Istanbul was built on seven hills to match Rome’s imperial status. The Ottomans built mosques in each location when they invaded in 1453.
The Topkapi Palace has items from Muhammad, the Islamic prophet. Since the 16th century, they’ve been held in high respect and security.
Istanbul has 3113 mosques, including the Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet and the 16th-century Suleymaniye Mosque, designed by Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan.
Istanbul was the sixth most visited city in 2013. Over 10 million visitors come to the city annually, and officials are hopeful that number will keep growing as the word spreads.
Among the famous visiting figures were Agatha Christie, who wrote “Murder on the Orient Express” there, and Mark Twain, who called the Grand Bazaar a “monstrous hive of little shops.” These days, it’s a celebrity hangout for Turkish and international stars. Check out these surprising Istanbul facts.
About Istanbul’s most famous districts
With 39 districts, Istanbul caters to everyone, no matter their culture, income, or beliefs. UNESCO World Heritage Site Fatih has iconic buildings like Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace.
Turkey’s top three football teams are Besiktas, Fenerbahce, and Galatasaray, while Beyoglu is known for its shopping and nightlife. There’s also a lot of tourism in Uskudar and Kadikoy on the Asian side.
City’s most prestigious and prime locations are along the European and Asian shores of the Bosphorus. You can get luxury real estate in Bebek, Sisli, Ortakoy, Ulus, Tesvikiye, Kanlica, Kandilli, and Emirgan for less price than in Paris, London, and New York. Check out these articles for more info.
Istanbul’s suburban towns are growing.
Things to Do in Istanbul
Millions of tourists visit historical attractions and landmarks every year. Below are our top recommendations, and you can also find suggestions in our articles.
Discover historical frescoes at Hagia Sophia, Turkey’s most famous museum, once a church and Mosque. Sultan Ahmed Mosque, used by Ottoman royalty, is nicknamed Blue Mosque because of its blue tiles. Check out their architecture and why you should see them at least once.
Enjoy spectacular sunsets from Galata Bridge, which measures 490 meters. There are fish and seafood restaurants underneath the bridge, but we recommend going to Galata Tower. In addition to being used for various purposes over history, it’s the best place to see the Golden Horn. Their top-floor restaurant also hosts Turkish nights. Find out where to visit famous buildings in Istanbul.
Dolmabahce Palace, the last home of the Ottoman sultans before the empire, disbanded, is steeped in history, culture, beautiful décor, and stunning architecture. While Topkapi Palace, the first home and ruling capital of the sultans when they invaded Constantinople, is the oldest building of this style. They’re both worth seeing, and this article lists two more Ottoman palaces in Istanbul.
There are 3000 shops in the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s biggest markets. It’s the best place to buy souvenirs, but remember to barter. Being a big city, Istanbul has a lot of markets.
You might think a big city is bland and drab, but you couldn’t be more wrong about this one. Explore iconic houses, street art, pretty parks, and quirky places in colorful Istanbul.
Watch over Istanbul from Maiden’s Tower – dating back to 419 B.C., it’s full of love and romance and has served Turkey well ever since.
You can enter the Suleymaniye Mosque for free. Built-in 1549, the Mosque has undergone several restoration projects over the years.
Topkapi Palace – the center of a kingdom and the oldest building of this style, is a must-see and has a lot of history.
Explore underneath Istanbul with a trip to the Basilica Cistern and marvel at the two heads of Medusa found inside.
Galata Tower – Turkey’s immovable tower offering a great view of Istanbul; Galata Tower has been used for many purposes over its history and rebuilt several times.
This ancient mosque, known as the Blue Mosque because of its massive amount of blue tiles, is still used today.
Museum of Modern Art – Istanbul – Spend a day admiring the stunning art on display at the Istanbul Modern; whether you’re an art fan or not, there’s something for everyone here
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