Top things to do

Top Choice Museum in Western Districts

Kariye Museum (Chora Church)

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 shadow of Theodosius II's monumental land walls and now a museu…
Top Choice Turkish in Western Districts

Asitane

This elegant restaurant next to the Kariye Museum (Chora Church) serves Ottoman dishes devised for the palace kitchens at Topkapı, Edirne and Dolmabahçe. Its chefs have been tracking down historic recipes for years,…
Church in Western Districts

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 and a wood-and-inlay patriarchal throne. The most eye-catching …
Mosque in Western Districts

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 brothers, six of his nephews and three of his own sons in order t…
Museum in Western Districts

Fethiye Museum

Not long after the Conquest, Mehmet the Conqueror visited this 13th-century church to discuss theological questions with the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church. They talked in the southern side chapel known as the par…
Mosque in Western Districts

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 one of his best works. Commissioned by Süleyman the Magnificen…
Historic Building in Western Districts

Phanar Greek Orthodox College

Rising Hogwarts-like from the urban jumble, this Fener landmark, known locally as kırmızı kale (the red castle) for its castellated red-brick facade, still functions as a Greek school. A small student body of some 5…
Cafe in Western Districts

Pierre Loti Café

Many visitors head to this hilltop cafe after visiting the Eyüp Sultan Mosque. Named for the famous French novelist who is said to have come here for inspiration, it offers lovely views across the Golden Horn and is…
Cafe in Western Districts

Aziz Cafe

Expats eagerly consume the wi-fi, excellent chocolate brownies (₺8) and less impressive coffee (₺7) at this friendly neighbourhood spot, which fills with İstanbullus on sunny weekends. The limited menu includes mant…
Coffee in Western Districts

Coffee Department

Decked out with big sacks of coffee and wood-and-metal seating, this caffeine-besotted cafe roasts its own beans, and sells bags of coffee and filter-drip coffee-making kits. Kenyan, Ethiopian and Costa Rican beans …