10 Top Tourist Attractions in Istanbul

10 Top Tourist Attractions in Istanbul

Category : Europe , Istanbul , Turkey

Istanbul is a city that wears its cultures and history well, blending them into an exciting city that has much to offer travelers from around the world. Founded during Neolithic times, Istanbul today is a modern city that remains true to its historic heritage through its mosques, basilicas and cathedrals, and ancient bazaars. Standing between the East and the West, Turkey’s largest city offers an aura of intrigue and charm that will appeal to all visitors. An overview of the top tourist attractions in Istanbul:

10. Galata Tower

Galata Tower

 

At 67 meters (219 feet) high, the Galata Tower rules over the Istanbul skyline, offering great views of the old city and its surroundings. The medieval stone tower, known as the Tower of Christ, was the tallest building in Istanbul when it was built in 1348. It still stands tall over Istanbul today. The tower has been modified over the centuries, at one time being used as an observation tower to spot fires. Today, its upper reaches include a café, restaurant and a night club, both reached by elevator in the nine-story building, where one can find the stunning vistas.

9. Istanbul Archaeological Museum

Istanbul Archaeological Museum

 

One of the most important museums in Turkey, the Istanbul Archaeological Museum is actually three museums: the Archaeological Museum, the Ancient Orient Museum and the Tiled Kiosk Museum. The three museums combined contain more than 1 million objects from civilizations around the world. Founded in 1891, it was the first Turkish museum, and was located on the Topkapi Palace grounds. The Tiled Kiosk dates back to 1472. The museums contain thousands of precious artifacts, including the sarcophagus of Alexander the Great.

8. Chora Church

Chora Church

 

The Chora Church may be a little bit off the beaten tourist path, but visitors say the beautiful Byzantine art is well worth the effort to get there. Magnificent mosaics and frescoes depict the life of Jesus and his mother, Mary. Known as the Church of the Holy Savior in Chora, it has been described as one of the most beautiful surviving works of Byzantine architecture. Dating back to the days of Constantine, the Chora was a monastery in its early years; a few centuries later, it became a mosque, and in 1948, it was converted to a museum.

7. Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern

 

The Basilica Cistern has been providing Istanbul residents with water since the sixth century when it was ordered built by the Roman Emperor Justinian I. A visit leaves travelers raving about the technology the ancient Romans used to build this architectural wonder that was very advanced for its day. The underground cistern, just a few steps away from the Blue Mosque, was built on the site of a basilica that was constructed in the third century. Known as the Sunken Palace, the cistern can hold up to 2.8 million cubic feet of water. The cistern is one of the locations used in From Russia with Love, a James Bond thriller filmed in 1963.

6. Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahce Palace

 

Luxurious, plush and beautiful are just some of the adjectives used to describe the Dolmabahce Palace, which has been compared to the Palace of Versailles. Built in the 19th century using 14 tons of gold leaf, Turkey’s most glamorous palace blends traditional Ottoman architecture with the European styles of Neoclassical, Baroque and Rococo. Home to six sultans from 1856 to 1924, it also is home to the world’s largest Bohemian crystal chandelier, a gift from Queen Victoria. The Dolmabahce Palace’s setting is stunning: It was built along the Bosphorus coastline.

5. Suleymaniye Mosque

Suleymaniye Mosque

 

Visitors to the Suleymaniye Mosque say its beauty and peacefulness gives them an inspiring sense of spirituality. Located on the Third Hill of Istanbul, the mosque was ordered built in 1550 by the Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. The mosque, indeed, is magnificent, blending the best of Islamic and Byzantine architecture. The mosque was extensively damaged over the years, including during World War I when a fire broke out while the gardens were used as a weapons depot. It was restored in the mid-20th century. The mosque is marked by four minarets, indicating it was built by a sultan. When it was built, the dome was the highest in the Ottoman Empire.

4. Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

 

Travelers who love to shop shouldn’t miss out on a visit to the Grand Bazaar, with 5,000 shops making it one of the largest indoor marketplaces in the world. Receiving more than a quarter-million visitors a day, the bazaar features such items as jewelry, carpets that may or may not fly, spices, antiques and hand-painted ceramics. The bazaar dates back to 1461 and today is home to two mosques, four fountains, two hammams or steam baths, and the Cevahir Bedesten, where the rarest and most valuable items have been found traditionally. Here is where shoppers will find old coins, jewelry with precious gems, inlaid weapons and antique furniture.

3. Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace

 

Topkapi Palace is one of the must-see attractions in Istanbul that combines history and stunning scenery in an experience that is not to be rushed. Rich in the history of the Ottoman Empire, the Topkapi Palace is surrounded by five kilometers (3.1 miles) of stone wall with 27 towers. Topkapi, which dates back to the 15th century, is situated on a hill overlooking the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. At one time it was an official royal residence of the Ottoman Empire sultans and seat of Turkish government, but is now a museum that is considered the largest and oldest palace in the world. Visitors can get a glimpse of the harem’s quarters, where the government worked, a collection of old weapons used by the sultans, the palace kitchens with a huge porcelain collection, and the treasury with its collection of jewels and clocks.

2. Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

 

The Blue Mosque, built in the early 17th century, remains an active house of worship today. This means visitors need to time their visits carefully, as the mosque is closed to sightseers during the five daily prayer times for Muslims. All visitors must remove their shoes and women must cover their hair. This is a small price to pay for seeing its priceless treasures that include 20,000 ceramic tiles in various tulip designs and 200 stained glass windows, all with intricate designs. The mosque, built by Sultan Ahmet, takes its name from the blue tiles on the dome and the upper levels of the interior.

1. Hagia Sophia

#1 of Tourist Attractions In Istanbul

 

The Hagia Sophia was once a house of worship that served several religions well over the centuries. It started out as a Greek Eastern Orthodox basilica that was home to the Patriarch of Constantinople when it was built in 537. For almost six decades in the 12th century it was a Roman Catholic church. It became a mosque in 1453, remaining that way until 1931, when it was closed. It reopened as a museum in 1935. At one time, it was the largest cathedral in the world at one time, and served as the inspiration for other mosques, including the Blue Mosque, as it was such a great example of Byzantine architecture. It is most famous for its mosaics depicting various religious scenes.


10 Best Places to Visit in Turkey

Category : Istambul , Turkey

With cities steeped in history, beaches, and beautiful countryside, a visit to Turkey promises an enchanted vacation. Diverse offerings such as the ancient ruins of Ephesus to the luxury beach resorts along the Aegean Sea will enthrall and captivate even the most jaded traveler. Istanbul, once the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, features prominently in most travel plans but there are many more great destinations. An overview of the best places to visit in Turkey.

10. Ankara 

Ankara

 

Turkey’s capital city, Ankara, is a sprawling, modern city home to government buildings, commercial businesses, universities and foreign embassies. Located right in the center of the country and the Anatolia region, Ankara is an important transportation hub, linking travelers to other major destinations in Turkey. The city itself city offers a lively arts and culture scene with a large concentration of museums, including the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.

