Sightseeing

Enjoy the sights and sounds of Istanbul, the only city in the world bridging two continents of Europe and Asia.

Blue Mosque

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is a historical mosque that is also known as the Blue Mosque because of the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior. It was built between 1609 and 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I. Like many other mosques, it also comprises a tomb of the founder, a madrasah and a hospice. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque has become one of the greatest tourist attractions of Istanbul.

  • Constructed in the early 17th century
  • Known for the blue tiles on its interior walls
  • One of Istanbul’s greatest tourist attractions

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Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is a former patriarchal basilica and mosque that has been reopened as a spectacular museum. Famous in particular for its massive dome, the museum is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture. The Hagia Sophia was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years until the completion of the medieval Seville Cathedral in 1520.

  • A former patriarchal basilica and mosque
  • Reopened as a museum
  • Famous in particular for its massive dome
  • The largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years until 1520

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Topkapi Palace

The Topkapi Palace was the official and primary residence in the city of the Ottoman Sultans between 1465 and 1853. The palace was once a setting for state occasions and royal entertainments and today is a major tourist attraction. After the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1921, the Topkapi Palace was transformed by government decree on 3 April 1924 into a museum of the imperial era. The palace is filled of examples of Ottoman architecture and also contains large collections of porcelain, robes, weapons, shields, armour, Ottoman miniatures, Islamic calligraphic manuscripts and murals, as well as a display of Ottoman treasure and jewellery.

  • The official and primary residence in the city of the Ottoman Sultans
  • A major tourist attraction
  • A museum of the imperial era
  • Displays Ottoman architecture and also contains large collections of porcelain, robes, weapons, Ottoman miniatures, treasure and jewellery

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Eyüp Area and Pierre Loti

The Eyüp neighbourhood, an Ottoman district, is located on the Golden Horn outside the historic city walls. A historic area, Eyüp boasts many traditional Islamic sights including the famous Eyüp Sultan Mosque. Many tourists also venture up the hill adjacent to the Eyup Sultan Mosque to enjoy the splendid scenery and the natural beauties of Pierre Loti, which can also be reached via the teleferic ride (cable car). Named after the French naval officer and famous novelist who came to Istanbul in 1876, Pierre Loti offers a panoramic view of the Golden Horn. Also known as “Lovers Hill” by locals, visitors can enjoy their Turkish coffee or tea at the famous café perched on the top of the hill.

  • Eyüp Sultan Mosque
  • Pierre Loti Hill
  • Mausoleum of Sokullu Mehmet Pasha
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Resat
  • The Tekke of the Kalenderi Sect
  • Külliye of Mihrişah Valide Sultan  

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Maiden's Tower

This beautiful tower located on a very tiny islet, 150-200 meters off the shore from Salacak at the Bosphorus, is known as one of the most romantic symbols of the city. First built in the 12th century as a light house and rebuilt in 18th century, the tower has served as a watchtower, a traffic control centre and a prison in its time. Following restoration, the tower now features a popular cafe and restaurant, and is recognised as one of the best locations from which to enjoy the magnificent silhouette of Istanbul. 

  • Istanbul's most instantly recognizable landmark
  • Incredible view overlooking Asia and Europe
  • Cafe and restaurant

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Fener and Balat Area

Located at the southern shores of Golden Horn, Fener and Balat districts offer visitors the opportunity to visit the temples, synagogues, Armenian churches, Romaic churches, Byzantine remnants and ayazmas associated with historic Istanbul. This part of the city has been settled for over 2,000 years and has become one of the oldest Jewish districts in Istanbul. Two of the most popular attractions sought by tourists include the functioning Byzantine churches and only church in the world constructed entirely of iron and steel. With colourful streets, fantastic views of Istanbul's waterways, traditional wooden houses and rich history, the site is filled with UNESCO projects that are sure to capture the attention of tourists seeking to experience Turkish culture.

  • Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
  • Ahrida and Yambol synagogues
  • Bulgarian Orthodox church of St. Stephen
  • Traditional Fener, Balat wooden houses

Dolmabahce Palace

Located on the European side of the Bosphorus, the Dolmabahce Palace served as the main administrative centre of the Ottoman Empire from 1853-1922. It was the first European-style palace in Istanbul. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder and first president of Turkey, spent his last years in the palace as his health deteriorated. Ataturk died at 9.05 am on 10 November 1938, in a room that is now part of the museum.

  • Ottoman Empire centre from 1853-1922
  • The first European-style palace in Istanbul
  • Final home of Turkey’s first president

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