'Where the east meets the west.'
Istanbul is one of the oldest cities in the world, situated on the
shores of the Bosphorus straight. This straight divides, and connects
the two continents of Europe and Asia, as well as joining the Black and
the Marmara Sea. This historical city was once the capital of the Roman,
Byzantine, and the Ottoman Empires. Istanbul still preserves the
cultural, historical and artistic values of centuries past. Today
Istanbul is the capital of tourism, business, and culture.
Istanbul consists of two parts: EUROPEAN
PART | ASIAN PART
New city center | Old
NEW CITY CENTER
Dolmabahce Imperial Palace (Open everyday except Monday &
The latest official residence of several Ottoman Sultans between
mid-19th and 20th century. This palace has the largest chandelier in the
world, weighing 4.5 tons, a gift from Queen Victoria. Dolmabahce Palace
is a double-storied Barroque style building that stands 600 meters from
the ground. Definately one of the best maintained palaces in Istanbul.
Yildiz (Star) Palace is a complex of pavillions and a mosque which was
completed in the reign of Abdulhamit II., late 19th century. This palace
has the largest park of all.
Military Museum (Open everyday except
Monday & Tuesday)
The exhibiton of Ottoman Military History, including huge field tentused
on campaigns. Janissary Band show is available everyday between
Naval Museum (Open everyday except
Monday & Tuesday)
In Besiktas quarter by the Bosphorus. It contains Imperial boats, used
to row the sultans across Bosphorus, as well as any interesting items
from Ottoman Naval History
Built by Mehmet the Conquerer one year prior to the conquest of
Constantinopole and completed in four months as one the most beautiful
samples of Military Architecture in the world. The Amphi Theatre inside
is still used during the Istanbul Music Festival.
Galata Tower (Open everyday)
14th century Genoese watch tower, 62 meters height. Now it's a night
club from where you can enjoy the view of the whole city.
Museum of Fine Arts (Open everyday
except Monday & Tuesday)
One of the best museums in Turkey for painting and sculpture, dating
back to the late 19th century.
Aviation Museum (Open everyday except
This Museum traces the development of flight technology in Turkey.
Whirling Dervishes Museum (Open everyday
Contains Turkish Divan Literature items. Irregular whirling dervishes'
Ataturk Museum (Open on weekdays)
The house where the founder of Turkish Repuclic lived. The Museum
contains of Ataturk's personal belongings.
AKM - Ataturk Cultural Center
Perfomances of opera, bale, dramas and concerts. (Taksim Square)
Convention and Exhibition Center of Lutfi
The center where the most important international conferences were held
Concert Hall of Cemal Resit Rey
The classical music and opera hall.
The center of nightlife where all kinds of music played, traditional and
international restaurants, the cinemas and handicraft exhibition centers
OLD CITY CENTER
Across from St. Sophia is the supremely elegant, imperial, six-minaret
mosque of Sultan Ahmet I. built between 1609 and 1616 by the architect
Mehmet, it is known as the Blue Mosque because of its magnificient
interior decoration of blue Iznik tiles.
St. Sophia Museum (Open everyday except
This ancient basilica, built by Constantine the Great in the 4th century
and reconstructed by Justinian in the 6th century, is one of the
architectural marvels of all time. Its immense dome rises 55 meters
above the ground and 31 meters in diameter. The beautiful decorations
include stunning Byzantine mosaics.
Topkapi Imperial Palace (Open everyday
Overlooking The Bosphorus and the Marmara Sea stands a maze of buildings
that was once the great palace of the Ottoman sultans from the 15th to
the 19th centuries. The first courtyard is a magnificient wooden garden.
To the right of the second court, shaded by cypress and plane trees is
the place kithen, now housing an exquisite collection of crystal,
silver, and Chinese porcelain, while on the left is Harem, the secluded
quarters of the wives and concubines of the sultan. The third court
contains the Audience Hall of the Sultan, the library of the Sultan
Ahmet the 3rd, an exhibition of robes worn by the sultans and their
families, the fanous jewel of the Imperial Treasury and finally, an
exhibition of miniatrues. In the center of the third court is the
Pavillion of the Holy Mantle, enshrining relics of the Prophet Mohammed.
In front of the Blue Mosque is the site of the ancient Hippodrome, the
scene of chariot races and the center of Byzantine civic life. Of the
monuments which once adorned only three remain: the Obelisk of
Theodosius, the bronze Serpentine Column and the Column os Constantine.
