Must-see attractions in Istanbul

  • Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque in Istanbul, Türkiye. Built between 532 and 537AD by Roman Emperor Justinian I as the Christian Cathedral of Constantinople.

    Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque


    Right in the heart of İstanbul’s historic center, this sacred Byzantine building remains an important symbol of power.

  • Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey

    Topkapı Palace


    Topkapı is the subject of more colourful stories than most of the world's museums put together. Libidinous sultans, ambitious courtiers, beautiful…

  • Chora Church

    Kariye Mosque


    İstanbul has more than its fair share of Byzantine monuments, but few are as drop-dead gorgeous as this mosaic- and fresco-laden church. Nestled in the…

  • Suleymaniye Mosque

    Süleymaniye Mosque


    The Süleymaniye crowns one of İstanbul's seven hills and dominates the Golden Horn, providing a landmark for the entire city. Though it's not the largest…

  • Basilica Cistern

    Basilica Cistern


    This subterranean structure was commissioned by Emperor Justinian and built in 532. The largest surviving Byzantine cistern in İstanbul, it was…

  • Blue Mosque.

    Blue Mosque


    İstanbul's most photogenic building was the grand project of Sultan Ahmet I (r 1603–17), whose tomb is located on the north side of the site facing…

  • Entrance To Bazaar

    Grand Bazaar


    The colourful and chaotic Grand Bazaar is the heart of İstanbul's Old City and has been so for centuries. Starting as a small vaulted bedesten (warehouse)…

  • Pera Museum


    There's plenty to see at this impressive museum, but its major draw is undoubtedly the 2nd-floor exhibition of paintings featuring Turkish Orientalist…

  • Istanbul Archaeology Museum

    İstanbul Archaeology Museums


    The city's foremost archaeological museum is housed in three buildings close to Topkapı Palace. There are many highlights, but the sarcophagi from the…

  • Exterior of Dolmabahce Palace Selamlik Building.

    Dolmabahçe Palace

    The Bosphorus Suburbs

    These days it’s fashionable for architects and critics influenced by the less-is-more aesthetic of Bauhaus masters to sneer at buildings such as…

  • 500px Photo ID: 155850215 - This stall was single handedly responsible for killing my waistline.You cannot travel to this fantastic city without sampling these fantastic sweets!

    Kadıköy Produce Market


    An aromatic, colourful and alluring showcase of the best fresh produce in the city, the Kadıköy Pazarı is foodie central for locals and is becoming an…

  • Museum of Innocence


    The painstaking attention to detail in this fascinating museum/piece of conceptual art will certainly provide every amateur psychologist with a theory or…

  • Museum of Turkish & Islamic Arts


    This Ottoman palace was built in 1524 for İbrahim Paşa, childhood friend, brother-in-law and grand vizier of Süleyman the Magnificent. It now houses a…

  • Rahmi M Koç Museum


    This splendid museum is dedicated to the history of transport, industry and communications in Turkey. Founded by the head of the Koç industrial group, one…

  • Spice Bazaar


    Vividly coloured spices are displayed alongside jewel-like lokum (Turkish delight) at this Ottoman-era marketplace, providing eye candy for the thousands…

  • Turkey, Istanbul Modern, Turkeys premier modern art gallery showcasing contemporary international art and photography.

    İstanbul Modern


    This lavishly funded and innovative museum has an extensive collection of Turkish art and also stages a constantly changing and uniformly excellent…

  • İstiklal Caddesi


    Once called the Grand Rue de Pera but renamed İstiklal (Independence) in the early years of the Republic, Beyoğlu's premier boulevard is a perfect…

  • Beylerbeyi Palace

    The Bosphorus Suburbs

    This opulently furnished 1865 building was designed by Sarkis Balyan, brother of Nikoğos (architect of Dolmabahçe Palace). It delighted both Sultan Abdül…

  • Hippodrome


    The Byzantine emperors loved nothing more than an afternoon at the chariot races, and this rectangular arena alongside Sultanahmet Park was their venue of…

  • Sunlight flooding interior of St George church of Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchate.

