Top 10 Historic Places
 in Istanbul

When it comes to "Historic Places", it is quite hard to choose between all of the "must-see and must-do"s in Istanbul… So I’ve made this list to ease your tour planning efforts…

But remember, this Top 10 is just a quick glimpse of Istanbul, only to give you the idea of the richness of the history, diversity culture, and daily life…

Think of it like this: You only smell a delicious, freshly baked brownie, didn’t even see it, let alone tasting it…


Limited time for discovery;

If you're short on time to discover this city of excitement, then this is just the right list for you:

1. Topkapi Palace

2. Hagia Sophia Museum

3. Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque Complex)

4. Hippodrome and Obelisk

5. Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnici)

6. Grand Bazaar

7. Grand Mosque (Süleymaniye Complex)

8. Chora Museum (St. Savior in Chora)

9. Dolmabahçe Palace

10. Pera: Istiklal Street, Tünel and Galata


1. Topkapi Palace:

If you are interested even slightly, in the exotic world of the Ottoman Empire Era, Topkapi Palace is the right place to start. This is probably the most important one of the historic places in Istanbul.

Sultan Süleyman, the Magnificent who put his mark on the whole 16th century commissioned “Sinan, the Chief Architect” for this gorgeous complex (built between 1549 and 1558).

Keep in mind that you need at least half a day to explore Topkapi Palace properly.

Click here for more information about the "Topkapi Palace"

2. Hagia Sophia:

The Haghia Sophia was built in the 6th century A.D by Emperor Justinian. It was the greatest church in Christian world for almost a thousand years.

Hagia Sophia Church represented the highest achievements of the Byzantine Empire, and it was the cathedral of the emperor.

The source of its great fame is the dome which was the largest dome ever constructed.

Today it serves as a museum open to people of all faiths. And still is one of the architectural wonders of the world.

Click here for more information about the "Hagia Sophia Musuem"

3. Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque Complex):

This complex, widely known by its mosque, is a landmark in the marvellous skyline of Istanbul.

It is known as Blue mosque by foreign travellers due to its turqouise and cobalt tile interior decoration.

Click here for more information about the "Blue Mosque"

4. Hippodrome and the Obelisks:

The Hippodrome was built during the reign of Septimus Severus in 3rd century (approx. 203 A.D.). and enlarged to its latest size by Constantine the Great in 4th century (approx. 324 A.D.).

It was the centre of the social life in Byzantium for 1000 years and the same for Istanbul in Ottoman times for 400 years.That's why seeing it among other historic places is a must!

The three obelisks are still where they used to be in the Hippodrome.

Click here for more information about the "Hippodrome and Obelisks"

5. Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnici)

Basilica Cistern was built by Emperor Justinian, in the 6th century (532 A.D.). This cistern is the largest underground cistern in İstanbul and provided water for the Great Palace.

Click here for more information about the "Basilica Cistern"

6. Grand Bazaar (Kapali Carsi)

One of the worlds most picturesque and enchanting bazaars with its domes and vaults, Grand Bazaar was the heart of commerce during Ottoman Empire period for centuries. The Grand Bazaar was a big step towards the shopping malls of modern times.

And it is still a very important commercial center for Istanbul. This is probably the biggest of its kind in the world.

Click here for more information about the "Grand Bazaar"


7. Suleymaniye Mosque Complex:

Süleymaniye Complex is settled on one of the seven hills of Istanbul and dominates the Historic Peninsula over the Golden Horn. It is an important landmark for the city.

The interior of the mosque is simply decorated, but the total impression is breath-taking. The proportions and the spaciosness are noteworthy. The decorations of the mosque were made by the most gifted artisans of their times.

Click here for more information about the "Suleymaniye Mosque"

8. Chora Museum (St. Savior in Chora)

When it was first built by Constantine the Great in the 4th century, it was outside the city walls. “In Chora” literally means “in the country”.

The mosaics and frescoes on the interior walls tell stories from the New Testament like the birth of Christ, the life of Virgin Mary, lifeage of Christ, Resurrection of Christ.

These magnificent mosaics and frescoes are one of the world's most important examples of early Byzantine pictorial art.

Click here for more information about the "Chora Church Museum"

9. Dolmabahçe Palace

Dolmabahçe Palace is the most impressive imperial building on the Bosphorus Shores. It has a nice architectural style and a wonderful view.

Sultan Abdulmecid and his family moved to this new and modern palace all together, leaving the old Topkapı Palace totally in 1856.Not the oldest of the historic places in Istanbul, but definitely one of the most seeing-worthy!

Click here for more information about the "Dolmabahce Palace"

10. Beyoğlu: Istiklal Street, Tunel and Galata

Beyoğlu had a different name when it was at its peak time: Pera. It took this name from the former name of Istiklal Street; Grand Rue de Pera.

Pera was the wealthy European quarter of the city with the banks, trading houses and embassies of the European community along with the large Greek and Armenian communities of the Ottoman Empire.

Istiklal Street, Tunel and Galata are both historic places and modern cultural centers. They are alive, you will definitely feel it!

You can bump into several galleries, exhibitions, museums, bookstores, live music venues, trendy restaurants, hip cafes and bars while you are there.

Click here for more information about the "Beyoglu, Istiklal Street"

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