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41 Things Istanbul Is Famous For

Istanbul, where there is another fairy tale in every season with its history and its beauties, whispers a different talisman in every corner of its every street. It has been the center of the world for centuries, and it will be the city that will continue to be the apple of the world’s eye.

With its thousands of years of history, world famous Bosphorus, centuries-old mansions, historical artifacts, many cultures, cosmopolitan structure, palaces, mosques, churches and museums, Istanbul is a city of unique beauty built on lands stretching from Asia Minor to Europe.

If you are wondering what Istanbul is famous for, the main places to see and the main tastes to taste, you should keep reading this article.

9 Famous Historical Places of Istanbul

Sultan Ahmet Mosque

If you have dropped by Istanbul and want to visit historical buildings, you should definitely take a stroll around Sultanahmet and Beyazit Square. These towns, considered to be the center of the Ottoman period, are home to many different temples, which are also important for Orthodox Christianity. Therefore, I recommend that you start walking around Istanbul from Beyazıt Square. Sultanahmet is one of the most popular routes in Istanbul.

The Sultanahmet Mosque, built in the 1600s, will attract you directly to a charming atmosphere with its magnificent six minarets. Sultanahmet, which has a beautiful view from the sea, is a highly qualified work in terms of architecture. The Mosque, which has become a popular destination not only for Muslims but also for foreign tourists, allows many religious activities around Ramadan.

Hagia Sophia

Located next to Sultan Ahmet, the Hagia Sophia is a place where you must visit to see both its magnificent architecture and the historical value. Hagia Sophia Konstantiniyye, which was built after 400 BC, is one of the most important historical monuments of Istanbul.

The Hagia Sophia, which had important meanings for Christians, served as a mosque after the conquest. After the conquest of Istanbul, the church was turned into a mosque and the mosaics and icons were closed while a dome was installed by Mimar Sinan. Thus, serving as a mosque until 1935, Hagia Sophia has been converted into a museum after that date and take its final shape.

Suleymaniye Mosque

Among the hundreds of mosques in Istanbul, Suleymaniye has a special place. Suleymaniye Mosque, which was built by Mimar Sinan in honor of Suleiman the Magnificent, has been transformed into one of the symbols of Istanbul with its magnificent silhouette that appears especially from the sea.

Geometric patterns of architectural elements in many different ways around the Suleymaniye along with its natural texture will host you in a nostalgic environment.

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace, which is located in the historical peninsula of Istanbul, must be at the top of the list among the places to visit in Istanbul. It will be the right choice to spend a full day to visit the Topkapi Palace. Topkapı Palace, which is established in a very wide area, consists of hundreds of different sections.

Topkapı Palace is a masterpiece in its own right along with historical artifacts, religious relics belonging to the Islamic civilization, robes of the Ottoman sultans and of course a magnificent sea view.

Dolmabahçe Palace

Among the palaces in Istanbul, Dolmabahçe Palace has many different meanings both for the history of the republic and for the Ottoman era. Dolmabahçe Palace, which is the product of a very elegant architectural design, was built by Sultan Abdülmecit. In the Dolmabahçe Palace which is the most elegant example of Baroque architecture, there are rooms and artifacts that is built by the sultans. The rooms, which are arranged in wood format, can preserve their natural texture even today.

Dolmabahçe Palace, which has housed 6 different sultanates until the establishment of the Republic, was also used as an office by Atatürk. The great leader breath his last in a room in Dolmabahçe Palace. When you visit Dolmabahçe today, all of these rooms will be waiting for you. In addition, the garden of the Dolmabahce Palace and its backyard is quite suitable for taking pictures of a beautiful Bosphorus view.

Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern, which is located right next to Sultanahmet and Hagia Sophia, is an important building that meets the water needs of the city in Ottoman times and it is still open to visit today. Basilica Cistern, which is home to hundreds of columns, draws attention with its authentic structure and nostalgic air.

Nowadays, fish are swimming in the water at the bottom of the columns. The reverse Medusa, located at the bottom of the cistern, also attracts visitors.

Haydarpasa Train Station

Being one of the most important historical buildings of Istanbul, the Haydarpasa Train Station is one of the imposing works of Baroque architecture.

Haydarpasa Station, which was built in 1873 as the center of the railway line, has undergone various restorations over time.

Maiden’s Tower

One of the symbols of the city, the Maiden’s Tower is a spectacular place to watch from the Üsküdar coast while drinking a cup of tea. The Maiden’s Tower is a Byzantine fortress dating back to the 12th century.

The Maiden Tower, which has a variety of urban legends and historical myths, is an important route you should visit when visiting Istanbul.

Rumeli Fortress

Rumeli Fortress, which is one of the places that must be seen in Istanbul, is an exceptional building where you can walk away from the crowds and the noise of Istanbul. The castle and the city walls, which have survived until today, are remarkable as a magnificent historical monument. Rumeli Fortress which has been restored in 1950, serves as an Open Air Theater.

Rumeli fortress, where many different concerts are performed, has become one of the most elite places in Istanbul. In addition, at the bottom of the Fortress, the blooming Judas trees preparing a feast for the photo enthusiast especially in April.

6 Famous Natural Beauties of Istanbul

Atatürk Arboretum

If you love nature, you must visit the Atatürk arboretum in Istanbul. Arboretum, which is designed as a scientific research and observatory center, contains different species of flowers and plants.

A very convenient venue for a nice weekend trip with clean air and walking routes.

Gülhane Park

You must also visit Gülhane Park which is among the finest natural beauties of Istanbul. Gülhane Park, witnessing the breaking moments of Ottoman history, is ideal for sitting in the spring and summer with its wonderful lawns adorned with tulips.

Gülhane Park, which houses centuries-old trees, is located just below the walls of Topkapı.

Çamlıca Hill

If you want to look at Istanbul from the top, the great Camlica Hill should be set as the first in the list of the places to be seen in Istanbul. You can watch Istanbul’s Bosphorus from the hill which is really high. Çamlıca Hill, where there are cafeterias and tea gardens, was preferred as a place in many historical novels as well.

Çamlıca hill, which is open to visitors every day, remains as a tradition where the couples take pictures of themselves.


All the places and structures mentioned above are of course in the foreground and symbol for Istanbul. However, the first place that comes to the mind of the whole world when you say Istanbul is always the Bosphorus. The Bosphorus, which brings Asia and Europe together, continues to be the most exclusive corner of Istanbul for centuries with its natural texture and unique culture.

Bosphorus culture can be felt on both sides. It has a very different meaning, especially for photographers. Bosphorus fish restaurants, cafes, and sightseeing routes where you can capture magnificent snapshots 365 days a year should also be included in your trip plan.


Ortaköy, located just next to the Bosphorus and is the leading of the intellectual spaces, is a special place to drop by for those who visit Istanbul. The Ortaköy Mosque, which is positioned especially overlooking the Bosphorus, attracts attention as a place where many statesmen visit and take photos.

In addition to its mosques, churches, and synagogues, Ortaköy is also a very active place in terms of artistic activities. You can also see many street artists in Ortaköy where different activities are made every day.

Emirgan Grove

Emirgan Grove, which is one of the most authentic places, embodies all shades of green. You should definitely visit Emirgan Grove in April when the Tulip Festival is held.

In this way, you will experience a very natural texture in a colorful world.

Famous Social Life of Istanbul

If you are interested in entertainment life, you should definitely visit Istiklal Street and Beyoglu. These two interconnected routes are very close to each other. Istiklal Street, which is one of the symbols of the city in European Side, was converted into a cultural center which is in demand by the westerners who lived in Istanbul especially after the Tanzimat Period.

There are many art galleries, cinemas and cultural centers in İstiklal Street, which has been restored in recent years. Also at the end of the Istiklal Street, which is home to the churches that have been built in different styles, there are the Galatasaray High School and the flower passage which are some of the most extraordinary and authentic places in Istanbul. İstiklal Street, which still hosts a huge crowd, is also a preferred area for celebrations.

15 Famous Food of Istanbul

Istanbul is the only city that connects the continents of Asia and Europe. This unique and splendid city is very popular with its unique tastes. For this reason, Istanbul cuisine, blended with many cultures, has an important place among world cuisines. Istanbul’s rich food culture dates back to Ottoman cuisine. So much so that, after you taste the lamb, sheep and veal meat dishes you may be addicted to the cuisine of Istanbul. In addition to meat dishes, rich pastry varieties, dry beans, olive oil vegetable dishes, bulgur, and rice pilafs are also indispensable for this unique cuisine. I have compiled the famous food of Istanbul for you.

These traditional tastes are also very popular, because, each different neighborhood has distinct tastes. For example, I can list many delicious flavors such as the jacket potato of Ortaköy, the fish sandwich of Eminönü, the steamed burger of Beyoğlu, the pastry of Sarıyer, the boza of Vefa, the kebab and the cream of Eyüp, the lamb feet of Beykoz, the dry pastry of Karaköy bakery, the pickle of Üsküdar Şemsipaşa and the sugar candies of Hacıbekir. Everyone who comes to Istanbul should taste these flavors even once.

Historical Sultanahmet Meatballs

To visit Sultanahmet and not to eat Sultanahmet meatballs is unacceptable. There is also a fact that one who eats the meatballs prepared with this historic recipe, is eager to eat again.

This famous meatball is one of the most important flavors that can be mentioned in Istanbul.

Famous Flavor: Kanlica Yogurt

Kanlıca yogurt, which is one of the traditional flavors of Istanbul, is known to be produced in 1893 and passed on from generation to generation.

For years, they managed to maintain the same flavor which is quite famous! If you still haven’t tried, enjoy this taste without losing time.

One of the Unique Tastes: Sweetbread

It is a kind of food made by the intestine, liver, geranium or heart of a lamb or calf. The most delicious sweetbreads are made in March, April, and May.

It is known as an extremely famous meal in the Sütlüce district.

Istanbul Pilaf

It is known that each region has its own type of pilaf. This pilaf which was extremely famous during the Ottoman period has become the main course in important events such as holidays, births, weddings, funerals, and it continues to be.

In addition, the names of the sultans who loves this rice very much have given to the dish itself. Sultan Reşat pilaf or Ali Pasha pilaf are among these examples. Istanbul pilaf, which is a taste that who eats it will be enchanted, is also sold on the streets as a street dish.

Sarıyer – Pastry

In the poverty period of the Ottoman Empire in 1895, it was put on the market as a plain pastry with powdered sugar on it.

Its special feature is the thinning of the dough by hand and not by a rolling pin. Most preferred are the ones with minced meat.

Vefa – Boza

Boza is a drink that is made of millet semolina, water, and sugar. It is yeasted and has beneficial food bacteria. In 1876, Hacı Sadık Bey introduced the boza, which he produced in his house, at night around the palace with copper pots.

After a while, he opened the Vefa Bozacısı and started the tradition in Vefa District.

Beyoğlu – Chocolate

It was founded in 1954 by the Ganapulos family as a chocolate workshop. While struggling with the country conditions and difficulties of the period, it is aimed to spread the chocolate culture that a certain segment consumes as a luxury flavor.

In the first period of the 1960s after the brand produced and sold the product under the name of the Beyoglu Chocolate, it takes its place in history as the famous Beyoglu Chocolate.

Bebek – Almond Butter

The shop, which was opened in 1904, is still standing with delicious almonds in one branch. In fact, the first place of the establishment was Mudanya, however, the shop was moved to Istanbul with the love of Anastasia and Mehmet Halil.

Anastasia’s father did not want to send his daughter to Mudanya. Mehmet Halil Bey did not want to give up Anastasia as well, so he opened a shop here and started to sell almond butter.

Moda – Ice Cream

Since 1969, there is an indispensable ice cream shop in Moda District. Famous Dondurmacı Ali Usta (Ali Kumbasar), started his career as a child and continues to make ice cream on a daily basis.

Ali Usta, who uses real fruit and sugar, makes also 3 kinds of diet ice cream as plain, fruit and chocolate. There are almost 70 kinds in total.

Ortaköy – Kumpir

In Yugoslavia, potatoes cooked in aluminum foil with salad was called “krumpir”. When these potatoes were brought to our country in 1991, it was filled with rich appetizers and became a brand new product named as Kumpir. First, it spread rapidly in our country, then it conquered other countries.

Kumpir made in Turkey is a product prepared by using baked potato, butter, cheese and a variety of delicious salads, appetizers, and sauces. Because of its shape, it was named after the Yugoslav “Krumpir”. However, since it is baked in an oven and has its own content, kumpir is a product of Turkish cuisine.

Çengelköy – Cucumber

One of the famous tastes of Çengelköy is “Çengelköy Cucumber”.

The freshness of this small cucumber brings together many of its lovers at the streets of Çengelköy.

Eminönü – Fish Sandwich

After you complete your tour of the historical peninsula in the beautiful landscape of the Golden Horn, the fish sandwich is one of the best alternatives to feed your belly.

You should also drink pickle juice with it.

Suleymaniye – Dry Beans

Suleymaniye is famous for its dry bean dish along with the magnificent Suleymaniye Mosque.

The restaurant established in 1924 prepares dishes in copper pots and pans and rests in coal fire since aluminum and similar materials are harmful.

Karakoy – Baklava

The first baklava shop in Istanbul, opened in 1949 in Karaköy, is also the first baklava shop outside of Gaziantep.

Since then, Karaköy Güllüoğlu has been the first address of baklava in Istanbul.

Taksim – Steamed Burger

Unlike a regular hamburger, with plenty of sauce, ketchup, garlic, and margarine, the steamed burger is a different flavor you must try.

Once you taste it, be sure that you will not regret!

Famous Istanbul Cuisine

Istanbul is at the top of the list of cities to be seen in the world. Of course, it is not coincident for it to be so popular and important. Every square meter of Istanbul has a huge historical and cultural background. With its history, culture, art and geographical location, it is a cosmopolitan megacenter that fascinates everyone and inspires many people.

Istanbul which is the capital of the great empires for centuries and home to many civilizations has also a marvelous cuisine. Each district of Istanbul offers you a distinct flavor. You can enjoy Turkish cuisine in Taksim, Kadıköy, Sarıyer, Anadolu and Rumeli Kavağı, Fatih, Üsküdar, Sultanahmet, Bağdat Avenue, Nişantaşı, Bebek, Etiler and many other neighborhoods.

Ottoman – Turkish Cuisine

Turkish cuisine, the heir to the Ottoman culture, influenced the Balkan and Middle Eastern cultures as well as influenced by them. You can find Turkish dishes that vary from region to region such as Black Sea cuisine, Southeastern Anatolian cuisine, Aegean and Mediterranean cuisine, and their specialties in Istanbul. If we divide Turkish – Ottoman cuisine into categories, we can start from the meat dishes, which are the favorites of most people as a classical taste.

Adana and Urfa kebabs, doner kebab, meatballs, lahmacun, pide, and offal are the main dishes of Turkish cuisine and their fame has exceeded their limits. Don’t miss traditional Turkish tastes like casserole, lamb kebab in curl paper, and stew which are all juicy meat dishes. You can find the best of these dishes in Kadikoy, Taksim, Fatih, Bakirkoy, Samatya, Eminonu, and Aksaray. While you are here, you should definitely eat the local Turkish meatballs, steak tartar a la turca, ravioli, tantuni, and pastries.

Fireside Culture

Fireside culture includes kebab, chicken, skewers, liver, and, of course, rakı. You may sit on a large table and eat, or you can sit around the fireside.

Rakı, Fish, Bosphorus

There is also a raki-fish culture, you must absolutely try. You can find fish restaurants all around the city. Especially on the coastline, between Sarıyer and Ortaköy, you will come across a fish restaurant at every step. Moreover, in most of them, you can see the spectacular views of the Bosphorus and the sea.

On the Anatolian side, Kuzguncuk, Çengelköy, Anadolu Kavağı and of course the islands are good places to eat fish. Under Galata Bridge, there are many restaurants and cafes where you can eat fish and other seafood if you don’t want to drink raki.

Istanbul Taverns

The tavern culture of Istanbul is very colorful. Taverns are indispensable members of Turkish cuisine. Perhaps they are the most important culture in Turkish cuisine. Hundreds of different kinds of appetizers, raki, and wine are all pleasure. There are a thousand kinds of taverns in this town such as Greek taverns, alehouses, quiet and calm taverns where you can drink rakı and rest your head, and modern taverns adapted to our day. Appetizers have a very important place in Turkish culture.

