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Istanbul: A Place to Get an Extraordinary Cultural Experience

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Istanbul is famous for its histories with the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires. And this is the only city in the world that spans two continents (Europe and Asia). People around the world come here for witnessing the ancient vestiges, shopping, taste the world’s intangible cultural heritage (coffee), and enjoy the nightlife.

Before traveling to Istanbul, let’s know about the places you must visit and why.

Topkapi Palace:

Topkapi Palace had been the residence of Turkish Sultans for 400 years. The extravagance of those centuries’ glory, success, patronage, and diplomacy are visible wherever you look in the palace. The complex is made of four courtyards and a group of small buildings.  The imperial throne room will leave you mesmerized. The palace was like a city because of its large population. This was not only the house of sultans but also a centre of indoctrination and art. Standing on the ground outside of Topkapi Palace, you can see the Bosphorus Bridge, Asia right in front and Marmara region which is located in northwestern Turkey. It’s a good place to enjoy the view and for taking photos.

 Photo: Topkapi Palace
Photo: Topkapi Palace

Aya Sofya/Hagia Sophia:

Be prepared to be amazed by the beauty of this Byzantine structure made with marbles, stones, and special bricks. The extravagant interior of Aya Sophia is the mixture of Christianity and Islam. This one of Turkey’s greatest treasures now is a museum.

Photo: Aya Sofya/Hagia Sophia
Photo: Aya Sofya/Hagia Sophia

Sultan Ahmet/The Blue Mosque:

This particular Ottoman architecture is the last great mosque of the classical period. Situated in the old Istanbul, The Blue Mosque is the only tower with six minarets in the city. The mosque is named after Sultan Ahmet as he instructed to make it. The mosque is also named as The Blue Mosque for its interior is decorated with blue Iznik tiles. Unlike Aya Sofya, The Blue Mosque is still a working mosque. Please note that female visitors must dress respectfully and cover their heads with scarves before entering.

Photo: Sultan Ahmet/The Blue Mosque
Photo: Sultan Ahmet/The Blue Mosque

Bosphorus Cruise/Ferry Trip:

Bosphorus Bridge is the meeting place of Europe and Asia. Taking a trip by a Bosphorus cruise will be a great and unique way of seeing Istanbul.

Grand Bazaar:

This is one of the largest and oldest markets in the world with about 65 streets and 5500 shops. You can find a huge collection of lamps, scarves, jewelry, carpets, and many more things. But be aware that it can be tricky not to get lost in the maze-like streets of this bazaar.

Suleymaniye Mosque:

One of the most notable and magnificent architectural legacies. This is one of the most notable and magnificent architectural legacies of all time. Suleymaniye Mosque holds the title tag of living history. You will feel the elegance and glory of the Ottoman age whilst entering the mosque in spite of its simple architecture.

Photo: Suleymaniye Mosque
Photo: Suleymaniye Mosque

Dolmabahce Palace:

Situated on the European shore of the Bosphorus, Dolmabahçe Palace is one of the most glamorous palaces in the world. You will be bewitched by the lavish and glamorous structure and decoration.

Photo: Dolmabahce Palace
Photo: Dolmabahce Palace

And don’t forget to include Galata Tower, Ortakoy Mosque, Prince Islands, The Basilica Cistern, and Istiklal Street on your bucket list as well.

What do you think?

Written by Tamanna Reza

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