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Top Things to do in Istanbul

Best Places to Visit in Istanbul

Many historical masterpieces from history to present are found in Sultanahmet, Bosphorus, Eminönü and its surroundings. However, it is possible to encounter historical buildings in different regions. Balat, Eyüp, Karaköy, Sirkeci, Galata, and Istanbul Princes Islands are the regions where many historical buildings are located.

1. Sultanahmet Hippodrome

Sultanahmet square is a square where feasts, celebrations and horseback performances were held in history.

Many historical buildings from the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires are located in this region. It is very easy to visit these historical buildings, which are very close to each other.

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Hagia Sophia

8th Wonders of the World Hagia Sophia

It is one of the most important monuments in its history that have survived to the present day. Hagia Sophia is the largest church built by the Eastern Roman Empire in Istanbul and was built three times in the same place. When it was first built it was called Megale Ekklesia (Great Church), and it was defined as Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) from the 5th century on. Hagia Sophia served as the cathedral as the capital's largest church, crowned by monarchs throughout the Eastern Roman Empire.

Hagia Sophia is of paramount importance to its architectural structure and size. Because no basilica planned building at the time it was built had a dome in the size of the dome of Hagia Sophia and such a large interior.

Considered as the oldest cathedral in the world, Hagia Sophia has preserved the title of the largest cathedral in the world for nearly 1000 years since its construction. This building, which has been used as a place of worship for centuries, retains its importance in the same way after Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered Istanbul; 916 years is a holy place used as a church and 482 years as a mosque.

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The importance of Hagia Sophia for Christians

The Byzantines described Hagia Sophia as 'the great church of Jesus'. For a long time in St. It was the most important church of Christianity along with Pierre Church. It continues to be important today.

Hagia Sophia, one of the first structures that come to mind when it is said to be Istanbul, is originally a church and a very important symbol church. While the number of structures that have survived since the 6th century has been very limited, it has become more important with a history dating back centuries.

Secrets about Hagia Sophia

1. Pastor Lost With the Holy Grail

The priest, who preached in Hagia Sophia during the conquest of Istanbul, is said to have disappeared through a door to prevent the bowl from falling into the hands of Muslims. According to the legend; Muslims, who see the pastor passing through the door, see that the door turns into a flat wall even though he runs behind the pastor.

2. The Sacred Relics of Jesus in Hagia Sophia

One of the most impressive secrets of Hagia Sophia is Hz. The cross on which Jesus was crucified and the nails used were in a secret section. According to the narrated; These relics brought from Jerusalem are stored in a secret compartment in Hagia Sophia.

3. Column Pierced With Mary's Tears

The weeping pole is said to have once been at the house of the Virgin Mary. Hz. Hearing that Jesus was caught and tortured, Virgin Mary was buried in tears and her tears melted this column. While making Hagia Sophia, this column was brought to Hagia Sophia and the church was blessed with this column. There are many stories about the holy column. Today, visitors to Hagia Sophia turn the hole formed by the tear of the Virgin Mary with her fingers and wish her wishes. The column is also known as the wishing column for this reason.

4. History of the Apocalypse

One of the beliefs about Hagia Sophia is the writing of the date when the apocalypse will break in one of the columns! When entering through the door at the south entrance of the building, Hz. There is a date by Khidr that indicates when the apocalypse will break. A date is written on the column.

5. Talisman of the Doors

Hagia Sophia has 361 glorious doors. However, the doors, 101 of which are bigger than others, are said to be talisman. Because whenever these gates are counted, an extra gates emerge.

6. Secret of the Coffin in Hagia Sophia

There is a coffin in the middle of Hagia Sophia's Qibla doors. It is believed that if this coffin is moved, Hagia Sophia will be destroyed. There are 4 angel figures in the dome on the coffin, which is known to belong to Queen Sofia. When the relationship between the figures of the angels of Azrail, Israfil, Cebrail and Mikail and the coffin was examined, it was thought that if the coffin was moved, Hagia Sophia would be destroyed.

Topkapi Palace

Topkapı Palace, which was the administration, education and art center of the empire for nearly 400 years after the conquest of Istanbul, also served as the home of the dynasty and sultans. The Palace, which consists of Harem and 4 courtyards, started to serve as a museum after the Republic.