Anyone going to the tavern prefers appetizers instead of a main dish. When you go to a tavern, the most important appetizers you should have in your dining table are: haydari, hummus, Circassian chicken, fava, fried eggplant with tomato sauce, peppermint salad with pomegranate sour cream, shakşuka, borlotti beans in olive oil, artichoke salad, sea bean, leaf wrap, topik and barren. Don’t think about how you can eat them all; they come in small plates so you can taste them all. The main place of the taverns is Kumkapı. Go to Kumkapi and see how different they are.

Light Meals

If you are more interested in vegetable dishes, you must try the indispensables of Turkish cuisine such as stuffed grape and cabbage leaves (with meat or olive oil), dry beans, zucchini, eggplant, and stuffed green peppers, eggplants with minced meat, and artichokes.

There is a dry bean-rice duo which is epic with cacik (yogurt with water and cucumber, as well as salt and mint for coloring).


The first and foremost of the Turkish cuisine, which is also very rich in terms of dessert, is of course baklava. You can find baklava anywhere in Karaköy. You should try other desserts such as kadayıf, lokma, and künefe. If you like milky desserts, there are options like custard, keşkül, kazandibi, tavuk göğsü, and güllaç.

Another desert, halva, which is inherited from the Ottoman Empire is one of the flavors you should try as well. You can easily find halva with varieties such as plain, pistachio and cocoa in districts such as Taksim, Kadikoy, Eminonu, and Sultanahmet. When you have the opportunity, you should also eat Turkish Delight.

Turkish Coffee

Turkish coffee is the lifeblood of the Turks. You can have a good Turkish coffee in Sultanahmet, Çemberlitaş, and Tophane, where the heart of Old Istanbul beats. A tip for you: A good Turkish coffee should be sparkling. You can tell whether it is good or not by just looking at it. You can even try the hookah while you’re there. Hookah-coffee duo is a Turkish tradition. In the vicinity of Taksim and Kadıköy, the coffee culture began to spread recently. The other interesting drinks you should try are boza, ayran and turnip juice. You can drink the best of Boza in Fatih. Turnip juice and ayran are usually taken with meals and you can find it in many places.

It must be difficult to leave a city where the culture of eating and drinking is so rich. If you have plenty of time, try all of these special flavors. You will not really regret it.

Famous Gifts You Can Purchase in Istanbul

Istanbul, one of the world’s largest and most energetic metropolises, welcomes millions of visitors every year with great hospitality. There is a distinct property of every district of this world city. Therefore it is almost impossible to fully recognize Istanbul and to discover everything. Every street, avenue, and district of this mysterious city can surprise you at any moment.

Since Istanbul is full of surprises, shopping becomes more meaningful. You can find the best of the gifts that will make you feel special.

The Grand Bazaar

In the Grand Bazaar, the world’s largest bazaar, there are traditionally produced souvenirs reflecting the mystical atmosphere of Istanbul. Serving since 1461, this bazaar which has a maze-like structure and 4 thousand shops in it, is both a historical work and a shopping paradise. You can find everything in each street of the Grand Bazaar, which provides affordable shopping opportunities thanks to the product prices determined by the state.

You can get gifts with an authentic design for your loved ones such as jewels, traditional Turkish motifs, rugs, tarbooshes, antiques, embroidered fabrics, gift cups, backgammon, and chess sets.

The Spice Bazaar

The Spice Bazaar is an old shopping center that smells the history of Istanbul. This bazaar, which is located in Eminönü, has 6 gates that are famous for their enormous size. This makes it easy to explore the bazaar. The Spice Bazaar is famous for its spices and delight types.

You can get the best quality of traditional confectionery that will sweeten your mouth. You can also find elegant souvenirs and bags in the bazaar in ceramic workshops and leather shops.


Galata’s shopping options, which have at least historical value as the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar, are much different from these two bazaars. The souvenirs which are sold in small and colorful shops lined up on the Galata slope, represent the modern face of Istanbul, and the customer base consists of young people.

Galata puts its signature under the souvenir culture with the leather bags that can be used in daily life, interesting shoes, Istanbul magnets that have embraced the retro style, various souvenirs, wallets, boxes and of course jewelry that will impress you with its design. You will have fun shopping in Galata, which will help you with interesting design shops and friendly sales representatives.


Ortaköy comes to mind when it comes to jewelry. The shops, which are set on the narrow streets of the region descending to the coast of Ortakoy, showcase a perfect view with handmade jewelry. You should allocate a large portion of your day to these shops having reasonable prices and any style of jewelry.

There are also tables, and cups that summarize Istanbul in these shops. Do not say that I know Istanbul very well unless you enjoy shopping in Ortaköy just before your beach trip. You will find the most interesting and affordable souvenirs here.

13 Best Running Tracks in Istanbul

With its unique natural areas, İstanbul offers many choices for those who want to run after a good evening or early Sunday morning. By doing so, you can escape from the stress and chaotic atmosphere of this crowded city.

If you think a full day exercise and spend your full day the place you will go, Princes Islands and Belgrade Forests are perfect choices for you. After the run, you can have a picnic or have a good coffee under the sun without any daily life problems and technology making you more stressful on weekdays.

On the other hand, you might want only to spend your night running and refresh for the coming day. There are many opportunities in İstanbul for it, which are located in the center.

For instance, Yildiz Park and Macka Park are the places you can easily reach and return to your home after running. There are also many seaside options on the Asian side of İstanbul such as Caddebostan and Uskudar.

Here are 12 beautiful and attractive places to run in Istanbul:

Princes Islands

There are many islands in İstanbul named as Princess Islands: Kinaliada, Heybeliada, Burgazada, and Buyukada.

All offers you a good escape from the crowded big city life but for a long time running, Kinaliada and Burgazada are not that much suggestable because they are such a small island with no straight roads.

When it comes to Heybeliada ana Buyukada, you can see many people running there regularly. The length of the track is quite fit to run. I am sure you will enjoy the views when running, too.

However, it might be good to know that, not only summer but generally on weekends those islands become very crowded with both local people and tourist.

That is why it might be better to go there on weekdays. if you have no chances to expect weekends, it is better to choose to go in the early hours so that you may be able to run more comfortably.

Both of them are worth to experience for a good start of a day or week.

How to get to Princes Islands in Istanbul:

You can take a ferry, operated by Şehir Hatları, from Kabataş in European side and from Kadıköy and Bostancı in Asian side and stops by all four islands.

If you will go to the islands from Taksim and Sultanahmet, you can take F1 Kabataş-Taksim funicular so that you can reach Kabataş from Taksim. Or as a second choice, you can take T1 Kabataş-Bağcılar modern tramway from Sultanahmet to reach Kabatas. After that, you can take a ferry, and you will be in Buyukada within maximum one and a half hour.

However, as I stressed in the beginning, Princess Islands are such a popular place to go. Especially weekends, it might be quite hard to go a sit on the ferry.

Therefore, I suggest you take a ferry in an early hour, especially if you’re planning to go on a weekend.

By doing so, you will not have to wait a long queue until you get on. You will see that the inside of the ferry will be quite crowded. There will be even people sitting on the stair. Yet, you will see all are happy with their own condition too.

If you ask me personally, I also love that one hour journey full of crowd and noise because I feel kind of commonalities among all passenger, which aims a good and peaceful day.

Balat Beach

Istanbul has many historical stories with old streets. Balat district is one of them. Today, you can see many people with professional cameras in Balgat streets to take authentic photos. This is such a good place.

When it comes to run, Balat Beach is a good idea with its track which is 3 km long. You can discover many new places by running there.

By doing so, it will not be only a sports activity for you, but a kind of visiting historical places such as Iron Church in Balat.

Apart from that, you can face many people on the beach fishing. The combination of the sea and those fishermen are worth to see.

After being done with your run, you should go to the rich streets of Balat and should have a cup of coffee or tea. Be careful about that you can see some famous singers or artist in the street of Balat when walking around!

How to get to Balat Beach in Istanbul:

Balat, that is the neighborhood of Istanbul once known as the Jewish quarter of the city, is located in the Europe side of İstanbul. Today you can still find many synagogues here, as well as a more diverse group of residents there.

If you will come from the Asian side, you can arrive at Eminonu first by ferry and then you can reach Balat by bus from Eminonu, which takes between ten and fifteen minutes.

If you are in the Europe side of İstanbul, you can go Eminonu or Fatih, and take a bus. Eyup is also good choice to reach Balat since it takes only ten minutes by bus.

Belgrade Forest

İstanbul with its wide area has many forests. Belgrade Forest is one of the most popular ones to escape from the city, which is one of the greenest places in Istanbul and covers an area of 5,300 hectares of land full of oak, beech and chestnut trees.

It is a pretty good choice with its attractive track for those who like to run in the woods. There are many groups also to go there for a run.

What makes Belgrade forest a good option is about the fact that you can fully feel the oxygen while running whilst the green surrounds you, which is that the ground is suitable for all levels of a training program.

Yet, it is such a long track that is 7 km. Therefore, if you want to finish all, you should be careful and take a rest enough and you should drink enough the water of the fountain located in the forest during your 7 km track!

Good news is the forest is open 24 hours during all weeks including Saturday and Sunday.

II. Uzunetap Night Runs

Uzunetap Night Runs has been organizing since 2010 as the first international multistage ultra-marathons of Turkey, such as Lycian Way Ultra Marathon, Runfire Cappadocia Ultra Marathon, and Runfire Salt Lake Ultra Trail.

Uzunetap Night Runs is one of the yearly organizations connecting people from all age groups with nature and sports so that it can unity people to organize better quality, more heated, fun and challenging races.

Started for the first time on December 21 in 2013, with Longest Night, Uzunetap Night Runs are now on various dates throughout the year!

It will be one of the most unforgettable running experiences for you if you will be a part of it.

This year, there are three different stages for it:

23 March 2019, Saturday Belgrad – 6K / 12K

15 June 2019 Saturday Belgrad – 6K / 12K

7 September 2019, Saturday Belgrad – 6K / 12K

 How to get to Belgrade Forest in Istanbul:

Belgrade Forest is located in Sariyer district. If you are in the Asian side of İstanbul, you can take IETT from Kadikoy ( whose bus number is 42HM), or Uskudar ( with 59 RK named IETT busses).

The bus named 42HM comes to Kadikoy by passing from Haciosman and Taksim, so you can get on from these bus sitations if you are in the Europe side of İstanbul.


Adress: Bahçeköy Merkez Mahallesi, 34453 Sarıyer/İstanbul, Turkey

Tel: +90 212 226 13 14

Bostancı- Fenerbahçe Jogging Track

Bostanci- Fenerbahce is an area famous for Sukru Saracoglu Stadium that belongs to Fenerbahce Football team.

The sea view is so attractive here in the Asian side of İstanbul, which is one of the reasons making it one of the most preferred tracks in İstanbul.

The road is 5 km in total. It is possible to walk or run on the hiking trail, ride your bike. As just mentioned, you will see one of the most beautiful parts of the track you can ever see because you will run alongside the sea

bostanci fenerbahce ile ilgili görsel sonucu

The energy and warmth of local people who do run regularly are quite spectacular. That will make you feel not alone, but a kind of collective exercise with other people running.

How to get to Bostancı- Fenerbahçe Jogging Track in Istanbul:

If you are in the Europe side of İstanbul, I suggest you go across, Uskudar or Kadikoy to transfer Bostancı- Fenerbahçe Jogging Track first. After being in Kadikoy or Uskudar, you can take IETT busses.

However, you should be aware of that Kadikoy is the nearest places to Bostancı- Fenerbahçe Jogging Track; so it is better to go Kadikoy first, instead of Uskudar.

Afternoon or early morning running there is my favorite, but you can arrange your own schedule according to your personal program.

Ataturk Arboretum

If you dream to spend you weekends a place full of trees and oxygen, Ataturk Arboretum is a good choice for you and your family.

Actually, it is now known by many people living in Istanbul but I am sure you will feel more relax and enjoyed when arriving there. The Atatürk Arboretum located on a vast area of 296 hectares is in the southeast of the Belgrad Forests in Sarıyer district.

It has a different story how to take its name. When it was established on a 39-hectare site in 1949 and in 1982, it was named as the Atatürk Arboretum, for the 100th birth anniversary of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Republic of Turkey.

ataturk arboretum foto ile ilgili görsel sonucu

I suggest you go there both in spring and autumn so that you can see a variety of different plants and flowers.

How to get to Ataturk Arboretum in Istanbul:

If you have time, you can go to Belgrade Forest and Ataturk Arboretum on the same day because it takes only five minutes from Belgrade Forest.

You can take IETT busses from Taksim or 4.Levent by 42T IETT bus. There is also IETT bus line from Bogazici University, which are 42HM Bahçeköy-Hacıosman, 59RK Rumelihisarüstü Boğaziçi Üniversitesi – Arıköy, and 153 Bahçeköy-Sarıyer.

Address: Kemer Mahallesi, 34450 Bahçeköy, Sarıyer, İstanbul

Tel: 0 (212) 226 1929

Emirgan Park

Emirgan Park is one of the attractive and peaceful sides of the Asian side of İstanbul. In fact, the jogging track in Emirgan Park is very pleasant and small.

Especially in the month of April, you can see many colorful tulips in this park because of the Tulip Festival. It is such a short track which is 1 km so it is better to go early especially on Sunday to see there before it is getting too crowded.

emirgan park ile ilgili görsel sonucu

How to get to Emirgan Park in Istanbul:

For those who are on the Europe side, they can arrive Sultanahmet or Kabatas, and then take the modern tramway from there. After that, the bus 25E will take you directly Emirgan. There also another alternative named as the hop-on-hop-off Bosphorus cruise. You can also take it for 15 TL for a more comfortable trip.

There are also many buses going to Emirgan park from Mecidiyekoy and Besiktas. You can also try those options.

If you will go there by using your own car, or other alternatives like a taxi; here is the location address for you:

Address: Emirgan Korusu Emirgan, Sarıyer, Istanbul, Turkey

Tel: +90 212 277 57 82

Florya Ataturk Ormani

Florya Ataturk Ormani is one of the popular forests where everybody goes especially on weekends. It is an ideal place to run, but there is no place like a small shopping center to buy something to eat or drink.

That is why I suggest you bring all the things you need before arriving in the forest. This green space in Florya can provide you with some calm and relaxation. I promise that you won’t regret visiting this place for a nice weekend.

florya ataturk ormani where is ile ilgili görsel sonucu

How to get to Florya Ataturk Ormani in Istanbul:

It is located in Bakirkoy and you can take 73F – 73T IETT line to reach there.

If you go there from the Asian side of Istanbul, you can take Metrobus and get off the station named Bakirkoy, and then you can take
73F ve 73T IETT line bus.

Maçka Park

Maçka Park is such a big park that many chooses every day for jogging. The other reason why it is practical is about its location.

It is very close to Taksim, Osmanbey, Nişantaşı, Şişli, Beşiktaş, which makes people easily reach there, not only, for example, Sunday mornings, but also for weekdays afternoon. It is a big advantage for city people working a lot.

As I said, although it is near Taksim and Nisantasi, you do not feel like you are in the center of the city. The thing you feel in the park is the peace of silence and full of oxygen.

macka park ile ilgili görsel sonucu

There are so many trees in the park and this might lead to some windy weather conditions from time to time. Yet, if you are one of doing medium level training and not long hours, this location is suitable for you.

How to get to Macka Park in Istanbul:

You can go to Macka Park by IETT bus from Sariyer, Besiktas, or Eyup. If you are near Kabatas, you can take Taksim Funicular Metro Line to reach Taksim. After that, you can already arrive at Macka Park by walking.

For those who plan to go the park from the Asian side of İstanbul, it might be better to reach Findikli or Taksim, and Besiktas so that they can easily find an IETT bus to go Macka Park.

Dalyan- Pendik Coast

If you want to run by being a witness of a wonderful waterside run along the Marmara on the Asian side, Dalyan- Pendik coast is waiting for you!

There are palm-lined waterside paths through a series of parks, very green and good water views most of the way.

The track is almost 6.5 km (4 miles) jogging track.