Hotels in Ankara: 4 stars

Hotel Stars Discount Price per night, from Choose dates

Atli Hotel Ankara

★★★★

-14%

7262

View Hotel

Güvenay Business Hotel

★★★★

-14%

5950

View Hotel

Ontur Butik Hotel

★★★★

-29%

7956

View Hotel

Divan Ankara

★★★★

-11%

9685

View Hotel

Demora Hotel

★★★★

-11%

4440

View Hotel

Class Hotel

★★★★

-17%

4840

View Hotel

The Ankara Hotel

★★★★

-15%

7866

View Hotel

Holiday Inn Ankara-Kavaklidere

★★★★

-14%

7061

View Hotel

Hotel Samm Bistro Spa

★★★★

-12%

5347

View Hotel

TRYP by Wyndham Ankara Oran

★★★★

-11%

6154

View Hotel

Hotel Midi

★★★★

-18%

5445

View Hotel

Sonno Boutique Rooms & Suites

★★★★

-15%

5849

View Hotel

Hotel Cinnah

★★★★

-51%

7738

View Hotel

Park Inn by Radisson Ankara Cankaya

★★★★

-11%

6457

View Hotel

Hotel Best

★★★★

-15%

5446

View Hotel

Apart Hotel Best

★★★★

-13%

4539

View Hotel

Limak Ambassadore Hotel

★★★★

-25%

9572

View Hotel

No:19 Boutique Hotel

★★★★

-16%

3529

View Hotel

Check Inn Suite Hotel & SPA

★★★★

-53%

17180

View Hotel

Hotel Houston

★★★★

-12%

5145

View Hotel

 

9. Mardin 

Mardin

 

Perched on a strategic hilltop overlooking the plains of Mesopotamia in southeastern Turkey, Mardin is the capital of the Mardin Province. One of the oldest settlements in the region, Mardin is best known for its cultural diversity and Old City of sandstone buildings that cascade down the hill. Mardin’s Old City is easily toured by walking. The maze of meandering streets leads visitors along terraced houses and popular sites like Deyrü’z-Zafaran Monastery, one of the oldest monasteries in the world, and the Sultan Isa Medresesi, a medieval monument that once served as an astronomical observatory.

8. Konya 

Konya

 

One of the oldest cities in the world and best known for its remarkable Seljuk architecture and Whirling Dervishes, Konya is a large city in Turkey’s Central Anatolia Region. In the 12th and 13th centuries, Konya prospered as a capital city under the rule of the Seljuk Dynasty. Today, buildings from that era can still be admired such as the Alaeddin Mosque and the ruins of the Seljuk Palace. Konya was also the home of the Persian theologian and Sufi mystic, Rumi. His mausoleum is a must-see site in Konya. Rumi’s followers founded the Mevlevi Order, better known as the Whirling Dervishes due to their religious ceremonies in which they spin around and around on the left foot while wearing white, billowing gowns.

7. Antalya 

Antalya

 

Nestled along the beautiful Turkish Riviera on the Mediterranean coastline, Antalya is a large, vibrant city welcoming tourists with numerous resorts, hotels, bars and restaurants. Spectacular scenery frames the city with gorgeous beaches and lush green mountains dotted with ancient ruins. From swimming and sailing to mountain climbing, sightseeing and family fun, Antalya offers something for everyone. A walk around Kaleiçi, the Old Quarter, offers a step back into the city’s ancient past with views of the old city walls, Roman gates, maze-like streets and historic structures that include the Clock Tower.

Hotels in Ankara: 4 stars

Hotel Stars Discount Price per night, from Choose dates

Minyon Hotel

★★★★

-23%

10380

View Hotel

Tekeli Konaklari

★★★★

-8%

7671

View Hotel

Eski Masal Hotel - Adult Only +11

★★★★

-9%

9485

View Hotel

Ramada Resort Lara

★★★★

-54%

15974

View Hotel

Delight Deluxe Boutique Hotel

★★★★

-8%

5046

View Hotel

Prime Boutique Hotel

★★★★

-24%

136102

View Hotel

Dogan Hotel

★★★★

-30%

8056

View Hotel

Akra V Hotel

★★★★

-40%

12273

View Hotel

B Business Hotel & Spa

★★★★

-10%

5550

View Hotel

Aspen Hotel

★★★★

-7%

4744

View Hotel

Grand Park Lara Hotel

★★★★

-52%

15274

View Hotel

Address Residence Luxury Suite Hotel

★★★★

-16%

6857

View Hotel

Elegance East Hotel

★★★★

-11%

8070

View Hotel

Sky Kamer Hotel Antalya

★★★★

-25%

6347

View Hotel

Antalya Nun Hotel

★★★★

-10%

4440

View Hotel

La Boutique Hotel - Adult Only

★★★★

-48%

11158

View Hotel

Antalya Inn Hotel

★★★★

-8%

4440

View Hotel

IC Hotels Airport

★★★★

-36%

11775

View Hotel

La Porte Hotel

★★★★

-57%

7834

View Hotel

The Corner Park Hotel

★★★★

-15%

4538

View Hotel

 

