The Topkapi Palace is the biggest and one of the most popular sites to visit in Istanbul. It was built in between 1466 and 1478 by the sultan Mehmet II on top of a hill in a small peninsula, dominating the Golden Horn to the north, the Sea of Marmara to the south, and the Bosphorus strait to the north east, with great views of the Asian side as well. The palace was the political center of the Ottoman Empire between the 15th and 19th centuries, until they built Dolmabahce Palace by the waterside.
This subterranean structure was commissioned by Emperor Justinian and built in 532. The largest surviving Byzantine cistern in İstanbul, it was constructed using 336 columns, many of which were salvaged from ruined temples and feature fine carved capitals. Its symmetry and sheer grandeur of conception are quite breathtaking, and its cavernous depths make a great retreat on summer days.
The Blue Mosque was built between 1609 and 1616, by the architect Mehmet Ağa, instructed by Sultan Ahmet I. It was designed as an imperial show of strength to complement the imposing Hagia Sophia, which faces it across Sultanahmet Square. Unlike the Hagia Sophia, however it is supported by four 'elephant foot' pillars, and the central dome (23.5m in diameter and 43m high) is flanked by four semi-domes, making it nearly a square in shape. It is dubbed the Blue Mosque because of over 20,000 handmade ceramic Iznik tiles that decorate the interior, featuring many different tulip, rose, carnation, and lily designs, well lit by 260 windows.
The Hagia Sophia, one of the historical architectural wonders that still remains standing today, has an important place in the art world with its architecture, grandness, size and functionality.The Hagia Sophia, the biggest church constructed by the East Roman Empire in Istanbul, has been constructed three times in the same location. When it was first built, it was named Megale Ekklesia (Big Church); however, after the fifth century, it was referred to as the Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom). The church was the place in which rulers were crowned, and it was also the biggest operational cathedral in the city throughout the Byzantine period.
The Istanbul Archaeological Museums is among the most impressive historical venues for your outdoor events and made up of three main units: the Istanbul Archaeological Musuems, the Ancient Orient Museum and Tiled Kiosk Museum. The collection of the Archaeology Museum Turkey’s first museum houses over one million artifacts belonging various cultures collected from the imperial territories. The Archaeological Museum was ounded in June 13, 1891 under the name of Müze-i Hümayun (the Imperial Museum). Commissioned by archeologist, painter and curator.
Gülhane Park (meaning “House of Roses Park” in Turkish) is the oldest urban park of Istanbul and it is also one of the largest parks of İstanbul. Adjacent to the Topkapı Palace, for centuries the park served as the outer garden of the Ottoman imperial palace - Topkapı Palace - and was not open to the public. Until 1912, Gülhane Park was an imperial park, yet it was opened to the public in 1912. Since 1912, it serves as an urban park with its hundreds years old walnut and oak trees. Do not miss this magnificent park surrounded with the most important museums and monuments of Istanbul.
This meticulously restored twin hamam dating to 1556 offers the most luxurious traditional bath experience in the Old City. Designed by Mimar Sinan, it was built just across the road from Aya Sofya by order of Süleyman the Magnificent and named in honour of his wife Hürrem Sultan, commonly known as Roxelana.
One of the largest and oldest covered bazaars in the world, the Grand Bazaar is 30,700 square meters with over 60 streets and alleys and 4,000 shops. The original historical core of the bazaar, İç Bedesten, was completed by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1461. A “bedesten” refers to an indoor arcade with shops and there are several areas within the bazaar referred to by this name.
Galata Tower is one of the symbols of Istanbul and it is situated in Galata, on a hill seeing the historical peninsula of Istanbul from A-Z. The origin of the Galata Tower goes back to the fifth century CE, when Byzantines built a wooden tower named Magalos Pyrgos (Great Tower) in order to control the city of Constantinople and Golden Horn. Due to the fires, earthquakes, and the Sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusaders in 1204 the wooden tower was completely destroyed.
Kizkulesi is located off the coast of Salacak neighborhood in Üsküdar district, at the southern entrance of the Bosphorus. It literally means "Maiden's Tower" in Turkish. The name comes from a legend: the Byzantine emperor heard a prophecy telling him that his beloved daughter would die at the age of 18 by a snake. So he decided to put her in this tower built on a rock on the Bosphorus isolated from the land thus no snake could kill her. But she couldn't escape from her destiny after all, a snake hidden in a fruit basket brought from the city bit the princess and killed her.