Straddling in between two continents, Istanbul is a unique place in its own way and what makes it further unique is how it still has cultural and modern balance. Istanbul is one of the most modern city of modern times but at the same time, it’s the same city where in some parts, people still follow the ancient rules and lifestyle. Having a history of emperors and royalties, Istanbul never fails to amuse visitors with its rich and elegant culture. Have a quick look at the few of the most famous places in Istanbul and decide your itinerary accordingly.
- The Aya Sofya: originally known as Hagia Sophia, this splendid church-turned-mosque-turned-museum is among the world’s most celebrated architectural achievements. Enter the museum to get amused by the giant domes and intricate mosaics. The museum is sure to grab your attention towards the delicacies of architecture and designs all around you. Climb the mysterious spiral ramp to reach the gallery and gaze at the splendid Byzantine mosaics, including Christ flanked by Emperor Constantine IX and his wife Empress Zoe.
- Blue Mosque: breathe as much as you can before entering the premises of Blue Mosque as its astonishing beauty is sure to leave you breathless. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is called the Blue Mosque because of its decoration with over 20,000 handmade blue-colored tiles. Recognized as Istanbul’s most famous attraction, the Blue Mosque has some basic rules which one should abide by—full pants for men and full clothes with head covered for women. Just when you enter the grand mosque, you’ll be amazed by the five main domes and six slender minarets with an interior that reflects rich history and dedicated artwork.
- Dolmabahçe Palace: The elegance and ornation of Dolmabahçe Palace reflects the rich culture of European decoration and architecture during the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century. The gardens surrounding the palace are ornated with fountains, ornamental basins, and blooming flower beds, while inside the sheer splendor and pomp of the Turkish Renaissance style is dazzling. The interiors mix Rococo, Baroque, Neoclassical and Ottoman elements, with mammoth crystal chandeliers, liberal use of gold, French-style furniture, and dazzling frescoed ceilings.
- Bosphorus Cruise: It’d be impossible to grasp all the beauty and culture of Istanbul by walking on the streets, so one of the way for your admiration is the Bosphorus Cruise that not only provides a nice overview of the city, but also takes you to both the European and Asian shores of the famous waterway that still has centuries old palaces and mansions galore. You can take tours according to the time limit that you want.
- Topkapi Palace: to get deep into the history, reach Topkapi Palace (Topkapi Sarayı). It has a history of generations of sultans residing in the kiosks and pavilions for centuries. Top attractions at Topkapi Palace are the Harem, an adorned ‘cage’ of the sultan’s women, the treasury storing the crown jewels (containing the famous Topkapi dagger), and the weapon’s room boosting the Ottoman’s fine craftsmanship even when it came to making swords and bows. Also, don’t forget to walk all the way till the end for breathtaking views of the Sea of Marmara, Bosphorus and Golden Horn.
- Grand Bazar: being 500 years old but still maintaining itself as one of the largest covered bazaars in the world is what only the Grand Bazar can do. Its 60 streets contain over 5000 shops, 60 restaurants, 18 fountains, 12 mosques, and even a school. Shop your heart out at this place and if you’re good at bargaining, you’ll find best of your need in a cheap price. Widely famous for its carpets, leather, ceramics, souvenirs, and jewelry, Grand Bazar is a site to hold.