Being a traveler filled with curiosity, I could have taken a flight to Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city and its economic, cultural and historical heart, but I had to prolong my holiday in the Turkish city. Fascinating was one of the adjectives that popped up in my mind the moment the flight I was on for almost 3 hours and 50 minutes touched down at the Istanbul Atatürk Airport.
A transcontinental city by nature, Istanbul’s long been boasting of its unique blend of history and culture. Packed with ancient palaces, grand mosques and traditional bazaars, I wanted to spend more time in this Turkish city. I could still see myself battling for the best deal on flights to Istanbul when I almost lost the deal but I held on tight not to let go. I was determined that I’d be discovering the former European Capital of Culture no matter what it took.
Well, there’s so much one can see and do in Istanbul but 5 of the best sights are mentioned for you. Make sure you cover these sights for a journey of a lifetime. Let’s get started, shall we?
No trip to Istanbul is complete without visiting Hagia Sophia. The Church of the Holy Wisdom, known as Hagia Sophia or Aya Sofya in Turkish, is a former Byzantine church and former Ottoman mosque in the city. It’s been converted into a museum, Hagia Sophia is acknowledged as one of the world’s great buildings.
The Hagia Sophia, which means “holy wisdom” is a domed monument which was originally constructed as a cathedral in Constantinople in the 6th century A.D.It’s always been the precious of its time.
Give a kick start to your Turkish tour with Basilica Cistern, the city’s most surprisingly romantic attraction. Offering an insight into the complex system that once brought drinking water into the city from Thrace (an area of South-ease Balkans now comprising Turkish land and the European mainland).
Built in the 6th century and then left to be forgotten for hundreds of years, the cistern that once stored the water has been fitted with music and lights. Don’t you miss the upside down head of the Medusa forming the bottom of one column? This attraction is a must visit.
If there’s one must-see attraction in the Turkish city, no doubt it has to be the Topkapi Palace. A home to generations of sultans and their wives, who were detained in the well-known harem. This attractions provide breathtaking views over the Sea of Marmara, Bosphorus and Golden Horn.
Topkapi Palace is a fine collection of lush green courtyards and fragile kiosks. Try to visit this attraction on a day when there’s no cruise ship around in town in order to keep away from the crowds.
The museum, housed in what used to be orginally the palace of Ibrahim Pasha, is located in Sultanahmet Square in Fatih district of Istanbul. Constructed way back in 1524, the building was formerly the palace of Pargali Ibrahim Pasha, who was the second grand vizier to Suleiman the Magnificent.
The Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum boasts of its magificent collection of artefacts, such as stunning examples of calligraphy and one of the most beautiful collection of antique carpets in the world.
Istanbul, sitting on both sides of Europe and Asia, longed for by empires for many centuries, is one of the greatest metropolises in the world. Founded in 660 BCE, Istanbul is litertally scattered with timeless leftovers of its long and remarkable industry.