 How to get to Dalyan- Pendik Coast in Istanbul:

It is just near from Fenerbahçe Park. After coming to Kadikoy, you can take Metro: M4; this train line runs close to the path, so you will see this coast after getting off.

Moda Beach

Moda Beach is an attractive place with unique coffee places and restaurants around it. It is located between Kadikoy and Kalamis.

The track here is a 1.2 km long track on the Anatolian side. I am pretty sure that you will enjoy running on Moda beach with the sea weather and the view it offers you.

How to get to Moda Beach in Istanbul:

To reach Moda Beach, you can walk through there from Kadikoy, but it is not that far. It takes like 30 minutes, which is not really preferable before running. That is why you can use nostalgic tramway or IETT bus from Kadikoy.

To go Moda Beach from the Europe side of Istanbul, you can take a boat from Besiktas or Eminonu to arrive at Kadikoy. After that, you can take nostalgic tramway or IETT bus from Kadikoy. You can also reach to Kadikoy by using Marmaray from Sirkeci or Zeytinburnu. You should get off the station named Sogutlucesme.

Üsküdar Beach

It is an option on the Asian side of İstanbul. The Üsküdar coastline offers you sea view together with the Maiden Tower after your run.

Actually, this line is quite crowded because it is located on just the center of USkudar, but if you do not have so much time, you can choose to run along this way and can have a cup of coffee or a glass of tea against the Maiden Tower.

How to get to Uskudar Beach in Istanbul:

You can take Marmaray from Sirkeci and arrive at Uskudar Beach if you will go there from the Europe side of İstanbul. As another choice, you can take a boat from Besiktas or Eminonu, and be in Uskudar within 15 minutes.

If you need to go Uskudar Beach from the Anatolian side, you can take an IETT bus or metro. Luckily, there are many options to reach Uskudar from this side.

Polonezköy Nature Park

Polonezkoy is one of the natural places in İstanbul not located in the center. It might take a bit longer to go there, but I ensure you about the fact that you will not regret, it will all be worth.

This is the right place to go for a nice run with an abundance of oxygen. You should also have a nice breakfast after being done with your run. Apart from running, you can also ride your bike in the park.

The track here is 5 km long track and a bit rugged with slopes. It is located in Beykoz district. For your information, the park took the name of Nature Park on the 31st of March in 1994.

It opens every day between 07.00 am and 12.00 pm.

How to get to Polonezköy Nature Park in Istanbul:

If you plan to have a long day, you should bring many things together like clothes and food. Therefore, it is better for you to drive your car. However, if there is no chance for it, you can take IETT 15KÇ – 135G – 136 bus from Üsküdar.  

For those who will go by their own car, here is the address. You should use the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge to make the road shorter.


Adress: Polonezköy Tabiat Parkı 34820 Polonez – Beykoz / İstanbul

Tel: +90 312 207 50 00

Yıldız Park (Star Park)

Yildiz Park with plenty of trees seems like Belgrade Forest. It is a super choice for those who love running in nature and do not have so much time since it is nearest than Belgrade Forest or other ones.

Having located around Besiktas district, between the center of Besiktas and Ortakoy, there are many young people here, generally high school and university students.

yildiz park ile ilgili görsel sonucu

In fact, Yildiz park is a nice choice to run and have a small picnic after it. It is suitable for cross training and advanced runners with its facilitation.

How to get to Yildiz Park in Istanbul:

The easiest way to go, Yildiz Park, is to walk from Besiktas or Ortakoy. If you plan to go from the Asian side of İstanbul, you can take a boat from Uskudar or Kadikoy, and arrive at the shore of Besiktas. After there, it already takes maximum 15 minutes to walk.

It is also the same directionn when you walk from Ortakoy.

Other Alternative Places to Run in Istanbul

Apart from those given in detailed places, there are also small areas to run and have fun, if you intend to have a good evening with your close friends.

For Europe side of Istanbul, you can go Karaköy, Galata, Eminönü,Sultanahmet, Taksim, Kuruçeşme, Bebek, Rumelihisarı, Tarabya, Yeniköy to have a small run.

kuzguncuk sahil ile ilgili görsel sonucu

On the Asian side, you can find many areas just near the sea views such as Caddebostan, Kadıköy, and Kuzguncuk.

I do not know which one you will love more, but all of them makes me feel a unique experience whenever I go there to run. I hope you will also feel the same!

Running Groups in Istanbul

If you do not like running alone, or if you are looking for a group for a great job, there are many running groups in İstanbul that you can be a part of it in order not to face the chaotic grind of traffic in İstanbul.

These groups will bring you beautiful areas. I am sure you will have fun with running enthusiasts together for special routes.

Team Istrunbul

Team Istrunbul’s goal is to bring athletically impassioned people together from the very advanced to very beginner. Therefore, you are newcomers for this field, you can easily join these groups without any hesitation.

I was formed by people who are willing to run with enormous passion. As a group, they meet three to four mornings every week, which depends on the weather conditions.

After the workout, Istrunbul offers you a good breakfast in one of the beautiful places of İstanbul, depending on where to go for the run. This group includes many people from various places, so there is no reason not to be a part of it!

Nike Run Club

Unlike Istrunbul, The Nike Run Club is an international group. That means this group has clubs in many cities around the world.

It is not surprising since it’s associated with one of the world’s most popular sportswear brands. You might even see sometimes in front of your house a group of people running together with trendy workout outfits That is special for this particular club.

The route is so long for them; the running events very often on both the Asian and European sides alongside routes. It is for sure that they are both scenic and runner-friendly.

If you want to be a part of it, you can check news and updates out on their website for all upcoming jogging sessions and be informed after signing up.

Istanbul Koşu Kuvvetleri (the Running Forces of Istanbul)

Istanbul Kosu Kuvvetleri, known also as the Running Forces of Istanbul, is a group of people who aim to protect nature against the destruction of urbanization.

Having been one of the city’s best running clubs there are many running professionally. If you intend to attend one of the even, the club’s weekly schedule is on Tuesday and Thursday.

Members of groups try to attend almost every event. You should also see some of Istanbul’s most scenic routes by running with good people.

Bu Kızlar Nereye Koşuyor (Where Are These Girls Running To)

This group is generally made of women running to get relaxed. They are not a professional group but they love not to be a serious professional group and the purpose is to have fun and keep healthy.

The other reason why they run together is that Bu Kizlar Nereye Kosuyor meets often for runs around the city as well as athletic charity events.

You can see some updates on their Facebook for the latest events. It is nice to know that they make a sports exercise into a social charity event.

There are also some other running groups in İstanbul. They can be listed as Koşuyoruz, Hareket Candir, and Adidas Park Run.

Free Group Workouts in Istanbul

If you are willing to run regularly by being a member of a running group, here are some useful pieces of information so that you can search more and contact them.

  • Adidas

Adidas Runners İstanbul Group will welcome you when you contact them on Facebook or download Runtastic application to follow events at various locations in Turkey and beyond.

  • Reebok

You can follow @reeboktr on Instagram so that you can keep up with the outdoor workout schedule. Pre-registration is not required for most events, so you can join them to try for the first time, and make your decision.

  • Asics

You should follow @asicsruntr  follow on Instagram and Asics Run Turkey on Facebook for up-to-date running and functional workout programs. I strongly suggest you Asics group if you want to be a part of a professional group.

  • Beat Run Crew

It is a small organization like a boutique organization. You can find out about their events and learn more about them by following @beatruncrew on Instagram and to register email [email protected]

2019 – 2020 Races Held in Istanbul

Geyik Kosulari by Night Trail Run

A night trail run, that is an off-road running race held typically on trails on varied terrain, takes the runners around lakes, through forests, mountains or deserts, runs can be just a few kilometers long or take the form of an ultra-marathon or week-long trekking tour.

If you can not run because of personal reasons, you can be a part of this great adventure by volunteering, which might be a perfect experience for your personal development.

To register to race, you should sign in website first by clicking Click on the “User Login | Register”, write your user name and password (Email – e-mail, Sifre – Password, Giris yap – Sign in). After you logged in, you will see your name inside the black bar is the right up of the page.

What to do in this step is to click on it and choose “My Registrations”. You will see courses will list at the left of the page.

2019 Calendar for Geyik Kosulari is listed below:

17th February 2019 I. Geyik Koşuları

22th June 2019 Geyik Koşuları by Night

13th October 2019 II. Geyik Koşuları

8th December 2019 III. Geyik Koşuları

Vodafone Istanbul Half Maraton

The Vodafone Istanbul Half Marathon is organized by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and it is scheduled to Sunday, 7th April 2019.

While Half Marathon (21K) will start from Yenikapi will continue from the beach to Kumkapi, the lights in front of the Sirkeci ferry pier and the race will return from the coast road to Zeytinburnu Veliefendi turnout 10K course will use the same route as the semi-marathon and will make a “U” turn on the road 2 hundred meters before the circus lights and will end in the Yenikapi rally area.

Registration fee for 21K

​15 January – 15 February: 50 TL
16 February – 29 March: 75 TL

Registration fee for 10K

15 January – 15 February: 50 TL

16 February – 29 March: 75 TL

If you are willing to be a part of it, the entries will be opened on January 15th, which means it is started already so please follow the instructions on the Registration page.

Vodafone Istanbul Marathon

This race will be held on the third of November in 2019. The details and other requirements will be announced later. Here are the contact pieces of information for you to follow the news about the famous Vodafone İstanbul Marathon:

This is an organization sponsored by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality organization. This event has started with the intention that was simply to organize a marathon event in 1978.

Until today, the Bosphorus Bridge has been a witness this marathon every year. The runners have crossed from Asia to Europe.

In this race, every year we see many professional and non-professional runners like children to attend for the enjoyment. There were also some famous athletes such as Ian Thompson and Terry Mitchell participated in the Eurasia Marathon, which also became a testing ground for Turkish athletes, many of whom went on to run at international races.

Adress: Karagümrük Mah. Kaleboyu Cad. No:111 Fatih / İSTANBUL

How Long Should You Stay in Istanbul: 3 to 15 Days

Are you planning your trip to Istanbul, but do not have any idea how long you should stay? Well, this blog post is written just for you! First of all, it shouldn’t be an exaggeration if I say that you will be visiting one of the best cities in the world. In fact, it is believed that once a great leader said:

If the Earth were a single state, Istanbul would be its capital.

Napoleon Bonaparte

So, how long should you stay in this great city? Personally, I believe that at least 3 days should be spared to substantially grasp the magnificence of Istanbul. You may actually regret your decision of staying less than 3 days as I guarantee that you will be missing this city. With this mindset, I divided this post into three timelines: for those who are staying for 3 days, a week, or longer than a week.  

Rush Package (3 Days)

If you have limited time in Istanbul, your priority should be shuttling between the touristic places as fast as you can. Even though the real satisfaction of a trip usually comes from local and non-touristic experiences; you will not-at-all regret spending your time in between these historically rich places of Istanbul. I provide fun facts and insight cultural information about historical places to maximize your experience: 

Hagia Sophia

Not surprisingly, this is the number one place of every visitor as it’s one of the most important landmarks of Istanbul.

For much of its first 900 years of existence, this landmark served an important role in Byzantine culture and politics; because it was considered the central church of faith, and the place where new emperors were crowned.

When the Ottomans captured Constantinople in 1453, the next significant period of change for Hagia Sophia began. The Ottomans renamed the city of Istanbul. Moreover, as Islam was the central religion of the Ottomans, the Hagia Sophia was renovated into a mosque.

The Hagia Sophia’s role in politics and religion remains a contentious one, even today—some 100 years after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

Distinguishing features of Hagia Sophia

  • The oldest cathedral in the world.
  • It has been the world’s largest cathedral for about a thousand years since its construction (until the construction of the Seville Cathedral in Spain in 1520). Today, it ranks fourth in terms of face measurement.
  • The world’s fastest-built cathedral.
  • It is one of the world’s longest (15 centuries) places of worship.

Rumors (Fun Part!)

•    Justinian I’s Dream: Rumor has it that Justinian I told people about a saint who had visited him in his dream and showed him on a silver plate the image of Hagia Sophia. The construction started immediately with this spiritual sign when the architect also said he had the same dream.

•    Enchanted doors: Legend has it that Hagia Sophia has a total of 361 gates, but 101 of them are large and talismanic. Because whenever these doors were counted, an extra door would appear.

•    The Sacred Relics of Jesus: The Emperor, according to the Christian discourse, brought the cross that Jesus had been crucified and the nails used when they crucified Jesus and hid them in one of the secret chapters of Hagia Sophia. The reason why they kept the Sacred Relics in Hagia Sophia was that Jesus would land in Hagia Sophia in the world after 40 thousand years.

•    Doomsday: When you enter through the door in the south direction of the building, the third row of columns on the verdict of His Holiness Khidr is said to have written the date of the break. The column reads “Eighteen on Sunday, the Year 1038”. According to the Hijri calendar, 1038 is the year of 1629 in the Gregorian calendar. Well, as we are not all dead, could it symbolize the start of an end?

•    Satan is imprisoned in Hagia Sophia: After the conquest of Istanbul, Mehmet II ordered Hagia Sophia to be converted into a mosque, so the devil kept stalling the workers constantly as he did not want Hagia Sophia to be a mosque. Akşemsettin (building supervisor) prayed right away when he understood this situation. Allah, who accepts his prayer, has imprisoned the devil in marble in Hagia Sophia

•    Column punctuated with the tears of Mary: The Crying Column inside Hagia Sophia was a column in the house of Mary. One day they told the Virgin Mary that Jesus had been captured and he had been tortured. Mary could not stand the torture of Jesus and burst into tears, melting this column of one of the tears. While the Hagia Sophia was being built, the emperor brought this column from the house of the Virgin Mary to the holy place of Hagia Sophia. Therefore, the stone is seen as sacred. Those who have any wishes will insert their fingers into the hole created by the Virgin Mary in this column and make a wish.

•    The priest who disappeared with the Holy Grail: A priest preached to Hagia Sophia during the conquest of Istanbul. The pastor went through a gate with the Holy Grail because he did not want the holy pot to fall into the hands of the Muslims. And the door got closed. But the Muslims saw the pastor pass by. When they reached the spot where the priest had disappeared, they faced a flat wall. According to the legend, the priest was still there with the Holy Grail.

•    The Secret of the Mosaic of Deisis: A mosaic of Deisis was built in 1264 to the Hagia Sophia, which filled the eye with its mosaics. The figure of Jesus in this mosaic is said to be not really Jesus. The reason for this is the scar on the right eyebrow of the Jesus figure in the mosaic. The scar marks the number 11 and it is known to belong to the Pythagorean Priest Apollon. Why is there Apollo in the mosaic? The Pagans, who made this mosaic and forced into Christianity, actually portrayed Apollon, although they appear to make the figure of Jesus into the mosaic.

Topkapı Palace

After the conquest of the Ottoman army in 1453, Topkapı Palace was built in 1460 and was home to the Ottoman sultans until the middle of the 19th century.

Today, the Topkapı Palace Museum is one of the largest palace museums in the world with its invaluable treasures such as 300.000 archival documents, weapons and equipment of that period and priceless treasures such as Kaşıkçı Diamond.

Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque (Called Sultanahmet Camii in Turkish) is a historical mosque in Istanbul which was constructed in the 17th century. The mosque is known as the Blue Mosque due to the blue tiles that surround the interior walls. It also includes a tomb, a madrasa and a hospice like many other mosques. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque has become one of Istanbul’s popular tourist attractions, as well as being used as a mosque.

If you ask why the mosque has 6 minarets (4 is the normal number), the legend says that the Sultan Ahmet I wanted to have the minarets made of gold, but the value of the gold to be used in the cladding surpassed the budget of the Sultan. The architect of the mosque, Sedefkar Mehmet Aga pretended to mishear this order and built the mosque with 6 minarets. (Turkish word for gold is ‘altın’, and six is ‘altı.’)

Grand Bazaar

The construction of the future Grand Bazaar’s core started during the winter of 1455/56, shortly after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople and was part of a broader initiative to stimulate economic prosperity in Istanbul.

Today, the Grand Bazaar is visited by tens of thousands of local and foreign tourists wanting to buy souvenirs, carpets, and rugs, leather, silver, jeweler, copperware, antique, etc.

