Istanbul Must-See Places

Istanbul is a living history with its city walls, mosques, palaces and museums. Don't leave Istanbul before seeing these places!

Topkapı Palace

Topkapı Palace, which enthralls with its magnificence and architecture, is at the top of the locations which should not be overlooked in Istanbul. The palace, which was built by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1478, played the role of being the main center of the state where the Sultans lived and governed the state for 400 years, and is a witness to history. Topkapı Palace, which was opened to visitors during the reign of Abdülmecit, continues to host visitors today, and is a focus of interest among tourists with its mystery and the trace of Ottoman architecture which it carries.

Topkapı Palace, Istanbul, Turkey
Topkapı Palace, Istanbul, Turkey

Soğukçeşme Street

Soğukçeşme Street (the Street of the Cold Fountain) is situated in the Sultanahmet neighborhood, and is among the unforgettable locations of old Turkish films. It is at the top of the locations which need to be seen, with its nostalgic status and historic structure. The street, which is positioned between the Hagia Sophia Museum and Topkapı Palace, is closed to vehicle traffic, and draws the attention of tourists who wish to take photographs and leave Istanbul with fond memories.

Soğukçeşme Street, Istanbul, Turkey
Soğukçeşme Street, Istanbul, Turkey

Caferağa Medresseh

This historic location, which is positioned next to the Hagia Sophia Museum, is a location which those wishing to take a tea break and those seeking alternatives for the peaceful breakfasts of Sundays, must visit. The medresseh, which was commissioned during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, in the 16th century, has a characteristic which currently brings together history and art. You can take part in workshops such as lettering, marbling, jewelry making and painting at the medresseh for a small fee, enjoying the historical location.

Caferağa Medresseh, Istanbul, Turkey
Caferağa Medresseh, Istanbul, Turkey

Hagia Sophia

Another of the locations for which time must be set aside to be seen is the Hagia Sophia Museum, which surprises both local and foreign tourists with its immensity and splendor. Hagia Sophia, which was commissioned by the Byzantine Emperor, Justinian the 1st, and converted into a mosque by Fatih Sultan Mehmet, plays host to many tourists who want to get a feel of and witness history.

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern, with its columns which rise out of the water and its interesting legends rumored to have taken place, is among the locations which are wondered about the most and which people aspire to see. Used by the Byzantine Emperor in order to meet the water needs of the palace, Basilica Cistern continued to be used in the same way for a while, also under the reign of Fatih Sultan Mehmet. Among the legends and rumors are that the shapes on the columns resembling tears represent the tragedy of the many slaves who were lost during the building of the Great Cistern. Therefore, it is the focus of attention among many tourists and attracts their curiosity with its structure.

Basilica Cistern, Istanbul, Turkey
Basilica Cistern, Istanbul, Turkey

Haseki Hürrem Bathhouse

This is a bathhouse which was requested by Hürrem Sultan, the wife of Suleiman the Magnificent, and built by the Architect Sinan. It is the largest bathhouse built by the Architect Sinan. The popularity of the bathhouse has risen in recent periods due to television serials, and it has taken its place among the historic locations which attract interest.

Haseki Hürrem Bathhouse, Istanbul, Turkey
Haseki Hürrem Bathhouse, Istanbul, Turkey

Sultan Ahmet Binbirdirek Cistern (Cistern of Philoxenos)

The Cistern is among the historic locations which attract the interest of tourists, and dates back to the period of Constantine the Great. It was built for the purposes of meeting the water needs of the city, and is a mystical location, which is indispensably among the lists of touristic excursions. Time needs to be set aside for the cistern, which is located in Sultanahmet, one weekend.

Sultan Ahmet Binbirdirek Cistern, Istanbul, Turkey
Sultan Ahmet Binbirdirek Cistern, Istanbul, Turkey

Gülhane Park

Gülhane Park was being used as one of the private gardens of Topkapı Palace during the ottoman period. This garden was adorned with roses and tulips during its day, but its upkeep was interrupted in time. However, today, it has been attended to again, and has become one of the largest parks of Turkey. If you want to be among flowers, clean air and nature, but at the same time not go too far from the city, either during the week or at the weekend, drinking tea while touring around the park may be a good alternative for you.

