Istanbul, the first city that comes to mind everywhere in the world when it comes to Turkey, has a history dating back thousands of years. Archaeological studies in the city reveal that the settlement in the historical peninsula of Istanbul dates back to 3000 BC.

Istanbul, which has been inhabited since prehistoric times and has been one of the world’s most important metropolises throughout its history, is literally bursting with history. In this ancient city, which has been home to countless civilizations, it is possible to see traces of different civilizations in almost every corner.

Istanbul’s historical sites are recognized all over the world and play an important role in the annual influx of visitors to the city. Istanbul’s historical and touristic places are waiting for those who want to experience unforgettable moments. Especially the historical monuments in the four regions of the city, which are included in the World Heritage List by UNESCO, are considered among the most important historical values of the world.

Of course, there are many historical places to visit in Istanbul and it is impossible to mention them all in one article, but we have compiled a few of the most important historical places of the city for you.

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Ayasofya Mosque in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul’s Fatih district is one of the most rare architectural monuments of the city. Built as a cathedral by Byzantine Emperor Justiniaus I between 532-537, Ayasofya was converted into a mosque by Mehmed the Conqueror after the conquest of Istanbul.

With its 31-meter high dome, the mosaics with human figures inside the mosque were covered, but not destroyed and thus managed to survive until today. Today, some of these mosaics have been uncovered and can be seen.

Entrance to the Ayasofya Mosque, which is one of the must-visit points in Istanbul, is free of charge and visiting hours are between 09:00-18:30 in the morning. One hour before the prayer times, the mosque is closed to visitors, it is only open for worship, and half an hour after the end of the prayer, it is reopened to visitors.

You can easily reach Ayasofya by taking any bus passing through Aksaray or Eminönü stops and transferring to the tram after getting off at one of these stops.

Sultanahmet Mosque

The Sultanahmet Mosque, which is neighbouring the Ayasofya Mosque, located in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul, was built by Sultan Ahmet I between 1609-1617 by the architect Sedefkar Mehmet Aga. With its 43 metre high dome, the mosque is an impressive historical monument with its mihrab carved out of marble.

Sultanahmet Mosque was built with blue tiles, which is why Europeans also call it the Sultanahmet Mosque, or blue mosque. Sultanahmet, which has a magnificent appearance with more than 20 thousand tiles consisting of tulip patterns, as well as being the first mosque with six minarets built in Turkey, is indispensable for the lists of historical places to visit in Istanbul.

The entrance to the Sultanahmet Mosque is free of charge and, like Hagia Sophia, it can be visited between 09:00-18:30, likewise, it is closed to visitors one hour before the prayer hours and reopens half an hour after the end of the prayer.

Sultanahmet Mosque is next to Ayasofya, so you can reach here by using the same road as Ayasofya.

⇒ View Sultanahmet Square Hotels.

Maiden Tower

One of the most important historical places on the Anatolian side of Istanbul is of course the Maiden’s Tower. The Maiden’s Tower in Üsküdar leaves a mesmerising impression with its appearance before you even go to the tower. The Maiden’s Tower, which has features from both Ottoman and Byzantine architecture, was built on an islet off the coast of Salacak.

Mahmud II gave the tower, which has 2500 years of history, its final form. On a marble slab in the tower, there is the tughra of Sultan Mahmud II, who made the tower take its current form. Don’t forget to add the Maiden’s Tower to your list of historical places to visit in Istanbul to watch Istanbul, spend time in the atmosphere of a historical tower and take photos.

There are also many legends about this impressive building, which should definitely be added to the lists of historical places to visit in Istanbul. The most well-known of these legends is that a king built the tower upon the prophecy that his daughter would die by snake bite and locked her here to protect her daughter, but she was stung and killed here by a snake coming out of a grape basket.

Since it is located on an island, the Maiden’s Tower is accessible by boats departing from Üsküdar and Kabataş. Entrance to the tower is paid and visiting hours are 09:00-19:00. For information about entrance fees, you can access the official website of the Maiden’s Tower by clicking here.

⇒ Review Maiden’s Tower Hotels.

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace, which is on the UNESCO Istanbul historical sites list, was built by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1478 and was used as the administrative centre of the Ottoman Empire for 400 years. The palace, which was built on an area of 700,000 square metres when it was built, has a size of 80,000 square metres today.

There are many rooms and sections in the palace, which is one of the most magnificent points of the list of historical places in Istanbul. It is known that 4000 people lived in Topkapı Palace, one of the world’s largest and largest palace museums, during the Ottoman period, so it is a very large palace.

Topkapı Palace is located in Sarayburnu in Fatih district of Istanbul and the most convenient way to reach it is by taking the Kabataş-Bağcılar tram. You can get off at Sultanahmet stop and take a short walk to the palace.

Topkapı Palace visiting hours are 09:00-18:30.

Entrance to Topkapı Palace is paid, you can click here for current entrance fee information.

⇒ Topkapı Hotels Review.

Galata Tower

Located in the Beyoğlu district of the city on the European side of the city, Galata Tower was built in 1348 as a watchtower and was the tallest building in Istanbul (then Constantinople). The 66.9 metre high Galata Tower is now used as a museum and exhibition space.

Used in the 16th century as a prison, the tower is also famous as the tower where Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi flew.

The 9-storey tower’s observation deck overlooking Istanbul is one of the most beautiful spots to watch the city and tens of thousands of people flock to the observation deck of Galata Tower every year to watch Istanbul from the top.

Getting to Galata Tower is quite easy, you can reach the tower by taking the Kabataş-Bağcılar tram and getting off at Karaköy stop. Another alternative is to get off at Şişhane stop by metro. After this stop, you can visit the tower by walking for about 5-10 minutes.

Galata Tower is open to visitors every day between 08:30-23:00.

Entrance to Galata Tower is paid. You can find the current fees here.

⇒ See Galata Tower Hotels.

Basilica Cistern

Istanbul has a dizzying wealth of historical monuments, and the Basilica Cistern is one of the most unique historical monuments in the city. The cistern, 150 metres southwest of the Hagia Sophia Mosque, which we mentioned in our article, was built by the Byzantine Emperor Justiniaus I. Built in the 6th century, the cistern is also known as Basilica Cistern.

The cistern, which has 336 columns of nine metres in length, is descended by 52 stairs. The most striking parts of the cistern are the pedestals with Medusa head sculptures and these pedestals are considered among the most successful examples of Roman sculpture art. Today, the cistern, which is operated as a museum by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, also hosts many events.

Due to the restoration works carried out in the Basilica Cistern, the cistern is currently closed to visitors. You can reach the official website of Basilica Cistern here.

⇒ See Basilica Cistern Hotels.

Don’t Leave Without Seeing

The historical places of Istanbul are countless, we talked about the most popular historical places in our article. Of course, there are many more places you can see if you still have time left after visiting and seeing these places. . Do not return without seeing these places on the Istanbul historical sites tour.

Eyup Sultan Mosque
Beylerbeyi Palace
Rumeli Hisari
Anadolu Kavagi
Hidiv Pavilion
Haydarpasa Station
Church of Saint Esprit
Anadolu Hisari
Yedikule Dungeons
Suleymaniye Mosque
Eyup Sultan Mosque
Zeyrek Mosque
Grand Bazaar

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