Istanbul is unique. Situated between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea, lies the only city in the world on two continents. Only the Bosporus separates the European side from the Asian side. With more than 10 million inhabitants, it ranks among the largest cities in the world, the total area of the Istanbul province being 5200 square kilometers. Keep reading to discover the most important places to visit in Istanbul, Turkey.
1. Places to Visit in Istanbul, Turkey: Hagia Sophia (Museum)
Hagia Sophia, which was built in the 6th Century, is the main landmark of the city at the Bosphorus. The church was inaugurated by Emperor Justinian in 537. For many centuries, Hagia Sophia was the epicenter of Christianity. After Constantinople was conquered by the Ottomans in 1453, the church was converted into a mosque. In 1932, President Ataturk had the building turned into a museum (Ayasofya Camii Muzesi). Hagia Sophia is well worth a visit, especially because of the many mosaics in the interior and the magnificent central dome.
2. Places to Visit in Istanbul, Turkey: Sultan Ahmet Camii (Mosquee)
The mosque, which was built in 1616 and named after its erector Sultan Ahmet I, is situated in the Sultan Ahmet Meydani Park. It is probably the best known Ottoman mosque in Istanbul and has an impressive architecture: the six minarets stretching into the sky are visible from afar and make this building unique. Due to its interior ornamentation with blue-white tiles, which also adorn the main central dome of the mosque, the building is often also referred to as the “Blue Mosque”.
3. Places to Visit in Istanbul, Turkey: Topkapi Sarayi (Palace)
One of the most important places of interest in Istanbul is the Topkapi Sarayi, a huge palace complex, which formally served as the seat of government and living quarters of the Sultan. Since 1924 it has been used as a museum. Because of its size and spread of its many buildings, the palace is more like a small town. The interior zone is made up of four courtyards surrounded by extensive gardens. Most highly recommended is the Harem, where the Sultan’s wives and children lived. Still today, many myths and stories shroud the building.