Top Sights in Istanbul

Istanbuls best attractions

Istanbul and Turkey like so many other wonderful places have been plagued in bad news recently. The rise in Terrorism that is spreading like a plague through the world has hit Turkey particularly badly.

In times like these many of you will not feel like travelling to far from your perceived safe havens. However the attacks in Paris, Orlando and other major cities around the world should serve as a reminder that everywhere can be a target.

One of the main functions of an attack but is to disrupt our way of life, and restrict the movement of people through fear. We should not give into these peoples demands and we should show solidarity with those cities which have suffered by travelling, exploring and gaining a better understanding of the difference that make the world great.

Istanbul is still the great city it has always been, a place where Europe meets Asia. With such a geographical advantage and centuries of trading history, it is after all the end of the Silk Road, Istanbul is a truly unique city. A diverse melting pot of cultures and a city every serious traveller must visit.

There are literally hundreds of things to do and see there, it would be impossible to list them all below, but here are few picks for must see sights.

Blue Mosque

blue mosque istanbul

The blue Mosque is probably Istanbul’s most famous sight. Built in the early 17th Century the mosque was a gift to the city by the Sultan Ahmet.

The blue mosque is not only of great religious importance to the cities mainly Muslim population, it is also the cities most visited tourist sites.

Its name is derived from the blue tint of the Iznik tiles which adorn its structure.

Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern is the second most visited attraction in Istanbul. Originally constructed to house the city’s water supply, this huge underground structure is a true engineering marvel. Wandering around the this underground marvel it is hard to believe that such a feat of engineering could be not only be conceived but completed in the 6th century.

If you are in Istanbul then you will not want to miss the.

Hippodrome

Another of the city’s ancient sites the Hippodrome was once the centre Byzantine life. Everyone is familiar with the Colloseum in Rome and the games and the important role it played in public life. Well the hippodrome is Istanbul’s version.

Construction started in 200AD and took over 100 years to complete (And we complain how long infrastructure projects take nowadays).

Any history buffs will want to visit here.

Grand Bazaar

grand bazaar Istanbul

Everyone loves to shop, and where better to indulge than in the greatest market, in the greatest trading city in the world? The Grand Bazaar is not only Istanbul’s greatest shopping experiences but it is one of the best shopping experiences in the world.

The colours, smells and sights here are well with the visit alone, even if you are not an avid shopper. But if you do love a bargain then you will surely find some great ones in the Grand Bazaar.

It is a monumental place filled with every conceivable item you can think off, and getting lost in here is not only an almost certainty but also part of its charm. Make sure you have water with you and comfortable shoes you are in for a long slog.

Haggling is a must and the Turks are great at it.

Spice Bazaar

Spice bazaar Istanbul

For any food lover and for those who just love a bit of the exotic then the Spice Bazaar is another must see sight in Istanbul.

Any type of spice can be bought here, and is a great example if the cities great trading heritage, the Silk Road was once the world’s main trading routes and Spices were one of the main commodities traded. Here you can also find herbs, nuts and fruits from around Asia and the Middle East.

The market is extremely popular among both tourist and locals and can become extremely crowded at times, so we recommend visiting early morning or late afternoon. This not only helps with the crowds, but it is also a much more comfortable time to visit as the heat is much more bearable.

Final thoughts

Istanbul is a city filled with heritage and culture and is a mix of sights, smells and history. Anyone who visits there are in for a treat and the above is only a small example of the delights on offer. If you have time here then you can also wander around and find your own little gems all across the city.

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