How to see
Top ten attractions in IStanbul
First thing is first, what are the top 10 attractions in Istanbul?
- 01 Topkapi palace; the residence and office of the Ottoman sultans from 1478 to 1853, is by far on top of our top 10 list. You will need at least two hours to see most of it. Audio guides or guide books would not help much if you want to make most out of it in a short time.
- 02 Hagia Sophia; the church of Holy wisdom once and a marvel of the ancient Roman architecture now attracting 12 thousand people every day on average, is number 2 in our top 10 list and you can see it in an hour.
- 03 Suleymaniye mosque; the most beautiful and largest mosque in Istanbul, was built by the legendary Ottoman architect Sinan in 1557 for Suleiman the magnificent. Although it is far from the other attractions, definitely worth going the extra mile.
- 04 Basilica cistern, the largest water reservoir in the old city built by the Roman emperor Justinian, is one of the few places you might want to stay longer if you are visiting Istanbul in summer.
- 05 Grand bazaar; the largest and first souk in the world, is housing about 4000 shops selling beautiful Turkish souvenirs.
- 06 Rumeli Fort; A huge fort built right at the narrowest point of the Bosphorus strait by Mehmet II in 1452 deserves to be on this list.
- 07 The Blue mosque; Although the original name is Sultan Ahmet mosque, it is widely known as the Blue mosque due to the dominant blue decorations inside. Except for the crowds, definitely a must for travelers but you’d better time your visit well, otherwise you will be overwhelmed by the crowds.
- 08 Spice market; It is not just about spices but a lot more delights, herbs, vegetable and souvenirs. It is not a maze like the Grand Bazaar but a little and enjoyable market for especially foodies.
- 09 Yedikule dungeons; Seven Tower dungeons is a prison complex adjoining to the ancient walls of Constantinople and hosted quite a few ambassadors and wayward soldiers during the Ottoman times.
- 10 Chora museum; Another little gem away from the busy Sultanahmet square is this tiny but amazingly beautiful converted church which houses about a hundred mosaics and frescoes from Roman times.