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What to see in Istanbul

Istanbul Attractions


Istanbul's most prominent attractions are of the architectural variety, a selection of formidable and historical structures that make sightseeing in Istanbul educational as well as visually rewarding.

Sightseeing in Istanbul offers attractions such as the Hagia Sophia, a huge museum and former cathedral, that is adorned with stunning mosaics. Another iconic Istanbul attraction is the Blue Mosque, with its graceful minarets and tiered domes. The 1st century Sunken Palace is supported by hundreds of underground columns, an essential Istanbul landmark.

While sightseeing in Istanbul, Galata Tower offers visitors a 360º panoramic view of the old town. Nearby, the 5th century Land Walls stand testament to the city's resistance of its 1453 conquest by the Ottoman Empire. The Covered Bazaar, or Kapali Çarsi, is the oldest and biggest enclosed bazaar in the world, a must-see while in Istanbul.


Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii)

The Sultan Ahmet Camii, commonly known as the Blue Mosque, with its tiers of magnificent domes and six graceful minarets is one of the most striking and immediately distinguishable structures on Istanbul's…

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Covered Bazaar (Kapali Çarsi)

The oldest and biggest enclosed bazaar in the world, also known as the Grand Bazaar, is one of the most enticing and mesmerizing attractions in Istanbul. Consisting of a vast labyrinth of 65 twisting…

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Dolmabahce Palace

The Dolmabahce Palace was home to six Sultans from 1856, when it was first inhabited, up until the abolition of the Caliphate in 1924. The last royal to live here was Caliph Abdülmecid Efendi,…

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Galata Tower

The Galata Tower, called Christea Turris (the Tower of Christ in Latin) by the Genoese, is a medieval stone tower in the Galata/Karaköy quarter of Istanbul, just to the north of the Golden Horn's…

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Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya)

Famous for its impressive size, remarkable architecture, and beautiful mosaics and frescoes, the massive, ochre, domed structure known as Hagia Sophia is one of Istanbul's most popular attractions.…

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Hippodrome

The ancient Hippodrome of Constantinople was built between 200 and 300 as a stadium for horse racing, chariot racing, and other amusements. Seating up to 100,000 people, there isn't much remaining…

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Sunken Palace

Also known as the Underground Cistern or Yerebatan Saray, this eerie cavern was built by Constantine the Great around 532 AD and is supported, below ground, by 336 columns. Once as location for the…

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Topkapi Palace Museum

The Topkapi Sarayi, built by Mehmet the Conqueror as a sultan's palace, consists of a collection of buildings arranged around several interconnecting courtyards. Situated on one of the seven hills…

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Turkish and Islamic Art Museum

The grand 16th century palace of the sultan's Grand Vizier, Ibrahim Pasa, today houses the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum, containing what many consider to be the finest collection of Islamic artefacts…

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