Istanbul is a major as well as Old city in Turkey. It is famous for reflecting cultural influences of the earlier ruling empires here. This city is also one of the greatest metropolises in the world. Istanbul dates back to around 1000 BC. This city has an illustrious history. It is such a great city that sightseeing will definitely impress you even if you are a monument weary visitor. If you are a history buffer, then you can get a tour of Istanbul’s ornate houses of worship as well as the palaces. You will find fascinating to explore the street traffic here and observe the daily life. Along with other stuff, food is a central part of the culture. If you are looking out for some souvenirs, you can check the various bazaars around the town.
There are many attractions in Istanbul that are a must see. We can discuss some here:
1. Topkapı Palace
This one is a beautiful palace that dates back to the 15th century. This one is a vast complex that is displaying Islamic art. It has opulent courtyards that line along with intricate hand-painted tile-work. This palace has some sumptuous rooms with awesome decoration. These rooms are in decoration along with walls and towers. The major highlight of this palace is Harem where the Sultan’s generations used to spend time. Another thing is the Second Court where you can indeed walk through the vast Palace Kitchens. There is a third court as well, displaying an impressive collection of relics of the Prophet Muhammad.
2. Hagia Sophia Museum
Another attraction here is Sophia Museum. This one is also famous as Ayasofa Muzesi. You can visit this social museum to have a view of stunning architecture, glorious interior views. This museum also has a great historical significance. Built around 532 and 537, this building used to be a church for around a thousand years. After then it has been a mosque before becoming the secular museum that it is right now. The Hagia Sophia is famous as the magnum opus of Byzantine architecture. The building is also a symbol of the eclectic history of Istanbul. This museum has some beautiful Christian mosaics along with excellent Islamic calligraphy.
3. Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar is among the biggest as well as the oldest covered shopping markets in the whole world. It welcomes the visitors with around 60 streets of 5,000-plus shops. These shops are though in accompany of a vendor. You will necessarily find a range of things here and get products of all sort from carpets and clothing to art as well as chessboards. You will find a lot of restaurants, cafes and even hammams here in this Bazaar. Though there is a lot of chaos in this bazaar, you will still easily be shopping in the market. Sometimes, Westerners are charged higher rates so you need to prepare yourself for bargaining.
4. Galata Tower
Galata Tower is an awesome place where you can head up to get the best view of Istanbul. This landmark was once a jail and for now crowns the hill opposite the Golden Horn. At the top of this tower, you will find a restaurant as well as a nightclub. Its jaw-dropping vistas ,as well as charming history, are definitely worth praise. Though you might find the admission tickets a bit pricey the view is not at all disappointing. This Tower opens every day and the timings are from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. It lies just near the Sishane metro station.
5. Basilica Cistern
One among the surprising tourist attractions of Istanbul is Basilica Cistern. It is a huge palace like an underground hall. This hall is in support by almost 336 columns around the rows and is used to store the imperial water supply for the Byzantine emperors. Many of the columns here got its recycling from earlier classical structures. This place also features some decorative carvings. The very famous among these structures are the column bases famous as Medusa stones. These stones are in the northwest corner along with their Medusa head carvings. If you visit here you can enjoy the atmospheric beauty along with columns beautifully lit with all that steady trickle of water around.
Also read : 6 most beautiful places you must visit in Venice
So, Istanbul is definitely a worth visiting city due to its historic heritage. It is a modern city with all its mosques, basilicas along with cathedrals. Also, since this city provides you with an option of ancient bazaars you can definitely hop on for shopping. Its intrigue and charm are such that which will definitely please you.
For more information, also check: 20 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Istanbul