire at the end of the 19th century to avoid a similar problem.

The construction of the church was completed in 1898, as nationalist Bulgarians wanted to separate from the nearby Greek-dominated Fener Orthodox Patriarchate.

Aya Triada Greek Orthodox Church

Aya Triada Greek Orthodox Church in Istanbul - ┬ę Photo: Mitzo / Shutterstock
Aya Triada Greek Orthodox Church in Istanbul – ┬ę Photo: Mitzo / Shutterstock

Known as the largest Greek Orthodox church in Istanbul, the Greek Orthodox Church of Aya Triada (Hagia Triada) in Taksim Square was built between 1876 and 1880 on a former Greek hospital and cemetery site.

The historic church, which has survived to the present day, was attempted to be looted in 1955 and set on fire with kerosene. After this attack, which was prevented before it spread too far, the priests decided not to clean the blackened areas during the attack in order not to forget this incident.

Although it is closed to visitors today, it can be visited with special permits. It is also used for rituals by Orthodox communities living in the region.

Million Stone

Istanbul Million Stone - Photo: Marek Poplawski / Shutterstock 
Istanbul Million Stone – Photo: Marek Poplawski / Shutterstock┬á

The Million Stone, known by different names such as Milius, Milion and Miliarius, is a marble column in the centre of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, and is estimated to have been built in the 4th century. Like the Milliarium Aureum in Rome, the length of all roads leading to the empire was once measured concerning this pillar at ground zero.

It was discovered during excavations near Hagia Sophia in the 1960s and is now exhibited in the south courtyard of Hagia Sophia, near the Bathedral Cistern.

Maslak Pavilions

Istanbul Maslak Pavilions - Photo: kaanturker / Shutterstock
Istanbul Maslak Pavilions – Photo: kaanturker / Shutterstock

Located on the edge of a motorway in Sar─▒yer, north of Istanbul’s city centre, Maslak Pavilions date back to the 19th century, when Sultan Mahmud II built the first structures in the area. Later, Sultan Abd├╝laziz and Sultan Abd├╝lhamid II used these historical mansions to treat soldiers suffering from tuberculosis from 1937 to 1982 after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

Restored in 1984, the pavilions are now open to visitors as museums under the National Palaces. These historical mansions called Maslak Pavilions consist of Kasr-─▒ H├╝m├óy├╗n, A─čalar Dairesi, Limonluk, M├óbeyn-i H├╝m├óy├╗n, ├çad─▒r K├Â┼čk├╝ and a garden.

Fatih Mosque and Tomb of Fatih Sultan Mehmet

Istanbul Fatih Mosque and Tomb of Fatih Sultan Mehmet - ┬ę Photo: aslan ozcan / Shutterstock┬á
Istanbul Fatih Mosque and Tomb of Fatih Sultan Mehmet – ┬ę Photo: aslan ozcan / Shutterstock┬á

Fatih Mosque, which was built 10 years after the conquest of Istanbul by the order of Fatih Sultan Mehmet on the hill rumoured to be the hill where Byzantine emperors were buried as Havariyyun Church during the time of the Byzantine Empire, is one of the largest mosques in Istanbul, which is still standing today. However, it has undergone many destructions and restorations.

Initially designed by Sina├╝ddin Yusuf bin Abdullah, known as Atik Sinan, the mosque was later modified by Mimar Mehmed Tahir Aga. The first Turkish call to prayer in the history of the Republic of Turkey was recited in this mosque in 1932. The tomb of Fatih Sultan Mehmet is also next to the mosque.

Sehzade Mosque

Istanbul ┼×ehzade Mosque - Photo: stoimilov / Shutterstock
Istanbul ┼×ehzade Mosque – Photo: stoimilov / Shutterstock

┼×ehzade Mosque (┼×ehzadeba┼č─▒ Mosque) built by Mimar Sinan on one of the seven hills of Istanbul to commemorate ┼×ehzade Mehmed, the favourite son of Kanuni Sultan S├╝leyman by H├╝rrem Sultan, who died at the age of 21; (┼×ehzadeba┼č─▒ Mosque) is one of the most famous mosques, the construction of which was completed in 1548 and which Mimar Sinan described as “My apprenticeship work”.