Basilica Cistern

Dan Brown fans will remember this place from the book Inferno, where the crazy scientist… Well, I do not want to give spoilers.

Basilica Cistern is one of the magnificent old buildings of Istanbul and it is located in the southwest of Hagia Sofia This large underground water reservoir, constructed for Justinian I, by the Byzantine emperor (527-565), is known as the “Cistern Basilica,” due to its marble columns underground.

The two Medusa heads, which are used as pedestals under the two columns in the northwest corner of the cistern are among the most interesting parts of the cistern. It is still a mystery where the Medusa heads were brought from.

Bosphorus Cruise

The Bosphorus cruise is one of the best ways to see Istanbul in all its splendor, from the heights of the tourist sites in Sultanahmet to the famous Ottoman seaside mansions.

Dolmabahce Palace

Built in the 19th Century, Dolmabahce Palace is one of the world’s most splendid palaces. With the last of Ottoman Sultans residing there, it was the administrative center of the late Ottoman Empire.

Galata Tower

The Galata Tower is one of Istanbul’s tallest and oldest towers. The tower, which is 63 meters high, offers a panoramic view of the old town. It was built by the Genoese colony in the 14th century as part of the defense wall surrounding their Galata district. The tower was called “Christea Turris,” or “Christ’s Tower.” The Genoese were involved in the Byzantine trade and the tower was used in the Golden Horn harbor surveillance. It served to detect fires in the city after Mehmet II’s conquest of Constantinople.

Suleymaniye Mosque

Suleymaniye Mosque was built in the 16th century for Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, by the great Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan. It stands on a hilltop overlooking the Golden Horn and contributing to Istanbul’s skyline. Sultan Suleyman ordered the mosque, and architect Sinan built it between 1550-1557 AD in seven years. Like all the major mosques of that period, this mosque was also built as a complex that included a hospital, library, school, kitchen, and hospice for the poor, Turkish bath, and shops.

Ortaköy Mosque

Ortaköy Mosque is a Neo-Baroque mosque in the Ortaköy district of Beşiktaş, Istanbul. The mosque was eventually constructed in 1855 and served the Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecid as the Grand Imperial Mosque. It was designed by Armenian architect, Garabet Balyan, and his son Nigoğayos Balyanl, who were also responsible for the Dolmabahce Palace.

Keeping it Chill Package (1 Week)

If three days are not enough for you and you are one of those tourists who like to keep it chill and slow, spending at least a week can be wiser. In addition to the places that I listed above, you can add these activities below to your traveling schedule and have a broader sense of living like an Istanbulite.

Istanbul Archeological Museum

Istanbul’s Archeological Museum consists of three museums: the Museum of Archeology, the Ancient Orient Museum, and the Islamic Art Museum. This museum was founded in 1875 by master painter Osman Hamdi Bey in response to the removal of many of Turkey’s ancient artifacts destined for European museums. There is a wealth of treasures on show from the Assyrian, Hittite, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman civilizations. You should not miss especially the following:

•     The Kadesh Treaty – the world’s oldest peace treaty, written in cuneiform, signed in 1274 and discovered in Hattusa’s Hittite capital.

•    The oldest Love Poem of the 8th century Ancient Babylonian Age, beginning with:

“Bridegroom, dear to my heart,

Goodly is your beauty, honey sweet,

Lion, dear to my heart,

Goodly is your beauty, honey sweet.”

Relaxing At the Caddebostan Coast

Caddebostan’s coast is one of the places to visit from beginning to end. You can have dinner at the seaside restaurants in this charming seaside neighborhood. One of the most beautiful views of Istanbul will accompany you while you eat. Caddebostan Coast is the only place in Istanbul that has a bicycle path. In the morning, you can ride a bike along the beach. The fashion pier close to the area can be one of the places you can stop by and relax. You can stroll around Baghdad Street and shop at world-famous stores on the street. Baghdad Street will also serve you in the best way with its restaurants and cafes. Do not leave Caddebostan without seeing the Istanbul Toy Museum and Haydarpaşa Train Station.

Spending Time In Kadıköy

Kadikoy is one of the most popular districts of Istanbul with its vibrant and colorful neighborhood life, bazaar, student population, cultural and artistic activities, nightlife, shopping malls, historical buildings, seaside eating places, and ferry ports.

If you are in Kadıköy; You’re in the heart of the coolest cafes, the most trendy bars. It is always advised to grab a beer in the bars of Kadıköy in the evening, as the nightlife is greatly vivid.

Discovering Ortaköy

Ortaköy is located under the European foot of the Bosphorus Bridge and is one of the most popular neighborhoods of Istanbul with its beautiful and colorful bazaar and lively atmosphere located in the triangle of the magnificent mosque, church, and synagogue. Ortaköy is also one of the most popular meeting points of Istanbulites with its popular nightlife venues, bars, beautiful cafes and restaurants, the Bosphorus Square, which sells souvenirs, handicrafts, and interesting objects. Moreover, you can take a break while playing ‘kumpir’ while playing backgammon.

Emirgan Grove

Emirgan Grove covers the area of beautiful old historical ruins of Istanbul, and it is one of the places where Istanbulites pay great attention to, especially on weekends. Undoubtedly, the unique Bosphorus view and the feasts of the fortresses in this grove are very magnificent.

Having a Long Breakfast Facing Towards the Bosphorus

Having a breakfast facing the Bosphorus is one of the compulsory experiences to have in Istanbul. Without rushing anywhere, enjoy the famous Turkish breakfast while breathing in the sea weather; drink cups and cups of tea and relax. The satisfaction will be multiplied if you go with a friend group and share your waves of laughter!

The Islands

Princes ‘ Isles are a chain of nine islands in the Marmara Sea. They evolved from a place of exile during the Byzantine era, to a popular destination for tourists and Istanbulites alike to escape the hectic city life for a day. Of the nine islands, only four are open to the public: Büyükada (the biggest one), Burgazada, Heybeliada, and Kınalıada.

The sound of silence is the main characteristic of these islands. The islands are therefore an oasis of calm and peace, also due to the fact that all motor vehicles are banned. Bicycle lights and the typical sounds of horse hoofs are the only sounds you will hear.  The main means of transport are horse-drawn carriages and bicycles. However, transportation by the carriages is not so welcomed, as a number of horses faint due to over-exhaustion.

Pierre Loti Hill

Pierre Loti Hill is one of the most famous hills of Istanbul. This hill takes its name from a French poet Pierre Loti who was a lover of Turkey and lived there between the years 1850-1923. During this period, because of his love and visit to this hill, his name was given to it.

Pierre Loti is famous for its coffee shop. The poet is often said to come to this coffee to see the married woman he fell in love with. Today, this coffee place is decorated with furniture from the 19th century and the service is given by the employees in period clothes.

Pierre Loti Hill can be reached in about 20 minutes’ walk from Eyup Sultan. Embroidered and historic tombstones can be seen on the walkway. The most interesting of these stones are the ones belonging to Ottoman executioners.

Maiden’s Tower

Maiden’s Tower is situated at the southern entrance of the Bosphorus off the shore of Üsküdar district. The name comes from a legend: the Byzantine emperor heard a prophecy saying that a snake would kill his beloved daughter at the age of 18. Therefore, he decided to place her in this tower built on a rock isolated from the land on the Bosphorus, so that no snake could kill her. But after all, a snake hidden in a fruit basket brought to the princess from her town bit and killed her. Therefore, she could not escape from her destiny.

Exploring Like A Local (15 Days)

If you spend longer than a week in Istanbul, you will be one step closer to the full Istanbul experience. However, there is one downside of staying longer: you will get more used to the city and eventually get addicted to Istanbul.

Istanbul, a universal beauty where poet and archeologist, diplomat and merchant, princess and sailor, northerner and westerner screams with same admiration. The whole world thinks that this city is the most beautiful place on earth.

Edmondo De Amicis

Turkish Bath

Turkish bath (hammam) is a form of public bathing which can be found in the Ottoman Empire culture.

As is known, cleaning is an important place in Turkish culture. For this reason, do not think of baths as normal spa centers. The people of the baths, who are in charge of making people clean, are helping you to remove all the dead skins and dirt from your skin. They’re being a little rough on this.

After relaxing yourself with hot water flowing from marble fountains, I cannot tell the feeling of sleeping in cold white marble. Especially if you have paid for people to bathe you there, the fatigue of bathing from head to toe will make this experience even better.

Local Events

What is better than joining local events if you’re trying to have a local experience? Luckily, Istanbul hosts a lot of events and you may catch one of those if you are lucky! Some of the local events that are held annually are listed by The Istanbul Insider below:


  • International Istanbul Film Festival
  • Tulip Festival
  • Commemoration of the Anzac Landings
  • International Istanbul Theater Festival
  • International Istanbul Puppet Festival
  • Conquest of Istanbul


  • International Istanbul Music Festival
  • International Istanbul Jazz festival
  • Grease Wrestling
  • Rock ‘n’ Coke


  • International Istanbul Biennial
  • Akbank Jazz Festival
  • Tüyap Book Fair


  • Efes Pilsen Blues Festival

Related Questions

What’s the best time of year to visit Istanbul? I would recommend visiting Istanbul either in spring or summer, as the weather would be better and outdoors life would be more vivid.

How should I dress in Istanbul? As you wish. Turkey is a secular state, and there are not any strict dress codes. However, maybe it is better to wear less revealing clothes to feel more comfortable.

Do I need a visa for Istanbul? You can check out the website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey to search for that information:

36 Places Where You Can Party in Istanbul

There are many things that come to mind when you think of Istanbul. Tourist attractions, Bosphorus view, Taksim Square… You will come across different tastes at every corner of the flavor stops and, of course, the nightlife. Istanbul’s fast nightlife holds an important place in partying.

From music tastes to the variety of drinks, several factors determine where to party. This unique city built on seven hills embraces Europe and Asia and carries the advantage of being the most active city in Turkey in terms of nightlife.

When it comes to partying in Istanbul, it is necessary to consider the European side and the Asian side separately in order to keep the pulse of the city. Nightlife on the European Side is located on Taksim-Beyoglu-Istiklal Street-Tunnel line, Cihangir, Galata, Ortakoy, Besiktas, Nisantasi, Etiler, Levent and Bebek, where Kadıköy, Bağdat Street, Moda, and Suadiye are the places you can party on the Anatolian Side.

Where to Party on Europian Side of Istanbul

When you want to party in Istanbul, the first place that comes to mind is undoubtedly Beyoğlu. This region covering Taksim-Istiklal Street, and Asmalımescit-Tunnel line has a wide selection involving nightclubs, restaurants, cocktail bars, pubs, taverns, wine houses, and concert halls. Beyoglu district, which is the heart of artistic activities such as concerts, exhibitions, and theaters, continues to stand still even though it has lost its old vitality.

For those who want to get a better experience, there are regions like Bebek, Ortaköy or Nişantaşı, Etiler, and Levent, which are located on the Bosphorus Line. If we think that Karaköy has also been leading the organizations in recent years, we can say that Istanbul’s nightlife is a scale that appeals to people from all walks of life.

Europian Side Party Venues

Sortie, Beşiktaş

Sortie is the favorite of the Bosphorus with its night club and restaurant alternatives. This night club, which welcomes its customers for 12 months, also impresses with its stylish design. An option that everyone who loves nightlife should give a chance when they visit Istanbul.

Sortie has been established in Kuruçeşme, where all the beauties of the Bosphorus appear. Since the first day, it continues to work in four seasons with the vision of good food, good music, and good entertainment. Sortie, meaning “Exit” in French, is an environment where you can enjoy leaving the busy pace of daily life.

The club, which consists of 6 restaurants and 3 bars in Kuruçeşme, is one of the most popular night clubs of Istanbul with its magnificent Bosphorus view, elite ambiance, quality eating, music, and entertainment. The Sortie Club is open from 06:00 in the evening until 4:00 in the morning.

Address: Kuruçeşme Mahallesi, Muallim Naci Cd. No: 54, 34345 Kuruçeşme, İstanbul

Phone: 0 212 327 85 85

Price Range: $ 60 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

360 ° Istanbul, Beyoğlu

Located in the historical Egypt Apartment, this place serves with its rich kitchen during the week and as a night club on the weekends. 360 Istanbul, which hosts famous artists and DJs from abroad, turns into Club at weekends with live shows.

360istanbul, which has many international awards, is located on the top floor of the historic and ancient Egypt Apartment. With breathtaking views of Istanbul, it serves lunch and dinner from the World and modern Turkish cuisine with its exclusive wines and rich bar menu.

Address: Tomtom Mahallesi, İstiklal Cd. Mısır Apartmanı No: 163/8, 34433 Beyoğlu / İstanbul

Phone: 0 212 251 10 42 – 43, 0 533 691 0 360

Price Range: $ 85 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

Chilai, Bebek

I recommend you to visit Chilai Bebek with its seafront view of the Bosphorus, its modern and unusual decoration, the assertive menus of the famous chefs and the unique nightlife of the Istanbul.

It takes his name from one of the old names of the District, Chilai. It has a three-story high-quality dining complex, a sushi bar, an art gallery, a bistro, a lounge, a bar as well as fine-dining, patisseries and delicatessen sections. You can find all the drinks you can think of in the bar. In addition to classics, cocktails that are special to the venue are located in the sushi bar on the existing terrace floor.

Address: Bebek Mh. Cevdetpaşa Caddesi No: 60 Bebek / Istanbul

Phone: (0212) 263 63 15

Price Range: $ 85 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

Al Jamal, Sisli

Entertainment in Al Jamal, which combines Lebanese culture and flavors, comes from old traditions. Ornate ground tables, harem rooms, belly dancers, the famous entertainment of Beirut nights and the delights of Lebanese cuisine will all add color to your entertainment.

The decoration of the place, which combines the concept of Middle East culture with entertainment lovers, has been specially designed. Al Jamal is designed with modern details to make you feel at one of the old Ottoman palaces.

Address: Harbiye Mh, Demokrasi Parkı Yanı Maçka Şişli / İstanbul

Phone: (0212) 231 03 56

Price Range: $ 75 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

Indigo, Beyoglu

Indigo is a nightclub known for hosting internationally renowned local and foreign DJs.

Indigo, one of the fixtures of Tomtom Street, is not charming only because being home to the most important names of electronic music, but also with its central location in the city.

Address: Tomtom Mah., Istiklal Cad., Akarsu Sk., No: 1-2-4-5, Beyoglu / Istanbul

Phone: (0212) 244 85 67

Price Range: $ 55 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

Anjelique, Besiktas

The most famous restaurant and nightclub of Istanbul, Anjelique, is the indispensable address of entertainment since it opened. Besides being the world restaurant and night club, it is among the best with its location overlooking Ortaköy. Anjelique, which is located on a 3-story mansion, plays music in different styles on each floor, where the parties organized with the performances of world-famous DJs are very attractive.

As one of the most elite venues in Istanbul, Anjelique offers a wide selection of Far Eastern-Asian cuisine. On the middle and upper floor, special meals prepared by James Wilkins, the chief chef of Michel Bras, one of the best restaurants in the world, are served. Special dishes from Turkish cuisine are also offered in Anjelique’s menu.

Address: Muallim Naci Caddesi Salhane Sokak 5, Ortakoy, Besiktas / Istanbul

Phone: (212) 327 28 44

Price Range: $ 50 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

Zelda Zonk, Karakoy

Do you want to experience a beautiful landscape and nightlife? Then the right address is Zelda Zonk! Zelda Zonk is a beautiful place where you can have dinner and hang out at the bar later in the night with the view embracing the Golden Horn in Hotel Gradiva.

There are two different terraces that will make you feel like the historic peninsula is under your feet. You can enjoy the sunset here and taste the delicious and famous cocktails. I recommend you to visit the place on weekends when it is quite crowded.

Address: Bankalar Caddesi Salhane Sokak No 2/1 Karaköy, Beyoğlu / İstanbul

Phone: (212) 249 77 00

Price Range: $ 60 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

Babylon, Sisli

With the aim of bringing the best examples of progressive music together with music lovers in Istanbul’s most rising region in 1999, Babylon moved to Bomontiada in 2015 with a new vision to host its audience in a multi-purpose live performance center. Babylon brings its guests together with different voices, new ideas and new discoveries and welcomes the best local and foreign representatives of all types of music.

