Istanbul Tours
Walking Route 3: Old City , Back Streets

Istanbul tours are probably the most fulfilling cultural tours in Turkey that you will encounter.

You have a lot of walking route options when it comes to discovering Istanbul by walking.

You can start with “half day tours” and continue with “1 day tours”. Or you can combine my “Walking Tour” routes in a way that suits your needs.

You can be your own tour guides and create your own private tours after you read my suggestions for you.

Here is the third Walking Tour that takes you to the back streets of the Old City;

Walking Tour 3: Old City, Back Streets

Start: Haseki Sultan Hamam, Sultanahmet

Finish: Ishak Paşa Mosque and Hamam

Best time: Weekdays would be perfect.

Worst time: Saturday will be over crowded.
Sunday will be over-deserted.

This is an itinerary that introduces you to the depths of the Old City.

It starts with the Haseki Sultan Hamam and going further afield to explore the small alleys behind the landmarks of Istanbul.

You will explore the modest neighborhoods and witness the history of the Old City.

I tried to explain each interesting, historic building that you will see on the road. You don’t have to get in each and every one of them. The text might be a little too long. If you feel that way, just read the ones that look appealing to you.

Remember not to get sightseeing-bounded, explore places at your own pace.

Don’t rush; soak in the atmosphere of the city.

The city reveals itself to you only if you are in a relaxed mood.

Ready to walk? Let’s go…

What will you see?

1. Haseki Sultan Hamam

2. Cedid Mehmet Efendi Madrasah (İstanbul Sanatları Çarşısı)

3. The Green House Hotel (Yeşil Ev Otel)

4. The Tomb and Dervish Lodge of Abdurrahman Sami

5. The Great Palace Ruins

6. Sultanahmet Prison (Four Seasons Hotel)

7. Ishak Paşa Mosque and Hamam

1. Haseki Sultan Hamam:

This hamam was designed by Sinan, the Architect, for Hurrem Sultan; the beloved wife of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, in 1557.

It is one of the largest hamams in Istanbul. It has women’s and men’s sections covered by large domes.

It is now serving as shops for selling carpets.

Where exactly?:

You can see it between Hagia Sophia Museum and Sultan Ahmet Mosque Complex.

Opening hours:

09:00 – 17:00

Entrance fee: None

2. Cedid Mehmed Efendi Madrasah (Istanbul El Sanatlari Carsisi)

Cedid Mehmet Efendi Madrasah is a 18th century building. It was restored in 1985 and now serves as Istanbul Handicrafts Center (İstanbul El Sanatları Çarşısı).

It has a very nice, silent and peaceful courtyard. An arcade and the rooms behind the arcade are surrounding the courtyard. Each of these rooms is serving for a different kind of handicraft; you can watch the artisans applying their crafts.

It is open to visitors and students who want to learn and apply these crafts.

Where exactly?:

You can see it between the Hagia Sophia Museum and the Blue Mosque, behind the Haseki Sultan Hamam and right next to Green House Hotel.

Tel:0212 458 18 24

3. Green House Hotel: (Yesil Ev Otel)

The Green House is an old Ottoman mansion, now restored and serving as a hotel.

The building itself is a very good example of Ottoman residential architecture and it has a nice and calming patio behind the building serving as a café-restaurant.

You can have a drink and relax at this cute patio. And this can be a good restroom break for you because the hotel has clean restrooms at the basement floor.

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Where exactly?:You can see it between the Hagia Sophia Museum and the Blue Mosque, but on the Arasta Bazaar side, not on the Sultanahmet Square side. It is behind the Haseki Sultan Hamam.

Tel:0212 517 67 85

4. The Tomb and Dervish Lodge of Abdurrahman Sami:

This small building is a former tekke (dervish lodge) and the tomb of the founder of the tekke.

Where exactly?:

You can see it next to the Green House Hotel, facing the Hagia Sophia Museum.



5. The Great Palace Ruins:

The Great Palace of the Byzantine (Magnaura) was first built by Constantine the Great, on the Historic Peninsula. It was the residence and administrative center of Byzantine and Roman emperors beginning from 4th century until 12th century.

You will encounter quite a number of Byzantine relics on your Istanbul Tours and this is one of the most important one.

For more information about the Great Palace, please click here.

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Where exactly?: The excavations continue on some of its remains , between the Hagia Sophia Museum and Four Seasons Hotel, to the east of Kabasakal Caddesi.

You can see a mosaic pavement of one of the peristyle courtyards of the Great Palace, some columns, capitals and other architectural fragments in the Mosaic Museum.

Tel: 0212 458 18 24

6. Sultanahmet Prison: (Four Seasons Hotel)

The building was a former prison built in 1919. It occupies a great place in Turkish Republic and Turkish literature history. Building frames an open courtyard on four sides.

It has neo-classic design elements and was built during the "1. National Architectural Period".

It was closed in 1970s and renovated as a luxurious hotel by the Four Seasons Group. The hotel has an exquisite cuisine and chefs.

You can have a nice lunch or dinner here, you can have an afternoon drink or you can just stroll through the inner courtyard.

Where exactly?: You can see it on Tevkifhane Street. Get past Green House and take the first right. The yellow and huge building is Four Seasons.

Tel: 0212 402 30 00


7. Ishak Pasha Mosque and Hamam:

This is a very small comlex dating back to 1482. It is one of the early constructions which was built after the conquest of Istanbul, that you will see on your Istanbul Tours. It was commissioned for Ishak Pasha who was a Vizier of Sultan Bayezid II.

The mosque is 8,6 m x 8,6 m. It has a single dome that covers the main area and still intact.

Hamam is not as lucky as the mosque unfortunately. It is not being used right now and it is not in a good shape. But you can see the construction methods of 15th century very clearly.

There used to be a madrasah in the complex but it is nowhere to be seen now.

There are lots of complexes like this on your Istanbul Tours Walking Routes. Buildings have their own life span and unfortunately not all buildings are created equal. Sometimes they are lucky to be in good hands that take care of them and sometimes not.

Where exactly?:

You can see both of them on Ishak Paşa Street. Follow the street in front of Four Seasons Hotel and it will take you there.

Lunch Break, Option 1:
Balikci Sabahattin

The famous Balıkçı Sabahattin Restaurant with its excellent seafood dishes, is very close to Four Seasons. It is considered to be one of the Top 10 seafood restaurants in Istanbul. Try it while you are this close.

It is on the "Seyit Hasan Kuyu Sok. No:1" in Cankurtaran neighborhood.

Tel: +90 (212) 458 18 24

Price: Average-High

I hope you liked the "Istanbul Tours, Walking Route 3: Old City Back Streets".

This is one of the best Istanbul Tours that will give you the feeling of Old Istanbul.

And I hope you are not tired yet! There are lots of Istanbul Tour options I have created for you...

Now let's head to:

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"Istanbul Tours, Walking Route 4: Imperial Road"

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