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Find over 2,000 years of Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern history in the city’s museums. From Sufism to photography, Istanbul is full of cultural marvels.

The Hilye-i Şerif ve Tesbih Müzesi (Hilye-i Şerif and Prayer Beads Museum) is located in a restored 16th-century religious school close to Süleymaniye Mosque. The word tespih comes from an Arabic word for "praise," and the these beads are used for reciting specific prayers after the usual prayers...

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Find over 2,000 years of Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern history in the city’s museums. From Sufism to photography, Istanbul is full of cultural marvels.

Located on the old Roman road that runs West from the Hagia Sophia and past the Grand Bazaar, this mosque is between the modern metro stations of Aksaray and Vezneciler. Seen from the main road, the building's Turkish Rococo marble work is an impressive and unexpected sight. Built in the late 19th...

11525

Find over 2,000 years of Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern history in the city’s museums. From Sufism to photography, Istanbul is full of cultural marvels.

Standing prominently in the Balat neighborhood overlooking the Golden Horn, this mosque occupies one of the old city's seven hills. The 16th-century mosque was built on the orders of Sultan Selim I (nicknamed "the cruel") with the surrounding social complex added by his son Sultan Süleyman I....

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Hagia Sophia

Find over 2,000 years of Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern history in the city’s museums. From Sufism to photography, Istanbul is full of cultural marvels.

Before skyscrapers began to spring up in the modern districts of Istanbul, the defining feature of the skyline was the mosques with their domes and minarets. Most tourists know the classic image of the muezzin giving the call to prayer on the balcony of the minaret, and the effect of several...

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Rakı, meyhane

Find over 2,000 years of Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern history in the city’s museums. From Sufism to photography, Istanbul is full of cultural marvels.

If there is one social space that epitomizes the true Istanbul experience in this city, it is meyhane . Most commonly referred to as just a Turkish version of a tavern, for many decades, the meyhane has been representing more than just a mere place to eat and drink. It is a place where the...

11025

Find over 2,000 years of Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern history in the city’s museums. From Sufism to photography, Istanbul is full of cultural marvels.

Archeology Museum Founded in 1881 by the eminent painter, architect, and Renaissance man Osman Hamdi Bey, this often overlooked site is actually a group of three museums: the Archaeological Museum, the Ancient Orient Museum, and the Tiled Kiosk Museum. The Museum’s holdings constitute the best...

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Find over 2,000 years of Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern history in the city’s museums. From Sufism to photography, Istanbul is full of cultural marvels.

The Bayezid II Hammam dates back to the 16th century, when Sultan Bayezid II commissioned it as part of the complex around the nearby Beyazıt Mosque. In recent decades the hammam had fallen into disrepair, but it was restored as part of Istanbul University in 2015. This hammam is also known as the...

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Epiphany, Photo by Merve Göral

Find over 2,000 years of Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern history in the city’s museums. From Sufism to photography, Istanbul is full of cultural marvels.

If you had been on Fener pier on January 6 last year, you would have seen an unusual sight: men wearing only swimming trunks as they waited in small boats on the Golden Horn. While the whole city was wrapped up in coats and scarves, these men seemed to be untouched by the cold. Perhaps the...

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Find over 2,000 years of Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern history in the city’s museums. From Sufism to photography, Istanbul is full of cultural marvels.

One of the earliest inventions of civilization is the written word itself, as well as buildings designed to house the most important documents. The value of learning was so great for ancient civilizations that the Library of Alexandria was known as a wonder of the world; after this library’s...

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Find over 2,000 years of Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern history in the city’s museums. From Sufism to photography, Istanbul is full of cultural marvels.

Kalenderhane Mosque is a 12th-century building located in the picturesque Vefa district, close to the Beyazıt tram stop and the Vezneciler metro station. This mosque is one of Istanbul's many that occupy a former Byzantine church. Restoration work in the 1970s uncovered frescoes that indicate an...

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Madame Tussauds Istanbul, photo by Merve Göral

Find over 2,000 years of Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern history in the city’s museums. From Sufism to photography, Istanbul is full of cultural marvels.

Visiting a wax museum is one of those must-dos when visiting a city, to get a taste of the local and international celebrity flavor. Already in 20 other cities around the world, Madame Tussauds has opened its 21st branch in Istanbul. With more than 50 lifelike wax figures of prominent Turkish and...

11325

Find over 2,000 years of Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern history in the city’s museums. From Sufism to photography, Istanbul is full of cultural marvels.

Over the past few years Istanbul has become one of the world’s top tourist destinations, with the city knocking Paris off the top spot in TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Destinations for 2014. Around 11.6 million people visited Istanbul that year, and over 3 million people visited the Hagia Sophia...

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Find over 2,000 years of Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern history in the city’s museums. From Sufism to photography, Istanbul is full of cultural marvels.

Cities such as London, Hamburg, and Amsterdam all have their own dungeon museums, which fascinate children and adults alike with their gruesome history. It is no surprise that the Ottomans were also adept at inventing new methods of torture and execution. Thankfully, these practices are long dead,...

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District

Features

The Hilye-i Şerif ve Tesbih Müzesi (Hilye-i Şerif and Prayer Beads Museum) is located in a restored 16th-century religious school close to Süleymaniye Mosque. The word tespih comes from an Arabic word for "praise," and the these beads are used for reciting specific prayers after the usual prayers...