Babylon is one of the most preferred venues of the Istanbul music scene since 1999. In addition to its branches in Bomontiada, Kilyos, and Çeşme, it reaches you via magazines, radio, blog, and TV as well.

Address: Bomonti Bira Fabrikası, Birahane Sokak No:1 Bomonti, Şişli / İstanbul

Phone: 0 212 334 01 90

Price Range: $ 45 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

Garaj İstanbul, Beyoğlu

Garaj Istanbul, which draws attention with a wide range of music options ranging from alternative rock to electronic music, from pop to rap, is well known for its concert organizations, as well as theater plays and stand-up shows.

Address: Tomtom Mahallesi, Yeni Çarşı Cad., Kaymakam Reşat Bey Sok., No: 11A, Beyoğlu / İstanbul

Phone: (0212) 244 44 99

Price Range: $ 47 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

Nardis Jazz Club, Beyoğlu

Located near the Galata Tower, Nardis is truly a jazz club and a venue where jazz-based creative music is featured in Istanbul. Live jazz is offered in Nardis between the hours of 21.30-00.30 during the week and 22.30-01.30 at the weekend.

This place, which has adopted the motto “Listen to the music at the club”, is one of the places frequented by jazz lovers in Istanbul. Hosted by many local and foreign musicians, this jazz club is a perfect place to enjoy live performances.

Address: Bereketzade Mh., Galata Kulesi Sk. No:8, 34421 Beyoğlu / İstanbul

Phone: 0 244 63 27 – 0 532 244 57 78

Price Range: $ 45 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

Masquerade Club, Besiktas

Masquerade Club, located in Gayrettepe, brings the nightlife of Istanbul to the entertainment lovers with its extraordinary performances, quality music, world-famous artists and DJs and special architecture.

Masquerade Club is a nightclub that has won the best venue award by the WorldinsFinest Club after the parties it performs at world-famous Cavalli Club.

Address: Yıldız Posta Cad. Sinan Pasaji No: 38 D: 26 Gayrettepe, Besiktas / Istanbul

Phone: (0212) 347 13 47

Price Range: $ 35 for two people (approx.)

Ruby, Ortaköy

Located in Ortaköy, overlooking the sea, the lush and radiant Ruby offers a brand new entertainment experience in Istanbul with its magnificent Bosphorus view and delicious menus.

After dinner, you can enjoy unforgettable nights with dancing and music in Ruby until the first light of the morning in club sections on the lower floor or upstairs. Ruby opens every day at 17.00.

Address: Yildiz Mh., Ortakoy Salhanesi Sk. No: 5, Ortaköy, Beşiktaş / İstanbul

Phone: 0 212 291 84 40

Price Range: $ 55 for two people (approx.) with alcohol,

Klein – Harbiye, Sisli

Klein is located in place of Harbiye’s popular As Cinema of the 70s within walking distance of Taksim. It is a popular place among Istanbul night clubs with its unique architecture and its interior decoration.

Klein, which offers usually electronic and techno music by famous local and foreign DJs, is only open on Friday and Saturday nights from 23.00 to 04.00 in the morning.

Address: Cebel Topu Sk. No: 4, Harbiye, Şişli, Beşiktaş / İstanbul

Phone: 0 212 291 84 40

Price Range: $ 55 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

Roxy, Beyoğlu

One of the most popular places located in Beyoğlu is Roxy. Roxy offers many musical experiences such as parties and concerts to its visitors. The Roxy Music Days event, which also explores local musicians, is king of the hill in the Beyoğlu district.

Address: Siraselviler Caddesi Aslan Yatagi Sokak 1/3, 34433, Cihangir, Beyoglu / Istanbul

Phone: (0212) 249 13 01

Price Range: $ 35 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

Pixie Underground, Beyoğlu

Pixie, which is known closely by the dubstep and d&b lovers, opens its doors to everyone who is looking for alternative music. You can see the local and foreign names who perform underground music in this venue which appeals to those looking for different options.

Address: Tomtom Mahallesi, Ara Güler Sok No: 12, 34433 Beyoglu / Istanbul

Phone: 0532 353 52 02

Price Range: $ 25 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

5 Cocktails & More, Beyoğlu

This cocktail bar, which stands out with its delicious cocktails, is so attractive with its concept parties. You can sip your cocktail after work or you can dance at the party nights as you wish.

Address: Asmalımescit Mah., Müeyyet Sok., No: 5, 34430, Beyoğlu / İstanbul

Phone: 0555 889 69 55

Price Range: $ 30 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

Where to Party on Anatolian Side of Istanbul

Another region where people enjoy the nightlife of Istanbul is the Anatolian Side. The places where nightlife is active on this side are mostly Kadıköy, Bağdat Street, Moda, and Suadiye. It is no wonder that Kadikoy region was introduced as the new Beyoglu by Istanbulites. There are bars, Irish pubs, concert halls, cafes, and bistros where you can spend the day and the night, entertainingly.

Anatolian Side Party Venues

Arka Oda, Kadikoy

From the oldest of Kadıköy Bar’s Street, Arka Oda is a place having the choice of both indoor and outdoor seats where you can enjoy your music. In the garden section, you can find yourself making long conversations or dancing in concept parties. Although it is crowded on weekends, you can prefer Arka Oda even for its friendly atmosphere.

Address: Caferağa, Kadife Sok. No: 18 D: 1, Kadıköy / İstanbul

Phone: (0216) 418 02 77

Price Range: $ 20 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

Karga Bar, Kadikoy

A place with a decoration that gives the right definition of the shabby chic. You can enjoy the fireplace in the winter and the garden in the summer with its ambiance that resembles a haunted house. Live music and DJ performances can be enjoyed in the dim environment as you drink and dance.

Address: Caferağa Mh., Kadife Sk. No: 16, Kadıköy / Istanbul

Phone: (0216) 449 17 25

Price Range: $ 25 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

Shaft Club, Kadikoy

Shaft Club, which stands out with its rock, blues and jazz music, attract attention with the performances of indigenous rock bands. It is a place where you will go to listen to music rather than chatting. Even if it is a two-story building, it is a small venue that makes concerts more intimate.

Address: Altıyol-Osmanaga Mh., Serasker Cad., Osmancik Sk. No: 13 D: B, Kadıköy / İstanbul

Phone: 0 216 449 05 90

Price Range: $ 25 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

Dorock XL, Kadıköy

Dorock XL which hosts its visitors with different concepts such as Dorock Stage, Dorock Cafe & Bistro and Dorock Baze is a place where you can watch live performances of indigenous bands. You can enjoy live concerts at one of Istanbul’s biggest music scenes.

Address: Caferağa, Mühürdar Caddesi, Namlı Market Yanı No:60, 34710 Kadıköy / İstanbul

Phone: 0535 363 93 49

Price Range: $ 27 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

360 East Moda, Moda

Located on the top floor of DoubleTree by Hilton, this restaurant is waiting for visitors with its unique view and atmosphere that turns into the club concept in the evenings. A convenient option for those who want to enjoy a more elegant environment on the Asian side.

Address: Albay Faik Sözdener Cad. No: 31, Moda / İstanbul

Phone: (0216) 542 43 44

Price Range: $ 45 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

Monc Live, Kadikoy

When it comes to live music, one of the first places to come to mind is Monc Live. Even more appealing to rock music lovers, the bands also include popular music. It is perfect for those looking for a different alternative in Suadiye.

Address: Suadiye Mah, Kazım Özalp Sk. No: 60 D: C Block, 34740, Kadikoy / Istanbul

Phone: (0216) 410 39 37

Price Range: $ 15 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

Nayah, Kadikoy

Nayah is famous for its reggae music. This place, which is transferred to Beyoğlu from Kadikoy, stands out especially with reggae parties. You can dance in this place in a sincere atmosphere where you can feel the atmosphere of Jamaica.

Address: Osmanağa Mahallesi, Kırtasiyeci Sk. No: 20, 34714, Kadıköy, İstanbul

Phone: 0542 785 83 34

Price Range: $ 20 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

Zeplin Pub & Delicatessen, Kadikoy

Zeplin Pub & Delicatessen, with branches in Moda, Caddebostan, Bebek, and Alaçatı, is one of the first places to come to mind when it comes to Irish pubs. You can also taste delicious snacks on the menu where you can find a wide array of beer. It is the best place to spend time with your friends and family.

Address: Caferaga Mah., Moda Cd No: 70, 34710 Kadikoy

Phone: (0216) 700 20 02

Price Range: $ 35 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

Ayı Pub, Kadıköy

Ayı Pub, which has branches in many places such as Moda, Hisarüstü, Akbatı, Şaşkınbakkal, Caddebostan, Acıbadem, Kaş, Ortaköy and Alsancak, is another one of the most famous places in the Moda line. This bar is full of beer and is suitable for people who like a dark and dim environment.

Address: Caferağa, No :, Moda Cd. No: 60, 34710 Kadıköy / Istanbul

Phone: (0216) 418 44 76

Price Range: $ 35 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

Buddha Bar, Kadikoy

Another place where live music comes to life is Buddha Bar. This place, which is one of the oldest of Bars Street, is famous for hosting many local musicians. This place, which stands out with its affordable price policy compared to other places in Kadıköy, also attracts you with its small but cozy atmosphere.

Address: Caferağa Mahallesi, Kadife Sokak, No 14, Kadıköy / İstanbul

Phone: (0216) 345 87 98

Price Range: $ 17 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

Located on two continents where the East and the West intersect, Istanbul is a city that offers many alternatives for fun lovers with its colorful nightlife. The Istanbul venues where the action is not missing 24 hours a day, hosts those who want to enjoy the city.

10 Alternative Places for Birthday Parties in Istanbul

With the spring flowers blossom, the air, the serenity, and the peace began to feel. So we start celebrations, we are looking for excuses for entertainment, and we find. But some of them have a very good reason for celebration. For example, borning in spring! For this reason, you can take a look at restaurants in any style and budget where you can enjoy both Istanbul and your birthday.

We should note that menus and prices may vary over time. The cakes that come with the torch, shot cocktails, sea view tables, balloons! You can either have fun with your friends or spend a romantic evening alone with your beloved one.


The first suggestion is for Nişantaşı enthusiasts! Frankie is a very ambitious venue where you can go both on weekdays and at the weekend. Famous artists are featured with live music performances. Metin Arolat, Sibel Tüzün, and many others! You can choose to go before or after dinner time. The cocktails in the bar & lounge sections are exquisite because they are extremely stylish and modern! If you want a special celebration, let yourself be accompanied by the wine you choose!

Live music: 6 days a week
Menu: For 10+ people, fix menu is mandatory, beyond that there is only drinks and music fee. (Music costs $ 10 on weekend, and $ 7.50 on weekdays)
Bringing cake from outside: Yes (with service charge)
Cocktail: $ 10
Average price per person: $ 45

Address: Harbiye Mahallesi, Tesvikiye Cd. 41-41 A, 34367 Sisli / Istanbul

Phone: (0212) 230 66 66

Madeo Istanbul

The most fun state of Madeo spirit is in Karaköy! If you celebrate your birthday on Saturday night, it means you are luckier in Madeo! Every Saturday, Mest Band, which is performing on Madeo, starts playing birthday music for you and your cake comes to your table with torches! Also on Friday and Saturday, Dj Ali Yilmaz and Dj Kerem Onger will make your night even more enjoyable with their pleasant music!

Live music: Live music with Mest Band on Saturdays
Dj: Friday to Saturday
Menu: A la carte
Bringing the cake from outside: Yes, no service charge
Cocktail: $ 8.50
Average price per person: $ 37

Address: Kemankeş kara mustafa paşa mah, Kemankeş Cd. no: 33, 34425 Beyoglu / Istanbul

Phone: 0546 466 66 73

La mancha

The romantic spirit of Italy is in La Mancha! Don’t you think the taste of the Bosphorus view in Kuruçeşme is different than other places? Along with this view, you can find unique tastes of Italy, a different cocktail menu consisting of dozens of varieties and the authentic atmosphere of Alaçatı in one place. Do you want to celebrate your birthday on a calm evening? Go to your table, choose one of the Mediterranean, Italian and Spanish delicacies and ask for your wine. Your birthday cake will come to your table at any time by the La Mancha team.

Live music: None
Dj: None
Menu: For 10+ people mandatory fix menu
Bringing the cake from outside: Yes, with service charge
Wine: One glass of wine is ranging from $ 4.50 to 6.50
Average price per person: $ 23 -32

Address: Kurucesme Mahallesi, Muallim Naci Cd. No: 107, 34345 Beşiktaş / İstanbul

Phone: (0212) 257 11 44


The entertainment at Arabesque is unlimited. Arabesque is a very popular venue in Istanbul. The rhythm of fun never ends. The oriental show, drums show, zenne show, DJ performance! Not all of them are in different places. All on the same night! With the tastes of the Lebanese cuisine, the exaggerated decorations of the Middle East, the ambiance of the environment, you will not realize how time flew. You will be the most special person in the crowd when your birthday cake comes!

Live music: None
Dj: Yes
Menu: Only Fix menu, on Weekdays unlimited fix menu for $ 32, on Friday limitless fix menu for $ 40, on Saturday unlimited fix menu for $ 45
Bringing the cake from outside: Yes
Average price per person: $ 42

Address: İnönü Mahallesi, Cumhuriyet Cd. No: 38, 34367 Şişli / İstanbul

Phone: (0212) 219 65 31

Bridge Restaurant

The Bridge Restaurant has one of the most beautiful views of the Asian side. There is also a surprise for a romantic and pleasant birthday celebration. Your double cake is on the Bridge! Your cake is served at any time you want. Surprise celebrations help you a lot. It is also very convenient for a romantic night as well as celebrations with family members. You can celebrate your most special day with pleasant conversations at the tables dedicated to you!

Live music: None
Dj: None
Menu: Fix menu and a la carte
Bringing the cake from outside: Yes, no service charge
Average price per person: $ 14 – 23

Address: Kuzguncuk Mahallesi, Nakkaştepe Yolu No: 56, 34632 Uskudar / Istanbul

Phone: (0216) 391 95 85


Alancha means the green space between the woods. First of all, the spirit of the place is so unique and peaceful. An ideal place for those who want to experience this special day in an Aegean-inspired and delicious stop. You will enjoy the first day of your new age with live music and enjoy the rich wine cellar! Kalecik karası, sweet wines, Urla, Saroz and even wines from all over the world come to your table. And you have the pleasure of enjoying a terrace overlooking Istanbul in spring. It is also one of the most peaceful places for family celebrations.

Live music: Friday and Saturday
Dj: None
Menu: Friday Saturday fix menu, other days Alacarte
Bringing the cake from outside: Yes, no service charge
Wine: One glass of wine varies between $ 5.50 – 9.50
Average price per person: $ 23 – 32

Address: Vişnezade Mahallesi, Şht. Mehmet Sk. No: 9, 34357 Besiktas / Istanbul

Phone: (0212) 261 35 35

Ziyade Fasıl

Would you like to go out on a spree, so to speak? If you wish, Ziyade Fasıl which is one of the most entertaining venues in Istanbul has thought of everything for you! At 23.00, all the birthday cakes come together at the same time, with the birthday music and balloon rain! Also, there is a Raquito shot treat which is special for you! Starting at 20.30 with the qanun and clarinet recitals, the fasıl entertainment will be replaced by Roman show, drum show, oriental and Zeybek dance performances. As I said at the beginning, here entertainment is unlimited!

Live music: If there are 20+ people
Dj: None
Menu: Fix menu mandatory
Bringing the cake from outside: Yes, no service charge
Price per person: Fix menu for $ 22, Limitless Fix menu for $ 31

Address: Sahrayı Cedit Mahallesi, Batman Sk. No: 4, 34734 Kadıköy / Istanbul

Phone: 0533 293 58 83

Welldone by Midpoint Suadiye

The pleasure of viewing the sea is something we occasionally miss. You can spend a peaceful birthday with your friends or your beloved one in a quiet atmosphere in the closest place to the sea of Suadiye beach. Interior design, high ceilings, and great pleasure chairs outside are tremendous for those born in the spring! If you don’t like cake, you can also try Magma and Souffle Welldone. The ambiance and the calmness are the main reasons for Welldone to be preferred!

