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5 Best Tourist Attractions in Istanbul

Formerly serving as the capital of Ottoman and Byzantine Empires, Istanbul is currently the largest city in Turkey, and one of the largest worldwide. This city stretches across a narrow strait which links Asia and Europe, thus making it the only city in the whole world spanning two continents.

The city’s memorable past leaves behind a rich legacy of mosques, churches, museums and palaces, among other tourist attractions. Below are some Istanbul’s top tourist attractions.

Blue Mosque

Blue-Mosque

  • The Blue Mosque was built between 1609 and 1616 and is one among the handful of mosques in the world to boast six minarets.
  • The mosque got its name from its beautiful interior decoration of tens of thousands of Iznik tiles.
  • The whole spatial and color effect of the mosque’s interior makes it one of the finest achievements of Ottoman architecture.

Hagia Sophia

Hagia-Sophia

  • From the outside, Hagia Sophia may look overwhelmingly big; however the real attraction of this Istanbul landmark is the architectural intellect inside the ruined Byzantine building.
  • Constructed in 360 as an orthodox church, Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque in 1453, and then into a museum in 1935.
  • Large Islamic engravings adorn the top of all stone columns whereas copious amounts of natural light stream through 40 windows.
  • The Hagia Sophia is a leading example of Byzantine architecture and due to the additions made to its structure over the years; it has become one of Istanbul’s most iconic buildings.

Grand Bazaar

photo credit Focus Kpture

photo credit Focus Kpture

  • Also known as Kapali Carsi, the Grand Bazaar has been a shopper’s Mecca since right after the mid-15th century.
  • The Grand Bazaar is one among the largest covered markets worldwide with its four thousand, four hundred shops and three thousand firms, some seventeen separate inns for particular type of products, sixty four streets, four fountains, two mosques and twenty two gates.
  • It is a real paradise for shoppers and a great opportunity for people to discover the Turkish hospitality.

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi-Palace

  • Topkapi Palace was once the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1465 to 1853.
  • The palace is situated on the Seraglio Point between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara in Istanbul, having a fine view of Bosphorus
  • It consists of numerous smaller buildings built together and surrounded by four courts.
  • The décor and architecture is not as impressive as the other palaces in Istanbul, but it still has · Also on display is Muhammad’s sword and cloak, the most essential relics of the Islamic world.

Maiden’s Tower

Maidens-Tower

  • This tower stands in the midst of Bosphorus where the two continents Asia and Europe meet.
  • According to Turkish legend, a princess was locked in this tower to protect her from being bitten by a snake.
  • Over the years, this tower has been used as a lighthouse, customs station, and a resident for the retired officers.
  • More recently, the tower featured in the 1999 Bond film “The World is not Enough”.
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