After Fatih Sultan Mehmed conquered Istanbul in 1453, the palace started to be built in 1460 and completed in 1478; It is built on an area of 700,000 square meters on the Eastern Roman acropolis in Sarayburnu, at the tip of the historical Istanbul peninsula between the Marmara Sea, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. It has been used as the administration, education and art center of the empire for approximately four hundred years from the Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror to the 31st sultan, Sultan Abdulmecid, and was also the sultan's house. Although it was abandoned by the dynasty moving to Dolmabahçe Palace in the middle of the 19th century, it has always kept its importance.

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Places to visit in Topkapı Palace

In Topkapı Palace Museum, which is one of the biggest palace museums of the world, you can see many valuable collections from sacred relics to Chinese porcelains.

There are thrones, weapons, clothes and harem sections, which are the wives of the sultan. In addition, the prophet of the Islamic world, Hz. There are sacred relics of Muhammad.

Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern, one of the most visited historical places in Istanbul, fascinates the people with its 9 meter high 336 columns and 2 Medusa sculptures.

The cistern, which was built in 542 by the Byzantine emperor Justinian, was also known as the "Basilica Cistern" since there was a Basilica in the same place, and was also known as the "Basilica Palace" among the people because of the marble columns rising from the water.

Two Medusa heads, one of the remarkable examples of the Roman Period sculpture art, are located as a pedestal under two columns in the northwest corner of the cistern.

The sculptures, which are thought to have been brought for the purpose of being used solely as column bases during the construction of the cistern, but whose exact location is not known from the cistern, attract intense attention from the visitors.

It is believed that Medusa, one of the most famous characters of Greek mythology, was one of the Gorgon monsters, which, according to a legend, had the power to turn the ministers into stone, while the Gorgon paintings and sculptures were used to preserve large structures and private places, and therefore the sculptures were placed for this reason.

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Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque)

While even the view of Hagia Sophia is enough for us to fall in love with Istanbul, the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, which is located right next to it, that we have been looking at with respect for centuries and we admire every time, is able to carry our love to a completely different dimension. Sultan Ahmet Mosque; It is one of the most visited works of the historical peninsula with its story, architectural features, location and history challenge. Due to the color of the magnificent patterns adorning its interior walls, this place is also known as “Blue Mosque” among foreign tourists.

The Blue Mosque has 3 entrance doors. The mosque has 260 windows, its main dome is 23.5 meters in diameter and 22,000 pieces of Iznik and Kütahya tiles decorate the mosque.

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Little Hagia Sophia Mosque

The Little Hagia Sophia Mosque, formerly the Sergius and Bacchus Church, was built by 527 - 536 Emperor Justinian.

It was built between 527-536 and it was known as Aya Sergios and Bachos Church in its early period. In the following years, it was converted into a mosque. It was built just a few years before the Great Hagia Sophia Museum. Its interior and exterior architecture is very impressive and attracts the attention of local and foreign tourists throughout the year. The Little Hagia Sophia Mosque was repaired in 1836 and 1956. We recommend you to visit Küçük Ayasofya Mosque, one of the important historical monuments of Istanbul.

Obelisk in Sultanahmet

Dikilitaş, located in Sultanahmet Square, is one of the first Egyptian pharaohs III. Tutmosis BC. It was erected in Egypt in the 15th century. On the four sides of the column made of pink granite with a height of 18.45 meters (24.87 m with its base), the victories of Pharaoh Tutmosis and the victims he presented to Amon-Ra are described. Its weight is approximately 200 tons.

This monumental column was brought to Istanbul in 390 by the Roman Emperor Theodosius I. Therefore it is also known as the Obelisk of Theodosius. On the western side of his base, Theodosius I was depicted sitting on his throne with his wife and children and accepting the apostles.

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Knitted Column

This work in Sultanahmet Square was made in the 4th or 5th century. VII in 944. This column is also known as the Constantine Obelisk, as it was repaired by Constantine. The 32-meter-high column is made of chipped stones.

