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  • Writer's pictureJuan Aponte

What to See in Istanbul

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

Istanbul is Turkey's largest city as well as its cultural and financial hub. The city sits on both the European and Asian sides. If you're spending 2-3 days in Istanbul, below are the things you must see.

Brief video on my trip to Istanbul here:

Hagia Sophia

A UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Faith district, Hagia Sophia was a former Greek Orthodox Church up until 1453 when the Ottoman Empire took over the city. It was converted into a mosque until the 1st Turkish President, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk converted it into a museum in 1935. It is famous for its large dome.

Sultan Ahmed Mosque(Blue Mosque)

A UNESCO World Heritage site, it’s located next to Hagia Sophia. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque remains a functioning mosque while also attracting large numbers of tourist visitors. It was constructed between 1609 and 1616 during the rule of Ahmed I.

No entrance fee and as in all muslim sacred sites you must remove your shoes and be dressed appropriately.(head covering)

Fountain of Ahmed III

The Fountain of Sultan Ahmed III is a fountain in a Turkish rococo structure built right at the entrance to the Topkapi Palace. I did not get a chance to check out the Topkapi Palace, but I would highly recommend to take a look. The fountain was built in 1728 by Ottoman sultan Ahmed III. It was a famous gathering place during the Ottoman Empire rule.

The Tomb of Sultan Ahmed

The Sultan Ahmed tomb is located on the north side of the site facing Sultanahmet Park. The Great Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and other relatives/sultans are buried beside him. The walls are painted and covered with beautiful tiles.

No entrance fee and as in all muslim sacred sites you must remove your shoes and be dressed appropriately.(head covering)

Sultanahmet Square(Hippodrome)

Sultanahmet Square is the heart of Old Istanbul where top attractions are located such as the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Topkapi Palace Museum. Many of Istanbul’s Byzantine and Ottoman monuments were built in the Old City and with the many historical attractions in and around Sultanahmet Square, this is the ideal location to start any sightseeing tour of Istanbul.


Arasta Bazaar

Built in the 17th Century, this small traditional Turkish Bazaar is located next to the Blue Mosque which has a few shops which sell traditional Turkish souvenirs, paintings, and art work. Unlike the Grand Bazaar, it’s not crowded as much and the prices are way cheaper.

Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 4,000 shops. The prices will be inflated so make sure to bargain and don't forget to shop around because there are hundreds of stores selling the same products.

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