7 of the Best Istanbul Attractions for History Buffs and Art Lovers


For history buffs, Istanbul attractions abound. From grand monuments to tasteful museums, these seven destinations offer something for everyone!

Top 7 Istanbul Attractions

If you feel overwhelmed by the multitude of choices, remember this: you don’t have to experience everything at once. You can choose a variety of different activities and attractions, or better yet – let them complement each other as part of an unforgettable Istanbul vacation package!

Plunge into the world’s most renowned ancient city with its captivating blend of captivating sights and sounds, such as the Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace, Blue Mosque and Nişantaşı Fairground.

Top 5 must-visit locations in Istanbul are a veritable feast for history buffs, but if you want your culinary cravings quenched as well – look no further than these iconic eateries where traditions are maintained with finesse; mastica Taksim Square could not be more aptly named!

1. The Hagia Sophia

If you’re seeking a majestic sight in Turkey, then look no further than the Hagia Sophia – otherwise known as the Holy Wisdom! This architectural marvel has been designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site and remains one of the most visited attractions in Istanbul.

The 1,500-year-old building is located within Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar district, which is also home to countless other historic structures.

2. Beyazit Mosque

Beyazit Mosque is situated in Eyüp district, just a stone’s throw away from the Sea of Marmara and along the Golden Horn. This majestic structure was not constructed until 1455; however, it underwent numerous renovations before eventually being completed in 1596.

The Beyazit Mosque stands out due to its intricate tile patterning on the interior walls and arches. For centuries, it was renowned for its exquisite carvings – though some may argue that today’s décor does not stack up against its glory days. Nevertheless, this splendid mosque remains an essential stopover on any visit to Istanbul!

During your service at the Beyazit Mosque, you’ll be granted access to the main courtyard with its enchanting azulejos tiles and elaborate latticework columns of gleaming Granada marble. The interior of this historic edifice boasts monochrome motifs such as hues of blue and gold: providing an exceptional backdrop for any picturesque image!

3. Grand Bazaar

If its magnitude and allure are what attracts you to the Grand Bazaar, you can rest assured that there’s no mere comparison. This immense retail center is a renowned landmark of Istanbul; it’s the largest covered market in the world – encompassing over 571 acres (2.5 sq km)!

The bazaar occupies two city blocks; its eye-popping arrays of colorful wares spread out before you. If you’re searching for something special to bring back home, don’t miss this remarkable experience!

With well over 1,000 stalls lined up neatly beneath your feet, exploring this colossal space requires an assaultive dose of patience; however, don’t let this deter you from taking the plunge! For those seeking respite from the bustle of Central Istanbul at any given moment, this may be just what’s required.

4. Basilica Cistern

This notable structure is the sole remaining example of its kind remaining in Istanbul. As one of the most captivating sights in all of Turkey, this subterranean reservoir is home to an array of exquisite mosaics depicting a host of subjects ranging from biblical scenes and mythological renderings.

For centuries, the cistern was used as a reservoir for collecting water for the city. Although its waters are now replenished by rainwater, its unique surroundings remain impressive: intricate designs gracing its walls combined with fascinating bas reliefs depicting scenes from across history make this place truly remarkable!

At present, the Basilica Cistern is located beneath Hagia Sophia, though it has been fully restored and reopened to the public since 2017–making it an ideal spot for exploring art and history alike!

5. Istanbul Archaeology Museum

Ahead of its inauguration in 2013, Istanbul Archaeology Museum was regarded as one of the most fascinating archaeological museums in any city on earth. So much so that it has been dubbed ‘an essential destination for travellers looking for an adventure’.

This groundbreaking museum is housed within Beyazit Complex, a historical site dating back to the Ottoman era. It is situated just off İstiklal Caddesi – arguably one of the busiest streets in all of Turkey – and hence provides visitors with an opportunity to explore ancient ruins while also enjoying the bustle of daily life along this bustling thoroughfare.

The verdant courtyard at the center of the complex is home to some well-preserved ruins from antiquity’s heyday, including mosaics and columns which have remained largely intact since their construction more than 2,000 years ago. Alongside these formidable relics, the remarkable architecture of this period will leave an indelible impression on visitors; no matter what age they are!

Guests are able to venture beyond the ground floor during their visit; exploring such areas as Byzantium and Ertugrul Gazi; two captivating exhibitions showcasing vivid representations of Justinian’s Byzantine Empire and Seljuk-era Anatolia respectively.

6. Dolmabahçe Palace and Gardens

A captivating urban oasis nestled within the confines of Beyoglu, the Dolmabahçe Palace and Gardens are an ideal location for a stroll or bike ride. This stunning landscape is comprised of exquisitely cultivated gardens; a verdant sanctuary in which to relax amidst designer furnishings and artwork; and an elegant mansion that evokes feelings of nostalgia upon viewing its ornate architecture.

The palace was constructed by Prince Abdülmecid in 1864 following his appointment as Governor of Istanbul at that time. The residence has been utilized by numerous monarchs over the years; however, one exception is Queen Elizabeth II, whose presence can be felt here during her 1953 visit.

7. Topkapı Palace and Harem Complex

At the pinnacle of an expansive hilltop park, Topkapı Palace is one of the most opulent sights to behold in all of Istanbul. Adorned with 14th-century mosaics and statues, as well as a vast array of frescoes depicting historical events that have occurred within this magnificent complex over the course of its existence.

If you’re seeking a savoury experience on your itinerary in Istanbul, dine at one of the palace’s high-end eateries; Cafe Bosphorus or La Dolce Vita both offer delicious cuisine while also providing visitors with an opportunity to revel in their surroundings!

For an unforgettable afternoon, follow the route along the Blue Mosque and visit Topkapı Palace.


The Top 7 Istanbul Attractions That Will Take You Back in Time

If you’ve visited the Top 7 Istanbul Attractions, be sure to check out the captivating exhibits at the Hagia Sophia Museum, which showcases the architecture of this iconic structure and its significance to Turkish history.

With over 1,000 years’ worth of history, there are countless opportunities to discover at Istanbul Attractions. Be sure to explore the city’s most captivating sights, from museums boasting priceless antiquities to historical buildings that provide an auditory treat; then don’t forget about those artistic masterpieces!



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