In its courtyard is the tomb of ┼×ehzade Mehmed, two madrasas, an imaret and a caravanserai. His only daughter H├╝ma┼čah and his youngest brother Cihangir are also buried here.

Fethiye Mosque (Pammakaristos Church)

Istanbul Fethiye Mosque (Pammakaristos Church) - Photo: Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock
Istanbul Fethiye Mosque (Pammakaristos Church) – Photo: Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock

13. Fethiye Mosque (Theotokos Pamakaristos Monastery), built as a church by Mihail Glabas Tarkaniotes, a prominent figure of the Byzantine Empire, in the late 13th century and converted into a mosque in 1601; It is one of the most famous Greek Orthodox churches in Istanbul dating from the Byzantine period.

Although it was converted into a museum after the proclamation of the Republic, it was reopened as a mosque in the 1960s and contains the largest Byzantine mosaic in Istanbul after Hagia Sophia and Kariye.

Little Hagia Sophia Mosque

Istanbul Little Hagia Sophia Mosque - Photo: YusufAslan / Shutterstock 
Istanbul Little Hagia Sophia Mosque – Photo: YusufAslan / Shutterstock┬á

Built as a church between 527-536 by Justinian I and his wife Theodora during the Byzantine period, Small Hagia Sophia Mosque (Sergios and Bakhos Church) was converted into a mosque in 1497 during the reign of Sultan Beyaz─▒t II.

Today, the mosque, which draws attention with its resemblance to the Hagia Sophia on the coast of the Marmara Sea in the south of the historical peninsula of Istanbul, takes its original name from the saints who helped the emperor Justinian I prove his innocence when he was accused of treason.

Neve Shalom Synagogue and 500th Year Foundation Turkish Jews Museum

Istanbul Neve Shalom Synagogue and 500th Year Foundation Turkish Jews Museum
Istanbul Neve Shalom Synagogue and 500th Year Foundation Turkish Jews Museum

The Neve Shalom Synagogue in Galata, which opened for worship in 1951 and is the largest active synagogue in Istanbul, was built in response to the growing Jewish population in Istanbul. The synagogue was severely damaged by terrorist attacks in 1986, 1992 and 2003, and the 500th Year Foundation Turkish Jews Museum, which contains collections ranging from Torah scrolls to wedding attire, from military items to Jewish recipes, is located next to the synagogue.

Grand Valide Han Dome

A cat on the Dome of the Grand Valide Han in Istanbul - ┬ę Photo: Burak Budak / Shutterstock┬á
A cat on the Dome of the Grand Valide Han in Istanbul – ┬ę Photo: Burak Budak / Shutterstock┬á

The B├╝y├╝k Valide Han, frequented by merchants and craftsmen for more than 350 years during the Ottoman Period, was built by K├Âsem Sultan in 1650 with its 3 courtyards and 210 rooms.

The textile workshops are still produced in the usable rooms of the inn, most of which are unusable because they have been left unattended for a long time. The passage was once used to store goods from the East and Europe on wooden ships moored in the Hali├ž.

Located in the busiest commercial centre of the historical peninsula, B├╝y├╝k Valide Han‘s most striking feature is its dome on the top floor. One of Istanbul’s mysterious viewpoints, it offers a wide panorama of Istanbul, from the Hali├ž to the Bosphorus.

Nowadays, the roof is also very popular with tourists, and the tradition of taking photos by jumping on it has endangered this neglected historical dome. It was also recently used as one of the historical film locations in the Skyfall episode of the James Bond series, filmed in Istanbul.

Ataturk Arboretum (Botanical Garden)

Istanbul Atat├╝rk Arboretum (Botanical Garden) - Photo: Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock
Istanbul Atat├╝rk Arboretum (Botanical Garden) – Photo: Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock

The Atat├╝rk Arboretum, which covers an area of 345 hectares in the Belgrad Forests on the European Side of Istanbul, close to Bah├žek├Ây, is a living botanical garden with trees, lakes, dams and over 2000 species of plant and animal habitats.

Opened in 1982 to commemorate the 100th birthday of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the arboretum is also used for scientific studies by Istanbul University Faculty of Forestry s Faculty of Forestry.

