Istanbul is considered to be a dream destination, its location which is close to the edge of Europe which connects the two continents, the city has a huge background when it comes to history, culture, colors and scents. It's architecture and the food makes Istanbul a rich country ! The city is known to be very busy but dont worry there are many spots that you can visit to relax and breath.
The palace was the home of the Ottoman sultans during the 15th to 19th centuries. Four courtyards with beautiful gardens and fountains surround a multitude of buildings housing the Harem…a must see, the Imperial Treasury…don’t miss the stunning 86 carat pear shaped Spoonmaker Diamond, the armoury, the Hall of the Privy Chamber and the Throne Room where the Sultan received his guests. Walk to the end of the garden for a fabulous view over the Sea of Marmara.
As you can imagine, this is a very popular place to visit. My advice is to arrive just before opening time and make the harem your first stop as this becomes very busy later in the day.
Open every day except Tuesday from 9am -5pm . Tickets can be purchased just before the second gate.
Tickets to the Harem can now be bought at the same time at an extra cost of 15TL.
Built in 537 as a Church, it later became a mosque in 1453 and finally, in 1935, a museum. You will be in awe of its beauty as you stand under the dome taking it all in. Take the steps to the gallery where stunning mosaics dating back to the 12th century can be seen. As one of the most beautiful buildings in Istanbul it is a sight that shouldn’t be missed! Read more about Aya Sophia here.
Open daily except Monday.
Sogukçesme Sokagi or Cold Fountain Street as it is more commonly known, is named after a fountain at the Gülhane Park end of the street. If you’re coming from the Eminönu and Sirkec, the park is on your left as you follow the tram tracks towards Sultanahmet.
This quiet street is lined with beautiful trees and restored historic wooden houses built in the 19th and early 20th centuries backing on to the walls of the Topkapi Palace. Thankfully no cars are allowed to disturb this unspoilt corner of the city.
As you walk past the shops that occupy the ground floor of the first few houses you will come across the Sarnic Restaurant on the left. If you can, pop in and have a look at it’s glorious setting in an early Byzantine cistern.
This elongated place was in antiquity a stadium built by Septimius Severus in the second century AD and later enlarged under Constantine.
It could accommodate approximately 100,000 spectators and the arena was 480 meters long.
Three columns are now erected on this square: the top third of an Egyptian obelisk that originally measured 60m. It was erected here by Theodosius I, before he was in Karnak, in commemoration of the campaigns of the 16th century BC of Thutmose III in Egypt.
It may have broken during his transport from Egypt.
It was to be transported from Karnak by Emperor Constantine, but the operation was aborted and the obelisk remained abandoned more than a century on the beach of Alexandria before Theodosius made him take the sea for its current destination.