Live music: None
Dj: None
Menu: Only a la carte
Bringing the cake from outside: Yes, no service charge
Sufle Welldone: $ 2.60
Average price per person: $ 13.50 – 22.50

Adress: Suadiye Mahallesi, Selim Ragıp Emeç Sk. No:27, 34740 Kadıköy / İstanbul

Phone: 0530 955 47 50

Bebek Lokal

Those who can’t give up the air of Bebek! Great sea view, DJ performance, delicious and different tastes, the beauty of Istanbul away from the crowds. One of the most preferred places for birthdays with its atmosphere and pleasant ambiance is Bebek Lokal. It continues with a nightly performance in the place where light music plays until 20:00. You can bring your cake.

Live music: None
Dj: DJ Fertal every day except Monday
Menu: A la carte
Bringing cake from outside: Yes, with service charge
Average price per person: $ 23 – 32

Address: Bebek Mh., Cevdet Pasa Cd. No: 56, 34342 Beşiktaş / İstanbul

Phone: (0212) 265 59 59

Harvard Cafe Etiler

Another one of the most enjoyable addresses for day or evening celebrations is Harvard Cafe Etiler. The Harvard Cafe has beautiful spring weather with its garden under the trees, the tiny pool in the middle of the garden and the wooden floors that resemble the deck of a ship. In the menu, there are flavors from Italy and Mexica. If you want to experience the natural peace in Istanbul, this place is tailor-made for you? Here you can enjoy the most special day in the atmosphere you crave. Harvard Cafe Etiler is usually preferred for family celebrations.

Live music: None
Dj: None
Menu: A la carte
Bringing the cake from outside: Yes, no service charge
Classic carrot chocolate cake: $ 3.5
Average price per person: $ 5 – 15

Address: Etiler Mahallesi, Ahular Sok. No: 1, 34337 Beşiktaş / Istanbul

Phone: (0212) 287 10 51

24 Buffet Restaurants in Istanbul

Buffet restaurants are not only attractive because of their rich menus, they are also quite affordable compared to luxury restaurants and therefore highly preferred.

In this article, I’ve compiled some of the best buffet restaurants in Istanbul as well as top buffet breakfast gardens where you can commune with nature.

9 Local Buffet Restaurants In Istanbul

Beyoğlu Borsa, Istiklal Street

The name of Beyoğlu Borsa comes at the top when you are looking for a local buffet restaurant. It is a self-service restaurant and you just take your tray and choose whatever you want among many options. From soup to olive oil dishes, from main courses to desserts there are a lot of options.

In addition to specialties like Iskender kebab, there are olive oil dishes, pot dishes, and grills in the menu of the Borsa Istanbul’s self-service restaurant in Beyoğlu. The restaurant has 3 floors and a capacity of 150 people.

Address: Istiklal Caddesi 14, Beyoglu, Istanbul

Phone: (0216) 407 14 12

Opening hours: Open daily from 07.00 to 00.00.

Price range: $ 15 for two people (on average)

Çiya Sofrası, Kadikoy

Çiya is one of the most successful buffet restaurants of local dishes. Located within the fish market in Kadıköy Çarşısı, the restaurant has two more branches in the same street. Eastern Mediterranean and Southeastern cuisine are predominant, but you can find dishes from nearly all regions.

In Çiya Sofrası, the flavors of Southeastern Anatolia and Eastern Mediterranean cuisine are prepared in accordance with their original form. The menu is composed of Eastern Mediterranean and Southeastern Anatolia-based foods from various regions of Anatolia. There are interesting dishes such as şıhılmahşi, mualle, dövme, unut beni, maş çorbası, malhıtalı çorba, lebeni çorba, firik pilavı, kömeç aşı, sitti simidi, and yeşil erik tavası. You can enjoy fig dessert and turpentine coffee after your meal.

You can follow the daily menu from the internet sites, order local specialties from the menu or fill the plate with the delicious olive oil dishes you choose from the salad bar. Pickled greens are very successful with both images and flavors. Musa Bey and his wife’s sweet conversation behind this success is another reason why you should visit Çiya. Çiya has multiple restaurants on the same street.

Address: Caferağa Mahallesi Güneşlibahçe Sokak 43, Kadıköy, Istanbul

Phone: (0216) 330 31 90

Opening hours: Open daily from 12.00-22.00.

Price range: $ 28 for two people (on average)

Great Dongfang Chinese Restaurant, Sisli

Eating as much Chinese food as you can sound very pleasant both to ear and the stomach. Located on the top floor of Cevahir, Great Dong Fang has an open buffet with countless options. There are 30 kinds of menus including dessert and salad. Sweet sour chicken, noodles, rice with vegetables, Chinese ravioli, spicy sour soup, green peppers and onions, and sweet chicken with sesame are some of the tastes you can try.

At Great Dongfong, you get an open China buffet at a reasonable price. You first fill up your plate, even then you can fill several more times. The buffet is quite rich, including shrimp chips and noodles. In a la carte menu, on the other hand, Chinese soup, dumpling, egg rolls, meat with oyster sauce, and sesame chicken are among options. Don’t expect miracles from flavors, but you will certainly be satisfied.

Address: Cevahir Shopping Center, Sisli, Istanbul

Phone: (0212) 380 11 77

Opening hours: Open daily from 10.00 to 22.00.

Price range: $ 30 for two people (on average)

Şiva Cafe & Restaurant

Şiva Cafe & Restaurant is a traditional local restaurant located in the Sultanahmet District. The area of ​​Sultanahmet is one of the most densely populated and lively parts of Istanbul. Historically, Sultanahmet has a huge number of ancient places and amazing museums, so millions of tourists from all over the world are coming to this place.

Turkish cuisine will amaze you with its variety and quantitiy of dishes. There are meat, all kinds of cereals and even vegetables. The cuisine of Turkey is characterized by the widest quantitiy of tasty meals, and it promotes a balanced and healthy diet. Unlike Italian and French cuisine, there are no dominant dishes. At first glance, the dishes seem to be simple, but they are made using secret and ancient recipes.

Kebab is a common name for dishes made of meat, which are prepared on a special grill. For example, iskender kebab is lamb meat dressed with yogurt sauce and tomato paste. Served in traditional Turkish pita bread.

If you have a desire to try something simple, then I recommend paying attention to lentil soup. And once you try the Turkish spicy sausage, you can never return to the normal sausage.

Either you look for new gastronomic discoveries or just want a delicious meal, visit this restaurant-cafe serving Turkish cuisine with its memorable name “Şiva”. This is a beautiful restaurant where you don’t only have a breakfast of aromatic, tasty, healthy food and dine in a cosy atmosphere, but also get acquainted with the secrets of the Turkish Cuisine.

Address: Cankurtaran Mh., Akbıyık Cd. No:22, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul

Phone: 0546 446 96 90

Opening Hours: Open Daily From 08:00 to 02:00.

Price range: $ 25 for two people (on average)

Sofya Kebab House

Sofya Kebab House is located in the historical peninsula of Istanbul, the city of civilizations in the Sultanahmet Little Ayasofya district. The company has a rich menu consisting of delicacies selected from world cuisines, especially Ottoman, which appeal to every taste. Especially the sultans delight, diced lamb fried on iron plate and stew are among the most preferred flavors.

Those who do not consume meat are also considered. For vegetarians, there is a rich menu consisting of many vegetable dishes. Although the place is small, it offers a full family atmosphere with its friendly team and sympathetic decoration. Sofya Kebab House, the stop of the delicacies that will amaze you must be discovered.

Average à la carte price for two people (average à la carte price based on a two-course meal excluding drinks): $ 23

Address: Küçük Ayasofya Mh., Kadırga Limanı Cd. 96/a, 34400 Fatih/İstanbul

Phone: 0541 658 77 44

Opening hours: Between 11.30 and 00.00.

Price range: $ 17 for two people (on average)

Hacı Abdullah, Istiklal Street

Haci Abdullah Restaurant is a city classic that has been reigning since 1888. Clear of the crowd of Istiklal Street, the restaurant in the alley for years has not left empty. You can see a variety of pickles that have been stored since 1972 when you first entered the restaurant. If you go a little further, you will find that eye-catching food buffet too.

The pickle jars, which whet the appetite of people, is one of the most important places of Istanbul with its traditional decoration. Prominent dishes among all are pickles, sultan soup, vegetable soup, artichokes, kebab, and elbasan tava, as well as quince and poppy desserts.

Address: Ağa Mosque Atıf Yılmaz Street 9A, Beyoğlu, Istanbul, 34435

Phone: (0312) 215 06 06

Price range: $ 15 for two people (on average)

Hünkar, Nişantaşı

If you are looking for a traditional, healthy and light home meal in Nisantasi, you can visit Hünkar. The restaurant is always full, especially at noon hours. Hünkar, which has been offering the delicacies of Anatolian cuisine for many years, is one of the addresses well known to those who are fond of this taste.

It is one of the classic restaurants of Istanbul, serving first in Fatih, then Etiler and Nisantasi. In the menu, outstanding examples of Anatolian and Ottoman cuisine are presented as a la carte. Grilled meat and fish, olive oil varieties, hot Anatolian dishes, and ravioli are some of them. In the evenings, there are tavern-style treats. “Hünkar Beğendi” which the restaurant has taken its name from, and “Topik” must be tried. However, there are so many choices to try.

Address: Mim Kemal Öke Caddesi 9, Nisantasi, Istanbul

Phone: (0212) 225 46 65

Price range: $ 46 for two people (on average)

Helvetia, Asmalımescit

This is one of the most demanding places of Asmalımescit. Don’t expect such a big place, there is even no signboard. But the food is extremely delightful. You choose your meals from the open buffet and sit at your table. If you can find a place. The dishes in the showcase are not placed in large boilers, they are in smaller pyrex containers.

This place has been replaced by an old pub. There is no sign on the door, but there is a “Helvetia” graffiti on the wall. In the open buffet, there is delicious home-made food. Beyond that, the eccentric atmosphere and reasonable prices make this restaurant attractive. Olive oil dishes are epic. There is no alcohol though.

Address: Asmalımescit Sokak 24, İstanbul

Phone: (0212) 245 87 80

Opening hours: Open every day from 12.00 to 00.00 except Sunday.

Price range: $ 10 for two people (on average)

Pizza East Istanbul, Akaretler

What is the largest round invention after the wheel? If your answer is not lahmacun, you should try Pizza East in Akaretler. Moreover, they serve with the same quality with open buffet brunch every Sunday. Akaretler is one of the most fortunate points of the city, which extends to Nişantaşı as well as to Beşiktaş. The European streets, which are capable of being both central, airy, spacious and calm, are not located in a utopia in Istanbul, they are a few steps away from Beşiktaş Bazaar. It’s always cool compared to the narrow streets we’re used to.

In the center of this environment, where the entrance of the W Hotel is located, now became a place using the advantage of its position, and Pizza East, the second restaurant of the Soho House group in Istanbul, settled here.

Although its name resembles a standard pizza chain, it has nothing to do with it. We can define it as a boutique chain with restaurants in England and America. The menu does not just consist of pizza, it offers many more options such as antipasti, bakery, and vegetable dishes. They take care to include local ingredients in the form of Pizza East, so that they can create fusions like ricotta and fried zucchini flower with honey ($ 4.50), pizza with lamb sausage, goat cheese, pepper pickle, and mint ($ 6.50), or halva and raspberry vanilla sundae ($ 4) which you only can find in Pizza East Istanbul.

Main dishes are cooked in a wood oven. The lasagna and mac & cheese at the beginning of the list are the favorites. Lemonade, ginger beer, and iced teas are homemade; In the iced tea ($ 2.25), which has a slightly bitter taste, there are red berries, earl gray tea, elderflower syrup, lemon juice, and honey.

The doughs of the pizzas are thin, the edges are fluffy but crispy. There are plenty of materials which are quite satisfying even though they do not look very big. For example, the pizza with burrata, tomatoes, olives, and thyme ($ 4.50) is like a dense dish from a plate made of dough. All the dry meats used in pizzas come from Italy. The secret of the dough is hidden in the flour and fermentation process. Pizza East doughs are fermented for 72 hours (pizza doughs are usually fermented between 24 and 36 hours). So the pizza can be both light and crunchy.

The decoration is completed with old and antique pieces, the ceiling is covered with metal construction, the lamps hanging from the ceiling makes you feel like you are in a submarine, wood floors and walls resemble a ship’s handrail, giant washbasins similar to the trough in the toilets reminds the environments of cowboy films locales. Although the interior of the place is colorful and has a character, the place in demand is, of course, the open-air section. Fortunately, the restaurant is wide. The area starting from the front of the door extends to the Şair Nedim Street. In addition to the bar inside, there is another small bar serving coffee and cocktails.

If you’ve loved the cheese and charcuterie products on the pizzas, you should also visit them in the charcuterie section. You can take any ingredients such as Bresaola, Milan sausage, and parmesan cheese with you. All these charcuterie products, as well as seafood, eggs, and pizzas, are on the buffet on Sundays between 11:00 to 17:00 for a brunch.

Address: Süleyman Seba Street, No: 22, Beşiktaş, Istanbul

Phone: (0212) 259 22 59

Opening hours: Monday to Thursday from 11.30 to 00.00, on Friday and Saturday from 11.30 to 01.00, the market is open from 11.00 to 00.00.

Price range: $ 17 for two people (on average)

8 Buffet Breakfast Places to Determine Your Weekend Destination in Istanbul

People love all kinds of breakfast. From the mixed breakfast to the village breakfast, from a French breakfast with a single croissant and coffee to the American breakfast with a pancake and a bagel, all breakfast types deserve respect.

Therefore, I want to inform you about the best breakfast buffets in the city. Here are the best breakfast buffets in Istanbul.

All the Fatigue of the Week Goes Away: Forno Balat

It is the only address of breakfast, lahmacun, pita, and croissant in Balat. Everyone talked a lot about Forno’s crunchy pita and lahmacuns. Now there is a buffet breakfast serving every Saturday and Sunday. This buffet breakfast is standard. So you can find nearly anything to eat.

So, what’s in this breakfast that everyone praise to the sky? Among the options, there are hot pita, homemade bread, bagel, buffalo cream, honey, organic jams, full fat ezine cheese, Thracian cheese, braided cheese, butter, green olives and black olives, acuka, olive paste, fruit salad, cucumber, fragrant tomato, olive oil, omelette and tea.

My favorite is the buttery croissant and baked eggs that you can’t get enough. Here is a big reason to drop by Balat! If you want to take the pain of the whole week in these beautiful two days, you must visit Forno soon.

Address: Balat Mahallesi, Fener Kireçhanesi Sokak, No 13. Fatih, İstanbul

Phone: (0212) 521 29 00

Price range: $ 22 for two people (on average)

Organic Breakfast and a Unique Sight: Lacivert

Lacivert, the venue for romantic dinners, marriage offers, celebrations, has the coolest buffet brunch menu in the city. The venue which is flooded by who wants to spend a peaceful day every Sunday offers a terrific open buffet overlooking to the unique Bosphorus view. The most important feature of this buffet is that every food being organic, from eggs to sausage, from cheese to honey. Mıhlama, menemen, tulum cheese, and crispy pastries are my favorites.

Lacivert, who always greeted traditional tastes, also offers the sherbet of centuries ago. Lemonade, nevruz, tamarind, cactus, and rosehip are among the refreshing drinks you can choose.

Address: Anadolu Hisarı Mahallesi, Körfez Street, No 57 / A, Beykoz, Istanbul

Phone: (0216) 413 37 53

Price range: $ 90 for two people (on average)

A Breakfast Experience to Remember: Cecconi’s

Known for northern Italian dishes, Cecconi’s, with branches in London, Miami, West Hollywood, is one of the city’s new brunch addresses. It is not that reasonably priced, but I bet it will charm you with the buffet brunch which is only open on Sundays. You’re going to be amazed, especially in front of the bakery department. Even the oyster that we can’t find easily in Istanbul is served in this brunch.

And there are more! There are alternatives from Italian cheese to smoked meats, from dried fruits to sourdough bread, and different kinds of omelets prepared on the spot as well as delicious pastries. My only suggestion to you is to make sure to go hungry because a big feast under the olive trees will be waiting for you.

