Istanbul is the cultural, historical and economical center of Turkey. It is the bridge between Asia and Europe, making it a culturally and historically significant place throughout history with a unique clash of cultures. Istanbul was known as Constantinople until the early 20th century.
Here are 10 things to do in Istanbul:
- Hagia Sophia: Originally built as church, the Hagia Sophia functioned as a mosque until 1935. It is now a museum and one of the most popular tourists attractions in Istanbul. It is an interesting combination of Christianity and Islamic influences.
- Grand Bazaar: One of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, the Grand Bazaar has over 5,000 shops along 60 streets. The vendors might be a little pushy, but they are all pretty friendly.
- Ortakoy: This quieter, lesser visited neighborhood outside of Taksim Square is a nice place to walk around at night and has a great nightlife scene.
- Istanbul Archaeological Museums: Opened in 1869, there are more than one million antiquities on display here. Some date back to the first century. If you’re not a museum person, you can probably skip this one. If you love history, this is a great place to walk around.
- Blue Mosque: The Blue Mosque was built to rival Hagia Sophia in the 1600s. It is still an active religious site, so dress appropriately.
- Topkapi Palace: This colorful palace has a very colorful history. It was built in 1453 by Mehmet the Conqueror.
- Spice Bazaar: This Ottoman-era marketplace has existed since the 1660s. It is where you can see rows and rows of colorful spices and candies. Vendors also sell other kinds of food and souvenirs.
- Basilica Cistern: This is Istanbul’s largest surviving Byzantine cistern. It was built in 532.
- Fazil Bey: According to Lonely Planet, this is the best Turkish coffee in Istanbul.
- Hippodrome: This promenade is a great area to walk around and chat with friends. It used to be an arena for emperors to watch chariot races. Some of the statues and obelisks are still intact from that time.
Those are just some of the interesting things you can do in Istanbul. There is so much culture and history here to experience.
Have you been to Istanbul? Where is the best place to get Turkish coffee?
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