Istanbul is Turkey’s charm, the land of unique cultural and natural resources, the country of contrasts and contradictions, and history filled with heroic chapters. If you already had the opportunity to visit this gorgeous city, probably you’re waiting for the day to go back. If you still haven’t, treat yourself with an excursion to this stunning capital, the crossroad of modern Europe and mystical Asia; Istanbul should be included in your Turkey trip.
Almost everybody who enters Istanbul starts with the classic Sultanahmet (old city) trip. The journey will include Topkapi Palace Museum and Haghia Sophia Museum, along with other Sultanahmet attractions. Well known Topkapi Palace was the grand residence of the Ottoman Sultans for four eras and houses examples of the Ottoman style, vast collections of robes, porcelain, guns, armour, shields, Ottoman toys, Islamic calligraphic scripts, as well as an exhibition of Ottoman gold and jewellery. Another main attraction Haghia Sophia, the “Church of Holy Wisdom”, was constructed by the Sovereign Justinian in the 6th century. After 916 years as a church, in 1453, Haghia Sophia was transformed into a mosque shortly after the triumph. In 1935 it was converted into a museum. These major museums will help you understand the nation’s history and understand the depth of its culture.
However, there are various other charms you can discover in Istanbul. For example, The Archaeology Museum in Gülhane Park is a location not to be skipped while in Istanbul and just one step away from Topkapi Fort. It is undoubtedly one of Turkey’s finest museums and a must-see for everyone with an interest in archaeology. A good description used by visitors for this museum is that it is a country in a nutshell. Turkey has several archaeological places. The museum recommends tourists a model of what the nation has to offer in terms of archaeological treasures, from ancient times to the Ottoman era. This centre is separated into three buildings, the Museum of Oriental Antiquities, the Archaeological Museum, and the Tiled Pavilion. The main charm is the Alexander Sarcophagus, which is incredible for remarkable carvings on the exterior detailing the encounters and Alexander the Great’s life.
One less known charm is the Chora (Kariye) Museum, hidden in Istanbul’s Edirnekapi area. The local meaning of Kariye (Chora) is “outside of the city”, or “rural” in old Greek, most likely stemmed from being situated out of the ancient city walls; today, it is located near to the Edirnekapi city walls over the Golden Horn. Kariye Museum is the precious Byzantine shrine in Istanbul after Haghia Sophia and houses the most impressive Byzantine mosaic art. The neighbourhood has a cosy atmosphere, with slim and sharp alleys, old-style wooden and colourful Turkish residences, and tiny cafes where you can relish a cup of tea.
Dolmabahce is one more effulgent fort and museum at the coast; five million Ottoman gold bits, the equal of 35 tonnes of gold, was used at its construction. The Palace was the official residence of numerous Ottoman Kings in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Dolmabahce trip is generally recommended as optional in several itineraries, but you can also explore it on your personal with a short taxi ride from Sultanahmet.
The other beach of the Bosphorus houses another palace, Beylerbeyi, the Ottoman kings’ summer fortress. After the palace trip, you can halt at the Beylerbeyi city centre, a small fishing city where you can experience delicious seafood with a relaxing view of the Bosphorus.
Lastly, make sure you pay a visit to the Basilica Cistern, also known as the “Sunken Palace”. Usually, guides do not add it to their schedules, but it is conveniently situated across St. Sophia, at the centre of the famous hotels. Justinian built the cistern in 532 to supply (water) the Byzantine Palace mainly. It is the leading of all Istanbul’s ancient cisterns; today, the footpaths have been built right through the container, and restrained brightness lends the place a suitably strange atmosphere.
Istanbul is full of historical and artistic sights; it is an exciting and vibrant city offering amazements to its citizens and guests every single day. It was usually described as a gorgeous and cute woman in the old poetry, seductive but different. So next time you go to Istanbul, find your jewels; in other words, make sure you will have a couple of free days to have Istanbul on your way.