İstanbul Historical Peninsula
As has been uttered in the songs, İstanbul has been established on seven hills, hosted numerous cultures and civilizations through history, becoming a legendary city whose significance is increasingly maintained. This being the case, it is highly difficult to list and tell the tourist attractions of İstanbul as it should be. What’s left behind at the end of this enchanting journey which lasted for years has been historical places, structures, streets, houses and languages, all of which bears a piece from history with its religions, cultures, traditions and social life.
İstanbul Seven Hills
These hills have become more visible with its mosques which were built on each of them after 1453. These seven hills of İstanbul has begun to be noted respectively with Sultanahmet Mosque, Nuruosmaniye Mosque, Süleymaniye Mosque, Fatih Mosque, Yavuz Sultan Selim Mosque, Mihrimah Sultan Mosque and Hürrem Sultan Mosque. Even you can see the shadow clocks which were used to determine the time during Ottoman period in some of these mosques.
As the primary tourist attraction to be seen in İstanbul comes Hagia Sophia. Hagia Sophia which architecturally fascinates the world was used as a Church during the Byzantine Period and was restored by Architect Sinan (Mimar Sinan) in the Ottoman Period. Now it is one of the favorite places of local-foreign tourists.
Refered to as the aprenticeship work of Mimar Sinan, Şehzade Mosque is also a symbol of the nobleness of the famous architect. The unique architecture of the mosque makes one ask what a glorious apprenticeship this must be. The mosque which was commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent for his son Şehzade Mehmed rises high at a location which dominates the city, enchanting those who see it.
Now that we have mentioned about mosques, one cannot leave out Blue Mosque. One of the latest examples of Classical Era architecture, the mosque has 6 minarets as was the case with Mecca at the time. And now that you are here, do not forget to visit Eyüp Sultan and Süleymaniye Mosques as well.
Topkapı Palace which we can visit as a museum today has a significance as the place where Byzantium Empire with which Ottoman Empire had fought for years was established as a small town surrounded by the city walls. The symbol of power and might of Ottoman Sultans, dominating seven hills of İstanbul, Topkapı Palace was also the administrative capital of the Ottoman for long. The museum carries such deep traces from history that you need 3 hours to visit the museum which was opened to tourists.
Basilica Cistern and Galata Tower
Having been constructed so as to meet the water need of the city during the Byzantine Period, having a spiritual atmosphere with its marble columns rising from the water, the Basilica Cistern with medusa heads are a must to see. Serving as a museum, the cistern also hosts several events.
And then you can visit the Galata Tower from which Polymath Ahmet Efendi tried to fly. The tower in fact was built by the Genoese. Having pulled through several earthquakes, fires and storms, the tower rendered service for different goals over the years. If you want to see the state of the tower after the restorations it has been through over the years and enjoy the panoramic view of İstanbul, you will need to pass over the queue identifying the tower.
Fish Sandwich in Eminönü
When one speaks of İstanbul, eating a fish sandwich in Eminönü is the first thing that comes to mind, isn’t it? Now that you are here, it will be a shame returning home without eating Fish Sandwiches from the anchored boats in Eminönü. Or you can try the fish restaurant lying along under the bridge.
Egyptian (Spice) Bazaar
Egyptian Bazaar is the favorite place of tourists coming or planning to come to İstanbul. The Bazaar where traditional tastes are sold is also known as the Spice Bazaar with thousands of spice varieties you can buy. Various spices and seasonings coming from India and from different regions of Turkey will enchant you.
Enjoy your Coffee in Karaköy
Do not consider your visit to be complete without drinking coffee in Karaköy, favorite place of young people with the restaurants and cafes which have recently been opened. Furthermore, some of the traditional tastes of İstanbul are presented here by the leading names.
Prince Islands which are quite crowded during summer time wraps up a different spirit welcoming and sending of spring. In the islands attracting attention with sanctuaries belonging to different religions, it is an insatiable taste to walk or bike along the pine trees and mansions extending on both sides.
We must not skip Şile which remains outside the historical peninsula and yet recently attracts attention with its cultural heritages. If you happen to be in Şile which embraces the sea on the one hand and mesmerizes with the views of leaves falling from the trees, do not forget to greet famous lighthouse! Crying Rock, Eleven Lakes Valley, Kumbaba Hill and Değirmençayı Waterfall in the neighborhood are among the places you must see.