Istanbul city guide
Istanbul : Intercontinental city on both sides of the Bosphorus. Meeting point of Europe and Asia . Istanbul which was the capital of The Byzantine Empire and Ottoman Empire is one of the oldest cities of the World. Nowadays it is the cultural and financial center of Turkey .
Best time to visit : July and August is hot but it is very popular. Spring ( March especially April and May ) and Autumn (September to November ) are the ideal time to visit. Winter is cold but presents a different beauty.
Marmara Sea and Istanbul's European Side
15 July Martyrs Bridge
- Old City
- Suleymaniye Mosque : It is built by Mimar Sinan between 1550-1557 in the name of Kanuni Sultan Suleyman ( Suleiman the Magnificient ). It is a part of Suleymaniye Kulliye which comprises of a library, madrasah, hospital, bathhouse, soup kitchen and old burial ground.
- The Blue Mosque : 1609-1616 It was the only mosque that was built with 6 minarets in Ottoman Empire. It is famous with its tiles.
- Eyup Sultan Mosque : One of the most holy and important mosques , located on the site of the tomb of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari who was both a friend and standard bearer for the Prophet Muhammed, and was killed during the first Arab siege of Constantinople
- Yeni Camii : ( New Mosque ): A mosque with 66 domes whose four are in the corners.
- Tekfur Palace: The ruins of The Palace of the Porphyrogenitus which is built in 13th century.
- Aynalikavak Pavilion : Last example of traditional Ottoman architecture with duplex bloc on seafront and single block on seafront.Downstairs is a small museum which exhibits some of the instruments and gramophone records owned by Fatma Gevheri Sultana ), the granddaughter of Abdulaziz I
- Nuruosmaniye Mosque and Kulliye: At the entrance of the Grand Bazaar. Built in 1749. It is composed of Mosque, madrasah, library, library,tomb, imaret
- Yavuz Sultan Selim Mosque: 8 pillars and 22 domes surround the courtyard. There are the tombs of Yavuz Sultan Selim and the princes and the daughters of Sultan Suleyman and Sultan Abdulmecit.
- Sultanahmet Square: A square in which you can visit the Blue Mosque , The Obelisk of Theodosius,
The Masonry Obelisk ( or Walled Obelisk ) ,
The Serpent Column ,
The Tomb of Sultan Ahmet the First ,
The Turkish bathhouse of Hagia Sophia
- Topkapi Palace: Contruction started in 1459. It is used as the center of the state until the middle of the 19th century. It has consisted a lot of structures: Manor houses,bedrooms,Treasure, kitchen, Room of Hirka-i Saadet where belonging of the prophet and calphs were kept, Gulhane hospital, Sultan III.Ahmed Library,Enderun school, the Church Hagia Irene , a stable . More ...
- Beyazit Tower: Built in 1828 , used as a watchtower of firemen
- Stephan (Bulgarian) Church : Built in 1898 in Balat street.
- Aya Yorgi Church: Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
- Haseki Hurrem Turkish bath: Located between Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque is ordered by the Hurrem Sultan, lover of Suleiman the Magnificient and built by Architect Mimar Sinan.
- The Grand Bazaar : Founded in 1461 , it is the oldest and closed bazaar of the world. 30 700 meter squares area, 60 streets., 5 mosques, 8 fountains, 18 gates, 40 public houses, 1 stream.
- The Covered Bazaar (Bedesten): Ordered by Fatih Sultan Mehmet.
- The Spice Bazaar : Behind the New Mosque ordered by Turhan Sultan 1634-1664
- Mahmutpasha Bazaar: Located between Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque is ordered by the Hurrem Sultan, lover of Suleiman the Magnificient and built by Architect Mimar Sinan.
- Tahtakale Bazaar: At the southwest of the Spice Bazaar
- The bazaar of Coppersmiths: Near the Grand Bazaar
- Galata Tower: It is built by Genovese in 1348.
- Boukoleon Palace (Hormistas Palace ) : Old imperial quay in Byzantine era until 13th century.
- Magnaura Palace:Byzantines Emperor used to receive foreign legates in this palace.
- The Cistern of Thousand and One Columns :built in the 4th century in order to meet the water need of the palace of Senator Philoxenus.It was the second biggest water reservoir of Istanbul. There were 224 columns ( 212 Today)
- The Basilica cistern:The biggest cistern of the city. It was built during the rulership of Justinanus the 1st. (527-565)
- Theodosius Victory Arch: Located on the southwestern side of the Beyazit Square.