6. Marmaris

Marmaris

 

One of Turkey’s most popular seaside resorts, Marmaris is a picture-perfect setting of pine-clad mountains, sandy white beaches, turquoise waters and historic architecture. Located along the Turkish Riviera in southwest Turkey, this stunning cruise port is a tourist paradise with exceptional sightseeing opportunities, water sports, adventure, fantastic dining and buzzing nightlife. Various boating tours take visitors exploring around the picturesque bays and neighboring villages. If that is not enough, there are a number of day trips from Marmaris to outstanding destinations like Dalyan, Ephesus, Pamukkale and Cleopatra Island.

Hotels in Ankara: 5 stars

Hotel Stars Discount Price per night, from Choose dates

Casa De Maris Spa & Resort Hotel

★★★★★

-30%

13997

View Hotel

Grand Pasa Hotel

★★★★★

-35%

10468

View Hotel

Grand Yazıcı Club Marmaris Palace

★★★★★

-38%

12679

View Hotel

Sentido Orka Lotus Beach

★★★★★

-6%

120114

View Hotel

Green Nature Diamond

★★★★★

-13%

117101

View Hotel

Grand Azur Marmaris

★★★★★

-17%

182151

View Hotel

Labranda Mares Marmaris Hotel

★★★★★

-29%

7453

View Hotel

Blue Bay Platinum

★★★★★

-15%

7766

View Hotel

Golden Rock Beach

★★★★★

-31%

11781

View Hotel

Green Nature Resort and Spa

★★★★★

-40%

10865

View Hotel

Club Munamar Beach Resort Hotel

★★★★★

-20%

7761

View Hotel

Marti Resort Deluxe Hotel

★★★★★

-57%

16470

View Hotel

 

5. Side 

Side

 

A major port in ancient Pamphylia and occupied by Alexander the Great in 4th century BC, Side today is a picturesque town of classic ruins and modern day resorts overlooking sandy white beaches. Located on a small peninsula, Side offers fantastic sightseeing, dining and nightlife. Its star attraction is an excavated site of ancient Hellenistic and Roman ruins that include the remnants of a colossal amphitheater and various temples. Featuring narrow streets and attractive gardens, the charming town of Side offers many restaurants ranging from delis and pizza shops to upscale dining in a variety of cuisines.

Hotels in Ankara: 5 stars

Hotel Stars Discount Price per night, from Choose dates

Side Sungate Hotel - All Inclusive

★★★★★

-9%

153139

View Hotel

Voyage Sorgun Hotel

★★★★★

-31%

263181

View Hotel

Royal Dragon Hotel

★★★★★

-8%

148137

View Hotel

Sea Shell Resort & Spa

★★★★★

-13%

127111

View Hotel

VONRESORT Elite & Aqua - Ultra All Inclusive & Kids Concept

★★★★★

-59%

24098

View Hotel

Barut Hemera

★★★★★

-14%

197170

View Hotel

Otium Eco Club - Kids Concept

★★★★★

-54%

19188

View Hotel

Arum Barut Collection

★★★★★

-32%

199135

View Hotel

Kirman Sidemarin Beach & Spa

★★★★★

-38%

13684

View Hotel

Melas Holiday Village

★★★★★

-23%

156121

View Hotel

Sunis Evren Beach Resort Hotel & Spa

★★★★★

-17%

170141

View Hotel

Can Garden Resort

★★★★★

-21%

12297

View Hotel

Side Star Park Hotel

★★★★★

-12%

509448

View Hotel

Royal Taj Mahal Hotel

★★★★★

-48%

929487

View Hotel

Kamelya Fulya Hotel

★★★★★

-41%

173102

View Hotel

Bosphorus Sorgun Hotel

★★★★★

-26%

184136

View Hotel

Sunis Kumkoy Beach Resort Hotel & Spa

★★★★★

-27%

259188

View Hotel

Trendy Palm Beach

★★★★★

-13%

122106

View Hotel

Villa Side Residence

★★★★★

-10%

115102

View Hotel

Trendy Verbena Beach Hotel

★★★★★

-8%

151139

View Hotel

 

