Istanbul is a beautiful destination where ancient and modern lay side by side. Fascinating historical monuments are only steps away from luscious restaurants, exciting nightlife and trendy cafes. Here are the top sites you have to visit on your trip to Istanbul.
1) Hagia Sofia
The Hagia Sofia, also known as the Aya Sofia in Turkish, was once a church, once a mosque, and is now a museum. It is one of the most visited sites in all of Istanbul, and it’s easy to see why with its magnificent architecture. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985, and it continues to be a highlight of Istanbul for many travellers.
2) Bosphorus Bridge
The Bosphorus Bridge spans the Bosphorus Strait, so it connects Europe with Asia. It is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world at 1560 meters long. The bridge is closed to pedestrians, except during the Istanbul Eurasia Marathon (which is the world’s only marathon that spans two continents.) Cruises on the Bosphorus Strait are also a great way to get stunning views up close.
3) Galata Tower
Galata Tower is one of the most recognizable buildings in the Istanbul skyline. Dating back to Medieval Istanbul, the tower is now open to the public for an admission fee. While it’s somewhat pricy to enter, you will experience unparalleled view of the city like never before.
4) Eyüp Sultan Mosque
The Eyüp Sultan Mosque is one of the most culturally and religiously significant mosques in Istanbul. Its ornate interior is a stunning testament to the beauty of Islamic architecture. Since its opening in 1458, it has seen myriad visitors, both devout Muslims and interested tourists.
5) Dolmabahçe Mosque
Dolmabahçe Mosque features incredible architecture in the neoclassical and imperial styles. Its interior is full of intricate and artistic decor that makes it look almost like a palace. It’s also not as often frequented by tourist compared to some of the bigger mosques in Istanbul, so you won’t have to face big crowds if you visit during peak times.
6) Küçüksu Palace
Küçüksu Palace is a luxurious Ottoman palace located on the Bosphorus coast. Historically, it was used by sultans in the summertime to stay during hunting or recreational excursions. This neo-Baroque masterpiece needs to be seen to be believed—its antique paintings, furniture and architecture is truly a marvel.
7) Topkapi Palace
Topkapi Palace is a palace that was historically the home of many Ottoman sultans. Today, it’s a museum that sees thousands of international tourists every year. This gigantic complex housed almost 4000 people at one point, and it has several courtyards and gardens you can explore.
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