Though Istanbul is not the capital city of Turkey, it is still the central city and principal seaport of Turkey and the hot spot for tourism. The city plays a considerable role in the history of the Roman and Ottoman empires. The many imperial structures in the city are reminders of its rich heritage. It was formerly known as Byzantium and Constantinople, serving as the country’s economic, cultural and historical hub.
Aside from its beauty, the city is distinguished by its vibrancy and imperial heritage, making it a favorite holiday destination in the country, especially for visitors from abroad. Byzantine and Ottoman Empires used it as their capitals. There are still ruins of countless cathedrals, mosques, and palaces built by their rulers. The small strait that divides Europe from Asia, between European and Asian Turkey, the Bosphorus Strait is often home to these beautiful structures. Taking a cruise on the Strait offers spectacular views of the city's skyline.
It is best known for being the cultural capital of different monothetic religious communities, which belief in having their fantastic signature of architecture and domes all across the city. Several famous buildings in Istanbul display a plethora of legends lived by its great ancient rulers. Located in the heart of transcontinental North America, the nation's largest metropolis is a cultural melting pot that you shouldn't miss. It has over 2500 years of history, culture, traditions, notable landmarks, breathtaking views, and vibrant nightlife. To learn about such places and attractions, read below.
Hagia Sophia building is considered one of the most beautiful buildings globally. It is one of the can’t miss places to see in Istanbul. Once a mosque and a church, it has now been turned into a museum. The interior is so eye-catching and jaw-dropping. After its conversion into a mosque by Sultan Mehmed, Hagia Sophia was used as a church for 916 years before becoming a mosque again for 482. After that, it became a museum in 1935. With its recent conversion in 2019 to a mosque, Hagia Sophia is open to the public again. You can go inside to view the mosque's mosaics, calligraphy, tiles, and Sultan's lodge.
The old city location makes it a great place to start your day before seeing other nearby attractions. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is known as the Blue Mosque because of the blue tiles surrounding its interior walls. A visit to the city would not be complete without looking at its beauty. This mosque is still a functioning mosque, but visitors can enter if they follow the rules. For example, the women's shoulders and heads must be covered, and they should wear long pants.
The Topkapi Palace is one of Istanbul's most iconic places to visit. A tour of this palace is a must, as it is filled with history. The views inside the castle have beautiful mosaic tiles and ornate treasures from the Ottoman Empire. There is a Topkapi Museum inside it that outlines a massive collection of books outlining the culture and history of life here from 1478 to 1856. This lavish palace was also the seat of the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire, making it a fascinating stop on a historical tour. Take a trip to the Harem, which houses the palace concubines. A must-visit addition to paying the basic entrance fee is the living quarters of the Ottoman sultans.
Also, Read: 5 Reasons To Visit Istanbul
One of the best things to do is get lost in the massive Grand Bazar of Istanbul, where you can experience shoppinglike you never have before. Some 5000 shops are covering 60 streets. In the 15th century, this bazaar was an important trading center. It's hard to imagine how the world was once with traders from Asia and Africa with exotic products for European merchants to consider. This giant maze of mosques, hammams, cafes, and jewelry stalls makes it one of Istanbul's top attractions.
Galata Tower is one of the top-attraction in Istanbul, located on the North Bank of the Golden Horn across the Galata Bridge, crossing the mouth of the Bay of Istanbul. Tourists can take tours up to view the city overlooking the Bosphorus from its Observation deck. It is an excellent vantage point to gaze upon Old Istanbul. Until the 1960’s it was a watchtower for the city fires. Still, today it is open to tourists to walk around its balcony near the top of the 67 meters (220 feet) high tower. Also, take a walking tour of the Taksim and Galata neighborhoods. You’ll learn of the Galata Tower, Tunnel Square, which is the second-oldest metro globally, and Dervish Lodge as you walk through its bustling markets and shops.
In March and May, Istanbul is a springtime city and an autumnal city in September and November. That time of year is the ideal time to visit the city. During either season, you'll see blue skies all over when you're on vacation because a large part of Istanbul's climate is dominated by oceanic, humid subtropical, and Mediterranean influences. Because the city is so big, there are three distinct climate zones. The weather in Istanbul is generally warm during the autumn season from September to November, cold during the winter from December to February, warm during the spring season from March to May, and finally hot in the summer from June to August. December is considered the wettest month of the year, while July is the hottest month.