Hagia Sophia ( Museum )
The ancient Byzantine church was built by Emperor Justinian I between 532-537 AD .It is a very remarkable structure with its 56m high immense dome. Today it is a museum in which you can see both Christian and Islamic art. There are very fine examples of the Byzantine mosaics as well . It is one of the architectural marvels of all time. Closed on Mondays. Entrance fee is required .
Blue Mosque / Sultanahmet Mosque
This 17th century mosque, opposite to Haghia Sophia, is famous for the beautiful blue tile work ornamenting its walls. It’s surrounding six slim minarets distinguish it from other mosques which normally have two or four minarets. It was built by architect Mehmet Aga by the order of Sultan Ahmed I .It became the most important mosque of the city, also because of it’s proximity to the imperial palace.Open Everyday except the prayer times . Leaving a donation is required
Topkapi Palace ( Museum ) & HaremIt was the great palace of the Ottoman Sultans between the 15th and 19th centuries.It consists of two main sections as the “Administrative Part” and “ Harem “.Topkapı Palace was the administrative palace for the Ottoman dynasty for over 400 years. The palace served as the seat of goverment and contained a school in which the civil servants and soldiers were once trained . The “Harem” area was the private residence of the ottoman sultans and their family . There were no males allowed to the harem area other than the sultan and his sons. Today the palace houses interesting collections such as ; ceramics glassware,silverware,costumes,treasury,sultan portraits,holy relics… The Harem section can be visited with an Extra Ticket . Closed on Tuesdays – Entrance fee is required .
Sultanahmet Square (Hippodrome)
It was the focal point of civil activities .The scene of horse and chariot races and the center of Byzantine civic life. The Egyptian Obelisk and the Serpentine Column were originally brought by the emperors and used for the decoration of the Hippodrome. At the other side of the Hippodrome the German Fountains still functions today. The imperial lodge was located to the west of the Hippodrome where Ibrahim Pasha Palace stands now. Today Sultanahmet Square is a nice area for meetings.During Ramadan ( Ramazan )in the evenings the fasting celebrations are held in here, too .Open everyday.
It was originally erected in the 16th century B.C. by the Pharaoh Thutmosis III in honor of the God of Sun Amon Ra in Egypt . It was brought to Istanbul by emperor Theodosius I in 390 A.D. for the decoration of the ancient Hippodrome. The hieroglyphic pictograms and stands on a marble base with many friezes depicting the Emperor and his family in the Hippodrome. Open everyday
The column was erected by Constantine VII, known also as Porphyrogenetus, around 944 AD for the decoration of the Byzantine Hippodrome. It was made of limestone blocks and completely covered with bronze slabs bearing inscriptions which were dedications made to his grand father Basileus I. All the bronze slabs were removed during the 4th Crusade .Open everyday
Originally this column was erected in 5 C B.C. in front of Temple of Apollo in Delphi, Greece, to commemorate the victory of the Greeks over the Persians. The bronze column was formed by 3 intertwined snakes. The column was brought to Constantinople in the 4th century AD by Constantine I. The Serpentine column was originally 8 meters high but today only 5.30 meters remain .Top parts of the column were destroyed during the centruies .Open everyday
Basilica Cistern Museum / Yerebatan Sarnici
It is a Byzantine cistern from the 6th century , built by .Emperor Justinian . A beautiful piece of Byzantine engineering. The water to the cistern was brought from Belgrade Forest, and it had a capacity to store 100.000 tons of water. It features fine brick vaulting supported by 336 various type of columns brought here from different parts of the Empire. It is the most unusual tourist attraction in the city.Open Everyday – Entrance fee is required
Süleymaniye MosqueIt was built in the 16th century by the famous architect, Sinan, and considered to be the most beautiful of the imperial mosques in Istanbul This outstanding piece of architecture was built in the 16th century by the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan for Sultan Süleyman the Magnificient. Standing on a hilltop of the ancient city over the Golden Horn, it contributes gracefully to the city’s skyline. The tombs of the Sultan, his wife Hürrem and Mimar Sinan are found within its compounds. It is the largest mosque of Istanbul with four minarets . Open Everyday except the prayer times . Leaving a donation is required
