Top Ten Sights :
Although it is not the capital, Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey as the leading industrial, commercial, historical, and cultural center. The city is also referred to as the "Soul of Turkey". Istanbul is the only major city that lies on two continents, Asia & Europe.
Here's a top ten of must-see sights in Istanbul:
1. Dolmabahce Palace
: The architect Garabet Balyan
managed to combine the Oriental and Western styles
and built the palace by the order of Sultan Abdul Mecid
between the years of 1843-1856. The palace is lavishly
decorated with luxurious furniture, crystals and
2. Topkapi Palace
: It was home to all the Ottoman
sultans for a period of nearly four centuries. This
splendid palace is a museum now. The Treasury of the
Museum of Topkapi Palace is considered one of the
most celebrated treasuries in the world.
3. Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya)
: One of Istanbul's
illustrious landmark, the Hagia Sofia was a former
church, mosque and now a museum. It is the most
important achievement of Byzantine architecture.
4. Suleymaniye Mosque
: It is the largest and most
imposing mosque as being an architectural
masterpiece in the city. The aesthetic supremacy
of its interior and exterior and its perfect
proportions have been captivating the visitors
5. Istanbul Archeology Museum
: It has one of the
world's richest collection of historical artifacts and
treasures. It actually consists of three museums:
the Museum of Oriental Antiquities, the
Archaeological Museum and the Tiled Pavilion.
6. The Grand Bazaar
: The oldest and largest covered
bazaar (in Turkish Kapali Carsi) in the world is
situated in the heart of the city. Inside the Grand
Bazaar you can enjoy shopping and find great
bargains in 3,000 shops.
7. Blue Mosque
: Although it is popularly known
as the Blue Mosque, its real name is Sultan
Ahmet Mosque. It is famous for the beautiful
blue tiles and glass work ornamenting its walls.
8. Galata Tower
: It was called the Christea Turris
(Tower of Christ) by the Genoese andthe Megalos
Pyrgos (The Great Tower) by the Byzantines. It has
a modern restaurant and cafe on its upper floors
with a stunning view of Istanbul.
9. Hagia Eirene (Aya Irini)
: It is one of the earliest
Christian churches in Istanbul. It is located in the
outer courtyard of Topkapi Palace. Today, it is now
a museum that serves mainly as a concert hall for
classical music performances and musical festivals.
10. Old City Walls of Istanbul
: Old Constantinople
was surrounded by walls described as land walls
and sea walls. These walls were considered to be
the largest fortress ever constructed in the
Christian era. With their numerous towers, large
and small, they are a magnificent sight.