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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.

On January 7, 2018, the Bulgarian St. Stephen Church, also known as the Bulgarian Iron Church, reopened after an extensive 6-year restoration. With Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and Bulgarian Patriarch Neophyte conducting the opening, a celebration ceremony took place in the neighborhood of...

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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.

Despite being considered one of the most talented architectural figures from the early years of the Turkish Republic, the majority of Nazimî Yaver Yenal’s designs remained on paper, never constructed into reality. His life philosophy, however, lays a strong foundation for today with talent, skill,...

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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.

With a focus on “Old, new, eternal” or “ Ortak nesiller entegrasyonu ” (“the integration of joint generations),” Turkey ONE Association aims to protect and promote Turkish culture and heritage and build bridges between Turkey and countries around the world. The association’s founder and president,...

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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.

While many think of buildings when they think of architecture, architecture goes beyond — and at times underground. Tünel, an underground funicular that connects Karaköy to İstiklal Caddesi in a 90-second ride, boasts a unique architectural history that links neighborhoods and cultures, from past...

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Photo from Robert College Archive

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.

It may be surprising to many people today that the first continually running American college outside the US was founded in Istanbul, way back in 1863. Its birth was linked to major trends of the time, such as Western missionary activity in the Ottoman Empire. But there was also an element of...

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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.

“Time weaves a tapestry over the seven hills! From seven colors, seven sounds, numberless signs,” so wrote Turkish poet Necip Fazıl Kısakürek. Most Istanbul residents will recognize this reference to seven hills, but few can say where they actually are. The clue is in the date: it was the...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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.

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...

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District

Features

A short walk from the bustling Ali Suavi Sokak, referred to by locals as “The Artist’s Square,” Art Sequoia is a newly opened ceramics studio that adds another layer of creativity to this neighborhood. Walking down the street, bright and eccentric ceramic pieces immediately capture your attention and it is impossible not to peek inside to see the hand-crafted personality and details of these objects. Rabia Özdemir Tokat, the owner of Art Sequoia, characterizes her space as a not only a shop but also a workshop space and art gallery. Her motivation for opening the store is to reach people who seek to use art as a form of rehabilitation or therapy, and she invites anyone to participate in one of her ceramics workshop sessions.

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On January 7, 2018, the Bulgarian St. Stephen Church, also known as the Bulgarian Iron Church, reopened after an extensive 6-year restoration. With Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and Bulgarian Patriarch Neophyte conducting the opening, a celebration ceremony took place in the neighborhood of...

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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...

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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...

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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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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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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

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...

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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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Designed by the well-known Ottoman architect Sinan and built in 979 AD, this mosque was constructed with columns taken from an ancient church which used to stand in its place. It is a small, intimate structure located just down the hill from Sultanahmet. There is a delightful courtyard and a...

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This museum features an exhibition of materials that reflect the social lives of Istanbulites during the city’s Ottoman period. The museum’s collection was first housed in the Beyazıt Municipal Library before moving to its current location, the Yıldız Palace Complex, in 1945. The building is...

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Miniaturk is the perfect way to visit all the sites of Turkey – at a quarter the size. Boasting 120 models of iconic attractions of Istanbul, Anatolia, and former Ottoman provinces, the park offers visitors a Godzilla-esque trek through battlefields, religious sites, and feats of architecture. In...

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Built in 1524, the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum is housed in the former palace of İbrahim Paşa, the grand vizier to Süleyman the Magnificent. The palace is truly spectacular and impressive, and it was even more so in its heyday. Before being converted into a museum, this remarkable palace served...

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Situated on a hillside overlooking the Bosphorus, Yıldız Palace and park is 500,000 square meters and once a residence of the sultans. A section of the palace is called Şale (designed to resemble a Swiss chalet) and it is one of the most interesting examples of 19th century Ottoman architecture....

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Located in the Sultanahmet area, Nakkaş Oriental Rugs and Textiles is one of the area’s most well-respected carpet sellers. What sets Nakkaş apart is their massive collection of carpets that spans a wide range of styles and designs to suite any taste and also any budget. They offer everything the...

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Built by the Koç family and situated on the north side of the Golden Horn (Haliç), this privately owned museum willl take you on a tour of Istanbul’s industrial past. Most of the exhibition items are from Mr. Rahmi M. Koç’s private collection and include steam engines, sea and land vessels,...

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Since the 1990s, Naciye Sepet and Ahmet Köşedağ have been working the antique scene at Tombak Antika, this location being their second. Sepet makes a note that they are not antikacı s (antique collectors), but eskici s (junk collectors). This is to say, their inventory is not entirely composed of...

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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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