Chora Museum / St. Saviour in Chora
The church of St. Saviour in Chora , after Hagia Sofia, is the most important Byzantine monument in Istanbul. This church which was first built in the 6th century AD as a monastery and restored several times in the 9th, 11th and 12th centuries, and finally renovated in the 14th by Theodore Metochites,from which we have the best of mosaics. .The walls are decorated with impressive 14th century frescoes and mosaics, on a golden background. The church is a remarkable museum of Byzantine art today .Closed on Wednesdays – Entrance fee is required
Dolmabahce Palace ( Museum )
Built in the 19th century by Sultan Abdulmecit. It was built in neo-baroque style. The architect was Karabet Balyan, who was the head architect of Sultan Abdulmecit. It has 3 floors including the basement with a symmetric design, with 285 rooms, 43 halls, 6 Turkish baths. The pier is 600 meters long and the palace has two beautifully decorated monumental gates giving access to its courtyard. The huge ballroom has a 4,5 tons crystal chandelier .It was also used by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk during his visits to Istanbul. Atatürk died here on the 10th of November, 1938. The palace now serves as a museum and a guest-house used for receptions for important foreign statesmen during their official visits. Closed on Mondays and Thursdays – Entrance fee is required .
Grand Bazaar / Covered Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world. It was built of wood after the Conquest of Istanbul around an old Byzantine building which became the part of Old Bedesten (Old Bazaar) today, and got bigger and larger throughout the centuries with the addition of new sections and inns. Today there are more than 4000 shops, 17 inns, 61 streets ,4 fountains, 10 wells, 2 mosques, several cafes and restaurants, change offices, a police station, and 22 gates. The old wooden Grand Bazaar built by Mehmet II suffered several fires and earthquakes during centuries but has always been repaired after each disaster. Last restorations were made after a big fire in the mid-fifties when it was finally made of stone. Closed on Sundays
Spice Market / Egyptian Bazaar
The Bazaar was originally made of wood in mid-17th century by the architect Kazim Aga, and got its final restorations during mid-forties. The name comes from the fact that Egyptians used to sell their spices here and that it once received income from taxes levied on Egypt. Instead the English name comes from the days when the Bazaar specialized on selling spices and herbs, medicinal plants and drugs. Lately there are also shops selling stuff other than spices but you can still see and smell many interesting spices, dried fruits and nuts, teas, oils and essences, sweets, honeycombs, and aphrodisiacs. Open everyday
Beylerbeyi Palace ( Museum )
Built by Sultan Abdulaziz in the 19th century, on the Asian side of the Bosphorus. It served as the summer residence of the sultans. The palace was ordered by Sultan Abdulaziz to the architects Sarkis Balyan and Agop Balyan in neo-baroque architecture with a traditional Ottoman house plan. Beylerbeyi is built on two main floors and a basement containing kitchens and storage, and was divided into two sections; Selamlik (men’s section) and Harem. This is a guided palace and can be visited by the palace’s official guide . Closed on Mondays and Thursdays – Entrance fee is required
Rüstem Pasa Mosque
Another beautiful work of architect Sinan. Built in the 16th century by Rustem Pasa, who was the grand vizier and son-in-law of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. It is famous for it’s beautiful ceramic tiles . The mosque is built on a high terrace with very elegant tiles on the outer walls.Open Everyday except the prayer times . Leaving donation is required
These are situated on the boundary of the first court of Topkapi Palace. There is a very rich collection of antiquities . It houses a large collection of artifacts and works of art belonging to ancient Greek, Roman and other Anatolian civilizations dating back to the 6th century BC . The collection on displays comprised of about 15000 archeological pieces of Ancient Mesopotamia, Pre-Greek Anatolia, Assyrian, Sumerian, Acadian, Babylonian, Ancient Egyptian and Pre-Islamic Arabic culture. Closed on Mondays – Entrance fee is required
