Best 18 Landmarks of Istanbul to See

Coveted by empires across the centuries, straddling both Europe and Asia, Istanbul is one of the world’s extraordinary cities. Established around 1000 BC, the province of Byzantium developed into the Byzantine Empire’s incredible capital of Constantinople and after the Ottoman success of the city, held its great spot as the core of their realm. The city (formally renamed Istanbul after the establishment of the Turkish Republic) is generously dispersed with magnificent leftovers of its long and distinguished history, and the sightseeing here will intrigue even the most landmark exhausted guest. In this article, you can find the best 18 attractive landmarks in Istanbul!

Beyazıt Square

In Byzantine occasions, this square was known as the Forum of Theodosius. Today it’s home to road sellers, understudies from the abutting Istanbul University and a lot of pigeons. The fundamental structures are the Beyazıt Mosque and the different structures that initially shaped the piece of its külliye (mosque complex). These incorporate a medrese (right now shut for rebuilding); an imaret (soup kitchen) and kervansaray (caravanserai) complex currently lodging the eminent Beyazıt State Library, and an attractive twofold Hamam now lodging the Turkish Hamam Culture Museum.

After the Conquest, Mehmet the Conqueror fabricated his first royal residence here, a wooden structure called the Eski Sarayı (Old Seraglio). After Topkapı was assembled, the Eski Sarayı got home to ladies when they were pensioned out of the fundamental royal residence – this was the place valide sultans (moms of the authoritative sultans) came when their sultan children kicked the bucket and they lost their incredible situation as leader of the group of concubines. The first structure was obliterated in the nineteenth century to clear a path for a pretentious Ministry of War complex planned by Auguste Bourgeois; this currently houses the college.

The 85m-tall Beyazıt Tower in its grounds sits over one of the seven slopes on which Constantine the Great fabricated the city, following the model of Rome. Dispatched by Mahmut II, the stone pinnacle was planned by Senekerim Balyan and inherent 1828 in a similar area as a past wooden pinnacle. The pinnacle was utilized by the Istanbul Fire Department to spot fires until 1993. The shaded lights on it show climate conditions – blue for clear and radiant, green for a downpour, yellow for mist and red for the day off. Both the college and the tower are forbidden to explorers.

Haydarpaşa Railway Station

Supported by the German government, this railroad station was worked in the principal decade of the twentieth century as the Istanbul stop for an arranged Berlin to Baghdad railroad administration. The station building was structured by German draftsmen, however, the exquisite tile-decorated station iskele (ship dock) was planned by noted Turkish draftsman Vedat Tek. At the hour of research, rebuilding works were in progress, as were archeological uncovering works in and around the station territory.

The station opened in 1908 and worked as the fundamental end for Asian railroad administrations until it was severely harmed by fire in 2010. Left to fall apart, it was put on the World Monument Fund’s worldwide watch rundown of imperiled structures and numerous local people expected that it would be annihilated or unsympathetically redeveloped. In 2016, after much open conversation of its future, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality declared that the structure would be reestablished and stay a train station, turning into the end of the Istanbul–Ankara quick train line.

Patriarchal Church of St. George

Dating from 1836, this congregation is a piece of the Greek Patriarchate compound. Inside the congregation are antiquities including Byzantine mosaics, strict relics and a wood-and-trim male-centric position of royalty. The most attractive element is a luxuriously cut wooden iconostasis (screen of symbols) that was reestablished and sumptuously overlaid in 1994.

The male-centric position of authority is in the nave. Made of pecan trimmed with ivory, mother-of-pearl and shaded wood, it is thought to date from the most recent long periods of Byzantium. Different fortunes incorporate the eleventh-century mosaic symbol that is on the south divider to one side of the iconostasis. This shows the Virgin Mary holding and highlighting the Christ Child, and was initially made for the Byzantine church of Pammakaristos (presently the Fethiye Museum).

