10 Things to See in Istanbul

Posted In Travel - By Evelina On Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 With 0 Comments

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Istanbul, with its history and diverse tourism potential, distinguishes itself from all other cities. It is the point where the continents, culture, civilization, religion, music, history and the future meet. The most creative societies around the world in search of new sensations and inspiration, turned their faces to the potential of this city, with its surprising elegance and culinary traditions.

Istanbul is the perfect destination for both lovers of history, art, culture, as well as a gourmet, nature lovers, and even fashionistas. Those who visit the city of Istanbul in their next holiday will find a lot of tourist attractions.

1. Saint Sophia Cathedral

Saint Sophia is one of the most important tourist attractions of Istanbul and one of the most incredible buildings in architectural history. Also known as Hagia Sophia, Church of the Holy Wisdom or Ayasofya, Sophia is a former Byzantine church which later became an Ottoman mosque. Now a museum, Hagia Sophia is the place where Byzantine and Ottoman architecture meet under one dome. Hagia Sophia has a classical basilica plan and was built between 532 and 537, under the initiative and personal supervision of Emperor Justinian I.

2. Bosporus

Bosporus, also known as the Istanbul Strait, is a unique pool of water that connects the Sea of Marmara (south of Istanbul) with the Black Sea (north of Istanbul) and separates Europe from Asia. It even works its way through the heart of Istanbul, passing the Museum of Modern Art, several Ottoman palaces, at least two fortresses, forested hills and villages with Ottoman architecture. Bosphorus Strait is 32 km long and is the narrowest strait in the world, its depth varies between 500 m and 3 km. However strait is used for international navigation, hundreds of ships crossing the strait every day.

3. Baklava pastries

Baklava is something you have to taste when visiting Istanbul. It is a very old confectionery tradition , it draws its origins from the Turkish tribes of Central Asia  Baklava is probably the most delicious and popular Turkish dessert that is made from layers of thin sheets stuffed with walnuts, hazelnuts or pistachios and flavored with honey or sugar syrup, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Karakoy Gulluoglu is one of the most popular restaurants in Istanbul which serves baklava.

4. Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque, also known as the Sultanahmet Camii in Turkish, is the largest mosque in Istanbul, having a historical and architectural value. Visitors find it right across the street from the Hagia Sophia. It was named after the 20,000 blue ceramic tiles inside. The construction of the Blue Mosque started in 1609 at the initiative of Sultan Ahmet I, when he was only 19 years old, on a racecourse called Atmeydani, located in the city center since the Byzantine period . The construction lasted seven years.

5. Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahce Palace is located on the European shore of the Bosphorus, and is the most luxurious residence in Turkey, but also one of the most spectacular palaces in the world. It occupies an area of 110,000 m2 and was built by Sultan Abdul Medjid, between 1850-1856. This palace was the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire in the West, the last Ottoman sultans used as a residence.

6. The Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest markets in the world. It has 60 streets with over 4,000 shops and boutiques. Every day come between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors from around the world. Here you can find everything from Turkish rugs, leather clothing, souvenirs, handicrafts, jewelry, copper and brass decor, articles of cotton and wool etc.

7. Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern, known as the Sunken Palace, is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul. The name comes from a large public square, Stoa Basilica, beneath which it was built. Construction started in 532 years during the reign of Emperor Justinian I in order to collect rainwater and ensure Istanbul city with drinking water.

8. Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace is the best preserved palace in Turkey and the largest and oldest palace in the world which has lasted until today. Topkapi inTurkish language means “gate with guns”, the name is inspired by the huge cannons placed near the palace gates. In 1924, at the initiative of Atatiirk , it is transformed into a museum. Topkapi Palace is the place that best reflects the glory of the Ottoman Empire sultans and their way of life.

9. Galata Bridge

Galata Bridge is one of the most charming attractions of Istanbul. This is the oldest bridge across the Golden Horn and connects the historical center to Eminonu district. Eminonu district hosts one of the most important religious institutions of the Ottoman Empire and the Imperial Palace.

10. Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam

Of all the baths in Istanbul, among which is Cemberlitas, Cagaloglu, Galatasaray and Sulemaniye, Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam is the best. It is located in Sultanahmet Square and was built for the wife of Suleiman the Magnificent – Roxelana. The significance of the place is even greater if we mention that the bathroom was built on the ruins of the Temple of Zeuz. The bathroom was functional until 1910 when it was closed for many years. By 2007 it was used as a prison, paper and fuel depot and also carpet store. The restoration began in 2008. The current bathroom was built in the style of classic Ottoman baths.

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