Remains from the curved end of the Hippodrome wall can be seen to the
south of these three monuments. Today, it's center of historical,
cultural and touristic activities. The square with its surrounding area
resembles an open-air museum.
Basilica Cistern (Openeveryday except
Close to St. Sophia is the 6th century Byzantine cistern known as the
Yerebatan Sarnici. Fine brick vaulting is supported by 336 Corithian co.
Archeological Museums (Open everyday
These are situated on the perimeter of the first court of Topkapi
Palace. The very rich collection of classical antiquities in the
Archeological Museum includes the celebrated Alexander Sarcophagus, and
the Athena Temple from Assos. The Museum of the Ancient Orient displays
antiquities from the Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Hatti and Hittite
Mosaic Museum (Open everyday except
This Museum was built to preserve "in-situ" the exceptionally
fine mosaic pavements from the 5th and 6th centuries which were in the
Great Palace of the Byzantine Emperor.
Turkish&Islamic Arts Museum
Built in 1524 by Ibrahim Pasa, grand Vizier of Suleyman the
Magnificient, it was the grandest private residence ever built in the
Ottoman Empire. It is now used as a museum for many beautiful Turkish
and Persian miniatures, Seljuk tiles, Korans and antique carpets.
St. Irene Museum
St.Irene was the first church in Istanbul built by the Constantine in
the 4th and rebuilt by the Justinian. It is reputedly the site of a
Theotokos Pammorikastos Church-Fethiye Mosque
This was the Byzantine church known as the "Joyous Mother of
God" a building splendidly restored in the 1960's by the Byzantine
Institue of America. The main body of the church was constructed in the
12th century by two member of the nobility, John Commenus and his wife.
The Ottoman Sultan Murad the 3rd converted the building into an Islamic
place of worship, naming it Fethiye Mosque.
St. Saviour Chora-Kariye Museum&Mosque
(Open everyday except Tuesday)
The 11th century church of "St. Saviour" in Chora is, after
St. Sophia, the most important Byzantine monument in Istanbul.The walls
are decorated with superb 14th century frescoes and mosaics on a gold
background. The church is remarkeble museum of Byzantine art that
influenced European Rennaisance. Here you will find quite carefully
tended garden facing old wooden houseswhere you can enjoy tea or coffe.
St. John of Studius Church-Imrahar Mosque
About 500 yards in front of the Yedikule, on the right, is an enormous
but dilapiated and roofless building. This is the Imrahor Mosque
converted from the ancient Ayios Ioannis Prodomos, St. John the
Forerunner which is extremely diffcult to get into. Its central entrance
is composed of four magnificient Corinthian columns in-antis supporting
a sumptuously carved architrave, frieze, and cornice.
As in all classical medrese, the students' cubby-holes completely line
the four sides of the lecture hall. Stands directly opposite the main
entrance. Now restored, the building shelters the municipal library and
the Calligraphy Museum. The Ottoman calibraphers used their superb
writing to decorate the beautiful blue faience of the mosque, and the
turbe of the princes of viziers.
Grand Covered Bazaar
This is the favorite shopping center of the Old City. With more than
4500 shops with each trade having its own area. Goldsmiths' street, the
carpet sellers str., Souvenir, Leather, and so on. From the great
variety of goods offered, there is something to suit every taste and
Built as a part of the Yeni Cami extended walls in 1664 which is located
next to it. It is called the Egyptian Bazaar because the spices and
herbs used to be brought from or through Egypt . During the Ottoman
period it was known as a place where shops sold only spices. The air
here is filled with the enticing aromas of cinnamon, caraway, saffron,
mint, thyme and every other conceivable herb and spice. It has a similar
building shape to the Grand Covered Bazaar.
Beylerbeyi Palace (Open everyday except
Monday & Thursday)
Summer Palace and the bosphorus built in 1865. Many famous figures took
place here, including the Empress Eugenie, Wife of Napoleon III.
12th century tiny islet at the entrance of Boshphorus. It's going to
serve as a cafe-restaurant in the near future.
Built between 1394-1402 to central passage of the ships through the
Bpshphorus by one of the famous Ottoman Sultan, Bayezid.
Late 19th century resort with a very nice view of Boshphorus, historical
peninsula and islands.
Uskudar was known as Crysopolis -the city of gold- in the Byzantine
era. Because the windows of the tiers of houses facing Bosphorus
prismatically reflect the golden rays of sunset and European fludal tax
scutage was collected in Medieval period in Uskudar area.
Middle 18th century building, a sea-side mansion far entertainments,