Million Stone

It was considered the starting point of all roads in Byzantium, and this stone was considered the center point when measuring the distance of other cities to Byzantine. It is estimated that it was settled by Emperor Constantine I in the 4th century.

Serpent Column

It is located in Sultanahmet Square. B.C. 31 united Greek cities, which defeated the Persians in the Battle of Platea in 479, erected this statue to the Temple of Apollo in memory of their victory. This column was produced by melting the bronze spoils they won in battle. Later, it was brought to Istanbul by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine I (324 -337 AD).

Column of Goths

It is located in Gülhane Park, which was once the harem garden of Topkapı Palace. It is estimated to have been built in the 4 century. It is one of the oldest monuments left from the Roman Period. It is 18.5 meters high.

Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar, one of the most magnificent structures of the Historic Peninsula, in Fatih district of Istanbul, is the largest and oldest bazaar in the world.

The bazaar has become one of the most magnificent buildings in the world with the growth of the interior bedesten, which was started to be built in the Byzantine era and with the structures added to the outside from the Ottoman period. In historical sources, Fatih Sultan Mehmet period is considered as the establishment period of the bazaar.

There are 22 doors, 2 bazaars, 16 inns, 64 streets and 3600 shops in the Grand Bazaar where some of the state treasury and the wealth, valuable goods, money and jewels of the rich were kept in the Ottoman period. An average of 300 thousand people visit the bazaar, which has a covered area of ​​45 thousand square meters, every day.

There are shops in the bazaar that produce in many areas from jewelers to hand made carpets, from gift shops to fabric makers, from precious stones and minerals to leather products. There are also cafes where visitors can relax and restaurants where you can taste traditional Ottoman dishes.

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German fountain

Historical fountain located in Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, opposite the Tomb of Sultan Ahmed I. German Emperor II. It is Wilhelm's gift to the Sultan and Istanbul. It was built in Germany and installed in 1901 in Istanbul. It is a fountain in the Neo-Byzantine style; It is decorated with gold mosaic from the inside.

Aya Irini Church

The construction of the church dates back to the 320s. This is a very old work. It is known that the remains of the temples of Artemis, Aphrodite and Apollon were built in Roman times and the remains of these churches were built during the time of Constantine. It is known that the church was burned as a result of the great uprising in 532. But then it was rebuilt by Jüstinianos. It was burned in Hagia Sophia during this uprising and was built by the same ruler. This reconstruction time corresponds to 535 years.

After the conquest of Istanbul within the walls of the Topkapi Palace, the church has been preserved until today. The only atelier in the Byzantine church architecture is known as Aya Irini. You can understand this from the courtyard in the middle and the surrounding outlets.

Istanbul Archeology Museum

Istanbul Archeology Museum has a very important place for both the world and our country due to its historical heritage and more than 1 million works. Istanbul Archeology Museum is located in the museum in the first place to be seen in Turkey, also played an active role in the development of museums in our country.

This world-wide museum, inherited from us during the Ottoman Period, is a must-see stop by travelers interested in culture and art. The museum, which has an eye-catching splendor, has a wide range of works spanning the territory of the Ottoman Empire, stretching from Europe to Africa.

2. Istanbul Bosphorus

First of all, let's try to explain why the Bosphorus Strait attracts so many tourists.

The Bosphorus, which is a center of interest for locals and tourists, is a region worth seeing. It is a location with fascinating scenery, the only natural sea route separating the Asian and European continents, and many historical buildings from the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires.

With a boat tour on the Bosphorus, you will have the chance to see many historical buildings such as Maiden Tower, Rumeli Fortress, Beylerbeyi Palace and Dolmabahce Palace.

We recommend you to attend, Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with the Turkish Night Show. You will have the chance to watch many shows in Turkish cultures such as belly dance, Turkish folk dances and dinner on the boat.

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Best Places to Visit on Bosphorus

Galata Tower

It is a 63 meter high tower that you can watch Istanbul 360 degrees. It is a 63-meter high tower that you can watch Istanbul 360 degrees. The most important place where you can take panoramic Istanbul pictures.