The botanical garden, which is very popular today, is the scene of a magnificent colour riot, especially during seasonal transitions. For this reason, it has become increasingly popular on the internet and is important among Istanbul places to visit.

Belgrade Forests

Belgrade Forests in Istanbul - ┬ę Photo: Resul Muslu / Shutterstock
Belgrade Forests in Istanbul – ┬ę Photo: Resul Muslu / Shutterstock

Located in the north of Istanbul, on a huge area of 5,442 hectares extending to the coast of Black Sea, Belgrad Forests is one of the largest sources of oxygen and water in Istanbul. Although some parts are now open to the public as promenade areas, most of them are under protection.

It was named after Serbian citizens that Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent brought with him after his conquest of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, in 1521.

The prominent places in Belgrad Forests, which are among the places to visit in Istanbul: Atat├╝rk Arboretum, Fatih Forest, Kirazl─▒bent Picnic Area, Bentler Nature Park, Ne┼četsuyu Nature Park, Falih R─▒fk─▒ Atay Nature Park, Ayvat Bendi National Park, K├Âm├╝rc├╝ Bendi National Park, Irmak Recreation Area, ├çatalme┼če Recreation Area, Fatih Fountain Nature Park and St. George Anglican Church ruins.

Ataturk City Forest

Istanbul Atat├╝rk City Forest - ┬ę Photo: Fatih ├ľzdemir / Wirestock
Istanbul Atat├╝rk City Forest – ┬ę Photo: Fatih ├ľzdemir / Wirestock

Hac─▒osman Grove, a 1000-acre forested area consisting of 3 ponds close to the city centre of Istanbul, which remained idle for years as Hac─▒osman Grove, was landscaped by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality in 2020 and turned into a modern urban forest and opened to the public under the name Atat├╝rk City Forest.

The Atat├╝rk City Forest, which includes many points such as walking paths, observation terraces, lakes, playgrounds, open-air show centre and recreation areas, is very popular because it is integrated into the last station of the M2 Yenikap─▒-Hac─▒osman Metro, the busiest metro line of Istanbul, in Hac─▒osman. It is also possible to enter the forest from other gates in the Derbent, Ferahevler and Dar├╝┼č┼čafaka neighbourhoods of Sar─▒yer district.

Nakka┼čtepe National Garden

Istanbul Nakka┼čtepe National Garden - ┬ę Photo: nurten erdal / Shutterstock
Istanbul Nakka┼čtepe National Garden – ┬ę Photo: nurten erdal / Shutterstock

A 50 thousand square metre military forest area located at a point overlooking the Istanbul Bosphorus in the ├ťsk├╝dar district of Istanbul; In 2018, with the slogan “Istanbul’s New Balcony“, it was organised by ├ťsk├╝dar Municipality and opened to the public under the name Nakka┼čtepe National Garden.

The city park, which includes walking paths and observation terraces, also serves as a recreation area with a capacity of 2500 people with 250 picnic tables. There is also a Zipline track in the garden, which you can use with the view of the Bosphorus. These features draw attention to places to visit in ├ťsk├╝dar.

Fatih Grove

Fatih Grove in Istanbul - Photo: Hueseyin Bas / Shutterstock
Fatih Grove in Istanbul – Photo: Hueseyin Bas┬á/ Shutterstock

Located on a hill overlooking the Istanbul Bosphorus in the Ota─čtepe neighbourhood of Beykoz district on the Asian continent of Istanbul, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge is a 150,000 square metre natural park and walking area where you can watch the magnificent view of Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge and Istanbul Bosphorus. It is also one of the top places to visit in Beykoz.

The park, which was last given to the TEMA Foundation in 1995 and completely renovated with the financial support of the Vehbi Ko├ž Foundation, was known as Fatih Grove TEMA Vehbi Ko├ž Nature Culture Centre during this period and was transferred back to the General Directorate of Highways in 2013. It is still open to visitors today.

