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Main activities in Istanbul

Main activities in Istanbul

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Main activities that every tourist should do in Istanbul

The definitive guide to the main sights and activities in Istanbul. Check out:

Enjoy the architecture of Hagia Sophia

– What is it?

Completed in the 6th century under the rule of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, the Hagia Sophia was the largest cathedral in the world (losing its title to the Cathedral of Seville in 1520).

Before being converted into a mosque in the 15th century and then a museum in 1935, Hagia Sophia served as the center of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The building was recently converted into a mosque again.

– Why you should visit?

Hagia Sophia is among Istanbul’s most popular and iconic historic sites – and for good reason: its huge, its transcendent dome is breathtaking and can be admired for hours. Considered an architectural marvel to this day, its walls are adorned by Byzantine mosaics with portraits of emperors from the past and representations of Christ.

Stroll around Topkapi Palace

– What is it?

Located between the Golden Horn and the Marmara Sea, Topkapi Palace has been the main residence of the Ottoman sultans for more than four centuries.

– Why you should visit?

Here, you will be able to discover the jewels of the historic peninsula, the spacious rooms, chambers and fascinating objects of Topkapi, including an 86-carat diamond.

Be mesmerized by the tiles inside the Blue Mosque

– What is it?

The Sultanahmet Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque due to the prominent color of its majestic interior is a historic mosque built in the early 17th century during the reign of Ahmed I.

– Why you should visit?

 Among the city’s most famous landmarks, the internal walls of the Blue Mosque are adorned with more than 20,000 hand-painted tiles, which are bathed in natural light that is filtered through more than 200 windows – a stunning sight. In addition, the Blue Mosque is still a functional mosque that hosts dozens of worshipers in times of prayer.

Discover the Basilica Cistern and take a trip back in time

– What is it?

One of Istanbul’s most interesting attractions, the Basilica Cistern (also known as Yerebatan Sarnıcı), was built by Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century to store up to 80,000 m3 of water and channel it to nearby palaces.

– Why you should visit?

With hundreds of ancient Ionian and Corinthian columns, the cistern is a relic of the Byzantine Empire’s water system, and visitors can explore this attraction first hand. The cool, dark underground complex is also a great way to escape the summer heat.

Remember ancient history at the Archeology Museum

– What is it?

 Established in the late 19th century as the first museum in Turkey, the Istanbul Archeology Museum is divided into three sections: Archeology, Ancient Orient and Islamic Art.

 – Why you should visit?

Your trip in the old city of Istanbul is not complete without a visit to the museum. Its collection has a large collection of artifacts from Ancient Greece, the Romans and Turks, as well as objects discovered in the Balkans, Africa, Mesopotamia and the Middle East.

Admire the blooming tulips in Gülhane Park

 – What is it?

Located next to Topkapi Palace, at the tip of Istanbul’s historic peninsula, Gülhane Park is one of the largest and most beautiful parks in the city.

– Why you should visit?

 Being a popular destination in the weekends among local families, the park is a sanctuary in the busy and dense old town.

 Buy souvenirs at the Grand Bazaar

-What is it?

 This is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, and features thousands of stores spread across dozens of streets.

– Why you should visit?

It is a worthwhile destination even for those who are not thinking of buying anything, since the historic climate of the large complex is its true attraction.

Buy spices and souvenirs at the spice museum

– What is it?

Next to the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar, also known as the Egyptian Bazaar was built in the 16th century and has rows of stalls selling spices, sweets, tea varieties, dried fruits, and other products.

– Why you should visit?

A great place to buy spices, Turkish candies, and other souvenirs. In addition, the place is also a visual experience, as the spice sellers prominently display their colorful products in large pyramid-shaped hills.

Experience an ekmek balık in Eminönü

– What is it?

 Balık ekmek (fish sandwich) is one of Istanbul’s most iconic street foods and a great meal for any time of the day.

– Why you should visit?

Although the fish unfortunately no longer comes from the Bosphorus (it has been imported from Norway seas for years), savoring a balık ekmek cooked on a rocking boat off the coast of Eminönü remains an institution in Istanbul and beloved weekend activity for families all over town.