Address: Soho House Istanbul, Evliya Çelebi District, Meşrutiyet Street, No 56, Beyoğlu, İstanbul

Phone: (0212) 377 71 80

Price range: $ 55 for two people (on average)

Toward the Bosphorus: Vogue

Vogue, which is the favorite of the business world and couples, now has one of the best views of Istanbul as most of us know. If you want to experience a delicious brunch with a magnificent view of the Bosphorus, Vogue will wait for you because there is everything you can imagine in its buffet brunch which is a classic now serving every Sunday! Quiche, croissants, bread with olives, macaron, cheesecake, freshly squeezed juices, cheese and charcuterie products, sausages, baked potatoes, water pastry and much more.

Although it is not related to our subject, let’s not forget saying; The sushi menu of the place, where you can find outstanding flavors of the world and Mediterranean cuisine, is also quite solid. There are more than 70 kinds of sushi!

Address: Vişnezade Quarter, Akaretler Sports Street, BJK Plaza, A Block, No 92, Floor 13, Besiktas, Istanbul

Phone: (0212) 227 44 04

Price range: $ 83 for two people (on average)

Breakfast by the Fireplace: Brunelle

With its garden and the brunch buffet, I have not forgotten Brunelle, one of the most trendy places of the past summer. Ezine cheese, Kars gruyere, garden greens, orange zucchini jam, cocoa hazelnut paste, forest berry sauced granola, organic olives, croissants, dill donuts, fruity Danish, carrot cake and crispy bread are the main actors of this flavor feast.

There is also live music in this long-lasting brunch that you will have breakfast by the fireplace.

Address: Saint-Joseph’s Association, Caferağa Neighborhood, Hülya Street, No 5, Kadıköy, İstanbul

Phone: (0216) 338 25 61

Price range: $ 32 for two people (on average)

Here You Can Eat All Day: The Brasserie

The Grand Tarabya is one of the few routes in Istanbul where you will reward yourself and fill up your soul with the ambience. It is as far away from Istanbul’s noise and crowds as possible. As this spirit-satisfying atmosphere is not enough, there is also an extremely delightful brunch buffet.

Waffles, pancakes, omelets, pies, freshly squeezed juices, cheese, and cold cuts are some of the delicious tastes served in this buffet. The view of the Bosphorus and Tarabya Marina is also worth visiting!

Address: The Grand Tarabya Merkez, Tarabya Merkez Mahallesi, Haydar Aliyev Street, No 154, Sariyer, Istanbul

Phone: (0212) 363 33 00

Price range: $ 75 for two people (on average)

One of the Weekend Essentials: Kuleli Yakamoz Restaurant

The ideal place to have a delicious Sunday breakfast at the end of the weekend is the Kuleli Yakamoz Restaurant. It is one of the places that should be visited just for its exquisite Bosphorus view, but once you see that variety in the buffet, you will not be able to help yourself admiring it once again.

The quality of the ingredients they use is also very good. I am sure that you will not want to get away from the exquisite view all day, even if you go to this place just to have breakfast.

Address: Çengelköy Mahallesi, Kuleli Caddesi, No 69, Uskudar, Istanbul

Phone: (0216) 318 95 05

Price range: $ 33 for two people (on average)

You Won’t Be Able to Stop Eating: Zeferan Restaurant

One of the places that you will admire its breakfast buffet which serves until 11.00 on the weekdays and 12.00 on the weekends is Zeferan Restaurant. From rich local and regional cheese varieties to different kinds of eggs, sausage, pastrami, and bacon, this breakfast table provides nearly everything.

I know that you can not make such breakfasts every day, but if you want to spoil yourself or your loved ones for a day, I give you the address you need to go.

Address: jwa Hotel Sultanahmet, Emin Sinan Neighborhood, Piyer Loti Street, No 30, Fatih, Istanbul

Phone: (0212) 638 22 12

Price range: $ 28 for two people (on average)

7 Breakfast Buffets Where You Can Commune with Nature

When you come to Istanbul at the weekend, you can have a delicious breakfast in a place under trees with a beautiful view, and sip your warm tea to experience one of the most enjoyable ways to start a nice weekend. Let’s take a look at these places and their current breakfast prices.

Yoros Kale Cafe, Anadolu Kavağı

The first of our list of breakfast places in Istanbul is located next to Anadolu Kavağı, near the Castle of Yoros, overlooking the unique Bosphorus view of Istanbul, positioned in steppes on the slope leading up to the castle, with its red gingham bedspreads, wooden tables, and chairs.

Yoros Café is just charming. It is a breakfast place in nature. It is a good idea to visit the Yoros Castle after breakfast because they have difficulty in dealing with weekend density from time to time. Mixed breakfast costs $ 7.5 per person as of 2018.

Address: Anadolu Kavağı mah. Feneryolu cad. 3 / A Beykoz

Phone: 0 (216) 3202056

Stella, Polonezköy

The second of the list of places to have breakfast in Istanbul at the weekend, Polonezköy is one of the rare places where the forest is protected suitable for the families who love to be intertwined with nature. After passing through the Kavacık exit on the Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridge road and passing Acarkent, Polonezköy can be reached by following the signs.

My favorite place in Polonezköy is Stella. I think it is one step ahead of the similar ones in the region with its landscape overlooking the forest, its lush ambiance and direct connection to the forest road. Mixed village breakfast costs $ 9.5 per person as of 2018.

Address: Polonezköy mah. 75. Yıl cad. Polonezköy / Beykoz

Phone: 0 (216) 4323232

Sarı Köşk, Emirgan Grove

Emirgan Grove, one of the most beautiful groves of Istanbul, is hosting a complete visual feast, especially in the tulip season. Sarı Köşk comes to the fore because of its view of the Bosphorus in the grove where there are two other mansions named as Pembe Köşk and Beyaz Köşk.

Breakfast is served as an open buffet on weekends, and as a mixed breakfast on weekdays at the Sarı Köşk as in many places. As with all other mansions attached to Beltur, the mixed breakfast for weekdays is offered for $ 6 per person as of 2018. On the other hand, breakfast served as an open buffet on weekends costs $ 8 per person.

Address: Emirgan mah. Hakim Tahsin sok. Sarıyer / Istanbul

Phone: 0 (212) 2295037

Polina, Polonezköy

The fourth of our list of Restaurants serves in Nature in Istanbul is Polina, another venue located at the Polonezköy with its homemade cakes, jams, ring cut fried potatoes, crunchy village peppers and the parrot named Cabbar.

The mixed village breakfast which is served only on weekends costs $ 11 per person. Prices are above average. After breakfast, I recommend you to try chestnuts, blackberry ROLADA, MADONNA or chocolate POLINA cake.

Address: 75. Yıl cad. No: 26 Beykoz / Istanbul Hotels

Phone: 0 (216) 4323153

Saklıgöl Karamandere Facilities, Şile

The fifth of our list of places to have breakfast in Istanbul is Saklıgöl Karamandere Facilities, a peaceful and calm place on the shore of the lake, where you can feel so far away from Istanbul. When you reach Şile from İstanbul Şile highway, instead of entering the city center, follow the Saklıgöl signs when you turn to the opposite direction from the main road and you will reach this hidden lake waiting for you just ahead of the village of Karamandere.

On the wooden tables on the lake shore, you can have breakfast in nature, with many options such as honey, cream, jam, cheese and varieties, walnut, grape, herbed cheese, and scrambled eggs as well as unlimited tea offer. The cost of breakfast per person is $ 8.5 as of 2018. Omelets, menemen, mıhlama etc. are extra charged. After breakfast, you can do trekking on the 21-kilometer course around Saklıgöl as well.

Address: Karamandere Köyü / ŞİLE

Phone: 0 (216) 7312169

Kulindağ, Mahmut Şevket Paşa Village

Kulindağ, reached from the turnout of Mahmut Şevket Pasha Village when you leave from Kavacık exit on the second bridge road and head towards Riva, is a chalet on the hillside of a forested valley. The most important feature of the sixth of our list of natural places to have breakfast in Istanbul is the hot pita, pizza, pastry and other bread varieties baked in their ovens.

A lush forest, plenty of oxygen and bird sounds. The current price of Kulindağ Breakfast, which is served as a weekend buffet and weekday mixed breakfast, is $ 11 per person for both.

Address: Mahmut Sevket Pasa Village, Kibrit Cikmazi No: 6 Beykoz / Istanbul

Phone: 0 (850) 3020299

Kır Kahvesi, Yıldız Grove (Yıldız Park)

Even though it is located in the heart of Istanbul, the yıldız park is a hidden forest that takes you away from the city’s crowds at once and brings you together with nature. Kır Kahvesi is also the most modest place among the other Beltur places like Malta Köşkü and Çadır Köşk. The service is very good, the view of the grove is soothing.

A mixed breakfast including honey, fresh cream, tomato, cucumber, feta cheese, old cheddar, string cheese, tulum cheese, pistachio salami, black and green olives, jam, tahini and molasses, seasonal greens, boiled eggs, carrot cake, apricot danish, spring rolls and unlimited tea costs $ 6, where pancake varieties costs between $ 2 – 2.50, and roasted eggs cost $ 2.25.

Address: Yıldız Park, Yıldız mah. Star Cad. No: 62 Beşiktaş / İstanbul

Phone: 0 (212) 3274501

8 Istanbul Mosques to Visit

Istanbul is a city that connects two different continents and hosted many different empires in the world. The city has traces of its own culture, as is the case with every civilization that lived in Istanbul. There are so many historical artifacts to visit in this city where everyone is excited about.

Istanbul, which holds different cultures together with its museums, palaces, and churches, provides and reflects a branch of different beliefs that come from the past to the present with its mosques. Therefore, the mosques, as well as other historical artifacts, are worth seeing for their architectural structures and the stories they have. Here are 8 historical mosques that must be visited in Istanbul.

Suleymaniye Mosque

Süleymaniye Mosque was built by Mimar Sinan in the Suleymaniye region of the Eminönü district of Istanbul at the request of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent between 1551-1558. This work of 85-year-old Sinan’s was known as a work of his qualification stage.

Around the Suleymaniye Mosque, there is a library, hammam, madrasah, imaret, shops, and treasury. Together with the Suleymaniye Mosque, each of them is a part of the Suleymaniye Complex.

Suleymaniye Mosque is one of the most important works of Ottoman period architecture. Although there are hundreds of earthquakes in Istanbul for centuries, there is no single crack on Suleymaniye Mosque. The mosque consists of a large dome with a diameter of 26.5 meters, resting on four pink pillars, and the depth of the dome is twice that of its diameter.

This large dome was reinforced with a half-dome, just as in Hagia Sophia. There are minarets at the 4 corner points of the mosque’s courtyard. The dimensions of the minarets are different. The minarets in the northern part of the courtyard are built in two balconies and 56 meters in size. These two minarets are at the corner of the entrance facade wall of the last congregation. The other two minarets were built contiguous to the mosque. They have triple balconies and their heights are is 76 meters.

32 windows were built in the main dome pulley of the mosque to provide the best illumination according to the calculations of Mimar Sinan. Sinan also built a section thanks to his talent and intelligence in architecture, by calculating the air flow which would collect the soot coming from the oil lamps inside the mosque and gather them into a room on the main entrance of the mosque. This soot was used in ink making for the artifacts surrounding the mosque.

There are 28 porticoes around the mosque courtyard. There is a fountain in the middle of this courtyard built on a rectangular schema. There is also a burial area reserved for Suleiman the Magnificent and his wife Hürrem Sultan.

Like the other works of Mimar Sinan, the mosque does not compromise simplicity; but it is one of the temples that can transform simplicity into glory. Although ornaments and embellishments are mostly used for inscriptions, architectural geometry has become an aesthetic wonder in itself. The stained-glass windows on the wall where the mihrab rests and the frames on both sides of the mihrab are the work of a master called Sarhoş Ibrahim.

Special bricks were produced for the dome to be light and used in the construction of the dome. In addition, the stones forming the walls of the mosque were connected to each other through internally iron clamps and the molten lead was poured into these clamps. The mosque is illuminated with 128 windows and dozens of lamps; these lamps do not pollute the walls and also; in order to benefit from the soot coming from these lamps, a soot room was built upon the entrance.

There are four minarets on the 4 corner of the white marble-built inner courtyard named White Harem, two of them with two balconies and two with three balconies. The four minarets in the mosque symbolize that Kanuni was the fourth sultan after the conquest of Istanbul, and the ten balconies of the minarets symbolize the fact that he was the tenth sultan of Ottoman history.

The Suleymaniye Mosque is located in the district of Suleymaniye, which is named after it, in the district of Fatih, Istanbul. One of the easiest ways to get to the mosque is to come up to Laleli-University stop by Kabatas-Bagcilar Tram and take a short walk from here.

Address: Süleymaniye Mah, Prof. Sıddık Sami Onar Cd. No:1, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul

The Blue Mosque

One of the most important landmarks of the city, the Blue Mosque is located in front of the Hagia Sophia Museum, one of our most important historical monuments. Sultanahmet Square is also named after the Blue Mosque (aka Sultanahmet Mosque). This valuable structure is one of the most important works that were built in Istanbul during the Ottoman Empire period.

The Blue Mosque was built by the Ottoman Sultan Ahmet I between 1609 – 1616. The most typical example of classical Turkish art, the work was originally the first mosque built with 6 minarets. Although it is not one of the works of Mimar Sinan, this structure has traces from Sinan. Sinan’s student, Architect Sedefkâr Mehmet Ağa, according to what is reported, applied a plan of Sinan’s to a greater extent when building this mosque.

In the Blue Mosque, there is also a complex that includes many social and cultural structures as in many mosques. Within the complex, there is the Grand Bazaar, Turkish bath, soup house, hospital, schools, caravanserai, and Sultan Ahmed’s tomb. The entrance to the mosque is on the side of the Hippodrome built in the Roman Period.

The inner courtyard and the main place surrounded by an outer courtyard in this valuable structure is on a high podium. Through the door opening to the inner courtyard, there are fountains and the domes rising above each other in harmony. When entered through any of the three doors opened, the rich and colorful decorations of paintings, tiles, and stained glasses can be seen.

The Blue Mosque is surrounded by balconies on three sides. The location of the building is covered with carpet as in every mosque. Along the main entrance door, the mihrab, which is designed to be easily seen by people praying even on the most intense days of the mosque, has a marble cushion, one of the best examples of carving work.

The dome, which is one of the most important elements of all Ottoman mosques, is much more magnificent in the Blue Mosque. The main dome is 43 meters high and 23.5 meters in diameter. These measurements show the qualification of Mehmet Aga as an engineer. The architecture of the Blue Mosque has become magnificent as a result of the combination of Ottoman and Byzantine church architecture with over 200 years of experience.

Although it has a feel from Hagia Sophia, the Islamic architecture, outweighs and the Mosque is known as the magnificent work of the classical period. As an architectural structure, the Sultanahmet Mosque has a spacious environment with 260 windows placed very skillfully. Due to the way the windows are placed, the big dome looks like it hangs in the air. This mosque is more bright and spacious than any of its equals.

The 12 types of marble which are used in interior and exterior decoration of the Blue Mosque, shows that there is a special acoustic structure due to the fact that the relationship between walls and columns as well as a special cutting and placement of the marble coverings in the mosque. Since too much marble has been used, it is difficult to come across this feature in other works.

The mosque is located at the Sultanahmet District. Transportation to the mosque is possible with many different alternatives from almost all parts of Istanbul. The easiest way to reach the mosque is to use the Bağcılar-Kabataş Tram Line passing through the Historic Peninsula.

Address: Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Atmeydanı Cd. No:7, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul

Eyüp Sultan Mosque

Eyüp Sultan Mosque was built in 1458, five years after the conquest of Istanbul. The mausoleum of the Eyup Sultan, built next to the mosque before him, emphasizes the importance of this mosque. The mosque, which was built as a complex structure, is located in the Eyüp district of Istanbul’s Haliç coast. One of the Arabs who was martyred during the siege of Istanbul and who first accepted Islam was Eyyub.

The building is a great historical monument with its mosques, madrasas, public houses, baths, and tombs. The mosque that was thoroughly ruined over time and III. Selim has completely demolished and rebuilt it including minarets and foundations. At the end of the construction work which started in 1798 and lasted for 2 years, the mosque retained its present-day structure.

