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15 Top Things To Do In Istanbul, Turkey

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    Jonathan Chum


Istanbul is one of the most amazing cities in the world. It has so much to offer: beautiful scenery, great food and drink, historic sites, and more. This guide will help you plan your visit to Istanbul and give you a list of the must-see places there so you can make sure not to miss out on any of them!

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is a former Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica, later an imperial mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. The building was originally constructed as an Orthodox cathedral in 360. It was then expanded by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I and subsequently rebuilt and remodeled several times before its conversion into a mosque under Mehmed II in 1453. It was designated a World Heritage Site in 1985.

It's hard to believe that this architectural masterpiece was originally built as an Orthodox cathedral! Now it's one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city and has been featured in all kinds of things from movies to video games over the years thanks to its grandeur and elegance.

Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar is located in the Eminonu district and is open every day, except for Sunday and Monday. It was built in 1455 and has over 4,000 shops. It's the largest covered bazaar in the world and also one of the longest bazaars in the world with around 4 million visitors each year. The Grand Bazaar is an important part of Istanbul's history as it was used as a marketplace for purchasing goods during Ottoman times when money was scarce.

You'll find everything you need at this market including clothing, antiques, shoes, and jewelry among other things!

Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern is a famous historical structure in Istanbul, built during the reign of Justinian I. It was built as a cistern to provide fresh water for the Great Palace of Constantinople.

The cistern has 336 columns and is the largest of its kind in Istanbul. You can visit this amazing place by booking your tickets online, or by buying them at an Istanbul travel agency or tour operator.

The Basilica Cistern is now a popular tourist attraction and it's open every day except Monday from 09:00 am -- 5:00 pm.

Sultanahmet Square

Sultanahmet Square, also known as the Blue Mosque Square and Hippodrome, is a busy square in the center of Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and Sultanahmet Square has been a major attraction for hundreds of years.

Located next to Hagia Sophia and Topkap─▒ Palace, this grand square is bordered by some of Istanbul's most famous historical landmarks including Aya Sofya and the Blue Mosque. If you want to see all three at once then this would be an excellent place because they are right next door to each other with no buildings blocking any views or obstructing your sightline.

The Egyptian Bazaar (or Grand Bazaar) can be found on one side while Hippodrome is on another side where chariot races were held during ancient times (and yes they still happen today).

Topkap─▒ Palace Museum

The Topkap─▒ Palace Museum is the largest and most important Ottoman palace. It was built by Bairam Khan, a Persian architect who served as grand vizier under three sultans. The museum is also home to Islamic art and contains a large collection of ceramics from the 14th century onwards.

Bosphorus Bridge

The Bosphorus Bridge is one of the most important landmarks in Istanbul. It is also one of the longest suspension bridges in the world, spanning a total length of 2,190 meters and connecting two continents.

The bridge was designed by a Turkish civil engineer, Halit Ziya U┼čakl─▒gil who began work on it in 1970; construction started later that year and lasted until 1973. The bridge opened on October 23rd, 1973 after being completed ahead of schedule as part of an ambitious development plan which aimed to improve connections between areas around Istanbul's Asian side with those on its European side.

The official name for this architectural marvel is Bo─čazi├ži K├Âpr├╝s├╝ (Bosphorus Bridge). The bridge offers stunning views over both sides of Istanbul's Bosporus Strait as well as towards Galata Tower which sits opposite ─░stinye Park near Taksim Square in Beyo─člu district at one end where restaurants are serving local dishes such as mant─▒ pasta or kebap meatballs alongside international cuisine like Japanese sushi rolls

Galata Tower

The Galata Tower is a medieval stone tower in the Galata district of Istanbul, Turkey, just to the north of the Golden Horn's junction with the Bosphorus. It is one of the city's most prominent landmarks, and has been described as "one of the world's most famous towers."

In its prime era (11th-16th centuries), Galata served as a major hub for trade between East and West; it was renowned for its wealth and high culture. This was reflected in its architecture: Byzantine artisans created many grand buildings here that were designed both as residences and warehouses for goods from around Europe. The oldest surviving example is K├╝├ž├╝k Ayasofya Camii Mosque (the Small Church of St Mary). Built during Byzantine rule in 1454, it has since been converted into an old people's home but still maintains much of its original structure including some mosaics from an earlier church on site which can now be seen inside.

Istiklal Avenue

Istanbul is a city full of things to do and see, but it's also where you'll find some of the best shopping on this side of Europe. That's why Istiklal Avenue is such an important part of the city---it's lined with shops and restaurants, plus it's the center of nightlife in Istanbul. The street is full of restaurants, bars, cafes, and nightclubs that offer everything from traditional Turkish food to modern fusion cuisine. If shopping isn't your thing then there's plenty more for you on Istiklal Avenue:

Visit Taksim Square

Browse through shops along pedestrianized streets like ─░stiklal Caddesi (Independence Avenue), or walk down ─░stiklal Caddesi itself which has been named one of Lonely Planet's top 10 streets in Europe! It's also home to some great cheap eats like Kebab places serving Adana Kebabs or ├çi├žek Pasaj─▒ near Nevizade Sk No:1 where you can try out different types such as vegetarian ones too!

Dolmabah├že Palace

The Dolmabah├že Palace is a museum that was once the official residence of the Ottoman sultans. It was built in the 19th century by Sultan Abdulmejid I and it's located on the Bosphorus Strait, which separates Europe from Asia. The palace has been open to the public since 1982 and has become one of Istanbul's top attractions.

Maiden's Tower

If you're looking for a place to visit in Istanbul, Maiden's Tower is an excellent choice. Located in the Sarayburnu neighborhood of Istanbul, this site was built by Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century. In addition to being one of the seven wonders of the medieval world and a popular tourist attraction, it also served as a lighthouse during Ottoman times.

While there are many ways you can get here (including public transportation), we recommend making use of your car or any other form of transportation when touring around Turkey because many sights are located outside city limits and travel between them can be difficult without your vehicle or tour guide.

The Bosphorus

The Bosphorus is a strait that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara. The strait is also known as the Golden Horn, after its shape and location (the horn of a bull). The Bosphorus was historically one of the busiest waterways in world trade, with hundreds of ships carrying goods along it each day. Today, the Bosphorus remains popular with tourists and cruise ships alike.

The best way to see Istanbul's most famous landmark (and its many museums) is simply by taking a bus or taxi from anywhere in town---which you can do without any planning at all!

The Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque is the largest in Istanbul and one of the best examples of Ottoman architecture. Built between 1609 and 1616, it was commissioned by Sultan Ahmet I and designed by architect Sedefkar Mehmed Aga.

The Blue Mosque is located on the European side of Istanbul. It has six minarets, four in each corner tower, plus two more at its entrance. The mosque's interior walls are covered with blue Iznik tiles from floor to roofline that give the building its name; this coloration also serves as a means to direct worshippers during prayer time so they will face Mecca during their prayers (more about this here).

Suleymaniye Mosque

The Suleymaniye Mosque is named after sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, who was a great patron of art and architecture. This mosque was built by Mimar Sinan in 1550 and is considered to be his masterpiece. It has six minarets and a central dome that is decorated with tiles. The mosque was designed to be a place of worship, school, hospital, and mausoleum for Suleyman's daughter Hadice Sultan.


We hope you've enjoyed our list of the top things to do in Istanbul. Istanbul is a city full of history and culture, and there are so many things to do here that it's easy to get overwhelmed by all the options available. The best way we found was by starting with one thing at a time. If you're short on time or don't feel like planning, then choose from our suggestions above!