    Patriarchal Church of St George


    Dating from 1836, this church is part of the Greek Patriarchate compound. Inside the church are artefacts including Byzantine mosaics, religious relics…

  • This tomb, located in Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, belongs to the Ottoman Sultan Selim II.

    Aya Sofya Tombs


    Part of the Aya Sofya complex but entered via Babıhümayun Caddesi, these tombs are the final resting places of five 16th- and 17th-century sultans –…

  • The Eyup Sultan Mosque in Istanbul

    Eyüp Sultan Mosque


    This important complex marks the supposed burial place of Ebu Eyüp el-Ensari, a friend of the Prophet who fell in battle outside the walls of…

  • Rüstem Paşa Mosque


    Nestled in the middle of the busy Tahtakale shopping district, this diminutive mosque is a gem. Dating from 1560, it was designed by Sinan for Rüstem Paşa…

  • Yavuz Sultan Selim Mosque


    The sultan to whom this mosque was dedicated (Süleyman the Magnificent's father, Selim I, known as 'the Grim') is famous for having killed two of his…

  • Little Aya Sofya


    Justinian and his wife Theodora built this little church sometime between 527 and 536, just before Justinian built Aya Sofya. You can still see their…

  • Gülhane Park


    Gülhane Park was once part of the grounds of Topkapı Palace, accessible only to the royal court. These days crowds of locals come here to picnic under the…

  • Museum of Great Palace Mosaics


    When archaeologists from the University of Ankara and Scotland's University of St Andrews excavated around the nearby Arasta Bazaar in the 1930s and 1950s…

  • Mihrimah Sultan Mosque


    The great Sinan put his stamp on the entire city and this mosque, constructed in the 1560s next to the Edirnekapı section of the historic land walls, is…

  • Museum of Turkish Jews


    Housed in a building attached to the Neve Shalom synagogue near the Galata Tower, this museum was established in 2001 to commemorate the 500th anniversary…

  • Spiral Column


    Coming up out of a hole in the ground, this strange column was once much taller and was topped by three serpents' heads. Originally cast to commemorate a…

  • Hünkâr Kasrı


    Built over a grand archway attached to the New Mosque, this small kasrı (pavilion) or mahfili (loge) dates from the same period and functioned as a…



    Opened to great fanfare in September 2019, the new home of the Koç Foundation's collection of contemporary art – one of the most impressive in Turkey –…

  • Obelisk of Theodosius


    In the centre of the Hippodrome, this immaculately preserved pink granite obelisk was carved in Egypt during the reign of Thutmose III (r 1549–1503 BC)…

  • Kaiser Wilhelm's Fountain


    Near the northern end of the Hippodrome, this little gazebo with beautiful stonework was presented to the sultan and his people as a token of friendship…

  • Arasta Bazaar


    This historic arcade of shops was once part of the külliye (mosque complex) of the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii). Mosques built by the great and…

  • Rough-Stone Obelisk


    After sacking Aya Sofya in 1204, the soldiers of the Fourth Crusade tore all the plates from this obelisk, at the Hippodrome's southern end, in the…

  • Sphendone


    The only remaining built section of the Hippodrome hints at how monumental the arena was. The level of galleries that once topped this section was damaged…

  • Cityscape of Istanbul, Turkey.

    Galata Bridge


    To experience İstanbul at its most magical, walk across the Galata Bridge at sunset. At this time, the historic Galata Tower is surrounded by shrieking…

  • FSM Bridge Night View Bosphorus of Istanbul

    Rumeli Hisarı

    The Bosphorus Suburbs

    Prior to construction of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge in the 1980s, this massive fortress was the major landmark on this part of the Bosphorus. Built by…

  • Atik Valide mosque

    Atik Valide Mosque


    This is one of the two great İstanbul mosque complexes designed by Mimar Sinan. Though not as spectacular as the Süleymaniye, it was designed to a similar…

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