11,526
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Located on the old Roman road that runs West from the Hagia Sophia and past the Grand Bazaar, this mosque is between the modern metro stations of Aksaray and Vezneciler. Seen from the main road, the building's Turkish Rococo marble work is an impressive and unexpected sight. Built in the late 19th...

11,525
No

Standing prominently in the Balat neighborhood overlooking the Golden Horn, this mosque occupies one of the old city's seven hills. The 16th-century mosque was built on the orders of Sultan Selim I (nicknamed "the cruel") with the surrounding social complex added by his son Sultan Süleyman I....

11,524
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The Bayezid II Hammam dates back to the 16th century, when Sultan Bayezid II commissioned it as part of the complex around the nearby Beyazıt Mosque. In recent decades the hammam had fallen into disrepair, but it was restored as part of Istanbul University in 2015. This hammam is also known as the...

11,362
No

Kalenderhane Mosque is a 12th-century building located in the picturesque Vefa district, close to the Beyazıt tram stop and the Vezneciler metro station. This mosque is one of Istanbul's many that occupy a former Byzantine church. Restoration work in the 1970s uncovered frescoes that indicate an...

11,363
No
Madame Tussauds Istanbul, photo by Merve Göral

Visiting a wax museum is one of those must-dos when visiting a city, to get a taste of the local and international celebrity flavor. Already in 20 other cities around the world, Madame Tussauds has opened its 21st branch in Istanbul. With more than 50 lifelike wax figures of prominent Turkish and...

11,325
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Through a hidden entrance on Boğazkesen Caddesi is an oasis of calm: the Zanaat Atelye Cafe (Artisan's Workshop Cafe). The 19th-century building used to be a French orphanage, and visitors can enjoy tea, coffee, or beer on the spacious porch or in the secluded garden. The owners keep chickens and...

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Located on the Asian side of the city, the Haydarpaşa Railway Station was a major hub of transport in Istanbul since its construction in 1872 - before it was closed for renovation in 2013, it was the largest and busiest rail terminal in the Middle East. The castle-like building of today was...

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Rumeli Hisarı (translated as Roman or European fortress) is a defensive structure on the European shore of the Bosphorus. Sultan Mehmet II had this fortress built before the siege of Constantinople in 1453. It is placed just opposite Anadolu Hisarı, the fortress on the Asian side of the Bosphorus,...

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Built in 1880, Hagia Triada is the largest Greek Orthodox Shrine in Istanbul. It was designed by Ottoman Greek architect Kampanaki in the neo-baroque style, and contains some basilica elements as well. The church also has a distinctive dome and twin bell towers. The interior of Hagia Triada is...

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Situated near the European landing of the Bosphorus Bridge, this stately mosque is perhaps the prime example of Baroque architectural style in Istanbul. Constructed in 1853 during the rule of Ottoman Abdulmecid, the mosque was built by Nigoğos Balyan. An earthquake in 1894 severely damaged one of...

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Calligraphy has always been recognized as a noble art, especially because it serves as a means of beautifying the text of the Quran. The Türk Vakıf Hat Sanatları Müzesi showcases the different types of calligraphy used during Ottoman times, with items like rare manuscripts and bookbindings on...

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Housing the largest collection of naval artifacts in Turkey, the Maritime Museum commemorates both the Ottoman and Republican legacy at sea. Established in 1897, the museum was moved to its current waterfront location in Beşiktaş in the 1960s. A few minutes walk from Dolmabahçe Palace , the museum’...

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A visit to Topkapı Palace is one of the most popular things to do in Istanbul. The first and most famous of the Ottoman Sultans’ residences and administrative centers in Istanbul, it was built in 1465 during the reign of Sultan Mehmet II and was in use for approximately 400 years of the 624 years...

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Located on the Bosphorus waterfront in Beşiktaş, this magnificent palace was completed in 1856 and served as the Ottoman Empire’s administrative center, and the residence of the Sultans, for most of the last years of the Empire. It was built by leading Ottoman-Armenian architects Garabet Balyan,...

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Şişko Osman or "fat" Osman is widely regarded as one of the foremost experts in the field of Turkish kilims (flat-woven rugs), Osman Şenel is the man and the name behind the, now, multi-generation family business. Today, his shop is located in a quieter part of the Grand Bazaar, Zincirli Han. Şenel...

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Toted as Istanbul’s first industrial archaeology museum, The Energy Museum, located within the Santral Istanbul complex , houses the two engine rooms of the former Silahtarağa Power Station. Ottoman Empire’s first power plant that was closed in 1983, the station was converted into an education,...

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Founded in 1880 as Abdullah Antik, Şalabi is one of the oldest antique dealers at Kapalıçarşı (the Grand Bazaar). Today, the shop is named after the same founding family who passed their efforts from one generation to the next. While the shop has witnessed the many changes in the Grand Bazaar, they...

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Borusan Contemporary is the office-turned-exhibition-space of Borusan Holding housed in the red brick mansion located at the foot of Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge. With its unusual exterior and grandeur, the building is quite eye catching. Constructed at the beginning of the 20 th century, this 10-...

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Located one block away from the lower end of Istiklal, Christ Church is situated on a peaceful street amongst an assortment of colorful apartments. The lush garden, contained within the outer walls of the Anglican establishment, adds to the natural beauty of the site. Although the church has only...

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