Aya Sophya (Hagia Sophia) Church/Museum

The Church of Holy Wisdom, undoubtedly one of the greatest architectural creations in the world, was built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian around 535 AD. It was transformed into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of the city in 1453. Now a museum, it is awesome in size and contains beautifully preserved Byzantine mosaics. This church is an absolute must see.

Topkapi Palace Museum

Built in the 15th century, the Topkapi Palace was the principal residence of the Sultan. It was the legendary palace of the Ottoman Sultans from the 15th to the 19th centuries. The palace has low buildings set in a series of courtyards and is quite unlike its western counterparts. Be sure to see the Harem (by appointment), the Treasury and the golden-roofed Baghdad Kiosk.

Hagia Eirene Church

mavi camii-tubThis sixth-century church is located within the courtyard of the Topkapi Palace.

Basilica Cistern

This awesome columned cavern was the water source for both the Grand Palace of the Byzantine Empire and for the Ottomans' Topkapi Palace.

Blue Mosque

This mosque was built in the early 17th century and is probably the most famous mosque in the city. It is distinguished by six slender minarets and walls covered with amazing blue Iznik tiles. Open daily 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, except during prayer times.

Boat cruise on the Bosphorus

This cruise stops at various fishing villages on the way to the Black Sea. The cruise is offered twice daily.

Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar was built in the 15th century. It has several gates: the most used one is at Cagaloglu and Beyazit (15 minutes walking distance from the Hotel). Istanbul's legendary bazaar is a labyrinth of over 4,000 little shops and is everything you dreamed an oriental market could be. It offers gold, jewellery, carpets, silver bibelots, leather, ceramics, copper and brass objects, hand-woven textiles and meerschaum pipes.

Spice Market

The Spice Market was built in the 17th century as an extension of the Grand Bazaar. It is an exotic food market and bazaar that sells spices, dried fruits, cheeses and olives, as well as towels, slippers, baskets and jewellery. Outside the market there is a wonderful flower and bird market.

Taksim Square

Situated in the European part of Istanbul, Turkey, is a major shopping, tourist and leisure district famed for its restaurants, shops and hotels. It is considered the heart of modern Istanbul. Istiklal Caddesi (Independence Avenue), a long pedestrian shopping street, ends at this square, and a nostalgic tram runs from the square along the avenue, ending near the Tunel (1875) which is the world's second-oldest subway line after London's Underground (1863).
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