Galata Tower is a work that has been included in the panorama of the city since Byzantine Istanbul, marking the magnificent silhouette of the city. Galata, which is as old as Istanbul with many narrations in its name ... The Galata Tower, which greets every seagull, ship, and people passing by, has been dominating the city for centuries.

The Galata Tower was actually built as the 'lookout point' in the region's highest place. There are many rumors about the origin of the name 'Galata'. Although some say only 'name similarity', it is said that the names of the people living in the Galatians were given to these lands. According to another rumor, in Byzantium, it was also called 'Galesu', which means 'milk production' because it is dealing with dairy in the region. The name of Sütlüce, which is a little further from the region, suggests that this event is not a coincidence. Another narration is that it was called Galata because of the people of Gauls who crossed the Bosphorus and reached Pera.

When you visit the tower where there is a cafe and restaurant on the top floor today, you definitely have a coffee.

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Maiden’s Tower

The Maiden’s Tower, the pearl of Üsküdar, one of the most beautiful districts of Istanbul, is one of the works bearing the traces of history. This historical beauty, which adorns the Istanbul Bosphorus, which people who come to Istanbul must meet, also impresses with its legend. Their fascinating love with the Galata tower is one of them.

It is located in Salacak offshore 150-200 meters away. There is no definite information about the construction of the Maiden Tower, but it is said to date back to 341 BC.

Today, it has been opened to use as a restaurant with the Maiden's Tower restored and is still used in this way.

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Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahce Palace, the last sultan of the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey founder Ataturk's house died spend the last years of the palace. Dolmabahçe is the most magnificent of the symbolic structures of the Ottoman Empire's transformed identity in the 19th century. It was built by the Ottoman Sultan Sultan Abdülmecid between 1839-1861.

It has a clock tower at the entrance and a wonderful peaceful garden in the interior. The interior is decorated with furniture, carpets and chandeliers worth seeing. It reflects the western style of that period.

The most important point is that the great leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's Turkey is very important to spend here last year and is the presence of residual memories of him.

It is a magnificent palace worth seeing.

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Ciragan Palace

Çırağan Palace, located in Beşiktaş, one of the most beautiful districts of Istanbul; It is one of the most beautiful palaces in our history, where the sultans lived in the past, which fascinated everyone with its magnificent structure. However, it is not possible to travel since it serves as a hotel today.

Rumeli Fortress

Rumeli Hisarı is located in Sarıyer district and Bosphorus in Istanbul. The Rumeli fortress was built by Fatih Sultan Mehmet right across the Anatolian fortress before the conquest of Istanbul in order to prevent attacks from the northern part of the Bosphorus. The area where the fortress is located is the narrowest part of the Bosphorus. The construction of the fortress took 90 days. There are 3 big towers in the fortress, which has the largest castle bastions in the world.

Since Rumeli Fortress is located in the best location of the Bosphorus, you can watch the magnificent Bosphorus view and take pictures.

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Anatolian Fortress

Anadolu Hisarı is a beautiful coastal district and one of the most beautiful settlements in Istanbul, located on the Anatolian side of the Bosphorus, on one of the narrowest points of the Bosphorus, without coming to the Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridge. Anadolu Fortress was built by Yıldırım Bayezid for the conquest of Istanbul. It was also called Güzelhisar (Güzelce Hisar) due to the beauty and beauty of the fortress.

Beylerbeyi Palace

It was built between 1863 and 65, overlooking the vast blue of the Bosphorus. Beylerbeyi Palace, which is a 19th century work that impresses with its set gardens and amazes with its mansions, and its structures is a unique place where history and historical characters are guests.

Beylerbeyi Palace, which reflects western Ottoman exterior and classical Ottoman architectural style from the inside, was mostly used as a summer palace and a state guest house. Beylerbeyi, a State Guest House allocated to senior state guests, the French Emperor III. Emperor Eugénie, wife of Napoleon, German Emperor II. It hosted important political actors of the period like Wilhelm.

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3. Istanbul Eminönü

Eminönü is one of the lively and touristic places on the historical peninsula of Istanbul. You can observe the lively history of Istanbul around the New Mosque and in Eminönü square, and visit the historical Spice Bazaar where you can find all kinds of spices.

