Istanbul is a city that well reflects its culture and history, turning it into an exciting city that has much to offer visitors from around the world. Established during the Neolithic era, Istanbul today is an advanced city that showcases remarkable legacy through its mosques, basilicas and church buildings and old bazaars. Being in the middle of the east and west, Turkey's largest city gives all tourists an air of mystery and charm. When planning to visit Istanbul, here are the top 10 places to visit in Istanbul:
The Basilica Cistern has been furnishing Istanbul occupants with water since the 6th century when it was requested by the Roman Emperor Justinian I. A visit leaves explorer raving about the innovation the old Romans used to manufacture this wonder that was remarkably exceptional for its period. The underground storage, just a few steps away from the Blue Mosque, was centred on the site of a basilica which was built in the third century. The Sunken Palace is known as the cistern and can hold up to 2.8 million cubic feet of water. The reservoir is one of the locations that was used in the 1963 James Bond movie' From Russia with Love.'
Maiden’s tower in Turkish is called as Kiz Kulesi, and also known as Leander's Tower. Legends state an emperor developed the Maiden's Tower to keep his cherished daughter from being executed by a venomous snake as anticipated by a prophet. The tower was used in the Byzantine era as a customs station, in the Greek era as a cemetery, and in the Ottoman period as a place of quarantine, exile and protection fortress. Nevertheless, over the years, it has never lost its goal of guiding ships.
Topkapi Palace is one of Istanbul's must-see attractions, consolidating its history and stunning scenery. The Topkapi Palace, wealthy throughout the Ottoman Empire's entire existence, is surrounded by five kilometres (3.1 miles) of stone wall with 27 towers. Topkapi dating back to the fifteenth century is set on a hill overlooking the Marmara Sea, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. It was once an official royal palace of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire and the seat of the Turkish government. Presently it has been turned into a museum that is viewed as the biggest and most established royal residence on the planet.
Worked in the 19th century, this Lavish, rich and beautiful structure was built using 14 tons of gold leaf, Turkey's most remarkable castle combines traditional Ottoman architecture with the Neoclassical, Baroque and Rococo European styles. Home to six sultans from 1856 to 1924, it likewise is home to the world's biggest Bohemian precious stone ceiling fixture, a blessing from Queen Victoria. The Dolmabahce Palace's setting is mindblowing. It was worked along the Bosphorus coastline.
Visitors to the Suleymaniye Mosque say its beauty and harmony gives them a spiritual sense of inspiration. Situated on Istanbul's Third Hill, the Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent ordered the mosque to be built in 1550. The mosque is indeed impressive and blends the best of Islamic and Byzantine architecture. The mosque suffered extensive damage over the years, including during the First World War when a fire broke out as the gardens were being used as a weapon warehouse. It was rehabilitated in the mid-20th century. Four minarets mark the mosque, suggesting a sultan built it. The dome was the highest in the Ottoman Empire when it was completed.
Prince Islands is known as Kızıl Adalar which means Red Islands in Turkish, and officially just called as Adalar ("Islands"). The Princes' Islands are a group of nine rather little islands in the Sea of Marmara. Throughout the Byzantine period, they grew from a place of exile to a popular destination for tourists and Istanbulites alike to escape the daily city life for a day. Of those nine islands, only four are available to the public: Büyükada, Burgazada, Heybeliada and Kınalıada, the largest and generally well known.
Grand Bazaar & Spice Bazaar:
When it comes to shopping in Istanbul, these two markets are the best! Tourists who love to shop cannot afford to miss these two bazaars of Istanbul. The Grand Bazaar hosts almost 5000 shops making it one of the largest markets of the world. The bazaar attracts over a quarter-million visitors a day and features items such as shoes, carpets, spices, antiques and hand-painted ceramics. The bazaar dates back to 1461 and today houses two mosques, four fountains, two hammams or steam baths and the Cevahir Bedesten, where historically the rarest and most valuable objects were found. Here's where shoppers can find old coins, precious gem pieces, incrusted arms and antique furnishings. You can also find the beautiful Turkish cotton towels here. If you are looking for gifts for your loved ones from Istanbul, you're at the best place!
The Spice Bazaar (In Turkish, known as Misir Carsisi) is the ultimate place where you can get every spice of the world. Heaped into colourful domes, this place smells incredible due to spices. Gift your wife and mother some of the most aromatic spices of the world from the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul.
Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia):
Built around 1,500 years ago as a Christian basilica, the Hagia Sophia is an immense architectural marvel in Istanbul. Just like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Hagia Sophia is a landmark of the cosmopolitan city that lasts for long. However, as notable as the structure itself is, its role in Istanbul's history— and, for that matter, the world — is also significant, and touches on issues of international politics, religion, art, and architecture.
The Hagia Sophia dominates the Old City of Istanbul and has acted as a symbol for both Orthodox Christians and Muslims for decades. Istanbul straddles the Bosporus Strait, a waterway that serves as a European-Asian geographical border. Thus, the Turkish city of nearly 15 million inhabitants sits on both continents.
The Galata Tower, at 67 meters (219 feet) high, rules over the skyline of Istanbul, offering great views of the old town and its surroundings. The medieval stone structure, known as Christ's Structure, became Istanbul's tallest building when it was completed in 1348. Today it still stands tall over Istanbul. Over the years the tower has been adapted and used as an observation tower to spot fires at one time. Today, its top floors include a café, restaurant and a night club, both of which are reached by elevator in the nine-story building, where one can find the stunning views.
These top tourist locations in Istanbul are sure to give you the incredible experience of your life, and you are going to return home with lots of fantastic memories and gifts that will add value!