8. Istanbul  TURKEY  | Total Sights: 50+ | Nickname: The City of The World's Desire

 

 

 

 

A. Strengths and Weaknesses of Istanbul

Turkey Istanbul is wonderfully located on both sides of Bosphorus, the narrow strait between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea.

It is Turkey's most populated city, and it bridges Asia and Europe both geographically and culturally.

Stroll through the delightful Sultanahmet quarter, visit the magnificent blue mosque, see the Grand Bazaar and then shop in huge shopping malls like the Cevahir or the Istinye Park on the European side of the city.

 Its historic sites with numerous impressive mosques and palaces, its fantastic shopping opportunities coupled with affordable prices make Istanbul one of the top cities in our list.

 Recurring terror attacks and attempts during 2015, 2016 and a similar trend in 2017 have distinctly reduced safety.

Going further, observation and keeping up to date are necessary.

Criteria 

Sights

Location

Pedestrian Zones

Affordability

Safety 

Cleanliness

Shopping

Climate

People

Nightlife 

Transport

Size

Total Score

Score

7.30/10

8.25/10

6/10

5/10

3/10 [147th]

[temporally low]

5/10

8/10

7/10

6/10

7.5/10

7.5/10

9/10 [14 Mio.]

200.15

B. Best Things to Do in Istanbul (Detailed List with Photos and Information)

These sights and attractions contribute to a sights score of 7.30/10.

AYASOFYA BASILICA (HAGIA SOPHIA)  8
Designed  in the 6th century on an unprecedented scale with a 56m high grandiose cupola and displaying 30 million gold tiles in its interior, the Hagia Sophia is by general consensus one of the world’s greatest architectural achievements of all time. 

The exceptional building was inaugurated in 537 as a church by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian and remained for almost a thousand years the world's largest and most important religious monument. In the 15th century it was converted into a mosque before being finally declared a museum (as it is today) by Atatürk in 1935.

Museum and former mosque (World Heritage Site since 1985) 

Best Things to do in Istanbul, #1 AYASOFYA BASILICA

BLUE MOSQUE (Sultan Ahmed Mosque)  7
Situated opposite of Hagia Sophia this impressive mosque with its six minarets constructed between 1609 and 1617 takes its name from the mainly blue İznik tilework decorating its spectacular interior.

Mosque 

Best Things to do in Istanbul, #2 BLUE MOSQUE

SULTANAHMET QUARTER  7
Best explored by foot Istanbul's charming old town features all of Istanbul's best rated tourist attractions in a relatively small area.

Historic Area (World Heritage Site since 1985) 

Things to do in Istanbul | Best Cities | No. 7: Istanbul | HISTORIC AREAS (SULTANAHMET QUARTER)

TOPKAPI PALACE  7
Situated attractively above the confluence of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn the immense Topkapi Palace was the Imperial residence of Ottoman sultans from 1478 to 1856. 

Highlights include the Imperial Hall with the throne of the sultan, the Chambers of the Crown Prince, the harem, where the sultan’s wives and children lived, and the panoramic view of the Marmara Sea from the gardens.

Former Palace (World Heritage Site since 1985) 

Things to do in Istanbul | Best Cities | No. 7: Istanbul | TOPKAPI PALACE

GRAND BAZAAR  7
Dating back to the 15th century, the chaotic but wonderful Grand Bazaar is basically one of the world's oldest shopping mall.

Enter by one of the 11 gates into this gigantic (50 acres [0.2 km2]) colourful labyrinth of 65 covered streets, packed with more than 4,000 tiny shops offering mainly carpets, gold, leatherware, cloth and spices. Thankfully the vendors are generally friendly and far from pushy

Market  (World Heritage Site since 1985)

Things to do in Istanbul | Best Cities | No. 7: Istanbul | GRAND BAZAAR

Dolmabahçe Palace  7
Sitting along the coastline of the Bosphorus strait the monumental (285 rooms and 46 halls) Dolmabahçe Palace, which was completed in 1856, with its extravagant over-the-top interior is a unique mix of of Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical style and Orientalism. 

During its construction in the 19th century fourteen tonnes of gold were used to gild the ceilings.

Palace

by Mircea Ostoia / CC BY-SA 2.0

Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnıçı) 6
Palace-like underground hall (built in 532)

Suleyman’s Mosque  6
Mosque (largest mosque of Istanbul)

GALATA TOWER  5
Historic Tower (World Heritage Site since 1985, total 70 m, observation deck 51 m, built 1348)

Things to do in Istanbul | Best Cities | No. 7: Istanbul | GALATA TOWER

 Istiklal Street 5
Shopping Street

Things to do in Istanbul | Best Cities | No. 7: Istanbul | Istiklal Street (shopping)

Scoring and Icons Legend (Click here for detailed information)

10 = top-10 sight in the world
9 = world-class  
8 = outstanding
7 = excellent 
6 = impressive
5 = interesting
4 = decent
3 = mediocre
2 = bad
1 = abysmal

= World Heritage Site
= Excursion

Weather Forecast

Chance of Rain
Today 02/24 40%
High 9° / Low 6°
Chance of Rain
Chance of Rain
Tomorrow 02/25 50%
High 7° / Low 6°
Chance of Rain
Partly Cloudy
Monday 02/26 10%
High 9° / Low 6°
Partly Cloudy

C. Other Notable Sights and Attractions in Istanbul

-Istanbul Archaeology Museum (Museum of Antiquities)  5

-Istanbul Sapphire Tower (total height 261 m, observation deck 236 m, opened 2011)  5

-Kariye Museum (The Chora Church)  5

-Istanbul Sea Life Aquarium (former Turkuazoo Istanbul Aquarium) (Aquarium, 5 million liter tank, 80 m tunnel)  5

-Rüstem Pasa Mosque  5

D. Best Day Trips and Excursions Istanbul

Küçüksu Palace (17,5 km from Istanbul)   5

E. Top 10 List of the Best Things to Do in Istanbul (including close-by excursions)

AYASOFYA BASILICA  8
BLUE MOSQUE  7
SULTANAHMET QUARTER  7
TOPKAPI PALACE  7
GRAND BAZAAR  7
Dolmabahçe Palace  7
 Basilica Cistern  6
 Suleyman’s Mosque  6
 GALATA TOWER (total 70 m)  5
Istiklal Street (shopping)   5



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