What to See in Istanbul (Turkey)

By | July 14, 2022

Istanbul is the largest Turkish city. It is the only city in the world located in two parts of the world: Europe and Asia. During its 2.5 thousand-year history, Istanbul managed to be the capital of three great empires: Byzantine, Roman, Ottoman. It absorbed their culture and is now one of the most beautiful and interesting cities in the world.

In Istanbul , founded around 660 BC from the Byzantine period, the remains of imperial palaces, the Valens aqueduct, the ruins of powerful city walls, underground cisterns and places of worship, most of which have been converted into mosques, have been preserved.

The main sights of the city – Hagia Sophia (Hagia Sophia), Ahmediye Mosque (1609 – 1616), Suleymaniye-Jami Mosque or Sultan Suleiman Mosque, or Blue Mosque – the largest mosque in Istanbul (accommodates up to 10 thousand people),

Blue Mosque

With a cascade of rich domes and With slender minarets soaring skyward, Istanbul’s Blue Mosque is one of the city’s most striking sights. Its construction was begun in 1609 and completed in 1619 under the Ottoman Sultan Ahmet I, who wanted to create a place of Islamic worship that could compete with the Hagia Sophia. The mosque got its name – “Blue”, thanks to the ceramic tiles in blue tones that adorn its interior decoration. Unlike traditional mosques in Istanbul and throughout Turkey, the Blue Mosque is surrounded by six minarets. This mosque can be visited not only by Muslims, but also by those who profess other religions.

Hagia Sophia

According to gradphysics, Temple of Hagia Sophia was built in 537 by order of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I. According to Justinian’s plan, the temple was to surpass all temples that have ever existed with its grandeur and luxury. From all over the empire, blocks of rare marbles, silver, gold, ivory, and precious stones were brought to decorate the temple. It took more than five years to build, and when it was completed, the temple became the most impressive in the world and remained so for more than a thousand years. In the 15th century, after the conquest of Constantinople by Sultan Mehmet II, the Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque. The Sultan added minarets, tombs and fountains to the building. For fourteen centuries, one of the most beautiful creations in the world served Christianity and Islam. In 1923, Turkey became a republic and 12 years later the mosque was turned into a museum that preserved within its walls the characteristic features of two religions: the radiant faces of saints on Christian mosaics and Muslim medallions with golden arabesques. There is a belief that if you put your hand in the hole of the “weeping column”, turn the brush 360 degrees and make a wish, it will surely come true.

Topkapi Sultan’s Palace with the famous harem. It was built in 1459 – 1478 by order of the 23-year-old Sultan Mehmed II, who captured Roman Constantinople in 1453. Topkapi Palace remained the residence of the Ottoman sultans for four hundred years, after which in 1856 the government residence was moved to Dolmabahce Palace. At the front gate of Topkapi, visitors are greeted by a delightful fountain. The palace consists of four interconnected courtyards that follow each other. The first courtyard was open to all citizens, the fourth housed the gardens and the sultan’s harem. The palace treasury contains one of the largest collections of jewelry in the world. A 4-kilogram emerald and the famous “Spoon Diamond” of 86 carats are exhibited here. The halls of the museum display a collection of gold candlesticks and candelabra, hookahs, silver and gold tableware, Indian ivory music boxes, as well as sultans’ ceremonial robes, weapons adorned with precious stones. Both Christian and Muslim relics are kept here – Abraham’s tin pan, part of the skull and hand of John the Baptist, hair, arrows, one of the letters of the Prophet Muhammad, swords of his four caliphs. It also demonstrates the rarest collection of porcelain, which ranks 3rd in the world. Of particular interest to those visiting the palace is the harem, striking in its luxury and richness of decoration. The Sultan’s library is also located here, in the collection of which there were up to 24 thousand volumes and manuscripts. In 1924, with the establishment of the republic, the palace was declared a museum, Istanbul and one of the most unique museums in the world.

Dolmabahce Palace

Being one of the most luxurious buildings in Istanbul, it was built by Sultan Abdul Mecid I in 1842-1856. The facade of the palace stretches for 600 meters, the palace itself is located on the banks of the Bosphorus. The Sultan wanted to build such a palace in order to surpass European monarchs in luxury. The palace covers an area of 14.5 thousand square meters, it has 285 rooms, 43 halls, 6 baths and 6 terraces. The interior decoration took 14 tons of gold and 40 tons of silver, the palace has a collection of paintings by famous artists from around the world, including more than 20 paintings by Aivazovsky. A huge chandelier weighing 4.5 tons hangs in the reception hall.

There are many interesting museums in the city, among which the Carrier Museum in the Chora Church (XI century) at the gates of Edirne with a magnificent collection of frescoes and mosaics, the Museum of Antiquity with a huge collection of historical values, the most ancient of which date back to the VI century. BC e., the Museum of Oriental Antiquities with objects of the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Anatolian and Arab civilizations, as well as the Museum of Turkish and Muslim Art in the Ibrahim Pasha Palace (1524) with interiors of houses from various regions of Turkey, miniatures, manuscripts and carpets of the Ottoman period.

Also interesting monuments of the city include the Church of St. Irina (VI century, destroyed in the XVIII century, restored), the Church of St. Theodore (Kilise-Jami, XI century) with beautiful mosaics of the XIV century, the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mosques of Mikrimakhi, Selima – The Conqueror, Eyup, Shah-zade (1548), Bayazid Madrassah (XVI century), as well as the Rustem Pasha Mosque (XVI century), famous for its beautiful tiles, Anadoluhisary fortresses (XIV century), Rumelihisary (1452).), Yedikule (1457), the so-called “submerged palace” Yerebatan Saray (VI c.), Galata tower (1348) with a restaurant on the top floor, offering a beautiful view of the surroundings, the Baroque Dolmabahce Palace (XIX c..), “faience pavilion” Chinili-Keshk (1472) with a magnificent collection of faience and Kagaloglu bath (1741).

Bridge over the Bosphorus Turkey, has become another symbol of this country.

Also, most tourists cannot pass by the largest market in Istanbul – Kapal Charshi, which beckons with all the delights of oriental goods.

Istanbul (Turkey)