Search for the Column of Christ’s Flagellation in the southern corner of the nave. The congregation asserts this is a segment of the segment to which Jesus Christ was bound and whipped by Roman fighters before the Crucifixion. It was brought to Constantinople by St Helen, mother of the main Christian ruler, Constantine.

Note that the congregation is shut somewhere in the range of 9.15 am and 12.20 pm for Sunday administration when the Patriarch is in the living arrangement (for the most part once every month).

Süleymaniye Mosque

The Süleymaniye crowns one of Istanbul’s seven slopes and commands the Golden Horn, giving a milestone to the whole city. Although it’s not the biggest of the Ottoman mosques, it is positively one of the most amazing and generally wonderful. It’s additionally uncommon in that a considerable lot of its unique külliye (mosque complex) structures have been held and thoughtfully adjusted for reuse.

Charged by Süleyman I, known as ‘the Magnificent’, the Süleymaniye was the fourth supreme mosque worked in Istanbul; the mosque’s four minarets with their 10 excellent şerefes (overhangs) are said to speak to the way that Süleyman was the fourth of the Osmanlı sultans to govern the city and the tenth sultan after the foundation of the domain. The mosque and its encompassing structures were planned by Mimar Sinan, the most celebrated and gifted of every single majestic engineer. Development happened somewhere in the range of 1550 and 1557.

Inside, the structure is stunning in its size and satisfying in its effortlessness. Sinan fused the four braces into the dividers of the structure – the outcome is brilliantly ‘straightforward’ (ie open and vaporous) and profoundly suggestive of Aya Sofya, particularly as the vault is about as huge as the one that crowns the Byzantine basilica.

The mihrab (specialty in a minaret showing the bearing of Mecca) is shrouded in fine Iznik tiles, and other inside improvement incorporates window shades trimmed with mother-of-pearl, lovely recolored glass windows, painted muqarnas (corbels with honeycomb detail), a stupendous persimmon-hued floor cover, painted pendentives and emblems including fine calligraphy.

Süleyman determined that his mosque complex ought to have a külliye with imaret (soup kitchen), medrese (theological school), Hamam, darüşşifa (clinic), tabhane (motel for voyaging dervishes) and so forth. The imaret and tabhane are on the northwestern edge of the mosque and the fundamental access to the mosque is gotten to from Professor Sıddık Sami Onar Caddesi, previously known as Tiryaki Çarşışı (Market of the Addicts).

The structures here once housed three medreses and a grade school; they’re presently home to the Süleymaniye Library and a heap of well known streetside fasulye (bean) eateries that used to be teahouses selling opium (thus the road’s previous name). The darüşşifa is at the intersection of Professor Sıddık Sami Onar Caddesi and Şifahane Sokak.

Sinan’s türbe (tomb) is simply outside the mosque’s walled nursery, by a neglected medrese (theological college) building. The as-yet working Süleymaniye Hamamı is on the eastern side of the mosque. To one side (southeast) of the mosque’s fundamental passageway is the graveyard, home to the octagonal tombs of Süleyman and his significant other Haseki Hürrem Sultan (Roxelana). The tile work encompassing the doors to both is wonderful and the ivory-trimmed boards in Süleyman’s tomb are stunning.

The avenues encompassing the mosque are home to what likely could be the broadest grouping of Ottoman timber houses on the recorded landmass, a large number of which are presently being reestablished as a major aspect of an urban recovery venture.

Rüstem Paşa Mosque

Settled in the occupied Tahtakale shopping locale, this small mosque is a diamond. Dating from 1560, it was planned by Sinan for Rüstem Paşa, child in-law and fabulous vizier of Süleyman the Magnificent. A masterpiece of the best Ottoman design and tile work, it is thought to have been the model for Sinan’s most noteworthy work, the Selimiye Camii in Edirne. At the hour of research rebuilding works were in progress and the mosque was shut to people in general.

