Historical sites to visit in Turkey
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Istanbul Historical Sites

Created : 20 Jul 2022
Turkish history sites

By Justin Mays:

Are you interested in Turkish history and would like to explore more of its fantastic magnificent old sites? Istanbul is a city that carries a lot of sentimental memories from old empires, and the city stretches between Europe and Asia, which contributed to its rich history. Here is a list of places that might interest you on your next holiday. 

Galata Tower

Located in the Galata district of Istanbul, the Galata Tower is one of the important historical sites in the city. Galata tower was built by the Byzantine Emperor in 507-508 AD and was later rebuilt as a watch tower by the Genoese. It has managed to withstand earthquakes, fires, and all-weather seasons over the centuries, and it was lasts repaired in 1967. The building gives panoramic city views and a gorgeous light show at night. It is in a neighborhood with fabulous cafes, restaurants, and shopping malls.


Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is an architectural wonder of Turkey. It is a monument for the Byzantine and the Ottoman Empire. Once a church, it was turned into a mosque and later a museum. The museum now has prominent Byzantine Empire figures, Biblical scenes, and Islamic calligraphic art. Visit Hagia Sophia for glorious history and sights.

Grand Bazaar

This place in Fatih is the older covered shopping area in the world on a 54.653 land area. It used to occupy five mosques, seven fountains, ten wells, one school, one ablution fountain, and one water dispenser. And today, it only has one Mosque and one ablution fountain. This shopping place has 4.000 shops in 56 interconnected passages with everything you might think of, from jewelry, artifacts, souvenirs, carpets, clothes, and everything in between. You can get a reasonable price if you bargain and walk out with excellent quality buys. More than 250.000 people pass through the gates of Grand Bazaar, and in total, it has 20 gates, 17 inns, and employs 30.000 people.


The Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque was built from 1609 to 1617 in a bid to surpass Hagia Sophia. The name Blue Mosque comes from the blue tiles used in the Mosque's interior. The architects made use of 20.000 Iznik ceramic hand-made tiles with traditional designs. Its beauty is more appreciated if you enter from the hippodrome entrance rather than from the park.

Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern is 143 meters long and 56meters wide former water storage for the palace during the Justinian 1 Empire. Its roof is supported by 336 marble columns in Ionic styles, each measuring 9 meters. It could hold 80.000 cubic meters of water from the Egrikapi Water Distribution Centre in the Belgrade Forest, 19 kilometers from the city. It was opened to the public in 1987 after cleaning and restoring the Basilica Cistern.

Visitors can enjoy the cool temperatures while taking strolls on the concrete walkways. Be sure to walk to the far left-hand corner of the cistern to see the two Medusa heads. Both heads used as column bases, one positioned upside down, the other tilted to the side. Both their positioning and their origin remain a mystery to date.


Dolmabache is a massive palace in Besiktas, Istanbul, that was resided by the last 6 Ottoman Sultans and the Turkish State founder, Mustafa Ataturk. This museum occupies 45.000m2 and has 285 rooms, 44 halls, 68 toilets, and six hammams. The museum has more than 50.000 items, including a 4.5-tonne crystal chandelier, the world's largest, located in the grand ceremonial hall, incredible artwork, priceless treasures, and beautiful furnishings.

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace turned museum symbolizes the power and royalty, and it housed the Ottomans for 400 years. The museum is on an 80,000m2 area and has mesmerizing flower gardens, huge courtyards, and incredible architecture. It carries a valuable history, including cultural aspects of the Ottoman period. When you visit this museum, you will see an extensive collection of weapons, porcelain, and jewelry, including the famous Topkapi dagger, robes, ottoman miniatures, and Islamic calligraphic manuscripts. Children under six years old and the disabled do not pay to enter the museum.

Visit Istanbul and enjoy its unique historical sites dotted around the city for an incredible experience. Visit the historical sites' websites to learn about the booking process, discounts, best days, and times to visit these great places.

Hagia Irene

Hagia Irene Church also known as St Irene is another magnificent sightseeing historical place in Istanbul. It is located in the Sultan Mohammad neighbourhood and it is the first church built in the ancient city of Constantinople. Formerly the main centre of Christianity, this church dates back to 1,600 years ago. After going through a lot of damage, it was rebuilt twice in the 8th century and the 5th century. Currently, it has become a museum with all kinds of classical instruments. A number of international music festivals are held here several times. 

Istanbul Archaeology Museum

This Museum has a neo-classical architecture with an inscription on the pediments of the gates at the entrance which says “Asari-i Atika Muzesi” meaning museum of Antiquities. The Anatolian, Mesopotamian, and Ottoman cultures are exhibited in the galleries of this Museum. When visiting, look forward to seeing the crying woman’s tomb and Lykia’s tomb. Some of the inscriptions in the museum include Istanbul of ages, surrounding cultures of Anatolia, Cyprus, Syria-Palestine, and Troia of ages. 


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