A City Tour Among Imperial Buildings

If your ideal vacation is packing a back bag and have a cultural city tour including destinations to cultivate your soul? In İstanbul you may visit remarkable building from past, feel the era, visit the exhibitions and enjoy. We have derived best historical, cultural or religious city stops of Turkey.

  1. In the Depths of History; Basilica Cistern

Istanbul is host of many ancient buildings, due to its historical roots, it is a magical city that different civilizations piled on. Among the magnificent remains of these civilizations one of them is really remarkable. Basilica Cistern, located in the southwest of Hagia Sofia, constructed for Justinianus I, the Byzantium Emperor (527-565) is in fact a big underground water reservoir which is called as “Yerebatan Cistern” among the public thanks to the underground marble columns. As there used to be a basilica in the place of the cistern, it is also called Basilica Cistern. We see Romanian sculptures, Byzantian columns and Anatolian marbles in the remarkable cistern.  Among them what attracts most attention from the visitors is that the structure from which the Medusa heads have been taken is unknown. Between 1700’s and 1900’s the cistern had been renovated three times by Ottoman Empire.

For further information: http://yerebatan.com/homepage/basilica-cistern/about-us.aspx

  1. Hagia Sofia Museum

Among many great churches and mosques, The Hagia Sophia has an important place in art for with its architecture, size, functionality and grandness. East Roman Empire had embodied its greatness with this, one of the historical prayer place that still remains standing today, has an important place in the art world with its architecture, grandness, size and functionality. It is the biggest church constructed by the East Roman Empire in Istanbul, has been constructed three times in the same location. When it was first built, it was named Megale Ekklesia; Big Church and was constructed by Emperor Konstantios (337-361) in 360 and then built two more times by Emperor Theodosios II (408-450) in 415 and by Emperor Justinianos’s (527-565) orders. During the East Roman period, the Hagia Sophia was the Empire Church and, as a result, was the place in which the emperors were crowned.

Hagia Sophia was renovated into a mosque after Fatih Sultan Mehmed’s (1451-1481) conquer in 1453 and a madrasah was build towards north of Hagia Sofia, later Mimar Sinan The minarets designed and implemented the minarets.

The bronze lamps on two sides of the mihrab have been given as gifts to the mosque by Kanuni Sultan Süleyman (1520-1566) from Budin campain and mihrabs, minbar, maksoorahs, a preachment stand and a muezzin mahfili added in 16th and 17th century.

Currently Hagia Sofia is a museum, in which exhibitions like “Love for Prophet” or panels like “Kadıasker Mustafa İzzet Efendi and Calligraphy” can be attended. Hagia Sofia is best historical place of İstanbul where you can feel cities history.



  1. Inside of the Ottoman Empire: Topkapi Palace

After the conquest of Istanbul by Mehmed the Conqueror at 1453, construction of the Topkapı Palace was started on area on an Eastern Roman Acropolis located at the Istanbul Peninsula between Sea of Marmara, Bosphorus and the Golden Horn at the year 1460 and completed at 1478 . Topkapı Palace, was the administrative, educational and art center of the Empire for nearly four hundred years since Mehmed the Conqueror until Sultan Abdulmecid who is the thirty-first Sultan. at middle 19th century, Topkapı Palace was protected its importance everytime. After the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, Topkapı Palace, was transformed into a museum at the date April 3th 1924 and it was also the first museum of the Republic of Turkey.

Among the many architectural wonders you may visit permanent and temporary exhibitions such as chinese kitchen  utensils, arms and weapons, Imperial treasury and Islamic Art or events like “traditional palace festivals horse and archery”. Also, Hagia Irene Church, which is located at first courtyard of The Topkapi Palace, is opened to visit for visitors.



  1. Blue Mosque at the Peak of Ottoman Architecture

The Blue Mosque (Called Sultanahmet Camii in Turkish) is an historical mosque in Istanbul. The mosque is known as the Blue Mosque because of blue tiles surrounding the walls of interior design. Mosque was built between 1609 and 1616 years, during the rule of Ahmed I. just like many other mosques, it also comprises a tomb of the founder, a madrasa and a hospice. Besides still used as a mosque, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque has also become a popular tourist attraction in Istanbul.

Best way to see great architecture of the Blue Mosque is to approach it from the Hippodrome. (West side of the mosque) As if you are non-Muslim visitor, you also have to use same direction to enter the Mosque.  ​​



  1. Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahce Palace is one of the remarkable places in Istanbul because it was built by Sultan Abdulmecid (1839-1861) who was the 31st Ottoman Sultan, evident Western influences, observed at the style, details and ornaments, are reflections of the esthetical values, changed through the last period of the Imperial. On the other hand, it is a building complex in which traditional Turkish House style was applied on a large scale with respect to space organization and relations between the rooms and salons. That is a unique combined style of Ottoman tradition and western architectural movements. In the Palace, The Imperial Mabeyn was allocated for administrative affairs of the state, Imperial Harem was allocated for private lives of the sultan and his family and the Muayede Salon, placed between these two sections, was allocated for exchanging of bayram greetings of sultan with dignitary statesmen and for some important state ceremonies. The Palace which was partially open to protocol and visits between 1926-1984 and was opened to visit as a “museum-palace” from 1984.



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