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Spice Bazaar

It is one of the most important markets in Istanbul where all kinds of spices, Turkish delight and various breakfast cheeses are sold. If you go to the back door of the Egyptian bazaar, you will be enchanted by the scent of coffee surrounding it. This is the famous Turkish coffee shop Mehmet Efendi. You can buy freshly ground Turkish coffee.

You can buy fresh cookies, all kinds of cheese, fish products and meat runes, especially in small shops next to the corn bazaar.

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Fish Bread and Pickles

Eminönü is a region where local people flock to eat fish and bread. You can taste fresh fish cooked in boats on the beach and all kinds of pickles from the pickle vendors right next to it.

Fishermen on Karaköy Bridge

With a short walk from Eminönü, you can walk to Karaköy bridge and take pictures with people fishing there. You can also eat any kind of fish in restaurants right under the bridge, sip your drink on the shore of the sea.

4. Princes' Islands

4 of the 9 small and large islands, known as the Prince Islands or the Red Islands, are among the most frequented by visitors. One of the most popular summer resorts in Istanbul, the islands are places to visit. Here is Büyükada, Kınalıada, Heybeliada, Burgazada.

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Big Island (Büyükada)

Buyukada is the largest island.

Aya Yorgi Church, located in Yüce Tepe, the highest hill of the island, which is the most visited island on the island, is one of the most visited places. According to the Patriarchate's records, the two-storey old church building with a red tile roof, a chapel and a prayer room, dates from 1751.

The island is teeming with nature. While visiting the island, you will encounter many historical mansions. Since the use of motor vehicles is prohibited on the island, you can spend a quiet day away from noise and crowds.


Kınalıada is the smallest one among the island community known as Prince Islands.

Since it is the closest island to Istanbul, most of the island shoots were brought here during the Byzantine period. The most important of these shoots is Romanian Diogenes.

The Hristos Monastery is the only monastery to date. The monastery was used as an orphanage in the 20th century. It became a military headquarters in World War I and hosted the White Russians during the 1917 Russian Revolution. Emperor Leo, who was killed in a clash at Hagia Irene Church in 820, lies in this monastery.

Surp Krikor Lusavoriç Armenian Church, built between 1854-1857, is one of the important historical buildings of Kınalıada. The church was started to be built with the edict of Abdulmecit I. It was opened by the Armenian Patriarch Hagop.


The name of Heybeliada, which is the biggest island of Istanbul and the second island with the most intense summer and winter population after Buyukada, was put in Heybeliada because it looks like a saddlebag left from the distance.

The Clergy School, established on the Ümit Hill, is one of the important places to visit on the island. This hill, formerly known as the Papaz Hill, is 85 meters high. The school, which can be seen from anywhere in Heybeliada, is the symbol of the island. The school, which started its activities in 1844 to train clergymen, was named as the High Orthodox Theology School until 1923. Later, he identified with the island he was on and started to be called Heybeliada Clergy School.

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church (Hagios Nikolaos) is located in the center of Heybeliada. The church was founded in 1857 on the ruins of a Byzantine church dedicated to Saint Nikola, the patron saint of sailors.


The Greek name Antigoni is the 3rd biggest island of Istanbul, later called Burgaz (Pyrgos), which also means castle / horoscope in Greek.

Theokoryphotos (Metamorphosis of Christ), a Byzantine monastery, is located at the top of the Hill of Christos (Jesus), as the name says. Although not confirmed by Byzantine sources, the monastery was built on the remains of an ancient Greek temple by Macedonian Emperor Basil I.

Aya Yorgi Monastery and Church This 19th century church is famous for its three bells. It is located on the west of the island, under the Paradise Road. The monastery is a rectangular planned stone building consisting of 3 floors, one of which is a basement.

Ayios Ioannes Prodromos Church, the oldest structure of the island, was built in 842 and dedicated to John the Baptist. The church, which was heavily damaged in the 1894 earthquake, was rebuilt in 1899 and enriched with icons. There is also a dungeon, which is descended by eleven steps inside the church. Rumor has it that the Greek Orthodox patriarch, Metodios, was imprisoned here for 7 years.