Fethipasa Grove

Fethipa┼ča Grove in Istanbul - ┬ę Photo: Gokhan Dogan / Shutterstock┬á
Fethipa┼ča Grove in Istanbul – ┬ę Photo: Gokhan Dogan / Shutterstock┬á

Fethipa┼ča Grove, which covers a steep forested area of 135 thousand square metres between Kuzguncuk, Pa┼čaliman─▒ and Sultantepe neighbourhoods of ├ťsk├╝dar district in one of the most strategic points of Istanbul Bosphorus, is known as one of the best breathing points of the city as it is located at a very accessible point of Anadolu Side.

The grove was also known as the Mocan Grove for a while, as the last heir of the land was donated to the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality by the lawyer ┼×evket Mocan.

The most striking points of the grove, including walking paths, playgrounds and sports fields, are the wooden observation terraces offering very special views of the Istanbul Bosphorus. In two historic mansions in the grove, there are social facilities operated by BELTUR, one of the subsidiary companies of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.

Emirgan Grove

Istanbul Emirgan Korusu - Photo: epic_images / Shutterstock
Istanbul┬áEmirgan Korusu –┬áPhoto: epic_images / Shutterstock

Emirgan Grove, one of the largest public parks in Istanbul and once known as Feridun Gardens, is a 47.2-hectare historical park located in Sar─▒yer district on the European side of the Bosphorus.

In 1871-1878, 3 mansions named Yellow Pavilion, Pink Pavilion and White Pavilion were built in the grove. In 1940, it has been open to the public since the period of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Mayor L├╝tf├╝ K─▒rdar.

Gulhane Park

Istanbul Gulhane Park - ┬ę Photo: Kochneva Tetyana / Shutterstock
Istanbul Gulhane Park – ┬ę Photo: Kochneva Tetyana / Shutterstock

The 163-acre G├╝lhane Park, which was used as the outer garden of Topkapi Palace during the Ottoman Empire, is now open to visitors as a public park and is one of the top places to visit in Istanbul. It extends from the area known as Alay Mansion to Sarayburnu Beach.

The Tanzimat Edict, an important step of democracy in Turkish history, was read in this park in 1839 by Mustafa Re┼čit Pasha, Minister of Foreign Affairs during the reign of Abd├╝lmecit. The first statue of Mustafa Kemal Atat├╝rk, erected in 1926 after the proclamation of the republic, is also located at the Sarayburnu Coast at the end of the park. In addition, the Latin alphabet of Turkish was introduced to the public for the first time in this park in 1928 by Mustafa Kemal Atat├╝rk.

Nezahat Gokyigit Botanical Garden

Istanbul Nezahat G├Âkyi─čit Botanical Garden - ┬ę Photo: Rugged Studio / Shutterstock
Istanbul Nezahat G├Âkyi─čit Botanical Garden – ┬ę Photo: Rugged Studio / Shutterstock

Located in Ata┼čehir at the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge and Anadolu Motorway Junction, Nezahat G├Âkyi─čit Botanical Garden (NGBB) serves as an alternative breathing point for Istanbulites as well as a research, education and training centre.

Founded in 2003 by Nihat G├Âkyi─čit on behalf of his wife Nezahat G├Âkyi─čit. The botanical garden, consisting of 8 different islands connected to each other by tunnels squeezed between the motorway, aims to protect biodiversity in general and plant diversity in particular, while raising awareness about the vital importance of plants.

Ma├žka Democracy Park

Istanbul┬áMa├žka Democracy Park -┬áPhoto: Lepneva Irina / Shutterstock┬á
Istanbul┬áMa├žka Democracy Park –┬áPhoto: Lepneva Irina / Shutterstock┬á

Ma├žka Democracy Park, located on an area of 156,671 square metres between Harbiye Congress Valley, also known as Kad─▒rgalar Valley, and Ni┼čanta┼č─▒ neighbourhood, is one of the most popular public parks in Istanbul in terms of both vegetation and location. The Ma├žka-Ta┼čk─▒┼čla Cable Car Line with line code TF1 also passes over the park.

Lake Terkos (Lake Durusu)

Istanbul Terkos Lake (Durusu) - ┬ę Photo: Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock
Istanbul Terkos Lake (Durusu) – ┬ę Photo: Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock

Terkos Lake (Durusu Lake) covers an area of 25 square kilometres and is surrounded by forested areas on the Black Sea coast of Istanbul. In addition to meeting Istanbul’s daily water needs, it also offers Istanbulites the opportunity to relax and breathe. It is also an important place among the places to visit close to Istanbul.

