Places to See in Turkey

Sights of Istanbul recommended for visiting


Welcome to Istanbul! The sights of this ancient city can impress even the most sophisticated traveler. Istanbul was founded in Neolithic times, and today it is an ultramodern city, which, nevertheless, carefully preserves its rich historical heritage. There are many places to see in Istanbul.

Located between East and West, it will amaze you with its incredible charm and magical atmosphere. So, here are the main attractions that are definitely worth a visit.

Topkapi Palace

Built by Mehmet the Conqueror in the XV century, this glorious Palace on the banks of the Bosphorus became the residence for many generations of sultans of the Ottoman Empire, who ruled from here their possessions until the XIX century. The vast Palace complex offers a glimpse of dazzling Islamic architecture with luxurious courtyards lined with patterned tiles and many elaborately painted rooms surrounded by impregnable walls.

The most popular places are the harem (where the Royal concubines and children of the Sultan were kept), the Second Court, where you can walk through the huge Topkapı Palace kitchens and enjoy the splendor of the interior of the Ministerial hall; and the Third Court, where the sultans spent their leisure time.

topkapı palaceThe Suleymaniye Mosque

Suleymania is located on one of the seven hills of Istanbul. It proudly towers over The Golden horn Bay, serving as a kind of landmark for the residents of the whole city. Although Sulaymaniyah is not the largest of the Ottoman mosques, it can certainly be considered one of the most majestic and beautiful. A single complex of buildings of the mosque, called külliye, includes baths, madrassas (Islamic schools), libraries, observatories, and, of course, four high minarets.

Suleymania was erected by order of Suleiman I, known as “the Magnificent”. It became the fourth Imperial mosque built on the territory of Istanbul, and was able to fully match the nickname of its patron. The Süleymaniye mosque and its surrounding buildings were designed by Mimar Sinan who the most famous and talented of all the Imperial architects. Sinan’s Türbe (tomb) is right behind the garden, next to the abandoned madrasah building.

süleymaniyeBasilica Cistern

This underground structure was built by Emperor Justinian in 532. The Basilica is the largest surviving Byzantine underground reservoir in Istanbul. Its vaulted ceiling is supported by 336 columns, many of which were removed from destroyed ancient temples.

The symmetry and grandiose dimensions of the cistern simply amaze the imagination, and on hot summer days the locals find here a real salvation from the unbearable heat.

medium_undergrounc_cistern_istanbulPera Museum

There are many museums in Istanbul. In this Museum you can see many interesting works, but its main feature is undoubtedly a collection of paintings exhibited on the second floor and dedicated to the Orientalism of the XIX century. The works collected by the private Foundation Suna and Inan Kirach, give an opportunity to look into the life and culture of the Ottoman world and the Sultanate of the XVII-XX centuries.

Of particular value is the painting of Osman Hamdi Bey “Tortoise trainer” (1906). On other floors there are temporary exhibitions (previously they were dedicated to the works of such masters as Warhol, de Chirico, Picasso and Botero).

peraIstanbul Archaeological Museum

This superb Museum displays rare archaeological and artistic treasures, some of which date back to the 4th century ad. the Museum is housed in three buildings, among its exhibits – ancient artifacts, classical sculptures and ancient finds, revealing the history of the formation and development of Istanbul.

Especially striking are the ancient sarcophagi from the necropolis in Sidon (one of them has long been considered the sarcophagus of Alexander the great). Please note that the ticket office closes one hour before the official closing of the Istanbul Archeological Museum.

The complex consists of three main parts: the Museum of the ancient East (Eski Şark Eserler Müzesi), the Archaeological Museum (Arkeoloji Müzesi) and the Tiled pavilion (Çinili Köşk). These complexes contain Palace collections collected at the end of the XIX century by the Director of the Museum artist and archaeologist Osman Hamdi Bey.

medium_istanbul_archaeology_museum_exteriorThe Dolmabahçe Palace

Today, many architects and critics, who grew up under the influence of the minimalist tradition of the Bauhaus masters, consider it their duty to insert a sarcastic word to buildings such as Dolmabahce. However, the crowds of tourists flocking to this Imperial Palace in order to enjoy its neoclassical appearance and luxurious decoration clearly do not share this view.

The Dolmabahçe Palace is conventionally divided into Selâmlık (apartments adapted for receiving guests and official events), Harem and Veliaht Dairesi (state apartments). The latter now houses the national Museum of Palace painting, which can be accessed by buying a ticket to Selâmlık or Harem. You can take an Istanbul daily tour to see all of these places.

The Palace was built by decree of Sultan Abdulmejid I, (1839-1861), who ordered the transfer of his Imperial court from Topkapi to a new luxurious Palace on the banks of the Bosphorus. As a place for construction, he chose dolma bahçe (“bulk garden”) the place where his predecessors, sultans Ahmet I and Osman II, built a luxurious Royal Park, literally “winning” it from the water.

dolmabahce-palace-ticketMuseum of Turkish and Islamic art

The newly restored Ottoman Palace, which houses this magnificent Museum, was built in 1524 specifically for Ibrahim Pasha-a childhood friend, brother-in-law and Grand vizier of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.

It houses a stunning collection of artefacts, including exquisite manuscripts and calligraphy, as well as one of the richest collections of antique carpets in the entire middle East. In the carpet Museum you will be able to see incredible masterpieces of carpet-making from different parts of the world, many of which are several hundred years old. Do not forget to contact us for Istanbul tours.

Museum of Turkish and Islamic art


ToursCE is a travel agency in Istanbul. We can make itineraries for you or you can choose your tour program between ready itineraries. For any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

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