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Places to Visit in Istanbul

Galata Tower

Watery Istanbul is a city that cries out to be viewed from on high, and you can get a bird’s-eye view of everything from the balcony at the top of the Galata Tower in Beyoğlu, the modern part of old Istanbul that, in pre-Republican days, was home to the city’s foreign residents. Built in 1348, the tower once formed part of a sub-city belonging to…

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Dolmabahçe Palace

Dolmabahce Palace built in 19 th century is one of the most glamorous palaces in the world. It was the administrative center of the late Ottoman Empire with the last of Ottoman Sultans was residing there. After the foundation of the Turkish Republic in Ankara, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk transferred all government functions to the youthful capital but on his visits to Istanbul Ataturk occupied only…

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Beylerbeyi Palace

Beylerbeyi palace was built as a summer residence and a place to host foreign heads of state. Empress Eugenie of France and Franz Joseph of Austria were among the famous visitors. Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II was kept captive in the palace between 1912 and 1918. The palace was commissioned by Sultan Abdülaziz and built between 1861-1865. The architect was Sarkis Balyan who was the brother…

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Maiden’s Tower

Maiden’s Tower (KIZ KULESI) is one of the romantic symbol of Istanbul. It constructed first in the 12th century and present building get dates from 18th century. KIZ KULESI is on a tiny-tiny bit islet at the entrance to Istanbul Harbor on Bosphorus. Islet’s nearest land point is Istanbul’s Uskudar district at Asian side of the city, near Marmara Sea. This tower is part of…

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Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamam

There are several magnificent steamy Ottoman bathhouses to choose from in the city, including the Çemberlitaş, Cağaloğlu, Galatasaray and Sülemaniye baths, but in 2011 for the first time it’s also possible for visitors to try out the spectacular 16th-century Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamam right in Sultanahmet Square and designed for Suleiman the Magnificent’s scheming wife Roxelana. Think acres of marble, the sound of running water…

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The Archaeological Museum

Walk to Istanbul’s three-in-one equivalent of the British Museum via the grounds of Topkapi Palace or through Gulhane Park. If time is tight, go straight to the large porticoed building housing the glorious sarcophagus of Alexander which depicts scenes from the life of Alexander the Great in vivid 3D. Kids will love the model Trojan Horse in the children’s section. Then pop into the lovely…

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Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum

Housed in what was originally the palace of Ibrahim Pasha, a favourite grand vizier of Suleiman the Magnificent, and overlooking the Hippodrome where Byzantine lovers of chariot racing once brought the same passion to their sport as modern Turks do to football, this museum houses a magnificent collection of gigantic carpets from all over the country. Its basement features reconstructions of everything from a fully-fitted…

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Suleymaniye Mosque

Unmissable as you stand on the busy Galata bridge and look up at the city’s historic skyline is the mosque designed by the great Ottoman architect Sinan for Suleiman the Magnificent. Newly restored to its original splendour, it is generally regarded as the finest of the 42 surviving mosques he designed for Istanbul. Unusually, it retains much of the original complex of social service buildings…

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Chora Church

It’s a bit of a schlep to get there but the restored Chora Church in the old city walls offers a stunning glimpse of late Byzantine splendour, its walls and ceilings adorned with glittering mosaics and breath-taking frescoes. Like Aya Sofya, it has made the journey from Byzantine church to Ottoman mosque and then to modern museum, and now stands in a neighbourhood of restored…

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Princes’ Islands

The Princes’ Islands (Kızıl Adalar or just Adalar) are a chain of nine rather small islands in the Sea of Marmara. They evolved from a place of exile during the Byzantine era, to a popular destination for tourists and Istanbulites alike to escape the hectic city life for a day. Of those nine islands, only four of them are open to the public: Büyükada, the…

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