LATEST REVIEW

Hilye-i Şerif

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...

11526
Göztepe Parkı, photo by Caner Kocamaz

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 Istanbul Tulip Festival is taking place on April 1-30 this year, when the city’s parks and squares will be beautified with thousands of colorful flowers. Everyone can appreciate what is known as “the world’s largest carpet of tulips” in Sultanahmet Square, as well as the rainbow blooms in...

10936
Yelkovan - Ömer Necipoğlu

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.

“Isn’t it something of an adventure, the joy of millions of birds liberated outside of mosques, synagogues, and churches, the joy of people, for hundreds of years? I know that one day someone pleasant, intelligent, pure-hearted will arrive to write a beautiful, joyful, hopeful history of Florya’s...

10907
Kösem Sultan

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.

After the massive success of the series Muhteşem Yüzyıl (Magnificent Century), centering on Hürrem Sultan ’s life in the harem of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, the world has been eagerly anticipating a sequel. By becoming the first official wife of an Ottoman sultan and starting the period...

11548
Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat Simon de Myle

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.

Anatolia is home to the world’s first temple at Göbeklitepe, and countless religious figures, from Abraham to Saint Nicholas, have lived in the region. But alongside the official histories, there is also a wealth of unwritten stories that blend fact and fantasy. Some of these are based on events in...

11497

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....

11524
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...

11146
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...

2069

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.

An ongoing project seeks to position Turkey as the “world’s largest museum,” based on the staggering wealth of archaeological and historical sites to be found here. Anyone that’s ever road tripped around Turkey will know how frequently the little brown signs that point to yet another historical...

3118

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...

11362
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...

10725

District

Features

Hilye-i Şerif

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
No

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
No

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
No

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...

11,233
No

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...

3,317
No

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,...

11,415
No

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...

3,494
No

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...

3,503
No

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...

3,511
No

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’...

3,519
No

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...

3,527
No

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,...

3,536
No

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...

3,918
No

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,...

3,978
No

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...

4,009
No

Yedikule Zindanları is perhaps best known as the gigantic, ancient fortress that overshadows the southern European approaches to the city of Istanbul. The history of the structure dates back to the fourth century, when Theodosius the Great constructed a triumphal arch there. The gates of the arch...

4,127
No

Under the reign of Sultan Abdülmecid, the architect Nikoğos Balyan constructed the palace of Küçüksu Kasrı in 1856-57. Küçüksu was first used by Abdülmecid as a resting point during day-trips from Dolmabahçe. During the 1800s, however, many chambers were converted into bedrooms, enabling the palace...

4,184
No