Did you know that Istanbul stands proudly as the fifth largest city in the world? The capital of Turkey actually rivals London as one of the largest and business cities in Europe, with more than 13 million inhabitants and massive touristic movements. In case you’re planning to go to Istanbul soon, this article highlights the seven attractions that you absolutely cannot miss.
Sultan Ahmed Mosque
Also know as the Blue Mosque, on account of the blue-hued tiles decorating the outside walls. As usual with these temples, it features intricate decoration (featuring tens of thousands of handmade tiels) and towering architecture. The surrounding complex contains the tomb of its funding Sultan, a religious school, extensive courtyards and it’s still a place of worship, despite the millions of curious tourists scouring the place every year.
Relatively close to the Blue Mosque of Sultan Ahmed, you’l come across the Hagia Sophia – whose name stands for “Holy Wisdom”. This former mosque has officially been a museum since 1943, and its notorious for its gigantic dome (over 100 feet of diameter and 160 feet of height). Within this impressive building turned into museum, you’ll be able to witness many awe-inspiring displays of local tile-work, frescoes and mosaics.
Once the primary residence of the Ottoman Empire Sultans, Topkapi Palace is now one of the major touristic attractions in Istanbul. Therein, you’ll catch sight of major historical relics, unimaginably refined porcelain collections, huge assortments of ancient weapons and armory, as well as an all-around impressive display of Turkish architecture. The surrounding complex once accommodated over 4,000 residents, which should give you a good idea of the scale of this building.
If you’re more interested in watching living people than historical relics and monuments, the Grand Bazaar should be one of your favorite attractions. Within this gigantic covered market (still one of the largest in the world), there are more than three thousand shops, comprising 61 streets and serving up to a half million visitors each day! If you plan to explore this place fully, you should reserve several hours or even an entire day. And if you feel like shopping, remember that you’re supposed to haggle prices, otherwise they will always try to charge ridiculous prices; in fact, you will be wise to carry a calculator and notepad to earn the respect of the salespeople there.
Within walking distance of the Hagia Sophia, you will find the Basilica Cistern, also known as the sunken palace. As the moniker indicates, this is an underground structure with an area of almost 100,000 square feet. Originally devised as a basilica, it was later converted into a gigantic cistern capable of holding a hundred thousand tons of water that supplied the surrounding palaces up until the modern age. Currently, it’s essentially a touristic attraction and historical monument.
Do these attractions look appealing to you? We can assure you it’s just the tip of the iceberg! There is so much to do in Istanbul that you would take several months (or years) to see everything. In fact, you could fall in love with the city and end up looking for Istanbul property for sale… not an option for everyone, but whether you’re an affluent person looking for a permanent vacation home, or an average person looking to reboot their life in another corner of the globe — stranger things have happened!