The mosque is barely noticeable because it’s not at the road level. There’s a lot of access stairs on Hasırcılar Caddesi and another on the little road that runs right (north) off Hasırcılar Caddesi towards the Golden Horn. At the highest point of the stairs, there’s a patio and the mosque’s colonnaded yard. Dazzling boards of Iznik tiles are set into the mosque’s exterior. The inside is canvassed in more tiles and highlights a beautiful arch, bolstered by four tiled columns.

The prevalence of tiles was Rüstem Paşa’s method for flagging his riches and impact, with Iznik tiles being especially costly and attractive. It might not have helped his entry into the higher domain however, because apparently, he was a nefarious character. His counterparts named him Kehle-I-Ikbal (the Louse of Fortune) since he was seen as contaminated with lice on the eve of his union with Mihrimah, Süleyman’s preferred girl. He is best associated with plotting with Roxelana to turn Süleyman against his preferred child, Mustafa. They were fruitful and Mustafa was choked in 1553 on his dad’s requests.

Spiral Column

Coming up out of an opening in the ground, this odd segment was once a lot taller and was bested by three snakes’ heads. Initially cast to recognize a triumph of the Hellenic confederation over the Persians in the clash of Plataea, it remained before the Temple of Apollo at Delphi (Greece) from 478 BC until Constantine the Great had it brought to his new capital city around AD 330.

Even though gravely harmed in Byzantine occasions, the snakes’ heads made due until the mid-eighteenth century. Presently all that remaining parts of them is one upper jaw, which was found in a storm cellar of Aya Sofya and is housed in the Istanbul Archeology Museums.

Rough-Stone Obelisk

After sacking Aya Sofya in 1204, the officers of the Fourth Crusade tore every one of the plates from this monolith, at the Hippodrome’s southern end, in the mixed up conviction that they were strong gold (indeed, they were gold-shrouded bronze). The Crusaders additionally took the renowned Triumphal Quadriga (the group of four ponies cast in bronze) and put them on the fundamental entryway of Venice’s Basilica di San Marco.

Istanbul Naval Museum

Set up over a century before celebrating and remember Turkish maritime history, this present historical center’s structurally imperative copper-clad display corridor opened in 2013 and features an awesome assortment of nineteenth-century magnificent caïques, elaborately beautified wooden rowboats utilized by the illustrious family. Impermanent shows happen in the ground floor exhibition.

The historical center’s unique structure houses show including ‘The Navy in the Turkish Republic’ and ‘Cartography and Navigational Instruments’; the last spotlights on the accomplishments of the sixteenth-century cartographer Piri Reis. In the square inverse, the exhibition hall is the Sinan-planned tomb of the chief naval officer of Süleyman the Magnificent’s armada, Barbaros Heyrettin Paşa (1483–1546), also called Barbarossa.

The exhibition hall is situated on the Bosphorus shore near the Beşiktaş transport exchange and ship dock. Across Beşiktaş Caddesi, dolmuşes (minibusses) run from outside Akbank up to Taksim Meydanı (Taksim Sq; ₺2.50) and to Harbiye, where Turkey’s significant military historical center, the Askeri Müze, is found. The Ottoman military band known as the Mehter performs there most days somewhere in the range of 3 pm and 4 pm.

Atatürk Arboretum

With tranquil lakes and about 2000 various types of trees and plants from everywhere throughout the world, this 730-section of the land desert garden of green in the north of the city is an inviting rest from Istanbul’s packed roads and solid spread. Walk around oaks, firs, maples, redwoods and sweet gums on a few kilometers of stone ways and soil trails. You can undoubtedly put in several hours investigating here and taking in the natural air.

Any sort of nourishment or drink is carefully restricted inside the arboretum however the encompassing Bahçeköy neighborhood has a casual tea garden in the town focus and a line of well-known börek shops up the street, past the noteworthy eighteenth-century stone water passage. Some not-especially well-checked path likewise lead from Bahçeköy into the Belgrad Ormanı (Belgrad Forest) for those keen on progressively rough climbing.

The Atatürk Arboretum is anything but difficult to reach by open vehicle; get the 42HM transport from the Hacıosman metro station into Bahçeköy, landing at the Kemerburgaz Yolu stop.