Ibrahim Pasa Palace (Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art)
Built in 1524 by Ibrahim Pasa, the grand vizier of Suleyman the Magnificent, it had been the most grand private residence ever built in the Ottoman Empire. It is now used as a museum .It has a Fine collection of and ethnography containing many beautiful Turkish and Persian miniatures, Seljuk tiles, Korans and antique carpets. Closed on Mondays – Entrance fee is required
Rumeli Fortress Museum
Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror built Rumeli Fortress in four months only , opposite to Anadoluhisari in 1452 in preparation for the final attack on Constantinople (Istanbul), which led to the downfall of the Byzantine Empire. Today, the fortress hosts many concerts and live performances in its amphitheatre usually during the summer months. Closed on wednesday – entrance fee is required
Galata Tower was built by the Genoese, as part of the defense wall surrounding their district of Galata directly opposite Byzantium. After the conquest of Constantinople by Mehmet II it served to detect fires in the city. The tower now houses a restaurant and a night club. Open everyday – entrance fee is required
Leander’s Tower / Maiden Tower
A 12 th century tower erected on a rock at the entrance of the Bosphorus by Byzantine Emperor Manuel Komnenos. This tower, which has served as a prison and a lighthouse, became the source of many legends in ancient days, such as Leander’s or Maiden’s. It’s now open to the public as a cafeteria & elegant restaurant Transportation to the Tower is made by private shuttle boats . Open everyday
Column of Constantine
The column, known as Cemberlitas (column with rings) in Turkish, was brought to Constantinople from the Temple of Apollo by Constantinus I between 325-328 AD. There was a statue of Apollo on top which was replaced by a cross during Christianity. The column symbolizes also the end of Pagan tradition on the Byzantine lands. The cross was removed after the Conquest of Constantinople during the Ottoman period. The column was damaged by big fires and weather conditions during the ages so Sultan Mustafa II re-enforced the column with iron rings. Open everyday
The stone was erected under the reign of Constantine the Great around 4th century AD It’s located at Sultanahmet neighborhood, in the center of old city. The Million Stone was always put in the center of the city and distances to all corners of the Byzantine Empire were once measured starting from this point.Open everyday
Aqueduct of Valens
This is a Late Roman and Early Byzantine period aqueduct built around 4th century AD connecting two hills (out of seven) of ancient Constantinople over this little valley. It’s known as the Aqueduct of Valens. Originally it was used to bring water to Istanbul from the springs of Belgrade forest. Open everyday
This was the first mosque built after the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul.The Mosque of Eyüp lies outside the city walls in Eyüp district, near the Golden Horn, at the supposed place where Eyüp (Eyyub el Ensari), the standard bearer of the Prophet Muhammed, died in the Islamic assault on Constantinople (Istanbul) in 670. Today it’s considered as the second place of pilgrimage for Muslims after Mecca and it attracts pilgrims with the greatly venerated tomb of Eyup. Open Everyday except the prayer times . Leaving donation is required
This museum consists of the remains of the Great Palace of the Byzantine Empire built by Constantine the Great (324-337). These remains consists of mosaics, columns and other architectural pieces which had once been part of the Great Palace. They show scenes with human figures, daily life in Byzantium, hunting incidents, landscapes and animal figures… Closed on Mondays – Entrance fee is required
Istanbul Modern / Modern Art Museum
It is the first and only Modern Arts museum in Istanbul having ; a rich library, exhibitions, photograph gallery, sculpture courtyard, movie theater, cafe and souvenir shop. One can find in this private museum almost everything on modern Turkish Arts. Closed on Mondays – Entrance fee is required .
