1. Bosphorus Tour
The Bosphorus Strait, which separates Asia and Europe, is worth a cruise to enjoy the beauty of Istanbul. The banks of the Strait combine historical monuments with the beauty of nature and modern buildings. The trip offers you the opportunity to see most of the surrounding tourist attractions at low cost by boat. If you visit Istanbul and don’t take advantage of this wonderful tour, your trip will be incomplete.
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2. Hagia Sophia
This magnificent church, turned into a mosque and then turned into a museum and a mosque once again, is one of the greatest architectural achievements in the world. It allows you to see the grandeur of traditional antiquities after years of restoration work. Standing in the centre of the vast, stunning church under the 43 metre dome above your head, which is 65 metres high, defies physics. Climb the spiral ramp to get to the exhibition and look at the magnificent Byzantine mosaics, including Christ surrounded by Emperor Constantine IX and his wife Empress Zoe.
Hagia Sophia became a mosque again in 2020 with the Presidential decree. On 24th of July, 2020, Friday prayers were performed again after 86 years. Visitors wish to see the Hagia Sophia can enter without an entrance fee from now on. Please keep in mind that there are five prayer times for a day, you might want to visit the Hagia Sophia besides these times. Don’t forget that know it’s a mosque again women and men have to wear according to Islamic rules. For men and women, legs and arms need to be covered, no shorts or skirts above the ankle. Also, your clothes should not be tight fitting. And women have to cover their heads.
3. Topkapi Palace
Topkapi Palace is a view you cannot afford to miss while you are in Istanbul. Now a complex of stalls and pavilions, this was where generations of sultans made their main residence for almost half a century. The top attractions of Topkapi Palace are the harem, the decorated cage of the Sultan’s women, the treasury that stores the crown jewels (containing the famous Topkapi dagger), and the gun room that demonstrates the Ottoman craftsmanship when it came to sword making. Make sure you go all the way to the end to get stunning views of the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus, and the Golden Horn.
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4. The Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is more than 500 years old and remains one of the largest covered bazaars in the world, and the most attractive area for tourists. Its 60 streets contain at least 5,000 shops, 60 restaurants, 18 fountains, 12 mosques, and even a school. Grand Bazaar is famous for its carpets, leather, ceramics, souvenirs, and jewellery. It’s hard not to get lost in this huge bazaar so try to remember where you went before you roam.
Related post: The Best Places to Go Shopping in Istanbul
5. Taksim Square
Today Taksim Square is the main transportation hub and a major destination for tourists and locals in Istanbul. Pedestrians shop on Istiklal Street and in the long streets that lead to the square. The square itself features many restaurants, shopping centres, cafes, and fast-food joints. It’s also home to the most beautiful hotels in Istanbul. Taksim Square is a favourite centre for public events such as marches, celebrations, New Year’s Eve, and many others. The square also houses the Ataturk Cultural Centre and Opera House. An evening in Taksim Square is very special, and your day will be complete as you listen to the melodies of the talented musicians on the side streets and watch the graphic art painted on the walls everywhere.
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