Theodosius Cistern (Şerefiye Cistern)

At the point when an unremarkable 1950s civil structure on this site was destroyed in 2010, the development group made an energizing underground disclosure: Byzantine storage dating from the rule of Emperor Theodosius. Research has discovered that the structure was worked somewhere in the range of 428 and 443 and was known as the Constantinus or Theodosius Cistern. Presently reestablished, a wooden walkway permits guests to effortlessly appreciate the water-secured marble base, vaulted block roof and 32 gigantic marble sections (lamentably damaged with current metal supports).

One of the Roman city’s three significant reservoirs (with the fourth-century Binbirdirek Cistern and the sixth-century Basilica Cistern), the structure put away water brought to the city from the Belgrade Forest by the Aqueduct of Valens. Admission to the storage was free at the hour of research, however, a charge might be presented later on.

Tomb of Sultan Ahmet I

The türbe (tomb) of Sultan Ahmet I, the Blue Mosque’s extraordinary benefactor, is on the north side of the mosque confronting Sultanahmet Park. Ahmet, who had climbed to the royal position of royalty matured 13, passed on in 1617 matured just 27; his türbe was built somewhere in the range of 1617 and 1619 and like the mosque, includes fine Iznik tiles.

Covered with Ahmet are his significant other, Kösem, who was choked to death in the Topkapı Harem, and his children, Sultan Osman II (r 1618–22), Sultan Murat IV (r 1623–40) and Prince Beyazıt (killed by request of Murat).

Basilica Cistern

This underground structure was dispatched by Emperor Justinian and implicit 532. The biggest enduring Byzantine storage in Istanbul, it was built utilizing 336 sections, a large number of which were rescued from destroyed sanctuaries and highlight fine cut capitals. Its evenness and sheer magnificence of origination are very stunning, and its enormous profundities make an extraordinary retreat on summer days.

Like most destinations in Istanbul, the storage has an abnormal history. It was initially known as the Basilica Cistern since it lay underneath the Stoa Basilica, one of the extraordinary squares on the primary slope. Intended to support the Great Palace and encompassing structures, it had the option to put away to 80,000 cm meters of water conveyed utilizing 20km of water passages from a repository close to the Black Sea, however, it was shut when the Byzantine rulers migrated from the Great Palace.

Overlooked by the city specialists sometime before the Conquest, it wasn’t rediscovered until 1545, when researcher Petrus Gyllius was exploring Byzantine ancient pieces in the city and was told by neighborhood occupants that they had the option to get water by bringing down pails into a dull space underneath their cellar floors. Some were in any event, getting fish thusly. Fascinated, Gyllius investigated the area lastly got to the storage through one of the cellars.

Much after his disclosure, the Ottomans (who alluded to the reservoir as Yerebatan Saray) didn’t treat the supposed Underground Palace with the regard it merited – it turned into a dumping ground for a wide range of garbage, just as bodies.

The reservoir was cleaned and redesigned in 1985 by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and opened to general society in 1987. It’s presently one of the city’s most famous vacation spots. Strolling along its raised wooden stages, you’ll feel water dribbling from the vaulted roof and see schools of spooky carp watching the water – it positively has bucketloads of environment. Note that Museum Pass Istanbul isn’t acknowledged here.

Çırağan Palace

Not happy with the building efforts of his ancestor at Dolmabahçe Palace, Sultan Abdül Aziz (r 1861–76) manufactured his own stupendous home at Çırağan, just 1.5km away. Here, engineer Nikoğos Balyan, who had additionally dealt with Dolmabahçe, made an intriguing structure merging European neoclassical with Ottoman and Moorish styles. The Çırağan Palace Kempinski Hotel currently possesses some portion of the royal residence.

