Sights

In terms of historical sights Istanbul is one of the world’s richest cities. The city’s well-recorded history goes back nearly two millennia, covering the periods of the Byzantine Constantinopolis and the Ottoman Istanbul. Big majority of the historical sights are concentrated in the old city and especially in the most eastern part of it where our hotel is located. Click on the small images to see a picture of each sight; you can also click on the name of each sight to see its location and its proximity to our hotel on the map.


At walking distance from our hotel

Hagia Sophia was built in the 6th century as a basilica by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. After the Turkish conquest of Istanbul by the Ottomans in 1453, the edifice was transformed into a mosque and served as the main mosque of the Empire until its collaps during the First World War. It serves as a museum since then. Fee TL 25. Open 9-19 except Monday.

Topkapı Palace The palace complex began to emerge on orders of the Sultan Mehmet II, shortly after the conquest of Constantinople. With new sections added throughout its history, the palace complex was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans and the seat of the government from 1465 to 1856. It was converted into a museum after the declaration of the republic in 1923. Fee TL 25 (+ Harem TL 15). Open 9-19 except Tuesday.

Blue Mosque is one of the two big imperial mosques in Istanbul (the other being the Süleymaniye). Finished in 1616, it is known for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior. It is very photogenic particularly when floodlit at night. Open 9-18.

Hippodrome. Built in the 3rd century by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus, it was the sporting and social center of Byzantine Contantinople and was used for races, court ceremonies, coronations and parades.The Hippodrome was the centre of Byzantium's life for 1000 years and of Ottoman life for another 400 years and has been the scene of countless political dramas.

Basilica Cistern. The biggest Byzantine cistern. Built in the 6th century at the same time as Hagia Sophia, it was forgotten for centuries to be rediscovered in the 16th century. Fee TL 10. Open 9:00-18:30.

Church of the Saint Sergius and Bacchus. It is a 6th century Eastern Orthodox church converted like many others into a mosque (the so-called "Small Hagia Sophia Mosque") during the Ottoman period.


Near Galata Bridge (not far, but taxi or tram recommended)

Rüstem Pasha Mosque. Built in the 16th century the imperial architect Mimar Sinan for Grand Vizier Damat Rüstem Pasha (husband of one of the daughters of Suleyman the Magnificent), it is famous for its large quantities of exquisite Iznik tiles. Open 9-18.


In other parts of the old city

Süleymaniye Mosque. Ottoman imperial mosque from the 16th century, the masterpiece of Mimar Sinan and the best example of classical era Ottoman mosques in Istanbul. Open 9-19 except Tuesday. Open 9-18.

Chora Church. Built in the 14th century, this well-survived example of a typical Byzantine church, has the best mosaics and fresqoes of the era. The mosaics, which depict the lives of Christ and Mary, are simply stunning. It is one of the city's most important sights and deserves an extended visit. Fee TL 20. Open 9-17 except Wednesday.

Mihrimah Sultan Mosque. Built by the great architect Sinan in 1560's for Sultan Süleyman's favourite daughter Mihrimah, it is located at the highest point of the old city and features an airy interior, beautiful stained-glass windows and a 'bird cage' chandelier. Open 9-18.

Eyüp Sultan Mosque & Mausoleum. Originally built in 1458 at the place where Abu Ayyub, the standard-bearer of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, is said to have been buried. The mausoleum next to the mosque is considered to be the holiest Islamic shrine of the city ranking fourth after the big three: Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. It's always busy on Fridays and religious holidays. Open 9-18.

Church of St. Mary of the Mongols. The only Byzantine church of Constantinople that remained in Greek hands and has not been converted into a mosque by the Ottomans. It stayed as a church until today. Open only on Saturdays between 10-16


At Bosphorus

Dolmabahçe Palace A European-style imperial palace which was the residence of the sultans and the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1922. Fee TL 40. Open 9-16 except Monday & Thursday.


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