The architectural features of the Eyup Sultan Mosque are not known exactly when it was first built. In the earthquake that took place in 1766, this structure was greatly damaged. Although the mosque was requested to be repaired, it was demolished to the foundation and rebuilt in 1800. Later in 1823, minarets were damaged by a lightning strike. The last repair of the Eyup Sultan Mosque was done by the instruction of Adnan Menderes.

Today’s mosque is covered with a 17.5 m diameter dome sitting on an octagonal hoop. This drum sits on six free columns which are connected to each other by arches and two pillars in the mihrab wall. The main dome is surrounded by half domes from eight sides of the hoop.

Eyüp Sultan Mosque’s exterior courtyard in the direction of Eyüp Square was built in the style of baroque. Access is provided through two doors in the west and south. There is a graveyard of many famous people at the north of the outer courtyard, and there is a marble fountain covered with a domed eave sitting on eight columns in the middle. In the middle of the building, there are two great plane trees which are believed to grow from the plane branches planted by Akşemseddin.

It is surrounded by a low stone wall. A metal net is wandering around the wall and four baroque fountains are located on the four corners of the building. The porticos of the last congregation of the mosque continue along the eastern and western walls of the courtyard, and the Eyüp Sultan Tomb is located in just behind the fourth (north) wall, in the middle.

The tomb was found after the conquest of Istanbul and the shrine on it was built in 1459 with the mosque. The exterior of Eyüp Sultan Tomb is decorated with tiles and visited by an influx of visitors. The tomb is on the north side of the famous and holy mosque known as the Eyup Sultan Mosque and right in front of its inner courtyard.

This is the first work in Istanbul. The tomb is an eight-pointed single dome. Made of cut stone. The dome is placed on the facade. There is no drum. The front corners are made of relief columns. Window outlets are marble. There are two windows on the top, others on the other, except on the facade.

To get to the Eyup Sultan Mosque with a private car, you can turn right through Eyüp while using the direction of Gaziosmanpasa from the Edirnekapi, or use the direction of Unkapani from Sirkeci and pass under the Unkapani Bridge. To go by bus you can use gaziosmanpaşa buses at Mecidiyekoy.

Address: Merkez Mh, Cami Kebir Sk. No:1, 34050 Eyüp/İstanbul

Fatih Mosque

Fatih Mosque is the first mosque built by a sultan in Istanbul after the conquest of Istanbul. These type of mosques are built by the Ottoman sultans and their families. Fatih Mosque was built by Fatih Sultan Mehmet and contains 16 madrasas, Turkish baths, soup kitchen, library, guesthouse, and hospital. Fatih Mosque, which took great damage in the earthquake in 1766, was rebuilt in 1971 and repaired.

The mosque is built by Atik Sinan. Its first-day appearance and current look are very different from each other. Fatih Mosque is very important in terms of the Islamic aspect since it is the first mosque where the first Turkish Azan recited in 1932.

In the Fatih Mosque, the central dome was built on four pillars. There is also a half-dome around it. This building has two minarets with two balconies. The bodies of the minarets up to the balconies were built before the earthquake of 1771. The stone balustrades were built during the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid II. The fountain courtyard of Fatih Mosque has 22 domes, sitting on 18 columns.

In the middle of the mosque, there is an enormous fountain. The fire pool in the entrance gate of the courtyard was built in 1825 by Sultan Mahmud II. The first mosque had all the features of the transition to classical architecture. The remaining elements of the old structure reveal the value of this building exactly. Today’s Fatih Mosque is one of the examples of the mix of classical architecture and baroque architecture.

Fatih Mosque graveyard is located on the qibla side. The burials started in 1780. This area was later converted into a closed area by walls. During the Ottoman period, the burial was required to obtain permission from the Sultan. While there was no civil burial before the 19th century, there was a change in many aspects of this century. The graves of the grand viziers, sheikulislams, observers and many scientists began to be buried here.

There are a total of 409 gravestones in the Fatih Mosque. When the number of empty tombs found in the graveyard is added, there are 425 gravestones in total. The tombs belonged to 113 women and 177 men. The tombs found in the building were evaluated in four main groups as the members of ilmiye, seyfiye, kalemiye, and tarikat classes.

The Mosque is located at Fatih District. Therefore, those who will arrive by public transport can reach the mosque and the complex in a short time by using the buses moving from Eminönü. Those who will come with their private cars should come from the direction of Karaköy and pass Galata Bridge, then use the Ataturk Boulevard from the coast of Golden Horn.

Address: Ali Kuşçu Mahallesi, Hattat Nafiz Cd No:6, 34083 Fatih/İstanbul

Ortaköy Mosque

Ortaköy Mosque is one of the most beautiful buildings of Istanbul from the 19th century. The building of Ortakoy Mosque was completed in 1854 with the name of Büyük Mecidiye Mosque. It is known that the building was first built by Mahmud Agha, but it has been destroyed during the Patrona Halil Rebellion. Later, it was renewed by Kethüda Devattar Mehmed Ağa, the son-in-law of Mahmud Agha. The present state of the Ortaköy Mosque was built by Sultan Abdülmecid.

Besiktas Ortakoy Mosque consists of Harim and Hünkar Pavillions as the Sultan Mosques. The Harim section consists of the main space with a length of 12.25 square meters and an intermediate space passing through this main space. The ceiling of this section is covered with pink mosaic.

Ortaköy Mosque has two minarets with single balconies. In the mihrab part, mosaic marble was used and the minbar was porphyry marble. The Hünkar Pavilion which is built on two floors with an elliptical staircase is located in the northern entrance of the building.

The Ortaköy Mosque attracts lots of attention with its fine and elegant minarets. It is designed in a style of the Ottoman and Baroque combination and has a single dome. The transition from the dome to the square plan is covered with lead by the pendentives between the corners of the adjoining arches and the dome. On the corners of the building, there are counterfort towers. On the northern side, the minarets rise from the sultan’s apartment. The names of Allah, Muhammad and the first four caliphs in the mosque were written by Sultan Abdülmecid Khan himself.

Ortaköy Mosque was restored in 2011 and it was reopened for worship on June 6, 2014, after three years of preparation. A very image of the Ortaköy Mosque which has examples of Baroque style along with Classical Ottoman Architecture has started to built in the Cuban capital Havana, led by Turkish Religious Foundation.

Ortakoy Mosque is open to tourist visits from 8:30 am in the morning as other mosques in Istanbul. The mosque, which was closed during the prayer times, is open to visitors who want to visit and take pictures outside the times of worship. The mosque is closed for visits from 6 pm onwards. It can be visited for worship only during the evening and night prayers. The visiting hours of the touristic mosques in Istanbul can be learned by means of a telephone operator provided by religious affairs. Because they vary greatly according to the season.

If you want to get to Ortaköy Mosque by public transportation, you can use all buses going to Beşiktaş. You can also use minibusses going to Beşiktaş from your location. If you want to go to Ortakoy mosque with your private car, you can get out of Besiktas which is the last exit before the bridge.

Address: Mecidiye Mahallesi, Mecidiye Köprüsü Sk. 1/1, 34347 Beşiktaş/İstanbul

Beyazit Mosque

Beyazıt Mosque, located in the center of the historical peninsula, is the oldest mosque built by a Sultan, which managed to maintain its first form among the historical mosques in Istanbul. A social complex was built to meet the needs of the community with the mosque by Sultan II Beyazıt.

The Beyazıt Complex was built around the square where it was scattered, not in a symmetrical manner as other social complexes. The complex is one of the biggest complexes built in Istanbul with Fatih and Suleymaniye Complex. Sultan II. Beyazit shrine is also located in the graveyard of Beyazit Mosque.

The Beyazıt Mosque is the second largest mosque built in the city after the conquest of Istanbul. The building is located in the part of the area known as Theodosius Forum during the Byzantines which is the largest square of the city.

Beyazit who took the throne right after Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror built the second largest mosque built by a Sultan in Istanbul (after the Fatih Mosque). Since Fatih Mosque is collapsed due to the earthquake in 1766, Beyazit Mosque is the oldest building in its first form.

The architect of the mosque, which was opened to worship in 1505, is not clear yet, but it is stated that the Beyazit Mosque is built by Yakubşah bin Sultan Şah. In the Beyazıt Complex, there is a mosque, a kitchen, a nursery school, a madrasah, a Turkish bath, a caravanserai, and tanneries.

The madrasah was built on the street side where the tramway line is located, away from the mosque. The building, which is one of the most important madrasahs of the city during its activity, is now used as the Foundation of calligraphy arts. Hammam is located next to Istanbul University Faculty of Science and Literature, farther than madrasah. A part of the building where the caravanserai and the almshouse were built was destroyed. The surviving part serves as the Beyazıt State Library today.

The construction of the Beyazıt Mosque, whose foundation was laid in 1501, was completed in 1505 and opened for worship. Shortly after the opening of the mosque, an earthquake called the little apocalypse occurred in 1509 in Istanbul. The dome of the mosque was damaged during this great earthquake. The mosque was repaired by Mimar Sinan during the years 1573-1574.

Beyazit mosque has had its share from the fires which were frequently encountered during the Ottoman period and led to great destruction. In a fire in 1683, the minaret cones were ignited and in a fire in 1741, the shops around the mosque became unusable. Some of the minarets were burned as a result of lightning strike in 1743.

Beyazit Mosque architecture reflects the transition period from early Ottoman architecture to classical period architecture. Therefore, examples of Seljuk architecture can be seen in the mosque. The two minaret applications, which are generally seen in the mosques built by Sultans, are different in Beyazıt Mosque. The minarets were constructed adjacent to the rooms on the sides instead of the main mass of the mosque.

For this reason, there is a distance of 79 meters between the minarets which cannot be seen in other historical mosques. The minaret on the left side largely lost its ornaments as a result of the destructions, where the minaret on the right side preserved its ornaments including the colored stones and kufic inscriptions to a large extent. This minaret is shown as the only sample of the transition from Seljuk to Ottoman Architecture in Istanbul.

Beyazit Mosque is located at Beyazıt District. To go to the mosque by using the İETT bus, the distance you have to walk after you get off at Beyazıt Bus Station is 30 meters. To go to the mosque by tram, you can get off at Beyazid Tramway stop (50 meters walking distance) or Çemberlitas Tramway stop (400 meters walking distance).

Address: Beyazıt Mh., Ordu Cad., 34126 Fatih/İstanbul

Yavuz Selim Mosque

The fifth hill of Istanbul rises up with a steep slope from the coast of Golden Horn. There are many buildings on the fifth hill which dominates the Golden Horn. Besides the Yavuz Sultan Selim Mosque crowning the hill, there are also Fethiye Mosque, Kariye Mosque, and the Fener Greek Patriarchate.

The district is named after the Yavuz Sultan Selim Mosque. The mosque was built by Suleiman the Magnificent on behalf of his father. Although Evliya Çelebi mentioned the architect as Mimar Sinan, in most sources Architect is mentioned as Acem Ali. Architect Acem Ali is one of the first architects to be known from classical Ottoman architecture.

According to some sources, it is one of the artists that Yavuz Sultan Selim brought with him on his return from the Iran expedition. Yavuz Sultan Selim, who came to Tabriz after the Caldiran victory in 1514, is known to have brought about three thousand people of art and science to the Ottoman Empire upon his return to Amasya. Acem Ali who was in this convoy also came first to Amasya then to Istanbul Palace. Yavuz Sultan Selim assigned Acem Ali as the chief architect, who was known as the minister of the masters in the Safavid State. Acem Ali has a different style that combines Ottoman and Iranian architecture.

The construction of the Yavuz Sultan Selim Mosque started in 1519 and ended in 1522. The mosque, which is one of the seven mosques built by Sultans on seven hills of Istanbul, has a magnificent view of the Golden Horn. On the right side of the mosque, there are Hagia Sophia and the historical peninsula, Galata Tower and Beyoğlu, one of the oldest districts of Istanbul.

There is a cistern on one side of the mosque. It is not known exactly which empire this Byzantine cistern belonged to. This cistern with a depth of 11 meters is known to have been built in the name of Ayios Makios, one of the saints of the Orthodox Church.

The courtyard of the mosque can be entered with three separate doors. These gates have been named as Tomb Gate, Bazaar Gate, and Kırkmerdiven Gate. Fountain in the middle of the courtyard was built by IV. Murad. The side wall of the entrance door of the inner courtyard has a sundial. Sultan Ibrahim put the ornamental cages. The main dome of the mosque goes down through four walls.

There are two minarets with a balcony. The outer face of the courtyard and the inner face of the portico courtyard are decorated with tiles. Within the mosque, we see the works of carving, marquetry, crafting, calligraphy, and embroidery. Door wings and window sashes are inlaid with mother of pearl. To the right of the entrance door there are soot rooms.

Yavuz Sultan Selim Mosque and Complex are located on a hill close to the Golden Horn on Yavuz Selim Street in Balat District of Fatih/Istanbul. You can only use the bus among public transportation services to reach the mosque. You can use the buses departing from Eminönü and using the Fevzi Paşa Street route.

Address: Balat Mahallesi, Sultan Selim Cd. No:18, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul

Hagia Sophia

Once a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral, Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque after Mehmet The Conqueror (1451-1481) conquered Istanbul in 1453. Immediately after the conquest, the structure was strengthened and preserved as a mosque with the additions in the Ottoman Period. The structure, which was damaged by various earthquakes since the date of its construction, was supported with buttresses in both Eastern Roman and Ottoman periods. The minarets built by Mimar Sinan also serve as supports in the building.

A madrasa was built to the north of Hagia Sophia, during the reign of Fatih Sultan Mehmed Period, and the most extensive repair work was carried out by Fossati during the reign of Sultan Abdülmecid (1839-1861). During the reorganization of the Hagia Sophia in the period of Sultan Abdulaziz, the madrasah was demolished between 1869 and 1870 and rebuilt between 1873 and 1874. The ruins of the madrasah, which was destroyed in 1936, were unearthed during the excavations in 1982.

In the Ottoman Period, in the 16th and 17th centuries, the mihrabs, minbar, gathering places of muezzins and a preaching sermon were added to the Hagia Sophia. The bronze oil lamps on the two sides of the mihrab were given to the mosque as a gift by Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566) after Buda Campaign (1526). The two marble cubes belonging to the Hellenistic Period (4th – 3rd century BC) in the left and right corners of the entrance to the main site were brought from Bergama and gifted to the Hagia Sophia by the Sultan III. Murad (1574-1595).

Between 1847 and 1849, during the reign of Sultan Abdülmecid, the Swiss Fossati Brothers had an extensive repair in the Hagia Sophia. During the repair works, the Sultan’s Palace was removed from the niche in the north of the altar, instead, it was rebuilt on the left side of the altar, rising above the pillars, surrounded by wooden gilded balustrades.

In the same period, 8 calligraphic plates with a diameter of 7.5 meters, written by Calligrapher Kadıasker Mustafa İzzet Efendi, were placed on the walls of the main space. These plates with “Allah, Prophet Muhammad, Abu Bakr, Omar, Osman, Ali and Huseyin” written on them, are the largest calligraphic plates of the Islam World. The same calligrapher wrote verse 35 of Sura An-Nur in the middle of the dome.

During the Ottoman period, Hagia Sophia continued to exist as a mosque and attracted special attention from all sultans. The structure which is equipped with works bearing traces of the culture of the Ottoman Empire in time, has been a masterpiece with the influence of both religions and cultures until today. The tombs in Hagia Sophia are the most beautiful examples of the classical Ottoman tomb tradition with its interiors, tiles, and architecture.

Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum with the order of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the decision of the Council of Ministers. On 1 February 1935, it started to be used as a museum for local and foreign visitors.

Tram: You can reach the Ayasofya Museum by using the Bağcılar Kabataş Tram line and getting of at the Gülhane and Sultanahmet stops.
Train: You can reach Sirkeci using Halkali – Sirkeci Suburban Train Line and from here you can reach the Hagia Sophia Museum by the tram line.
Ferry: If you are coming from the Anatolian side, you can reach the tram line by using the Kadıköy – Eminönü, and Üsküdar – Eminönü ferries.

Address: Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Ayasofya Meydanı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul