Top things to do

Top Choice Palace in Sultanahmet & Around

Topkapı Palace

Topkapı is the subject of more colourful stories than most of the world's museums put together. Libidinous sultans, ambitious courtiers, beautiful concubines and scheming eunuchs lived and worked here between the 15…
Top Choice Museum in Sultanahmet & Around

Aya Sofya

There are many important monuments in İstanbul, but this venerable structure – which was commissioned by the great Byzantine emperor Justinian, consecrated as a church in 537, converted to a mosque by Mehmet the Con…
Top Choice Historic Site in Sultanahmet & Around

Basilica Cistern

This subterranean structure was commissioned by Emperor Justinian and built in 532. The largest surviving Byzantine cistern in İstanbul, it was constructed using 336 columns, many of which were salvaged from ruined …
Top Choice Mosque in Sultanahmet & Around

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 Sultanahmet Park. The mosque's wonderfully curvaceous exterior feat…
Top Choice Homewares in Sultanahmet & Around

Jennifer's Hamam

Owned by Canadian Jennifer Gaudet, this shop stocks top-quality hamam items, including towels, robes and peştemals (bath wraps) produced using certified organic cotton and silk on old-style shuttled looms. It also s…
Top Choice Museum in Sultanahmet & Around

İstanbul Archaeology Museums

This superb museum showcases archaeological and artistic treasures from the Topkapı collections. Housed in three buildings, its exhibits include ancient artefacts, classical statuary and an exhibition tracing İstanb…
Top Choice Museum in Sultanahmet & Around

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. Recently renovated, it has a magnificent collection of artefacts, including exqu…
Top Choice Seafood in Sultanahmet & Around

Balıkçı Sabahattin

Balıkçı Sabahattin is an enduring favourite with discerning Turks from near and far, who enjoy the limited menu of meze and seafood, including fish from red mullet to sole. This is Sultanahmet's most prestigious res…
Top Choice Anatolian in Sultanahmet & Around

Birecikli

Those keen on robust flavours and the liberal application of chilli in their food will be instantly enamoured of the dishes served at this bustling eatery in Hocapaşa. Choose from an array of liver options, meat keb…
Park in Sultanahmet & Around

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 choice. In its heyday, it was decorated by obelisks and stat…