The deepest point of the freshwater lake, also fed by fresh water from the Istranca River, was 11 metres. Although motorised boat tours are not allowed due to the lake’s shallowness, there are rental boats where you can row.

The history of Terkos Village, which has the same name as the lake, dates back to the 1000s. The village’s name is said to come from the Trikos Monastery, which is inside the ruins of a castle known to have been built by the Cenevizers. The area’s habitat is also home to many wild animals and fish species.

Florya, G├╝ne┼č and Menekse Beaches

Istanbul Florya Sun and Violet Beaches - ┬ę Photo: yilmazsavaskandag / Shutterstock┬á
Istanbul Florya Sun and Violet Beaches – ┬ę Photo: yilmazsavaskandag / Shutterstock┬á

G├╝ne┼č and Menek┼če Beaches in Florya, one of the oldest beaches in Istanbul, meet the daily holiday needs of the people due to their proximity to the city centre and ease of access by public transport.

G├╝ne┼č Beach, which is operated by BELTUR, one of the subsidiary companies of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, in the Florya region, offers a paid alternative, while Menek┼če Beach, a little further away, serves as a public beach free of charge. The mansion in the classic photographs of Atat├╝rk swimming in the sea with the public is the Atat├╝rk Mansion in this region. For this reason, these beaches are also historically significant.

Aydos Castle

Istanbul Aydos Castle - ┬ę Photo: aydinsertbas / Shutterstock
Istanbul Aydos Castle – ┬ę Photo: aydinsertbas / Shutterstock

Aydos Castle, located north of Mount Aydos at the intersection of Kartal and Sultanbeyli districts in Istanbul, is known to have been built towards the end of the 11th and 12th centuries to strengthen the defences of the Ottoman Empire against the Byzantines after their victory in the Malazgirt War.

The castle, abandoned to its fate because it no longer has a strategic importance, is still being restored, and archaeological studies continue today. Even if you cannot visit the castle, you can breathe in the Aydos Forest, the only large green area of the surrounding area.

Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge

Istanbul Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge - Photo: Abed Mously / Unsplash
Istanbul┬áFatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge –┬áPhoto: Abed Mously / Unsplash

The Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge between Hisar├╝st├╝ and Kavac─▒k, also known as the Second Bosphorus Bridge, is a 1,510-metre-long suspension bridge connecting the continents of Europe and Asia in the Bosphorus. Inaugurated in 1988 during the government of Turgut ├ľzal, it was also one of the longest suspension bridges in the world at that time.

15 July Martyrs Bridge (Bosphorus Bridge)

Istanbul 15 July Martyrs Bridge (Bosphorus Bridge) - ┬ę Photo: Osman K├Âyc├╝ / Unsplash┬á
Istanbul 15 July Martyrs Bridge (Bosphorus Bridge) – ┬ę Photo: Osman K├Âyc├╝ / Unsplash┬á

The 15 July Martyrs’ Bridge (Formerly Bosphorus Bridge) between the Ortak├Ây and Beylerbeyi districts is the first suspension bridge built across the Bosphorus. It is 1,560 metres long and connects the continents of Europe and Asia for the first time in the Bosphorus. Opened in 1973 by then-president Fahri Korut├╝rk, it is also one of the longest suspension bridges in the world.

Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge

Istanbul Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge - ┬ę Photo: Engin Eselioglu / Unsplash
Istanbul Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge – ┬ę Photo: Engin Eselioglu / Unsplash

The Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, built north of the Bosphorus for the passage of railway and motor vehicles, connects the North Marmara Motorway on the European and Anadolu sides as an alternative to the North Marmara Motorway.

The structure, also known as the Third Bosphorus Bridge, is the third bridge built across the Bosphorus. It is 59 metres wide, 1,408 metres long, and 322 metres high. Due to these features, it has the titles of the world’s widest suspension bridge, the world’s longest railway suspension bridge, and the world’s tallest tower suspension bridge.