Gülhane Park, Istanbul, Turkey
Gülhane Park, Istanbul, Turkey

The Islands

The set of islands we now know with names such as Büyükada, Heybeliada and Burgazada, were also known as the Prince Islands in older times. The reason for this is that many of the members of the palace, who had worn crowns during the Byzantine Empire era, were banished to these islands and made to live there, because of their long distance to Istanbul. Today, they have become the preliminary address of weekend getaways, with their nostalgic atmosphere, the horse carriages which are still used and the lack of traffic. The islands have become popular among many local and foreign tourists who want to have a picnic, ride bicycles and experience the nostalgia.

Horse Carriages in Büyükada, Istanbul, Turkey
Horse Carriages in Büyükada, Istanbul, Turkey

Dolmabahçe Palace

Dolmabahçe Palace was used as an area where the Ottoman Naval Commanders moored their ships during the period of the empire, and was later converted into private gardens. During the Republican era, on the other hand, it carries great importance as the location where Atatürk stayed during his visits to Istanbul, and where he passed away. The palace, which houses so much historical fabric in one place, is among the must see locations for both local and foreign tourists.

Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul, Turkey
Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul, Turkey

Turkish Baths (Süleymaniye Bathhouse)

Süleymaniye Bathhhouse, which was built by the Architect Sinan, on the orders of Suleiman the Magnificent, is among his works, to which he refers as “my work as a master”. The bathhouse is today used for touristic purposes, and mostly draws the attention of foreign tourists, and is among the historic locations which must be seen.

Süleymaniye Bathhouse, Istanbul, Turkey
Süleymaniye Bathhouse, Istanbul, Turkey

Rumelihisarı

Rumelihisarı, which was built during the Ottoman period, for the purposes of pulling a rope from Anadoluhisarı, during the Conquest of Istanbul, and is surrounded by castles, is among the indispensable locations of our day. It is a location where both the residents of Istanbul and tourists must go for breakfast at weekends, while at the same time also to see the structure.

Rumelihisarı, Istanbul, Turkey
Rumelihisarı, Istanbul, Turkey

Anadoluhisarı

Anadoluhisarı, which was built in order to prevent the aid to Byzantium from the Black Sea, is located directly opposite Rumelihisarı. Anadoluhisarı is evocative of a small fishing village, with its position at the edge of the Bosphorus, and is among the locations which are worth seeing, with its quiet and peaceful structure and historic charm.

Anadoluhisarı, Istanbul, Turkey
Anadoluhisarı, Istanbul, Turkey

Yedikule Hisarı (Seven Towers Dungeons)

Seven Towers Dungeons or the Yedikule Hisarı, which is one of the oldest outdoor museums of Istanbul, has today become a location where cultural events, concerts and various organizations are held. Taking part in an event which has been organized within such an architecture is something drawing the interest of both local and foreign tourists.

Yedikule Hisarı, Istanbul, Turkey
Yedikule Hisarı, Istanbul, Turkey

Beylerbeyi Palace

Beylerbeyi Palace, is a historical location situated in the Beylerbeyi district of Üsküdar. It was commissioned by Sultan Abdülaziz. Today, the palace opens its doors to visitors on every day of the week apart from Mondays and Thursdays, and plays host to many guests.

Beylerbeyi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey
Beylerbeyi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey

Çırağan Palace

Çırağan Palace, which was commissioned by Sultan Abdülaziz, was also referred to as “Beşiktaş Palace” for a period, due to its location. The palace, which possesses great grandness and splendor, has today become a location where organizations such as weddings, balls and parties are held. It has become a place visited by individuals who wish to see such an architecture and breathe in the air from the past, for various organizations, and plays host to many local and foreign tourists.

