Top Attractions for Istanbul / Taksim

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi is the largest and oldest palace in the world to survive to our day. In 1924 it was turned into a museum at Atatiirk’s request. Situated on the acropolis, the site of the first settlement in Istanbul, it commands an impressive view of the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara. The palace is a complex surrounded by 5 km of walls and occupies an area of 700,000 sq. m at the tip of the historical peninsula.

Website: www.topkapisarayi.gov.tr
The Museum is open in between: April 15th – November 1st 09:00 to 18:00 every day except Tuesdays November 1st – April 15th 09:00 to 16:00 every day except Tuesdays
Entrance Fee: 30 TL (Harem section extra 15 TL)

Basillica Cistern

he Basilica Cistern, located in the crowded Eminönü district of Istanbul next to the Hagia Sophia, was built to provide water for the city of Istanbul during the reign of Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century CE. This cistern is an underground chamber of 138 x 64.6 metres. The large space is broken up by a forest of 336 marble columns, which are aesthetically supported by strong columns and arches.

Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_Cistern
The Museum is open in between: 09:00 to 19:00 every day except Mondays
Entrance Fee: 20 TL

Aya Sophia

Once a church, than became a Mosque and now a Museum. Probably one of the most interesting spots of Istanbul. It is called as St Sophia, Hagia Sophia or Ayasofya, the difference is only in the Languages. Ayasofya is one of the most extraordinary buildings in the history of architecture. Ayasofya is the forth biggest Cathedral in the world with its 56m high dome, after Saint Paul in London, Saint Peter in Rome and Duomo in Milan, However the main fact is, it was built more than 1000 years ago from the others..

Website: www.hagiasophia.com
The Museum is open in between: April 15th – November 1st 09:00 to 18:00 every day except Mondays November 1st – April 15th 09:00 to 16:00 every day except Mondays
Entrance Fee: 30 TL

Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque was commissioned by Sultan Ahmet I when he was only 19 years old. It was built near the Hagia Sophia, over the site of the ancient hippodrome and Byzantine imperial palace (whose mosaics can be seen in the nearby Mosaic Museum). Construction work began in 1609 and took seven years.

One of the most notable features of the Blue Mosque is visible from far away: its six minarets. This is very unique, as most mosques have four, two, or just one minaret. According to one account, the Sultan directed his architect to make gold (altin) minarets, which was misunderstood as six (alti) minarets.

Website: www.bluemosque.org
Open: Open everyday, outside prayer times
Entrance Fee: No entrance fee

Galata Tower

The Galata Tower is found on a hilltop overlooking the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus, and the Sea of Marmara. It was built by the Genoese in 1.348 as the chief tower in the city walls of Galata. After suffering heavy damage in a great earthquake in 1509, the tower was repaired by Architect Hayreddin. The tower is therefore Turkish-made from 13 meters up.

lso used as a dungeon, the tower was mostly used as a look out place to spot the outbreak of fires. The city was continuously surveyed and upon the sighting of a fire the public were warned by the beating of a large drum. The 62 meter-high tower (65.9 with the flag-staff) is now a popular tourist attraction, with facilities including a restaurant on the top floor. The balcony ringing the top floor affords a panoramic view of İstanbul and is an ideal place to observe the city.

Website: www.galatatower.net
Open: from 09:00 to 17:00
Entrance Fee: 20 TL

Dolmabahçe Palace

During the reign of Sultan Abdülmedjid, on the grounds of being timber and useless, demolishing of Besiktas Waterside Palace started in 1843 and the foundation of today’s Dolmabahce Palace laid down in its place.

Dolmabahce Palace, including the basement floor, is a three – storey structure. Despite of the distinct Western influence apparent in form, detail and ornamentation, the building is a work of Ottoman architects’ masterly interpretation of these impressions. On the other hand, the plan arrangement is an adaptation of traditional Turkish house in grandeur scale, constructed with stone external walls, brick internal walls and timber floors. Being open to the technology of its period, the Palace received its central heating and electrical systems during the years 1910 – 1912.

Website: www.dolmabahce.gov.tr
The Museum is open in between: 9.00-15.00 every day except Mondays and Thursdays
Entrance Fee: Selamlik (Official part) 30 TL – Harem (Privy Chambers) 20 TL – Common Ticket for both 40 TL

Beylerbeyi Palace

eylerbeyi Palace was used as a summer palace by Sultan Abdulaziz (1861-1876). During the reign of Sultan Abdülaziz ve Abdülhamid II, the palace acquired the characteristics of a state guest house beginning with its allocation to the foreign states’ sovereigns and presidents during their official visits.

Foreign state guests were entertained at Beylerbeyi Palace during the Period of Republic. Pehlevi, the Sah of Iran who visited Turkey in 1934, was entertained at this palace by Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Website: www.beylerbeyi.gov.tr
The Museum is open in between: 9.00-15.00 every day except Mondays and Thursdays
Entrance Fee: Selamlik (Official part) 15 TL – Harem (Privy Chambers) 10 TL – Common Ticket for both 20 TL

Maiden’s Tower

Kizkulesi is located off the coast of Salacak neighborhood in Üsküdar district, at the southern entrance of the Bosphorus. It literally means “Maiden’s Tower” in Turkish.

Today, Kizkulesi is a very popular and classy restaurant and cafeteria-bar. It offers 360 degree views of the Bosphorus and the old city, especially at night. There are several shuttle boats going to the tower at certain times from Kabatas neighborhood on the European side of Istanbul and from Salacak neighborhood on the Asian side.

Website: www.kizkulesi.com.tr
The Maiden Tower is open in between: 9.00-00.30 every day

Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamam

The Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamamı, also known as the Haseki Hürrem Sultan Hamamı, is located in a building designed by legendary architect Sinan in 1556 for the notorious Hürrem Sultan (Roxelana) a concubine who became the wife of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. For decades, the building housed a carpet dealership; now, following a major renovation, it has become a hamam once more, and offers bath basic and luxurious bath services in a spotless and beautiful setting, including massages and fully-body clay masks. There is an onsite restaurant offering a la carte Turkish cuisine.

Website: www.ayasofyasultanhamami.com
The Hamam is open in betweeen: 7am to 11pm, separate sections for men and women
Treatments Fee: from €70 on

The Archaeological Museum

Walk to Istanbul’s three-in-one equivalent of the British Museum via the grounds of Topkapi Palace or through Gulhane Park. If time is tight, go straight to the large porticoed building housing the glorious sarcophagus of Alexander which depicts scenes from the life of Alexander the Great in vivid 3D. Kids will love the model Trojan Horse in the children’s section. Then pop into the lovely Tiled Pavilion, one of the city’s oldest Ottoman structures, beautifully restored to show off its finest ceramics. Finally, catch a glimpse of a peace treaty from 1269 BC preserved in the part of the museum nearest to the gate.

Website: www.istanbularkeoloji.gov.tr
The Museum is open in between: 09:00 to 18:00 every day except Mondays
Entrance Fee: 15 TL