Snack with classic sweets at Altan Şekerlem

– What is it?

Opened in 1865, this classic candy store is a representation of the past and a relic in a city that is changing by the minute.

– Why you should visit?

This store has been in the hands of the same family since the beginning and offers a variety of antique sweets that are hard to find in Istanbul today. Although there are many bad variations of Turkish sweets to be found in Istanbul, Altan Şekerleme always values quality.

Pause for a moment of reflection in the Church of St. Anthony

– What is it?

Istanbul’s largest and the most important Catholic church, the majestic St. Anthony at Istiklal Caddesi was built between 1906 and 1912 in the Venetian neo-Gothic style.

– Why you should visit?

 St. Anthony offers masses during the week in English, Turkish, Polish and Italian, and is a good place to visit and get a moment of reflection after spending the morning crossing the bustling Beyoğlu district.

Eat classic Russian food in 1924

 – What is it?

Continuing from where the iconic Russian restaurant Rejans left off when it closed after 80 years of operation, 1924 is a restaurant that combines the old and the new, paying homage to its precursor without completely depending on the past.

– Why you should visit?

Here, you can try classic Russian dishes like borscht soup, beef stroganoff, Kiev chicken and pelmeni dumplings. Finish with delights from the dessert menu like the chestnut cream profiterole or the most honey-filled cake. 1924 is a place to visit for its historical touch, as well as for its good food.

Stroll through Çiçek Pasajı

– What is it?

Built in 1876, the Çiçek Pasajı (Passage of Flowers) is easily one of the most beautiful arcades in Istanbul.

 – Why you should visit?

 Due to its beautiful landscape, it is worth taking a stroll through its stunning interior.

 Let yourself be carried away by the dance of the whirling dervishes of Galata Mevlevi Lodge

– What is it?

 The tekke (accommodation) is the oldest in Istanbul to house members of the Mevlevi order, adepts of Sufism. In this 15th century building, a museum was built in 1975 and remains an important corner store of Sufi culture.

– Why you should visit?

A treasure trove of artifacts is on display at the museum, including Mevlevi’s musical instruments, calligraphy, clothing, and accessories, although its main attraction is the weekly sema (revolving dervish) ceremony that receives a large number of visitors every Sunday at 5 pm.

Discover the Museum of Innocence

– What is it?

Inspired by the novel of the same name by renowned novelist Orhan Pamuk, the Museum of Innocence is located in the picturesque neighborhood of Çukurcuma, where much of the book exudes.

– Why you should visit?

 Winner of the European Museum of the Year Award in 2014, the Museum of Innocence is a must visit for readers of the book, as well as for anyone interested in Istanbul’s cultural and material history. The countless number of domestic objects and photographs displayed in the museum are linked to the bittersweet love story that unfolds in the novel.

 – See contemporary art at Istanbul Modern

– What is it?

 Founded in 2004 as Turkey’s first museum of modern and contemporary art, Istanbul Modern was forced to move to a smaller, temporary location in Beyoğlu earlier this year due to ongoing construction work in Karaköy.

– Why you should visit? 

Although its temporary home is a far cry from its the original seaside location, Istanbul Modern still continues to host avant-garde exhibitions by artists from Turkey and abroad, as well as those curated by its permanent collection.

Listen to live jazz at Nardis

– What is it?

Known for being Istanbul’s favorite jazz bar, Nardis is located at the foot of the Galata Tower.

– Why you should visit?

 Nardis features live jazz music from local and international artists almost every night and is a must-see for style enthusiasts.

Discover the second largest tunnel in the world

 – What is it?

 The funicular between Karaköy and Tünel Square was opened in 1875 as a means of allowing traders and merchants in the area a quicker way up and down the steep hill.

– Why you should visit?

With the distinction of being the oldest underground train in the world after the London Underground, the Tünel still operates today and is a popular way to reach Beyoğlu for those disembarking at the nearby Karaköy pier.

How can Guide in Turkey help me to know the main attractions of Istanbul?

 If you want to know these places during your trip in Turkey, we can organize private tours.

Contact: +90 536 273 59 61

E-mail: info@guideserviceinturkey.com

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