Kariye Museum (Chora Church)

Istanbul has too much of Byzantine landmarks, yet few are as drop-dead stunning as this mosaic-and fresco-loaded church. Settled in the shadow of Theodosius II’s amazing area dividers and now a historical center, it gets a small amount of the guest numbers that the popular Aya Sofya pulls in, however, it offers similarly interesting bits of knowledge into Byzantine workmanship. The congregation has been shut in stages for remodeling over various years; check the site for subtleties of what’s open.

The most ideal approach to find a good pace of town is to get the Haliç (Golden Horn) ship from Karaköy to Ayvansaray and stroll up the slope along Dervişzade Sokak, take a right into Eğrikapı Mumhane Caddesi and afterward very quickly left into Şişhane Caddesi. From here you can follow the remainders of Theodosius II’s property dividers, passing the Palace of Constantine Porphyrogenitus on your way.

From Hoca Çakır Caddesi, veer left into Vaiz Sokak just before you arrive at the lofty stairs paving the way to the bulwarks of the divider, at that point transform sharp left into Kariye Sokak and you’ll go to the exhibition hall. The structure was initially known as the Church of the Holy Savior Outside the Walls (Chora truly signifies ‘nation’), mirroring the way that when it was first manufactured it was situated outside the first city dividers developed by Constantine the Great.

What you see today isn’t the first church. Rather, it was remade at any rate multiple times, most fundamentally in the eleventh, twelfth and fourteenth hundreds of years. The entirety of the inside enrichment – the well-known mosaics and the less prestigious yet similarly striking frescos – dates from around 1320 and was supported by Theodore Metochites, a writer and man of letters who was logothetes, the authority answerable for the Byzantine treasury, under Emperor Andronikos II (r 1282–1328). One of the exhibition hall’s most awesome mosaics, found over the entryway to the nave in the inward narthex, delineates Theodore offering the congregation to Christ.

Today the Chora comprises five fundamental building units: the nave, the two-celebrated structure (add) added toward the north, the internal and the external narthexes and the house of prayer for tombs (preclusion) toward the south. In 2013 a second significant rebuilding initiated. This progressing procedure is going on in stages, and includes the conclusion of parts of the exhibition hall; the nave, two-story attaches on the northern side of the structure and the vast majority of the internal narthex has been finished and chip away at the external narthex and preclusion were in progress at the hour of research.


A large portion of the inside is secured with mosaics portraying the lives of Christ and the Virgin Mary. Pay special mind to the Khalke Jesus, which shows Christ and Mary with two benefactors: Prince Isaac Comnenos and Melanie, a little girl of Byzantine head Michael VIII Palaiologos. This is under the correct arch in the inward narthex. On the vault, itself is a shocking portrayal of Jesus and his predecessors (The Genealogy of Christ). On the narthex’s left vault is a gently lovely mosaic of Mary and the Baby Jesus Surrounded by her Ancestors.

In the nave are three mosaics: Christ; Mary and the Baby Jesus; and the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin (Assumption) – pivot to see the last mentioned, as it’s over the principle entryway you just entered. The ‘newborn child’ being held by Jesus is Mary’s spirit.


To one side of the nave is the preclusion, a side sanctuary worked to hold the tombs of the congregation’s originator and his family members, dear companions and partners. This is brightened with frescos that manage the subjects of death and restoration, delineating scenes taken from the Old Testament. The striking work of art in the apse known as the Anastasis shows a ground-breaking Christ raising Adam and Eve out of their stone caskets, with holy people and lords in participation.

The entryways of hellfire appear under Christ’s feet. Less glorious however no less excellent are the frescos enhancing the arch, which show Mary and 12 chaperon blessed messengers. On the roof between this arch and the apse, the Last Judgment strikingly portrays this scene from the Book of Revelation in astonishing white with plated emphasis, with the moving up of paradise spoke to by a curling theme encompassed by the ensembles of paradise.

Blue Mosque

Istanbul’s most photogenic structure was the fabulous undertaking of Sultan Ahmet I (r 1603–17), whose tomb is situated on the north side of the site confronting Sultanahmet Park. The mosque’s magnificently shapely outside highlights a course of arches and six slim minarets. Blue Iznik tiles decorate the inside and give the structure its informal however ordinarily utilized name.

