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Hagia Sophia now called the 'Aya Sofya', it was a church that converted into a mosque, and eventually turned into a museum. Hagia Sophia is a unique combination of religious importance, rich history, as well as innovative architectural form and outstanding beauty.
Experience the royal life of traditional Ottoman Empire as you enter the glorious Topkapi Palace. To mention a few highlights of the palace: Harem lounge is where the sultan's many mistress spend their days, Imperial Treasury is filled with glittering gold jewelries and precious gems, and the Sacred Safekeeping Room displays a powerful relics collection of the Prophet Muhammad.
The name 'Blue Mosque' originated from thousands of blue Iznik tiles used to adorn the interior design. Blue Mosque was built between 1609 and 1616, featuring a cascade of domes and six slender minarets. In addition to its fascinating and photogenic view, the call of prayer that echoes at dusk will brought you extra ambience.
Looking for the uncommon and rather bizzare attraction? Visit Basilica Cistern in Istanbul! The place was once stored up to 80,000 cu metres of water supply for the Byzantine emperors. Consisting 336 columns in 12 rows, many of columns were salvaged from earlier classical structures and feature fine decorative carvings.
Istanbul Archaelogical Museum is a complex containing 3 sections worthy of a visit: the main Archaeology Museum, the Museum of the Ancient Orient, and the Tiled Pavilion of Mehmet the Conqueror. This museum complex near Topkapi Palace showcased the rich history and wonderdul arts of the region. In the main Archaeology Museum, there's the impressive Istanbul Through The Ages exhibit room.
Spice up your life and don't miss the Spice Bazaar while you're in Istanbul. Colorful spices of Turkish delight called lokum, herbs, nuts, honey, and dried fruits are displayed alongside this market. Try to visit before 11am or after 4pm, to avoid ridiculously too-crowded situation.
East meets West; Istanbul strategically located between two continents--Europe and Asia. This advantage attracted many tribes to rule Istanbul over the centuries. Before the Ottoman conquest, the Greeks, Romans, and Venetians have also ruled this city. Aside from that, Istanbul was also the final point of 'Silk Road' where many merchants came to trade and some of them decided to stay. As a result, Istanbul became a city with rich-cultural diversity.The ancient time conquests enrich Istanbul with artistic heritages, such as mosaics and frescoes in palaces and churches. In addition, the Ottomans successfully builds and decorates the city with magnificient imperial mosques, and eventually created one of the world's excellent skylines. When in Istanbul, enjoy various tourist's attractions and delightful things to do.
How to Get Tickets?
Tickets are available online and offline. It's suggested that you buy your tickets in advance to avoid standing in line for too long. You can purcahse your online tickets on this website to make your travel easier.
How To Get Around?
Ferry is a good option to travel to and from the Europe side and the Asian side when the bridge is crowded with cars. You can also use the Metrobus and Metro. Both have many route options and are very convenient. However, do note that these rides are often packed with so many passengers. Maramay is also available even though its travel routes are not as many as Metro and Metrobus. Lastly, if you're not into walking, you can ride the taxis when the traffic isn't at its peak.
What Should I Wear?
There's no problem wearing comfortable shorts. Locals usually wear 'smart casual', which is sleeved summer dress or sleeved top with skirt (for women). Meanwhile, men usually wear short-sleeved shirt and trousers.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit this city is during spring and autumn. Spring is between April and May, and autumn is between September and mid November. The weather is nice, the temperature is pleasant, and the skies are clear during those months.
Will I Need a Guide?
You don't need a guide as transportations are easy to find. You can also find the information that you need about Istanbul on this website.
How To Get There?
The easiest way to get to Istanbul is by plane, arriving at either Ataturk Airport (Asian side) or Sabiha Gokcen Airport (Europe side). Tourists from Europe can consider going to Istanbul by train or bus or car since there are many routes connecting Istanbul to European cities. Getting there by sea is also possible, but the routes are not as many as the other travel options routes
Don't show too much PDA and don't take pictures of people without their permission, especially the women. Bargain with the local shop owners since there's a chance you might buy the stuffs you want with half the original price. Dress appropriately, especially when visiting the mosques. You also need to take off your shoes when you're going in to the mosques. Don't forget to try the local food as well as the coffee and tea.