10 Places Not to Miss in Istanbul in 2022
Istanbul is regularly included in the lists of the most beautiful cities globally. It’s not surprising because it harmoniously combines traditional oriental elements and modern western features. This short guide will help you determine the must-see locations for your tour in Istanbul.
1. Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia was once an Orthodox cathedral, and then it became a mosque. It suffered many fires, earthquakes, and even the Crusaders but survived and retained many of its treasures:
- mosaic icons;
- imperial gates;
- calligraphic inscriptions;
- tombs of sultans;
- Ottoman chandeliers, and so on.
2. Topkapi Palace
Sultans of the Ottoman Empire lived here. The palace has a vast area (about 50 hectares), so it’s recommended to spend a whole day in it. You will see a huge variety of places for recreation, gardens, picturesque terraces, and pavilions on its territory.
3. Basilica Cistern
The Basilica Cistern is an underground reservoir that is over 1500 years old. Drinking water was stored here in case of drought. If you are tired of the city noise and heat, it’s the perfect place to get some rest.
4. Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque (or Sultanahmet) is located very close to Hagia Sophia and seems to compete with it. It’s surrounded by lush gardens, fountains, and lawns, and the grace of architectural forms is pure delight. It is one of the few mosques worldwide with six minarets.
5. Archaeological Museum
Those who like to immerse themselves in history should not miss the Archaeological Museum. A truly unique collection of artifacts is collected here, in which you can find ancient Egyptian, Assyrian, Greek, and Ottoman items.
6. Suleymaniye Mosque
It’s an incredibly beautiful building, which is worth admiring from the side of the bay. After that, you can come closer and see the architecture in more detail. Sultan Suleiman, his wife Roksolana, and their daughter are buried on the territory. In addition to the mosque, there are also baths, a madrasah, a library, an observatory, and kitchens.
7. Grand Bazaar
You definitely should not bypass the Grand Bazaar if you like noisy and colorful places. It is literally a city within a city with streets, houses, cafes, and mosques. Walk around it and see everything as if in a museum; shopping is not recommended due to inflated prices.
8. Chora Church
Chora (or Kariye) Church is a shining example of Christian (Byzantine) architecture. The museum has a unique collection of mosaics and frescoes, excellently preserved, even though they were painted over with plaster in the 16th century.
9. Galata Tower
It is the most notable landmark of Istanbul (previously, it served as a guide for sailors). Its sightseeing platform offers magnificent city views. To appreciate Istanbul in all its glory, go up here at different times of the day.
10. Dolmabahce Palace
Dolmabahce Palace is perhaps the most “non-Turkish” attraction in Istanbul (built in the Baroque style). It houses the official residence of the Prime Minister. It contrasts strongly with the surrounding buildings on the Bosphorus bank.
While walking from monument to monument, don’t forget to enjoy local coffee, simits (Turkish bagels), traditional ice cream, baklava, and many other Turkish dishes. What places in Istanbul would you like to visit the most?