List of Top Attractions in Istanbul

Istanbul, built between Europe and Asia, is one of the oldest cities in the world. The city was founded around 1000 BC and has been home to many civilizations like the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires. Istanbul is a melting pot of cultures combined with traditional eastern and modern western motives. There are a lot of places worth seeing in Istanbul, and visiting all of them in one go is almost impossible. So, to help you explore this beautiful city, here is the list of tourist attractions in Istanbul.

Hagia Sophia

Built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century, The Hagia Sophia is the largest Eastern Roman Church in Istanbul. With its breathtaking domes that look like hanging in the air, the Hagia Sophia is one of the wonders of the world’s architecture history. Hagia Sophia is one of the most important landmarks and tourist attractions of Istanbul. It has been used as a church during the Byzantine Empire, then converted to a mosque after Fatih Sultan Mehmet Khan’s conquest of Istanbul in 1453, now it serves as a museum in the cultural heart of Istanbul, Sultanahmet.

Basilica Cistern

They say there are hundreds of ancient cisterns hidden underneath the streets of Istanbul like the Basilica Cistern. Basilica Cistern is one of the magnificent historical buildings of Istanbul. The cistern, built by Justinian I, is a giant structure covering a rectangular area of 140 meters in length and 70 meters in width. There are two Medusa heads in the cistern. It was believed that Medusa’s head will protect places wherever it is placed. In Greek mythology, Medusa is one of the three Gorgon sisters. Those who gazed into her eyes would turn to stone. Thus, the reason for placing two heads in front of each other is that she stays as a stone permanently.

Galata Tower

With its 67 meters height, the Galata Tower offers mesmerizing views of the old city and its surroundings. The tower was built in 1348 and was the tallest building in Istanbul during its era, and still, it is one of the historical marks of Istanbul. The Galata Tower has been modified and renewed over the centuries. Now, it has two elevators that take the visitors to the 7th floor. You can walk up to the 9th floor and step outside on the balcony to enjoy the spectacular panoramic 360-degree view of Istanbul.

Topkapi Palace Museum

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

Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest bazaars in the world. There were activities even in the 15th century as today. The style of this bazaar has never changed as there is only one rule for you “never accept the first price.” Always haggle with the shop owners because it will be the highest price that you’ll get at first. This one will be fun for you because they will order you tea or coffee and try to make a bargain over the price and keep talking until you get convinced!

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