ISTANBUL AREA INFORMATION
One of the most elegant cities, not only in Turkey but in the whole world; the only city that embraces the two continents, Asia and Europe. A city that reflects the diversity of cultures, a heritage, that makes the world all the more attractive. Istanbul is appraised as one of the largest and most interesting open-air museums of the world. It is almost impossible to cover the attractions of the city within a few days time. For this reason, we recommend that you make a careful plan depending on your time and interest.
It is a masterpiece of the Byzantine architecture and considered as the 8th wonder of the world by most art historians. Hagia Sophia, from the 6th century, is the one and only construction that still stands in an excellent state of preservation and well worth an extended visit.
The administrative palace of the Ottoman Dynasty, that ruled on three continents for over six centuries, is definitely a must see.
The Blue Mosque
Known as the “Mosque of Sultan Ahmet”, the mosque is located next to the ancient Hippodrome and across from Hagia Sophia. The mosque was built in the first quarter of the 17th century. The decoration of the interior and the outstanding tiles are well worth seeing.
With a capacity of 100,000 spectators, the Hippodrome was the scene for the political struggles and the uprisings in the capital city of the Empire. Today, the only remains from the Hippodrome are the three monumental columns and a fountain.
The Cistern Basilica
The Cistern Basilica was used to supply the necessary water to the city when the city was under siege. 336 columns with Doric and Corinthian capitals, were brought from various locations in Asia Minor for the construction of the cistern. A monumental aqueduct, built by emperor Valens and still a major attraction of the city.
The mosque of Suleyman the Magnificent, located in the center of a large religious complex, stands as the most important work of Architect Sinan, one of the greatest architects in the world history. Built in the 16th century and stands out as a unique example of classical Ottoman architecture with perfectly integrated sections, beautiful stained-glass windows and the extraordinary harmony of the structural elements.
The Bosphorus and Dolmabahce Palace
The Bosphorus is a water pass, that spans 36 km. between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. On either side of the strait, stands the two medieval castles built by the Ottoman Turks for the conquest of the city; the small but pretty Anadoluhisari (14th cen) in Asia, and right across, the awesome Rumelihisari, constructed in the 15th cen. Dolmabahce Palace, that reflects the splendor of the late Ottoman architecture, is a monument of wealth, decorated with beautiful Hereke carpets, chandeliers, of European crystal and a rich collection of paintings. A must see.
The Princes’ Islands
The Princes’ Islands consists of nine various sized islands in the Sea of Marmara and is only an hour away by boat from the pier in Golden Horn. These islands are Buyukada, Heybeliada, Burgazada, Kinaliada, Sedef Adasi, Yassiada, Sivriada, Kasik Adasi and Hayirsizada. One of the most popular destinations for day trips from Istanbul. Motor vehicles are not allowed on the islands, the shores of which are lined by seaside mansions, beaches and picnic areas. Horse-drawn carriages are the only means of transportation. The Islands are just a short ferry ride from both the Asian and European sides of Istanbul.
Istanbul Area Tours
Customize Your Vacation
Best Western makes it easy to customize your vacation with unique tour packages. There are many tour packages to choose from including: touring the sights of the city by water or land, a photography workshop or cycling around the city
See All Tours >