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Priority 13 Extraordinary Places To Visit In Istanbul

Fascinating Istanbul is one of the world’s largest cities located at the heart of both European and Asian continents, with a history dating back to 3000 B.C. Istanbul possesses the historic atmosphere of the former capital of both Byzantine and Ottoman empires, world-famed architectural landmarks, living and vibrant bazaars, delicious and cozy cafes, and many more fascinating places and things to discover. Here are 13 extraordinary places you must visit when in Istanbul.

1. Hagia Sophia - This is now a museum that has been in existence for 1500 years, was once a cathedral for the Greek Orthodox Church, and a mosque for the Islamic Ottoman Empire, and has wonderful Byzantine mosaics, and Ot­toman frescoes painted high on its domed ceiling. Walking through the Grand Bazaar is a unique experience that cannot be described.

2. Suleymaniye Mosque - Stand in the grand courtyard of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent’s final home and marvel at the stunning blue-tile and stained glass of this architectural wonder.

3. Blue Mosque – See the beauty of the stairs like domes and those 20 000 blue Iznik tiles hence the name Sultan Ahmed Mosque, 17th century. This is very special if you get to see it at night time when the lights are on in Istanbul Turkey.

4. Grand Bazaar - This is a covered bazaar with more than 3000 shops and full of alleyways; you will find everything here from carpets to tiles, lanterns, and spices. Don't forget to haggle!

5. Basilica Cistern – visit one of the major attractions of Istanbul and be “mesmerized” with the ambiance of the underground cistern with 336 pillars and beams that once was used by Byzantine emperors to store water. It’s wonderfully eerie.

6. Spice Bazaar - Enjoy the view of a narrow street filled with the smell of tea, herbs, nuts, candies and spices, located near the Water and along the Golden Horn. A great guide for everyone interested in food!

7. Cruise the Bosphorus – It is a half-day cruise with fabulous views of the palace, yacht clubs, old wooden mansions, and fortresses on both European and Asian sides of the stunning Bosphorus water channel.

8. Süleymaniye Mosque - This mosque is an excellent example of imperial 16th-century architecture with its slender minarets and tiles invoking you to join them for the views of the city.

9. Chora Church – be ready to see the stunning mosaics and frescoes that enhance the sacred places of this church that served as the mosque and is now the museum. I would definitely recommend this as an authentic gem of Istanbul.

10. Istiklal Street – Walk down the footway filled with global retailers, take a ride on historical streetcars that crisscross the pedestrian way, and savor the vintage restaurants and clubs when the sun goes down.

11. Take a stroll through one of the last great palaces of the Ottoman Empire, with all its European opulence and intricate silks, and have dinner with the boats of the Bosphorus just meters away. One can only imagine, it is adorned by guided tours.

12. Galata Tower – Located on the European side of Istanbul, this is one of the most beautiful observation towers in the world as it gives a breathtaking view of Istanbul’s skyline and the Sea of Marmara.

13. Princes’ Islands – Spend a day out of the city and enjoy the scenic archipelago of nine islands in the Sea of Marmora with no automobiles, Ottoman mansions, monasteries hidden in the pine forests, and beautiful sandy beaches. It is also a beautiful route when traveling by ferry as well!

Many details of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman eras are captured throughout the city and integrated with hills and the glitters of the Bosphorus, providing a rich history and cultural experience for history lovers and art enthusiasts. Let the legendary sound of a place, at the crossroads of continents, ensnare you. Enjoy this wonderful city!