5 Must-See Places in Istanbul

Istanbul is a unique city in terms of its culture and history. The city was once it was home to the Roman, the Byzantine, and the Ottoman empires, and today it is Turkey’s largest city. Even though these five must-see places in Istanbul are not enough to discover the city’s diverse richness, but they will certainly tell you something about its history and culture.

1- Topkapi Palace Museum

Topkapi Palace is one of the most popular places to visit in Istanbul. The Palace was built between 1466 and 1478 by the order of Mehmed the Conqueror (Mehmet II) and it was the political centre of the Ottoman Empire. It was built on top of a hill which has stunning views towards Golden Horn, Sea of Marmara and Bosphorus. It is now serving as a museum. The museum is closed only on Tuesdays.

Address: Cankurtaran, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul

2- Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is one of the most famous must-see places in Istanbul. It was built in 537 AD. Initially, it served as a church, then was turned into a mosque, and now it is a museum. As a living history, Hagia Sophia is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city of Istanbul. So indeed it is a must-see place in the city. Hagia Sophia bears the roots of Byzantine and the Ottoman Empire, which makes it a perfect synthesis of both cultures. Since the place is located in Sultanahmet, you may spend your whole day walking around as one day will not be enough to explore such a historical area.

Address: Sultan Ahmet, Ayasofya Meydanı No:1, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul

3- Dolmabahce Palace

Standing on the Bosphorus coastline, the district of Beşiktaş, Dolmabahce Palace is one of the most magnificent buildings in Istanbul. It was built in the 19th century by the commission of Sultan Abdulmecid and designed by Armenian architect Karamet Balian, and his son Nikogos Balian. The construction had started on the 13th of June, 1843 and brought into use on the 7th of June, 1856. The ticket price to visit this amazing palace is 90 TL for 2020.

Address: Vişnezade, Dolmabahçe Cd., 34357 Beşiktaş/İstanbul

4-Basilica Cistern

This large underground cistern is 143 meters long and 65 meters wide and was built by Byzantine Emperor Justinian I between 527 and 565 AD. Basilica Cistern was Byzantine’s water storage place that could store up 80,000 cubic meters of water. There are two giant Medusa statues in the cistern. The one stands upside down while the other one stands normally, and both statues face each other. According to Greek mythology, Medusa was one of the three Gorgon sisters with snake hairs, and anyone who would gaze upon her eyes would turn to stone.

Address: Alemdar, Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul

5- Istanbul Archaeological Museum

The Istanbul Archaeological Museums is among the most impressive museums in Istanbul and is a complex that made up of three main units: the Istanbul Archaeological Museum, the Ancient Orient Museum, and Tiled Kiosk Museum. These museums include almost 1 million artefacts belonging to different cultures collected within the Ottoman Empire’s borders.

Address: Cankurtaran, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul

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