It is easy to get lost in the plethora of attractions in Istanbul, Turkey. Magnificent mosques, lavish museums, splendid palaces, vibrant bazaars and so much more abound. A day or two in the area will not be sufficient to fully get to know what the…
It is easy to get lost in the plethora of attractions in Istanbul, Turkey. Magnificent mosques, lavish museums, splendid palaces, vibrant bazaars and so much more abound. A day or two in the area will not be sufficient to fully get to know what the city has to offer. On top of all this, there are also plenty of excursions available in the surrounding areas. So, give this Turkish city plenty of time to explore and discover.
If you are one of those with limited time to spare in Istanbul, you should know that where you stay may have some bearing on how many attractions you will get to visit. The area around Sultanahmet is your best bet. It is where many of Istanbul’s major attractions are located and there are also plenty of good hotels and lovely Ottoman inns to choose from, making it a strategic location for you to stay while you are in the city. However, if you want to be pampered in the opulence and extravagance of luxury hotels, the area around Taksim Square in Beyoglu is a better fit for you.
If you are staying around Sultanahment, you will save plenty of time moving from one major attraction to the next in your grand city tour of Istanbul. Start from the marvelous Topkapi Palace. This complex of impressive buildings strategically positioned on a hill, which provides a good panoramic view of the Golden Horn, the Sea of Marmara and the resort area of Bosporus in the distance. The Palace now serves as a museum with various exhibition halls displaying the Sultan’s regalia, holy relics and a wide array of treasures. You can spend the whole day in the palace complex and end up not seeing everything because of its immense vastness and size.
Next up is the world renowned iconic sight of Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia. This splendid architectural beauty was once a church, then a mosque and now a museum after it has gone through a series of rebuilding and repairs throughout the centuries. The sight is an awe-inspiring masterpiece that is considered as one of the most magnificent achievements of humankind that still survives to this day. One can not help but agree once the basilica’s grand interiors are seen and explored. Hagia’s galleries are also worth taking a look at for the great mosaics that are stored inside. The Hagia is closed on Mondays, so make sure you schedule your visit appropriately to avoid disappointments.
Even when the Hagia is closed, your walking tour of the old city will not be in vain on a Monday because you can visit the other architectural treasures in Istanbul, so worth checking out, such as the glorious Blue Mosque that boasts of spectacular stained glass windows, paintings and thousands of exquisite Iznik tiles. There is also the Kariye Museum which houses Byzantine mosaics and frescoes that are considered to be one of the most important in the world.
Finally, no visit to Istanbul is complete without experiencing the overwhelming Grand Bazaar. Imagine a covered market of 3,000 shops spread out over 60 streets and hundreds of thousands of shoppers daily. You just have to see the place to believe its dimension, diversity and enormity. Once there, get lost in the assortment of goods on display such as carpets, silks, embroideries, antiques, jewelry, spices and so much more – perfect for souvenirs of your visit to Istanbul and gifts for the folks back home.