Rahmi Koc Industrial MuseumThis museum is located in the anchor casting workshop at the docks on the Golden Horn .It was restored and opened to the public in 1994. On the first floor, motors and steam engines are displayed. On the second floor are the scientific instruments and communications apparatuses. The entrance is reserved for the aircraft department, mint machinery for printing paper money and coins, bicycles and motorcycles, the naval department and ship engines. In the open area, there is a coast guard life-boat, a tram, a narrow gauge steam train, and a vertical steam boiler. There is even a submarine in the water… Closed on Mondays – Entrance fee is required
Sakip Sabanci Museum
The building today known as the Horse Mansion on the Bosphorus was built in the 19th century and belonged to Sabanci family for many years. Just before the death of Sakip Sabanci the mansion was converted into a museum and opened to the public with its antique furnishings and art collections. Today the Museum’s collection of precious manuscripts and extensive collection of 19th and 20th century paintings are on permanent exhibition in the rooms of the original house and gallery annex. From time to time, it is also hosting great exhibitions of international artists such as Pablo Picasso, Rodin etc… Closed on Mondays. Entrance fee is required .
The old building was originally constructed in 1893 by architect Achille Manousos and restored recently for the modern museum. Kutahya tiles, Anatolian weights and measurements, and Oriental portraits painting Collections are the permanent exhibitions in the museum. One of the most famous paintings in the museum is of Osman Hamdi’s “The Tortoise Trainer” (Kaplumbaga Terbiyecisi in Turkish).Closed on Mondays – Entrance fee is required
Miniaturk ( Museum )
Miniaturk is also named as the “Showcase of Turkey“, where you can find many important structures of Turkey in small scales, models of architectural masterpieces representing the Anatolian and Ottoman civilizations.Models of 105 historical and architectural works, all made in the scale of 1/25 . Open everyday – Entrance fee is required
The museum consists of many interesting military pieces such as uniforms belonging to every period of Ottoman army, various weapons from bow and arrow to triggered guns, seals, armors, tent of the sultan, sultan swords, flags, photos of ministers of defense, Byzantine Cavalry Flag, various warfare pieces used from the Seljuk period to the Republic period, and the chain with which Byzantines closed the Golden Horn before the Conquest. There is also a Ottoman Army / Janissary Band show . Closed on Mondays & Teusdays – Entrance fee is required
It was the place of imprisonment of many foreign ambassadors and Ottoman statesman, as well as a place of execution for some, the fortress was last used as a prison in 1831. It than became a dwelling for the lions of Topkapi Palace, and later gunpowder manufacturing place. Today the fortress is a museum, also hosting open air concerts in its inner courtyard during the summer months.Open everyday – entrance fee is required
Situated on the Asian side of Istanbul, It is the highest point in İstanbul and it provides a panoramic view of the city .Camlica Hill is also a well known spot for watching migrating birds over the Bosphorus.Open everyday.
The Cemberlitas Hammam is located next to the Cemberlitas Column, near the Grand Bazaar. It was built by architect in 1584 .The Hammam was originally built as a double bath for both men and women in separate sections.Open everyday – Entrance fee is required
It’s located in Cagaloglu neighborhood near the Underground Cistern. The hammam was built by an unknown architect in 1741 by the order of Sultan Mahmut .It has separate sections for both men and women.Open everyday – Entrance fee is required
It’s located in Galatasaray neighborhood of Beyoglu district, in one of the side streets. The hammam was built in 1715 as a public bath in a classical Turkish Bath architectural design.Open everyday – Entrance fee is required
The Arasta Bazaar, also known as Sipahi Carsisi in Turkish, is located behind the Blue Mosque in the old city center, just next to the entrance of the Mosaics Museum. Despite The Grand Bazaar, Arasta Bazaar is a small and simple traditional market in Istanbul. There are about 40 shops lined on both sides of a street, selling traditional items. Originally this place was built in the 17th century and used to be stables during the Ottoman period.Open Everyday
Sahaflar Carsisi ( Book Market )
Sahaflar Carsisi, the second hand book bazaar, stands in the old courtyard between Beyazid Mosque and Grand Bazaar. It’s one of the oldest markets of Istanbul built on the same site as the book and paper market of the Byzantines. Today some old books, new ones, and examples of Ottoman miniature pages can be found here. Closed on Sundays