As you all know I love Turkey. I always did, from the very first sight and Istanbul should be party blamed for my affection! Or maybe not so partly :)
Are you already day dreaming about all the magical sights of Istanbul, city which has cultural and historical heritage written all over it?!
A mixture of the Eastern and Western culture, tradition and modernity is visible throughout the whole city, which is an unique physical and cultural bridge between Asia and Europe. Connecting two continents in its full glory!
Sights of Istanbul
Istanbul is primarily known for its Byzantine and Ottoman architecture and each of its buildings reflect different empires that have previously ruled the city and country!
The Topkapi Palace was the seat of Ottoman power for over 300 years. It is one of the most visited sights of Istanbul and is always full of visitors. The Harem, the spacious grounds, the four courtyards and the treasury leave the visitors spellbound by their sheer beauty. There is a real treat for all history loves, 12th of January of this year the Museum of Topkapi Palace has been opened.
Hagia Sophia, Greek for The Church of the Divine Wisdom, is one of the most impressive and important buildings ever constructed. Mehmet the Conqueror proclaimed it a mosque soon after his conquest of the city from the Byzantines in 1453. This immense structure is right next to the Topkapi Palace, making it easier for tourists to see both the architectural marvels. Definitely not to miss!
The imperial Mosque of Sultan Ahmet I is one of the top sights of Istanbul. The interior tiles in some of the inaccessible upper floors give it the name of the Blue Mosque, but these tiles are not evident to everyday visitors. The great cascades of domes, surrounded by six minarets, make it one of the most amazing structures in the city. My favourite one from all sights of Istanbul!
Hundreds of Byzantine cisterns, left from the days when Istanbul was Constantinople can be found beneath Istanbul. The huge Basilica Cistern, measuring 138 meters long and 64.6 meters wide, covering nearly 1000 square meters is the biggest and grandest of them all. It offers an insight into the complicated system that once brought drinking water into Istanbul.
Turkish & Islamic Arts Museum
The Türk-Islam Eserleri Müzesi, situated right across from the Blue Mosque, is a treasure-house of beautiful objects from the different kingdom eras that ruled Istanbul. A large porticoed building, inside the museum, contains the sarcophagus of Alexander depicting scenes from the life of Alexander the Great in vivid 3D.
Things to do
One of the things you should l never miss in this exciting city is ‘hamam’ (Turkish bath), an essential part of any trip to Istanbul and my favourite from all ‘sights of Istanbul’ even though it is not a real sight ha ha ha
A Bosphorus cruise is also a popular attraction and many tourists can be seen soaking up the atmosphere on a cruise.
Istanbul has so much to offer it can be overwhelming, check this photo rich article to get some ideas :)
How to reach
Most of the important cities around the world have frequent flights to Istanbul, which a huge travel hub, same as it was in ancient times! I highly recommend using travel search engines such as Cheapflights can be used to find attractive tickets and hotel packages to Istanbul around the year. Trains from across Europe arrive at the Sirkeci station, while Asian trains arrive at Haydarpasa station.
The public transportation system in Istanbul can be confusing for a first timer but provide an efficient means to reach important tourist attractions. A plastic card, known as an Istanbulkart, can be useful for visitors staying for a longer time. The card can be used as a ticket on the metro, trams, buses, and even the ferries across the Bosphorus. Taxis are also an easy and cheap way to get around Istanbul.
Istanbul, with its juxtaposition of heritage and modernity, has become one of the tourist hotspots in the world and continues to welcome, entertain and amaze visitors with its beauty, culture and architecture. You can never have enough when it comes to sights of Istanbul! Week or two, it seems never enough time :)
So what are your favourite sights of Istanbul?