The ancient city once known as Constantinople is a very interesting city and a popular travel destination. It’s home to some of the most beautiful historical sites in the world and you’ll find as much heritage as you can handle on a Turkey Holiday . With cheap flights to Turkey arriving in the city every day there are hundreds of opportunities to visit. It also has the added benefit of being outside the expensive Eurozone so your money is sure to go much further. Here are five of the most beautiful sites in Istanbul…
Dolmabah Palace is a nineteenth-century addition to the city, but don’t let that put you off. Built for Abdl Mecit, the place was completed in 1855. This new building became the home of the sultan and meant that the imperial residence for four centuries, Topkapi Palace, was abandoned. The building houses many treasures, including a 36-meter-high throne room with a four-tonne crystal chandelier, which was a gift from Queen Victoria.
The original imperial residence, Topkapi Palace, is a stunning example of Ottoman architecture and is well worth a visit. The palace sprawls over a huge expanse, with four courtyards and many smaller buildings. The palace is famed for its jewels and by far the most eye-catching piece housed in the palace is the Spoonmaker’s Diamond. Set in silver and surrounded by 49 cut diamonds, this jewel has to be seen to be believed. Other stunning jewels housed here include two large golden candleholders, each weighing 48 kilograms and mounted with 6,666 cut diamonds.
The Byzantine Hagai Sophia
The Byzantine Hagai Sophia has influenced many of the later building projects in Istanbul. Now a museum, the building had previously been the site of both a Mosque and a church. The building houses some stunning examples of both Muslim and Christian design. This attraction is worth a visit just to see the intricately designed interior.
Sultan Ahmed Mosque
The fully functioning Sultan Ahmed Mosque was a later addition to the city, but took many of the design aspects from the Hagai Sophia. Complete with six minarets and a great cascade of domes, this building dominates the landscape. The most impressive thing about the design of the Mosque are the tiles; the high ceiling is lined with 20,000 blue tiles. These tiles are fine examples of 16th century Iznik design.
The Grand Bazaar
Lastly, the bazaar is one of the most lively places to visit in the city and it can also be one of the most beautiful. Join half a million other daily visitors and head for the Grand Bazaar – one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. You’ll find more than 58 covered streets and over 4,000 shops offering everything from pretty lanterns and carpets to souvenirs and meerschaum pipes. Just haggle well!
Of course, this world heritage city has many beautiful sites to visit – these are only a handful. If you do decide to take a trip make sure you take your time to explore for yourself. Istanbul often makes the list of top 10 most visited cities in the world and 7.5 million visitors a year can’t be wrong!
Written by Turkey fan Emma Bright, Emma travels around Europe and blogs for fun.