Veliefendi Hippodrome

Istanbul Veliefendi Racecourse - ┬ę Photo: Mehmet Cetin / Shutterstock
Istanbul Veliefendi Hippodrome – ┬ę Photo: Mehmet Cetin / Shutterstock

Velief>Veliefendi Hippodrome, built on a promenade area that was highly valued in the Ottoman Period at the intersection of Zeytinburnu and Bak─▒rk├Ây districts in Istanbul, has been considered the most critical horse racing sports facility in Turkey since its opening in 1913.

The facility on 596.000 square metres of land under the management of Turkey Jockey Club includes administrative buildings, a racehorse hospital, training centres, a souvenir shop, museum and exhibition areas, a picnic area, a playground, a cafeteria and a car park.

Suleiman the Magnificent Bridge

Istanbul Suleiman the Magnificent Bridge
Istanbul Suleiman the Magnificent Bridge

The 636-metre-long Kanuni Sultan S├╝leyman Bridge, built in 1567 by Mimar Sinan on the order of Kanuni Sultan S├╝leyman on the trade route connecting Istanbul to Europe, is located at the junction of B├╝y├╝k├žekmece Lake with the Marmara Sea.

The construction of this historic bridge, which was built by Kanuni Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent to enable his army to pass more quickly over the lake while going on the Zigetvar Expedition, where he lost his life, was completed during the reign of his son Selim II.

The 4 separate sections and 28 arches of the bridge, which Mimar Sinan described as “It is my masterpiece among my works”, are still standing today and can be visited on Buyukcekmece Lake.

Historic Taksim Tunnel Funicular Line

Istanbul Historic Taksim Tunnel Funicular Line - Photo: Koraysa / Shutterstock
Istanbul┬áHistoric Taksim Tunnel Funicular Line –┬áPhoto: Koraysa / Shutterstock

F2 Karak├Ây – Beyo─člu Tunnel Funicular Line, also known as Taksim Tunnel, is the second oldest underground railway system in the world after the London Underground and dates back to Eug├Ęne-Henri Gavand, a French engineer who came to Istanbul as a tourist in 1867.

During his visit, the engineer saw that people were struggling with the steep slope on the street known as Yuksek Kaldirimlar Street; he returned to France and drew the Tunnel project he had designed for this region in his head and returned to Istanbul in 1868 and presented his project to Sultan Abd├╝laziz.

After receiving approval from Sultan Abd├╝laziz, engineer Gavand hopes to find a financial source from France to start the project but cannot take this step due to the Prussian occupation of France. The engineer then travelled to the United Kingdom, where he found a source of funding for the project, established his company and started the project. The funicular line was opened on 17 January 1875. Some sources also say that the engineer did not attend the opening ceremony.

The funicular line, which has a fascinating history, still connects Karak├Ây and ┼×i┼čhane neighbourhoods with its historical vehicles. We strongly recommend you add this place to your list of Istanbul places to visit.

Galataport Istanbul

Galataport ─░stanbul
Galataport ─░stanbul

Galataport Istanbul, which forms a 1.2-kilometre coastline stretching between Karak├Ây-F─▒nd─▒kl─▒ in the district of Beyo─člu at a central point that can be considered as the entrance to the Bosphorus, as a life centre project consisting of a cruise port, an ultra-luxury hotel and hundreds of shops, restaurants and offices for every need, it manages to be among the places to visit in Istanbul.

For more than 200 years, the historic Galata Harbour, the oldest and the only major harbour of Istanbul, has been transformed into a modern living space now open to the public. Here, you can enjoy the view of the Bosphorus and see giant ships from all over the world.

Bagdat Street

Istanbul Bagdat Street - ┬ę Photo: Lepneva Irina / Shutterstock
Istanbul Bagdat Street – ┬ę Photo: Lepneva Irina / Shutterstock

Stretching for 14 kilometres along the Anatolian Side of Istanbul between the districts of Kiziltoprak in Kad─▒k├Ây and Cevizli in Kartal, Baghdad Street is one of the two most famous streets of Istanbul, with hundreds of famous and luxury clothing, accessories and cosmetics stores lined up one after the other. The busiest area is between Feneryolu and Bostanci.

In the past, it was the most important transit route between Istanbul and Anatolia during the Byzantine and Ottoman periods. Baghdad was named after the victory in the Baghdad Expedition during the reign of Murat IV. The road did not start from K─▒z─▒ltoprak, but from ├ťsk├╝dar Square.