- Bozdogan Arch (Hadrianus or Valens Arch) Built in order to provide water to Istanbul in Byzantine era.
- Rustempasa Mosque:It was ordered by the Grand Vizier Rustem Pasha who was the son-in-law of Sultan Suleyman.It was completed after his death by his wife Mihrimah Sultan. 1561.
Monuments in Old City:
- The milion stone: The start up of the road to Europe, considered as the center of the world during the Byzantine era.
- The German Fountain : 1898, Octogonal domed fountain presented to Sultan by the German Emperor Wilhelm the 2nd.
- The Column of the Constantine:It is erected after the capital city change from Rome to Istanbul in A.D.330
- The Egyptian (Theodosius) Obelisk : It was brought to Istanbul from Egypt and erected at the hippodrome in 390 during the rulership of Theodosius the 1st.
- The Serpent Column :Constructed by using the melted bronze trophies acquired by the Greek cities after the war against the Persians.( 5th century )
- Masonry ( Walled ) Obelisk : It is a monument woven from raw carved stones. It is also named as The Column of Porphyrogenitus.
- Fountain of Ahmet III : A square fountain built in 1729 by the Grand Vizir Damat Ibrahim Pacha upon the command of Sultan Ahmet III in the name of his other Rabia Emetullah Gulnus Sultan
- European side
- Ciragan Palace : Built in 1871 by the Architect Serkis Balyan with the order of Sultan Abdulaziz. Today it is used as Kempinski Hotel. More ...
- Dolmabahce Palace : built by Sultan Abdulmecid in Bosphorus and was finished in 1856 . Palace was composed of 16 sections. 110.000 m2 area. It is used as museum-palace from 1984. More ...
- Yildiz Palace : Complex of buildings built by Sultans Abdülmecid I and Abdülaziz. It has got 60 rooms and 4 hall rooms. More ...
- Ortakoy Mosque:( Great Mecidiye mosque ) Neo-Baroque style mosque built between 1854-1856 by Nikogos Balyan at the waterside of the Ortakoy pier square in Besiktas. You can see Islamic calligraphy executed by Sultan Abdulmecid himself
- Aga Mosque:Built in 1597 in Taksim
- Firuz Aga Mosque:Built by the instruction of Firuz Aga in Beyoglu, the head treasury keeper of II.Bayezid in 1491
- Arab Mosque:Built in 717 when Istanbul was besieged by Arabs
- Ihlamur pavilion:Built during the reign of Sultan Abdulmecit. Sultan's summer house with beautiful garden . Peacocks, ducks etc...
- Aynalikavak Palace:Former Ottoman palace near Beyoglu constructed during the reign of Sultan Ahmed I
- Tunnel: Built by the British and the French in 1875 cooperatively. It connects Beyoglu to Galata by the underground railway.
- Flower passage:Famous with its alehouses and restaurants in Taksim. There were flower shops at the begining of the 20th century. Flower passage name remained as remembrance.
- Saint Antoine Church: Built in 1912 in Taksim by Italian architect Gulio Mongeri
- Statue of the Republic: It is built in 1928 by Pietro Canonica and put in the Taksim Square. Area planning by Moniceri.
- Asian side
- Atik Valide Mosque : Designed by thr famous architect ( Mimar )Sinan:. It includes also a hamam ( bath ) closer to the mosque, an imaret (soup kitchen), medrese (Islamic school of higher studies), darussifa (hospital) and han (caravanserai). In Uskudar district.
- Valide Mosque : built by Sultan Ahmet III between 1708 and 1710 for his mother, Gulnus Emetullah. in Uskudar district.
- Beylerbeyi Palace : Built during the reign of Sultan Abdulaziz.1861-1865 . More ...
- Hidiv pavilion: Built in 1907 by Italian architect Seminati by the order of Abbas Hilmi Pasha
- Kucuksu pavilion: 1857 . Architect Nikogos Balyan by order of Sultan Abdul Mecit
- Maiden's Tower: Located on a small islet located at the southern entrance of the Bosphorus , Salacak Uskudar. It is used as a lighthouse, a watchtower, a traffic control center and a prison. Now it hosts the tourists in a tea/coffee house , restaurant and a museum.
- Old City
- Miniaturk: Miniature park in Sutluce ( Golden Horn ). Models of the famous symbols of the civilizations: Topkapi palace, Hagia Sophia, Anitkabir , Selimiye Mosque ....
