Istanbul is literally located in the middle of the World. People come to visit Istanbul from the Far East, the Middle East as well as the Europe, USA, Australia, and Canada.
Istanbul steps forward with its natural beauty: The Bosphorus Strait which connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Black Sea. Besides, it has very valuable historic sights to visit.
Istanbul is a place where you may enjoy the ancient history as well as the medieval history. For instance, Constantinople’s (Istanbul’s former name) Hippodrome is of Roman heritage so it’s considered as the ancient history. Hagia Sophia is built in 537 and it’s the legendary building from Medieval Ages. Istanbul’s diverse history truly worth to explore.
Hagia Sophia is built in 5 years from 532 to 537 by the Emperor of Byzantine Empire, Justinian. He is known as the greatest Emperor of Byzantine Empire. Byzantine Empire is literally the Eastern Half of the Great Roman Empire. Therefore it’s very famous in the history. Eastern Roman Empire survived from 395 to 1453 for more than a millennium.
Hagia Sophia was built as a church. It was the greatest temple of the World. It stayed as so until the St. Peter’s Basilica of Vatican was built in the 1600s.
Discovering Hagia Sophia by yourself would be a great challenge, you would miss some opportunities to listen to its famous legends and stories too. Therefore it is recommended to hire a Private Tour Guide in Istanbul while you are visiting the grand Hagia Sophia.
Blue Mosque is known as the most famous mosque of Istanbul. However, it’s not the largest mosque in Istanbul as many people think. There is Suleymaniye Mosque that is larger and more impressive than the Blue Mosque since it was built by the grandest ruler of Ottoman Empire: Suleiman The Magnificent.
Blue Mosque has a perfect location for visitors. Being very near to Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern; tourists can easily see the Blue Mosque which is famous for its excellent Blue mosaics.
Basilica Cistern is a water reservoir located under Istanbul Old City. This place was built by famous Emperor of Constantinople: Justinian. He was the greatest ruler of Byzantine Empire period. Istanbul was named as Constantinople back then.
Basilica Cistern was designed to be the major water source for Grand Palace of Emperors as well as the administrative buildings of the city. This impressive landmark is now a museum. You may find it within a few minutes walk from Hagia Sophia Museum.
Topkapı Palace is also located very near to previous places. The Palace is located in the heart of Istanbul Old City. Overlooking to the Bosphorus Strait. Containing 4 large courtyards, it takes at least 2 hours to visit this castle-looking, grand palace.
The Sultan of Ottoman Empire had lived in here with his wives and sons. Therefore, the treasury and the other rooms are worth to visit. There is also the Harem section which was once filled up with ladies. The mother, wives, daughters, and concubines of the Sultan. Harem is considered as a home and school for young ladies. There were a strict discipline and hierarchy for everybody.
Again like Hagia Sophia, it’s best to join a Private Istanbul Tour Guide to discover this splendid palace of the 15th century.
These four major sights of the city can be seen within a full day. After visiting above 4 landmarks of the city. Grand Bazaar should be the right place for ending your first day in Istanbul. A massive place with 3000 shops and 67 streets. This place is one of the oldest shopping places of the World. Grand Bazaar is, of course, impressive. With all those jewelry, carpets, leathers, souvenir things, spices, all kind of flavors of Turkish cuisine.
It might be a little bit overwhelming to spend much time in Grand Bazaar after a busy sightseeing day. Grand Bazaar is always bustling with the crowds and is a noisy place. You may wish to visit for another half a day.
Spice Bazaar is located in the Eminonu area which is the seaside of Istanbul old city. This neighborhood is just like the hub of Istanbul old city. People who come to the old city via ferry, bus, tram or metro; arrive at Eminonu first and then they walk or use the tram in order to reach Hagia Sophia etc.
Spice Bazaar is one of the most famous landmarks in Istanbul. Especially for those who are interested in cooking. You may find Turkish spices and flavors in the market as well as Turkish saffron.