Places to visit in
Places to visit in Istanbul
Istanbul is considered
to be the best known city in Turkey, and is undoubtedly
one of Europe's most fantastic places for a perfect
getaway. Most suitable for travelers as a city that
affords a great amount of scope for sight seeing as well
as shopping, it's exotic location and warm weather
conditions make it an ideal place for a perfect getaway.
Istanbul enjoys a mixed Asian and European influence
that is very much unique to the place. It is also a city
that is extremely rich in both ancient and modern
architecture, and can literally be a paradise for the
tourists. There are various historical places in
Istanbul, and visiting them and getting to know their
history can be a source of real joy to the traveler.
One of the main architectural wonders that have
withstood the ravages of time is the Hagia Sophia or the
Ayasofya as known in Turkish. It was originally built as
a Christian Church by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian,
who spared no expensed during its construction and it,
remained the world's largest cathedral for almost a
thousand years after its construction. Later, during the
period of the Ottoman rule, it was converted to a
mosque, resulting in the covering up of the Christian
traits and adding along several Islamic features like
the minars, miharabs etc. The Hagia Sophia is renowned
for its awe inspiring dome, and the magnificent murals
on its walls which really transport you to the bygone
ages, has been converted into a museum since Turkey
became a republic.
The Sultanahmet Mosque or the Blue Mosque is another
place that is worth seeing in Istanbul. It is a great
architectural structure with its six towering minarets.
It is said that the Blue mosque came to be called thus
due to the blue tiles that are to be seen inside. This
is a very large architectural structure with an
impressive dome and ancient stained glass windows and is
a must for the ardent traveler.
The Topkapi Palace has housed the various emperors of
the Ottoman Empire for more than three hundred years.
Its main attraction is the magnificent courts, four in
number, which are grandly decorated. It houses the state
treasury, and the Imperial treasury, and also holds a
magnificent display of precious gems, and jeweled
daggers. The fourth court that overlooks the Bosphorus,
affords a spectacular view to the onlooker.
Another place that is a must-see is the Basilica
Cistern, which is a giant underground cistern that was
created by Justinian during the Byzantine period to
facilitate access of water to the people of the city.
This place is worth visiting and you can walk through
the pillared and lighted wooden walkway with some piped
music to bring in an atmosphere.
Other major areas of interest, especially for tourists,
are the Hippodrome, which was a part of history, the
Galata Whirling Dervish Hall, a dancing hall converted
into the Museum of Divan Literature, The museum of
Archeology which houses a collection of Sumerian
tablets, the Chora Church that is a thousand years old
and which houses some priceless mosaic frescos, etc. The
Grand Bazaar is another experience which the souvenir
shopper in you might really enjoy. So do make sure to
include it in your sight seeing plans.
A pleasure trip to Istanbul would feel like being in two
different continents amidst two different cultures at
the same time. It is also an ideal vacation spot for
history and architecture enthusiasts who really
appreciate the marvels of ancient architecture. A
comparatively inexpensive place, Istanbul may just be
the perfect getaway from the daily grind of the big bad