- Vialand Theme Park : in Eyup ( Golden Horn ) . Activities like Magic room , Breath Taker, Sponge Bob , Jet ski, Wild River .
Stores, Restaurants & Cafes , Cinema, Bowling.
- European side
- Istanbul Aquarium : in Florya: Approximately 1.500 species, 17.000 land and sea creatures in total. 16 themes and 1 rainforest. Activities like scuba training, sea diving, fish feeding hours
- Sea Life Aquarium : in Bayrampasha. Largest shark collection. 83m long underwater Ocean Tunnel, 270 degree panoramic viewing Sea Bed, 21 themed zones with 47 display tanks and more than 15,000 sea creatures.
International Istanbul Film Festival , in April
International Istanbul Theatre Festival , in May
International Istanbul Music Festival , in June
International Istanbul Jazz Festival , in July
Multiple art festivals organized by private institutions.
Rahmi Koc Museum
- Old City
- Hagia Sophia Museum: Built between 527-565 by Anthemios (Tralles) and Isidoros (Miletus) under the order of Emperor Justinianos. It is called "the eighth wonder of the world" by East Roman Philon. Following the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmed, the Hagia Sophia was converted into mosque. It was converted into a museum in 1935.
- Rahmi M. Koc Museum: Industrial museum: Classic cars , railway carriages , Horse Drawn Tram, Discovery Sphere (Planetarium) , Fenerbahce Ferry Boat ,Douglas DC-3 'Dakota' , The Sailing Boat of the first Turkish sailor who went on a tour around the world. You can also visit the collection of Models Toys made in 19th & 20th century and the Old shops: Pharmacy, Clock repairer, Toy shop
- The Museum of Archaeology: Archaeological pieces like Sumerian tablets, pieces of the wall of Babylon and Roman marble statues.
- Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art: It is the first Turkish museum covering the Turkish and Islamic art works wholly
- History of Science and Technology in Islam Museum: located in the Gulhane Park., it exhibits objects about Islamic civilization related to the astronomy, geography, nautics, time measurement, geometry, optics, medicine, chemistry, physics, architecture and military techniques.
- Santral Istanbul: A contemporary art museum
- European side
- Pera Museum : Orientalist painting collection , Anatolian Weights and Measures Collection , Kutahya Tiles and Ceramics Collection , Photography Collection ad exhibitions more ....
- Istanbul Modern : Collections and temporary exhibition halls, photography gallery, educational and social programs, library, cinema, cafe, and store.
- Orhan Kemal Museum: Museum on the life of the writer Orhan Kemal
- Ataturk Museum: The historical 3-storey house inwhich the founder of Turkish Republic, Kemal Ataturk stayed before the start of the Turkish War of Independence
- Military Museum :Museum collects, classifies, maintains and renovates the works of art that can be regarded as cultural military assets, and stores and exhibits them.
- Sakip Sabanci Museum: Collections like The Arts of the Book and Calligraphy , Painting Collection , Collection of Furniture and Decorative Arts, Abidin Dino Archive and exhibitions
- Sadberk Hanim Museum: Archaeological and ethnographical artifacts from the collection of Koc Family.
- Aviation Museum : A military-based museum of Turkish Air Force,
- European side
- Belgrad Forest: A forest in the north of Istanbul in Sariyer
- Emirgan Park: A large park in Sariyer which overlooks the Bosphorus.
- Ataturk Arboretum : Collections of plants & trees, popular for nature walks & photos in Sariyer
- Asian side
- Kalamis Ataturk Park : Large park at the seaside
- Yogurtcu Park : Near the Fenerbahce football team Ulker Stadium
- Fenerbahce Park : In Fenerbahce Cape , Kalamis Bay.
- Goztepe Liberty Park
- Goztepe 60th Year Park
- New Istanbul Airport: In Arnavutkoy district on the north of the European side. ( 54 kilometres north of the European city centre).
- Sabiha Gokcen International Airport in Kurtkoy district on the Asian side: ( 45 kilometres east of the European city centre).
- 15 July Martyrs Bridge
- Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge
- Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge
Country code Turkey :+90 : Istanbul code : 212 ( for European side ) , 216 ( for Asian side) Example for a call in European side +90 212 123 45 ..
Hotels & Restaurants:
Use our Istanbul Explorer page to find the Hotels , restaurants and car rental services.