With the mosque’s outside, the planner, Sedefkâr Mehmet Ağa, figured out how to organize a visual wham-bam impact like that of close by star Aya Sofya’s inside. Its bends are enticing; it has six minarets (more than some other mosque at the time it was assembled), and its yard is the greatest of the entirety of the Ottoman mosques. The inside has a likewise great scale: the Iznik tiles number during the several thousand; there are 260 windows, and the focal supplication space is enormous.

To best handle, the mosque’s structure, enter the complex utilizing the Hippodrome as opposed to from Sultanahmet Park. Once inside the patio, which is a similar size as the mosque’s inside, you’ll welcome the structure’s ideal extents. The mosque is such a well-known fascination, that confirmation is controlled to save its holy environment. Just admirers are conceded through the fundamental entryway; guests must utilize the south entryway (follow the signs).

The mosque is shut to non-worshippers for 30 minutes or so during the five day by day supplication times – two hours before daybreak, sunrise, early afternoon, mid-evening, nightfall and just before the last light of the day – and is additionally shut for cleaning on Friday mornings. Note that the Friday late morning petitions are longer than the standard supplication time to suit a week after week message. Ladies who don’t have a headscarf or are viewed as too inadequately dressed will be lent a headscarf and additionally robe.

Beylerbeyi Palace

This lavishly outfitted 1865 structure was planned by Sarkis Balyan, sibling of Nikoğos (modeler of Dolmabahçe Palace). It pleased both Sultan Abdül Aziz (r 1861–76), who authorized it and the numerous remote dignitaries who visited. Its last magnificent ‘visitor’ was previous Sultan Abdül Hamit II, who went through the most recent five years of his life under house capture here. Search for the unconventional marble washing structures by the water’s edge; one was for men, the other for ladies of the array of mistresses.

Helped by an enlightening audio tour (remembered for ticket value) you’ll go through rooms improved with frescoes of maritime scenes, Bohemian precious stone ceiling fixtures, Ming containers, and extravagant Hereke floor coverings, investigating both the fabulous selamlik (stylized quarters) and the little yet rich group of concubines.

Features incorporate the first-floor lobby with the colossal marble pool utilized for cooling during summer, the intricately painted and plated sultan’s loft, and the wood-framed sultan’s crowd live with its Baccarat ceiling fixture, Hereke cover and brilliant Bosphorus see. After the visit, you can appreciate a glass of tea in the nursery bistro. The simplest method to visit Beylerbeyi is to take the Denture Avraysa to jump on/bounce off a visit from Kabataş. On the off chance that originating from Üsküdar by transport, land at the Beylerbeyi Sarayı stop.

Rumeli Hisarı

Before the development of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge during the 1980s, this enormous fortification was a significant milestone on this piece of the Bosphorus. Worked by request of Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452 at the tightest purpose of the waterway, it and Anadolu Hisarı, the manor that had been based on the contrary shore in 1393–1395, empowered the Ottomans to control all water traffic, cutting the city off from resupply via ocean and contributing altogether to the Ottoman annihilation of Byzantine Constantinople.

Legend discloses to us that to speed Rumeli Hisarı’s fruition, Mehmet requested every one of his three viziers to assume liability for one of the three principle towers. If a vizier’s pinnacle development was not finished to a tight four-month plan, he would pay with his life. The work was finished on schedule.

The valuable military existence of the fortification endured short of what one year. After the Conquest of Constantinople, it was utilized as a celebrated Bosphorus fee collection counter for some time, at that point a military encampment, a jail lastly an outside theater. Inside the dividers are sick kempt grounds and the minaret of a demolished mosque. Soak stairs lead up the bulwarks; the perspectives from here are wonderful. By the fortification are the Rumeli Hisarı transport stop and a grip of bistros and eateries that are especially occupied on ends of the week.

Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I love Istanbul. I have been to 10 different countries. Istanbul is in the top 3 cities. I like to play soccer too :)

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