The foundations of the street’s popularity among the rich were laid thanks to the initiatives of Abd Abd├╝lhamid II. The nostalgic tram line passing through the street in the Republic’s first years has not survived until today. Today, Istanbul is among the places to visit.

Flower Passage

Istanbul ├çi├žek Pasaj─▒ - ┬ę Photo: Osman K├Âyc├╝ / Unsplash
Istanbul ├çi├žek Pasaj─▒ – ┬ę Photo: Osman K├Âyc├╝ / Unsplash

Built-in 1876 in the place of the famous Naum Theatre, which was destroyed by fire in the 19th century, the Cicek Passage (Hristaki Passage or Cit├ę de P├ęra) was home to the most popular businesses of the period and gradually gave way to flower shops in 1908.

In 1940, the passage became famous for its taverns, and when the owner changed hands later on, it remained neglected and almost collapsed in 1978. In 2005, the passage underwent a significant restoration to keep its memory alive again, and today, it hosts various restaurants, cafes and small souvenir shops.

Miniaturk

Istanbul Miniaturk - Photo: Gilmanshin / Shutterstock 
Istanbul Miniaturk – Photo: Gilmanshin / Shutterstock┬á

Miniat├╝rk, which exhibits the architectural heritage of many civilisations from ancient times to the Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman Empires at a scale of 1:25, is an open-air miniature museum opened to visitors in 2003 on an area of 60 thousand square metres on the shores of the Hali├ž in the S├╝tl├╝ce district of Istanbul.

The world’s largest miniature museum in terms of area, Miniat├╝rk contains 136 architectural works. For this reason, you should definitely add it to your list of Istanbul places to visit.

There is another museum called Istanbul Crystal Museum in the museum area, which also provides the experience of walking on the Bosphorus bridges of Istanbul. Here, 16 precious historical artefacts are exhibited in a 3D crystal glass sphere with a special laser method. Another mini-museum in the area is the Panorama Victory Museum.

Fi┼čekhane (B├╝y├╝kyal─▒)

Fi┼čekhane, Zeytinburnu
Fi┼čekhane, Zeytinburnu

19th-century Fi┼čekhane, which was opened in 2020 with the restoration of a complex known as Zeytinburnu Fabrika-i H├╝mayunu in Zeytinburnu Factory-i H├╝mayunu, the region where the industrialisation of the Ottoman Period was the most intense; It stands out as a luxury living centre within the B├╝y├╝kyal─▒ housing project. Although it is new, it has already become one of the places to visit in Istanbul.

In Fi┼čekhane, where concerts, theatre, exhibitions and similar events with world-famous artists take place, there is also a Cinemo movie theatre complex open to Ta┼č Meydan, restaurants, cafes, gourmet markets, organic market, Euphoria Boss gym, wellness centres and offices.

Istanbul Sapphire Observation Terrace

Istanbul Sapphire Shopping Centre
Istanbul Sapphire Shopping Centre

Located in the 4th Levent district of Istanbul, which is the most important business centre of Istanbul where international companies have their offices, Istanbul Sapphire was at the top of the list of the tallest buildings in Europe when it was opened. With a height of 261 metres, the project is still the tallest skyscraper in Turkey and consists of residences, offices, a shopping centre and an observation deck and is one of the top Istanbul attractions.

Although the shopping mall part of Istanbul Sapphire will not satisfy you much because Istanbul is a shopping centre paradise, the observation terrace at the top of the skyscraper offers you a wide 360-degree panorama of Istanbul.

Vialand Theme Park

Vialand Istanbul Entertainment and Life Centre - ┬ę Photo: saiko3p / Shutterstock
Vialand Istanbul Entertainment and Life Centre – ┬ę Photo: saiko3p / Shutterstock

Located on an area of 200,000 square metres at the intersection of Ey├╝p Sultan and Gaziosmanpa┼ča districts of Istanbul, Vialand Theme Park is the first and largest theme park of Istanbul, which was opened in 2013. The theme park’s land area is 600,000 square metres, including the adjacent semi-enclosed open-air shopping centre, show centre and car parks.

The entertainment centre, which has hosted millions of visitors since its opening, was also known as Isfanbul Entertainment and Life Centre for a while. Still, in 2022, it started to operate under its old name, Vialand. It is one of the top places to visit in Istanbul for those looking for daily entertainment.

Intercity Istanbul Park

Istanbul Intercity Istanbul Park - Photo: photoyh / Shutterstock
Istanbul Intercity Istanbul Park –┬áPhoto: photoyh / Shutterstock

Intercity Istanbul Park is a race track designed for motorsports, particularly Formula 1, located in the Tuzla district of eastern Istanbul. The first race at the track took place on 21 August 2005 with Turkey’s first Formula 1 event.

Formula 1 General Manager Bernie Ecclestone has honoured it as “The best race track in the world”. Although the track is only open during the event, we wanted to add it to the Istanbul Places to Visit List for your information.

Istanbul Aquarium

Istanbul Aquarium - ┬ę Photo: Silas Hao / Unsplash
Istanbul Aquarium – ┬ę Photo: Silas Hao / Unsplash

Built on an area of 22 thousand square metres on the European Side of Istanbul in Bak─▒rk├Ây district and opened to visitors in 2011, Istanbul Akvaryum is an aquarium project with its 15,000 species and 16 different thematic sections, including a rainforest.

Together with the nearby Aqua Florya Shopping Mall, it has an important place among the places to visit in Istanbul and the average visit time of the aquarium is 5-6 hours.

Dar─▒ca Faruk Yal├ž─▒n Zoo and Botanical Park

Dar─▒ca Faruk Yal├ž─▒n Zoo and Botanical Park
Dar─▒ca Faruk Yal├ž─▒n Zoo and Botanical Park

Opened in 1993 as Turkey’s first private zoo in Dar─▒ca district of Kocaeli next to Istanbul, Faruk Yal├ž─▒n Zoo and Botanical Park was known as Bo─čazi├ži Zoo, Bird Sanctuary and Botanical Park in the years it was established.

Today, the park, which has an area of 165,000 square metres, has a population of more than 2000 animals and more than 400 plant species. Although we do not approve of zoos, we wanted to add it to our list of Istanbul places to visit.

Istanbul Airport (IST)

Istanbul Airport (IST) - Photo: Nate Hovee / Shutterstock
Istanbul Airport (IST) – Photo: Nate Hovee / Shutterstock

The new Istanbul Airport (IST) in Arnavutk├Ây, which opened partially in 2018 in the north of Istanbul following the closure of Atat├╝rk Airport, which has been serving in the Ye┼čilk├Ây neighbourhood in the south of Istanbul on the European Side since 1912; is planned to reach an annual passenger capacity of 200 million passengers on an area of 76.5 square kilometres with 6 runways when all stages are completed.

In 2021, it became the busiest airport in Europe in terms of total passenger traffic with more than 37 million passengers. Although Istanbul Airport is the third international airport built in Istanbul after Atat├╝rk Airport and Sabiha G├Âk├žen Airport, it is one of the two main international airports serving the city due to the closure of the city’s largest airport, Atat├╝rk Airport.

The Istanbul Airport Museum inside the airport, which attracts attention with its modern architecture and size, is renewed every year with temporary exhibitions and welcomes its visitors.

Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW)

Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW) - Photo: Darkdiamond67 / Shutterstock
Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW) –┬áPhoto: Darkdiamond67 / Shutterstock

Sabiha G├Âk├žen International Airport (SAW) is named after Sabiha G├Âk├žen, the world’s first female fighter pilot and Turkey’s first female pilot. The airport, whose area has expanded with new additions and whose demand is increasing daily, is the second busiest civil airport in the city after Istanbul Airport.

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Fatih Ozdemir

Fatih Ozdemir

Fatih, a recent London arrival ­čçČ­čçž (cup of tea firmly in hand!), founded BudgetFitter ÔÖą´ŞÄ, a website brimming with tips and tricks to make your money go further. With a knack for web development and design, I craft beautiful and functional websites while my writing empowers folks to save their pennies. When I'm not glued to the keyboard, you might just catch a glimpse of a life less ordinary ÔÇô perhaps a Eurovision anthem or two escapes every now and then.

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