Discover the sights of Istanbul? On the map it is immediately noticeable that this city is located on two continents. Even on a map the vast expanse can be seen.
20 million people live in Turkey’s largest city. The history of the city goes back a long way and the former name Constantinople immediately brings to mind the time when it was the center of the Eastern Roman Empire, when Rome had been destroyed by the barbarians for centuries. Istanbul is a city that you cannot visit in a weekend and certainly not get to know in such a short period of time. If you have the time, there is a lot to see and experience in the city and its surroundings.
Would you like to see all the sights in miniature first or do you not have enough time to see the originals with your own eyes? This park has all the sights in miniature, but like almost everything in Istanbul, this park is large, with a total of 6 hectares. You will also find a swimming pool, an amphitheater, a playground, shops and other entertainment. In Miniaturk, a day can pass in no time.
You also have to see this huge city from a great height to realize how vast and beautiful it is. This is possible through a visit to the Galata Tower. The tower is located in the European part of Istanbul. You can take the elevator up unless you want to conquer the many stairs. At the highest point of the tower, the view on a clear day is really unbelievably beautiful. There is also a restaurant where you can enjoy the city during a meal.
3. Yedikule Fortress
This castle with the difficult name has 7 towers. It was built as a mighty defense and gateway to the city. When the city grew larger and larger, the gate function could no longer be used. At first it became a treasure trove, but later it took on a more sinister function as an execution site and prison. Today it is a museum, but you can also walk on the walls. There you have a fantastic view of the sea of Marmara. Concerts and festivals also take place here on a regular basis.
4. Basilica Cisterns
This place is sometimes called ‘the sunken palace’ and it has served as the setting for international top films. The structure is supported by 336 columns and has an enormous size of 143 meters by 65 meters with a height of 9 meters. The original purpose of this vast space was to serve as a storehouse of water in times of danger. When you enter the gigantic building, you will be able to understand that it once contained 80 million liters of water.
5. City Wall
The old city wall is a must to see. There are special city walks where you get an explanation of the long history in English. The wall dates from the 5th century. at first it was intended for the defense of the city. Now there are shops in some masses, but there are also homeless people who have their place to sleep here. Some parts of the wall have been neglected and others have been carefully restored. More or less symbolic of the whole city.
6. Hagia Sofia
Everyone probably knows this name. The impressive building can be found opposite the Blue Mosque. It currently serves as a museum but was once the largest cathedral in the world. When Constantinople was conquered and became part of the Ottoman Empire, the cathedral was converted into a mosque. Today, mosques are being built all over the world in the Netherlands, which are derived from the Hagia Sofia.
There are many special bathhouses in Istanbul. The prettiest among them is probably Cagaloglu Hamami. This bathhouse was opened more than 3 centuries ago. In all these years they have succeeded in preserving the atmosphere. When you enter here it really feels like going back 300 years in time. Many celebrities have preceded you here. Various treatments are currently available to book. If you visit a Turkish bathhouse, first inquire about the rules of conduct that apply there. After all, you are here as a guest.
8. Grand Bazaar
A real Turkish market can only be found at the bazaar. It’s a labyrinth like everyone has seen at least once in a movie. The number of shops is enormous and the number of products practically countless. There are Turkish carpets for sale here, but also antiques, clothing and spices. And of course the game of haggling is played here. Play it with it and enjoy it. If the seller also enjoys it, you will soon be offered tea with something tasty. You still don’t have to feel obligated to anything.
This is an oriental palace as we envision it in the west. There are four different courts and the surface is enormous. You enter through one of the four Imperial gates and have the feeling that there is also an entire village there. There is a bakery, hospital and many stables. The palace is now open to the public as a museum and showcases the incredible luxury and wealth of its former residents. Don’t forget the beautiful gardens around the palace. Nowadays there are also many terraces.
10. Blue Mosque
The official name of this mosque is Sultan Ahmet Mosque. There used to be many blue tiles on the inside of the mosque. That is where the name is derived from. The mosque was built between 1609 and 1616. The six minarets were a sign of great wealth in that period. Inside, this wealth is further emphasized by 20,000 hand-painted tiles that provide a remarkable effect. If you also want to admire the mosque from the inside, it is wise to inquire on site whether this is possible. Because the mosque is still in use, there are periods when non-Muslims are not welcome.