Çırağan Palace, Istanbul, Turkey
Çırağan Palace, Istanbul, Turkey

Yıldız Palace

Yıldız Palace, which is situated between Beşiktaş, Ortaköy and Balmumcu, is another of the locations which has witnessed history. Yıldız Palace, which is today used as a museum with its historical fabric dating back to the Byzantime period, exhibits the personal belongings of Sultan Abdülhamit II, and is a focus of interest among tourists. At the same time, it houses the Yıldız Palace Theater and the Museum of Stage Arts.

Yıldız Palace, Istanbul, Turkey
Yıldız Palace, Istanbul, Turkey

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar is met with intense interest from tourists due to its location in the center of Istanbul, its historic texture and the fact that it houses many locations for shopping. It has been known that even half a million people have visited it during a single day. Grand Bazaar, which is a location where foreign tourists do not return to their countries without visiting, in particular, is among the popular locations, with its stores which are able to meet all needs, every day. Reminiscent of a whole city, Grand Bazaar was commissioned by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in order that people could display and sell what they made.

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey
Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey

Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar)

Spice Bazaar, one of the oldest indoor shopping areas of Istanbul, is a location famous for its herbalists and the sales of dried fruits and nuts and delicatessen products. It is among the popular locations preferred by tourists in particular. The location, which was commissioned by Turhan Sultan in 1600, is attractive due to its characteristic of being open on Sundays. It is among the places in Istanbul which must be seen.

Spice Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey
Spice Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey

Bakırcılar Çarşısı (Copper Bazaar)

Bakırcılar Çarşısı is situated in the district of Beyazıt, and draws attention from foreign tourists in particular. It is surrounded by stores lined up side by side which display and sell goods made of copper, such as cauldrons, pans and barbecues. Containing these goods made of copper, Bakırcılar Çarşısı receives great interest from tourists. Its location is not particularly well-known, but it must still be seen.

Bakırcılar Çarşısı, Istanbul, Turkey
Bakırcılar Çarşısı, Istanbul, Turkey

Tekfur Palace

Tekfur Palace, which dates back to the Byzantine Empire, is relatively less well-known today, but does host visitors in the district of Edirnekapı. The archaeological work being carried out for the purposes of solving the mysteries of historical events, are still continuing today. Therefore, it is one of the structures which is of interest and worth seeing.

Tekfur Palace, Istanbul, Turkey
Tekfur Palace, Istanbul, Turkey

Eyüp Sultan Mosque

Eyüp Sultan Mosque, which is imputed to be a sacred place of worship today, is on the shores of the Golden Horn, in the district of Eyüp. It is a historic mosque which tourists from other cities and abroad make sure to see. It can be seen on a sacred Friday in Istanbul that the crowds veer towards the mosque and worship there. It is a place worth seeing, which is deemed to be sacred.

Eyüp Sultan Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey
Eyüp Sultan Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

Miniaturk

Miniaturk is a location where the models of many works are exhibited. It is possible to see various structures such as Topkapı Palace, Anıtkabir and the Mausoleum of Mevlana as a model here, all in one place, and to obtain information about them. Since 2003, Miniaturk has been among the locations tourists visit first from the moment they set foot in Istanbul.

Miniaturk, Istanbul, Turkey
Miniaturk, Istanbul, Turkey

Khedive Palace

Khedive palace was commissioned by Abbas Hilmi Pasha, the last khedive of Egypt, to an Italian architect. It was completed in 1907, and carries the architectural features of the period. Today, it is a location which can be visited and seen, and where a tea break can be taken nearby, as well as being a location where events such as weddings are organized.

Khedive Palace, Istanbul, Turkey
Khedive Palace, Istanbul, Turkey

Maiden Tower

This is a tower which has been positioned on a small island, off Salacak, in the Bosphorus. There are various rumors and myths concerning why it was built. Maiden Tower is a location worth seeing, just to be able to understand this mystery. Today, it is a historical location where you can visit with your friends or partner for a romantic evening meal, or a lunchtime break out of the ordinary. It is a must see with its structure.

Maiden Tower, Istanbul, Turkey
Maiden Tower, Istanbul, Turkey

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