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Tourist attractions Istanbul

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  • 1 Walls of Constantinople or of Theodosius II Interesting

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    The area between St Saviour-in-Chora and Fatih is very much a working class district. Washing hangs from windows and you're more likely than not to come across a passer-by with a lamb in tow, or an old man heading up one of the district's narrow stre..

  • 2 Panaghia Pammakaristos Church Interesting

    Religious buildings

    Located in the middle of rather dull surroundings, the Panaghia Pammakaristos church was the seat of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate until 1586. Its funerary chapel has preserved a remarkable set of 14C mosaics on a gold background. On the pendentive..

  • 3 Imperial Complex of Fatih Mehmet Interesting

    Religious buildings

    Haliç cad.

    A visit to the imperial complex of Fatih Mehmet is one of the highlights of any visit to Istanbul, both because of its monumental appearance and the atmosphere in this strong Islamist district of the city (appropriate attire required). Mehmet II buil..

  • 4 Galata Hill Interesting

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    At the frontier between the Golden Horn and the modern city, Galata Hill rises up to the tower of the same name, which commands a splendid 360° view over the city. To reach the summit, take the underground cable car, or Tünel, Istanbul's pride and jo..

  • 5 Pera Museum Interesting

    Museums and art

    Meşrutiyet Cad. 65

    The Pera Museum is housed behind the neo-Classical façade of the former Bristol Hotel (1893). It displays on two floors part of the private collection of the Kirac Foundation that is based around three themes: "the Ottoman Empire through the eye..

  • 6 Flower Passage Interesting

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    Istiklal Cad.

    A feast of Rococo architecture, the 19C Flower Passage (Çiçek Pasaji in Turkish) has retained its full charm. Its restaurants, which are lively day and night, serve local specialities such as meze and deliciously spiced grilled lamb's tripe (kokoreç)..

  • 7 Küçüksu Palace Interesting

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    Rive asiatique

    At the mouth of the Asian shore of the Bosphorous, this small palace built by Nikogos Balyan in 1857 reflects its elegant Neo-Baroque, almost Rococo facade in the waters of the Bosphorous. A former summer imperial residence, then a presidential palac..

  • 8 Rumeli Hisari Interesting

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    Rive européenne

    The towers and crenellated walls of the imposing ramparts of the Rumeli Hisari (1452) can be seen on the European shore of the Bosphorus, resembling a long stone snake lying on the side of a hill. The castle was built in just three months by Mehmet I..

  • 9 Mehmet the Conqueror Bridge Interesting

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    Mehmet the Conqueror Bridge, just as impressive as the Bosphorous Bridge, is the second suspended bridge spanning the delta. It was built by the Japanese in 1991 on the exact spot where the Persian king Darius built a floating bridge 2 500 years earl..

  • 10 Emirgan Park Interesting

    Nature and gardens

    The verdant Emirgan Park, situated on the European shore of the city, with its spring waters and delightful tulip gardens, is very popular with the locals. Don't miss the tulip festival (April), which provides a real explosion of colour. The Baroque ..

  • 11 Princes' Islands Interesting

    Nature and gardens

    The hustle and bustle of Istanbul is just an hour's boat ride from the Princes' Islands, an archipelago situated in the Sea of Marmara. The largest island, Büyük Ada, is tiny. With a glass of raki in your hand and a plate of grilled squid and sea bas..

  • 12 Church of the Snake Interesting

    Religious buildings

    One of the chapels in the Soganli Valley, the Church of the Snake was once part of a monastery, of which several rooms and cells still survive. The church has undergone extensive damage and the frescoes themselves are in poor condition. To the left o..

  • 13 Church of the Stag Interesting

    Religious buildings

    The stag here is depicted in a damaged but memorable fresco in this church, where Christ is portrayed between the antlers of a stag. The Church of the Stag is also worth a visit for its sculpted iconostasis in one room and for the troglodyte refector..

  • 14 Church of St Barbara Interesting

    Religious buildings

    At the entrance to the Church of St Barbara stands a small narthex crowned by a dome and decorated with frescoes. This is followed by a single nave with a barrel-vaulted ceiling and an apse at one end. A funerary chapel was created at a later date to..

  • 15 Egyptian Bazaar, Istanbul Interesting

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    face à l'embarcadère d'Eminönü

    In this paradise of scents and flavours it's hard to resist the myriad offerings on offer, such as the ubiquitous Turkish Delight and other gourmet treats. The Egyptian bazaar also continues to sell herbs and spices, just as it did when it was first ..

  • 16 Eyüp Complex Interesting

    Religious buildings

    The holy complex of Eyüp, which has benefited from a programme of restoration and maintenance, stands on the banks of the Golden Horn. The site honours Eyüp, the companion of the Prophet. The spectacle of popular fervour and the profusion of religiou..

  • 17 Ortaköy Interesting

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    Ortaköy is located beneath the 65m-high suspension bridge spanning the Bosphorus. This former fishing village, which has been transformed into a fully-fledged district of the city, has retained a certain charm thanks to its maze of pedestrian lanes a..

  • 18 Ancient Hippodrome of Istanbul

    Archaeological and historical sites

    This vast oblong square dotted with a few obelisks is all that remains nowadays from the prestigious Roman hippodrome. Only three monuments survive from those originally standing inside the track: to the south of the square, the Column of Constantine..

  • 19 Pasha Mehmet Sokollu Mosque

    Religious buildings

    Şehit Mehmet Paşa Sok.

    The small Sokollu mosque was built by Sinan in 1571. Entry is via an extraordinary covered staircase that leads to the inner courtyard, embellished with a traditional sadirvan (ablutions fountain). Despite its slender appearance and the half-light wi..

  • 20 Üsküdar

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    The district of Üsküdar (on the Asian side) is a popular destination for the locals on Sundays, who flock to its riverside cafés to admire the wonderful views of Topkapi and Sultanahmet. Even though the district is far from being the most Muslim of I..

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