Four Places You Can’t Miss When Visiting Istanbul

Istanbul has the diversity you want for your next travel destination. Its Middle Eastern culture, mixed with a history that rivals the ancient Roman Empire, makes Istanbul an essential travel destination. Travelers need to plan what they want to do in the time given. There are so many things to explore, so planning enough time in this large city of 13 million people is important. Here are a few of the major attractions you can’t miss:

Hagia Sophia

If you have ever studied the Byzantine Empire or Constantinople, you may know a thing or two about the Hagia Sophia or to the Turks, the Ayasofya.

The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey

Inside of the Hagia Sophia in Instanbul, Turkey

Constructed in 537 A.D., the Hagia Sophia was built as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral. It turned into a Roman Catholic cathedral from 1204 to 1261 under the Latin Empire and eventually became a mosque in 1453. Today, the Hagia Sophia is open as a secularized museum for anyone to visit. Travelers love to see the iconic domes and the finely composed gold Byzantine mosaics.

Artwork inside the Hagia Sophia

Artwork inside the Hagia Sophia


Blue Mosque

Across from the Hagia Sophia is the Blue Mosque, known for the red and blue tile work filling the multiple domes of the ceiling. Officially called the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, this popular attraction has one main dome, six minarets and eight secondary domes. From the outside, the Blue Mosque is an incredible scene of long-standing architecture.

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul

The Blue Mosque

Topkapi Palace

If you are interested in the Sultans and palaces of the Ottoman Empire, don’t miss the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. Its beautiful architecture with gold trim and bright colored tile work is reminiscent of the royal Ottomans’ signature style. The Topkapi Palace covers a large area with multiple rooms showcasing what the palace looked like long ago. The palace also contains important Muslim artifacts on display, such as Muhammad’s cloak and sword.

Located on the Bosphorus Strait, the ornate palace looks out over the body of water that separates Europe and Asia. Don’t miss the Harem that housed the padishah’s wives, daughters, servants, concubines and any other female who lived at the palace.

Inside of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul

One of the rooms in the Topkapi Palace

Grand Bazaar

When traveling through Istanbul, you can’t miss the Grand Bazaar. Featured in countless movies and television shows, the Grand Bazaar is a major icon within the city. It is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. Stroll through the vast walkways and discover what makes the Bazaar so great. Stop and buy some Turkish Delight to snack on while perusing Turkish Rugs, hand-embroidered pillows, Turkish tiles, scarves and even jewelry.

Lights at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey

Lights at the Grand Bazaar

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