Historical Places in Istanbul

Strolling through historical places in Istanbul will make you feel the unique city vibe. Old cobbled streets and ancient monuments are still echoing with the ancient sounds.


History is alive all around the city...

You can feel it walking through the cobbled streets, watching the glorious monuments and strolling around the old neighborhoods.




This magical city, the unique silhouette of minarets, domes, mosques, churches and markets will inspire and delight you.

So many words come to help when describing this cradle of civilisation.

Wooden "Yalı" houses on Bosphorus
Photo: By Mine Beyaz / Flickr

Multicultural capital of the world for centuries;

Istanbul has been the most desired and the most multicultural city for centuries. It was besieged so many times during 2700 years, it is nearly impossible to count.

Interior view of Hagia Sophia
Photo: By Leandro's World Tour / Flickr

The city was, from the beginning, a centre of commerce. And it governed one of the most important waterways in the world; the Bosphorus Strait.

Merchants and caravans of all nations came to Istanbul, the center of commerce of its time, to sell or buy products from all over the world. You could have heard the sounds of several different languages while walking on the streets.

The wealth caused by the commercial activities made Istanbul the centre of interest. That is why it as besieged uncountable times throughout centuries.

After the long siege of "Fatih Sultan Mehmet, the Conqueror" in 1453, Byzantine Empire and the city of Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire. This conquere started a new era in the world history.

Unique location..

The city has a unique location; it is settled on two continents and has all characteristics of both worlds.


Haydarpaşa Train Station on Asian Side                                       Sirkeci Train Station on European Side                     Photo: By VolkanHVC / Flickr                                                       Photo: By Kıvanç Niş / Flickr

Only two cities in the world are settled on two continents. (The other one is Çanakkale, again in Turkey) This makes Istanbul, the fascinating gateway between the East and the West.

Being at a very strategic point on the Silk Road; main commercial road between East and West, added on to the wealth of Istanbul both financially and culturally.

A blend of cultural heritage of three empires;

The exquisite architecture of the city is a balanced mixture of the monuments of the three great empires that ruled from Istanbul.


Theodosius Column in hippodrome, Sultanahmet                                                Galata Tower at night
       Photo: By leandro's World Tour / Flickr                                               Photo: By leandro's World Tour / Flickr

And a few words about "Sinan, the Master Architect"...

Istanbul owes so much to him about its famous skyline which is mostly the creation of his work. He was the "Chief Engineer" during the most powerful times of the Ottoman Empire, for nearly 50 years. He served three sultans in his lifetime and put his sign on the architectural legacy of the empire.

List of Historical Places to See (..and how to make your mind)

Now back to the main issue;

Which historical places should you see and which ones are okay to skip?

Well, it depends mostly on how much time you have for this heavenly adventure and how strong your legs are…

Even one week in Istanbul is not enough to cover fully. But it is better than 2 days of course…

   - If you have less than 2 days or if you have just one day you can go with the Top Ten list.

   - If you have more than 2 days, just see the Top Ten list first and then take a look at all other places and decide which ones to see.

Actually even if you have 1 day or 5 days, it doesn’t matter. Because I’m sure it will be insufficient for you and you will come back again to cover all other places that you left behind.

Istanbul is a place worth visiting at least once in your lifetime…

And remember;

There is no such thing as “Enough time to explore Istanbul”!

On these pages you will find Historical Places of Istanbul;

  • Top Ten
  • And coming soon, with all their might…

  • Churches
  • Mosques
  • Synagouges
  • Palaces
  • Museums
  • Cisterns
  • Fountains
  • Hamams
  • City walls and Aqueducts
  • Fortresses
  • Towers

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