4. Bodrum 

Bodrum

 

Located in the southern Aegean region of Turkey, Bodrum was once home to the Mausoleum, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Today, its intriguing ruins, stunning beaches and cliff-top resorts attract people from all over the world. No visit to Bodrum would be complete without seeing the Castle of St. Peter, also known as Bodrum Castle. Built from 1402 by the Knights Hospitaller it now operates as a museum. On Bodrum’s eastern side, tourists will find a beautiful beach overlooking brilliant blue water. Near the beach are plenty of cafes, bars and nightclubs. On the western side of town is the marina, shopping centers and restaurants.

 

3. Ephesus

Ephesus

Europe’s most complete classical metropolis, Ephesus is an ancient site located in Aegean Turkey. By the 1st century BC, Ephesus was one of the largest cities in all of the Roman Empire, boasting one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis. The ruins of Ephesus are well preserved and contained within a large archaeological site, making it one of Turkey’s most popular tourist attractions. Its attractions include the massive Theater, the Temple of Hadrian and the magnificent Celsus Library, a two-story structure that was built to house more than 12,000 scrolls.

 

2. Cappadocia

Cappadocia

 

Situated in Central Anatolia, Cappadocia is best known for its fairytale landscape of unusual formations resembling chimneys, cones and pinnacles. Natural processes such as ancient volcanic eruptions and erosion have all sculpted these odd formations over the ages. Thousands of years ago, mankind added remarkable touches to the landscape by carving out houses, churches and underground cities from the soft rock. The Hittites were the first to chisel out underground tunnel complexes, seeking safety from invading Persians and Greeks. Much later Christians sought refuge in Cappadocia’s tunnels and caves. Today, some of the caves in the region are actually hotels and cater to tourists.

 

1. Istanbul 

#1 of Best Places To Visit In Turkey

 

Once serving as the capital of the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires, Istanbul today is the largest city in Turkey and one of the largest in the world. Istanbul stretches across a narrow strait that connects Asia and Europe, making it the only city in the world spanning two continents. Impressive architecture, historic sites, dining, shopping, nightlife and exotic atmosphere all make Istanbul one of the best places to Visit in Turkey. The Old City is where most of the city’s impressive historic sites are found, which include the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace.

Hotels in Ankara: 5 stars

Hotel Stars Discount Price per night, from Choose dates

Hagia Sofia Mansions

★★★★★

-41%

272160

View Hotel

Pera Neuf

★★★★★

-7%

119111

View Hotel

Witt Istanbul Suites

★★★★★

-20%

174140

View Hotel

Tomtom Suites

★★★★★

-11%

281251

View Hotel

Ajwa Hotel Sultanahmet

★★★★★

-20%

259206

View Hotel

Raffles Istanbul

★★★★★

-15%

849723

View Hotel

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet

★★★★★

-50%

1 042525

View Hotel

Hotel Djem

★★★★★

-35%

8555

View Hotel

Hotel Sultania Boutique Class

★★★★★

-55%

271121

View Hotel

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus

★★★★★

-29%

1 223871

View Hotel

GLK PREMIER Sea Mansion Suites & Spa

★★★★★

-34%

13891

View Hotel

The Stay Nisantasi

★★★★★

-13%

209183

View Hotel

Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul

★★★★★

-21%

491385

View Hotel

Fer Hotel

★★★★★

-26%

152113

View Hotel

Taksim Avenue

★★★★★

-9%

6458

View Hotel

Dilhayat Kalfa Hotel

★★★★★

-7%

7872

View Hotel

116 Residence

★★★★★

-6%

6965

View Hotel

Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul

★★★★★

-7%

457426

View Hotel

The St. Regis Istanbul

★★★★★

-6%

333313

View Hotel

The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul at the Bosphorus

★★★★★

-22%

340265

View Hotel


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