9 Places you need to Visit in Istanbul to live the history all over again.
Coveted by empires across the centuries, straddling both Europe and Asia, Istanbul is one of the world's great metropolises. Founded around 1000 BC, the colony of Byzantium grew into the Byzantine Empire's great capital of Constantinople and after the Ottoman conquest of the city, retained its glorious place as the heart of their empire. The city (officially renamed Istanbul after the founding of the Turkish Republic) is liberally scattered with glorious remnants of its long and illustrious history ,and the sightseeing here will impress even the most monument-weary visitor.
As well as the big four (Aya Sofya, Topkapı Palace, Blue Mosque, and Grand Bazaar) leave enough time to explore the many other sights. Although many tourist attractions are located in, or near, the old city district of Sultanahmet, there is a dazzling array of other tourist attractions throughout the further reaches of the city.
Of the many highlights here the most popular are: the Harem (where the sultan's many concubines and children would while away their days); the Second Court where you can walk through the vast Palace Kitchens and stand in awe at the dazzling interior of the Imperial Council Chamber; and the Third Court (which contained the sultan's private rooms) which displays an impressive collection of relics of the Prophet Muhammad in the Sacred Safekeeping Room, and is home to the Imperial Treasury where you're greeted with a cache of glittering gold objects and precious gems that will make your eyes water. To fully see Topkapı Palace, you'll need at least half a day.
3. Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii)
4. Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnıçı)
5. Istanbul Archaeology Museum
6. Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı)
Entrance is through one of 11 gates from where a maze of vaulted-ceiling lane-ways, lined by shops and stalls, cover the area. The various trades are still mostly segregated into particular sections, which makes browsing easier.
7. Dolmabahçe Palace
8. Chora Church (Kariye Müzesi)
The church (now a museum) is rightly world-famous for its fabulously vibrant 14th century mosaics, preserved almost intact in the two narthexes and fragmentary in the nave, and the frescoes along the walls and domes. These incredible examples of Byzantine artistry cover a wide range of themes from the genealogy of Christ to the New Testament stories.