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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > Turkey > Istanbul

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Things to see in Istanbul

Tourist Offices

Turist Danışma Ofisi

Address: , , ,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Hours vary

Website:

The tourist board goturkeytourism.com has six branches in Istanbul:
• Ataturk Airport Tourist Information (+90 212 6630798)
• Beyazit Tourist Information (+90 212 5224902)
• Karakoy Tourist Information (+90 212 2495776)
• Sirkeci Tourist Information (+90 212 5115888)
• Sultanahmet Tourist Information (+90 212 5181802)
• Taksim Hilton Tourist Information (+90 212 2330595)

Attractions

Chora Museum (Kariye Müzesi)

Chora Museum, also known as the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora, is covered with some of the oldest and finest surviving Byzantine mosaics and frescoes, a testament to the Byzantine Empire's artistic glory.

Address: , Kariye Cami Sokak 8, Istanbul, 34087
Telephone: +90 212 631 9241
Opening times:

Hours vary

Website:
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşısı)

This bazaar is a city within the city and has been in business since 1461. Under the domed ceilings, the labyrinthine alleys contain over 4,000 shops, mosques, and hamams (Turkish baths), making the bazaar a fantastic place to wander around and shop.

Address: , Kalpakçılar Cd 22, Istanbul,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Mon-Sat 0900-1900

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii)

With its cascade of opulent domes and slender, balconied minarets soaring towards the sky, this is Istanbul's most striking mosque. Built during the reign of Sultan Ahmet I, the mosque's blue İznik tiles (from which it gained its nickname), dominate the interior highlighted by shafts of light from over 250 windows.

Address: , At Meydanı Caddesi 7, Istanbul,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Tue-Sat 0900-1600 (Museum); no access to the mosque during prayer times.

Website:
Admission Fees:

No to the mosque, but yes to the museum

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Basilica Cistern or Sunken Palace (Yerebatan Sarnıçı)

This vast underground structure was built in AD 532 by Emperor Justinian, to be used as the reservoir for the Great Palace. With schools of carp flitting through the pools under the cathedral-like ceiling, supported by 336 mable columns – many recycled from pre-Christian temples – this is Istanbul’s most atmospheric sight.

Address: , Yerebatan Cad. Alemdar Mah. 1/3, Istanbul, 34410
Telephone: +90 212 522 1259
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1830 (Apr-Oct); 0900-1730 (Nov-Mar)

Website: http://yerebatan.com
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: Yes

Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia)

Inaugurated by Byzantine Emperor Justinian in AD 537, the Hagia Sophia (Church of Divine Wisdom) is the crowning architectural masterpiece of the Byzantine Empire. Today, with its mammoth 56m (184ft) high dome, gold-daubed mosaics and Ottoman medallions, it remains one of the most inspiringly beautiful buildings in the world.

Address: , Aya Sofya Meydanı, Divan Yolu Caddesi, Istanbul,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Tues-Sun 0900-1800 (Apr-Oct); Tues-Sun 0900-1600 (Nov-Mar)

Website: http://www.ayasofyamuzesi.gov.tr
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Topkapı Palace (Topkapi Sarayı)

Brought to life soon after Mehmet the Conqueror’s capture of Constantinople in 1453, the lavish salons, courts and pavilions here were the engine room of the Ottoman Empire right up to the 19th century. Don’t miss touring the labyrinthine haram and visiting the Treasury – home to the emerald-encrusted Topkapı dagger.

Address: , Topkapı Sarayı, Istanbul,
Telephone: +90 212 512 0480
Opening times:

Wed-Mon 0900-1700 (Apr-Oct); Wed-Mon 0900-1600 (Nov-Mar)

Website: http://www.topkapisarayi.gov.tr
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Istanbul Modern (Istanbul Museum of Modern Art)

Located in a restored waterfront warehouse, the Istanbul Modern is Turkey's first museum of modern and contemporary art. It hosts a revolving program of world-class exhibitions throughout the year.

Address: , Meşrutiyet Caddesi 99, Istanbul,
Telephone: +90 212 334 7300
Opening times:

Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat 1000-1800; Thu 1000-2000; Sun 1100-1800

Website: http://www.istanbulmodern.org
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Istanbul Archaeology Museum

The artefacts here come from the Topkapı collections and include the stunning sarcophagi finds made in Sidon's Royal Necropolis (in Lebanon) by Ottoman archaeologist Osman Hamdi Bey. There's also a wealth of ancient sarcophagi, statuary and monuments from important pre-Islamic sites throughout Turkey, Syria and Iraq on display.

Address: , Alemdar Caddesi Osman Hamdi Bey Yokuşu Sok, Istanbul,
Telephone: +90 212 527 2700
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1900

Website:
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Süleymaniye Mosque

Commissioned by Süleyman the Magnificent in 1550, and designed by famed Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, this mosque crowns one of Istanbul's seven hills and is an unmistakeable landmark. The interior, under the huge dome, is a lesson in symmetry and austere elegance while in the garden are the octagonal tombs of Sultan Süleyman and his wife Roxelana.

Address: , Prof. Sıddık Sami Onar Caddesi 1, Istanbul, 34116
Telephone: +90 212 514 0139
Opening times:

Varies, access is restricted during prayer times.

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Valens Aqueduct

Commissioned by Emperor Valens in the 4th century CE, the Valens aqueduct (Bozdoğan Kemeri) was built to supply water to then Constantinople. Today, the aqueduct soars above the bustling Atatürk Boulevard with traffic passing through the structure's limestone arches makes for great pictures.

Address: , Haşim İşcan Gç, Istanbul, 34134
Telephone:
Opening times:

24 hours

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts (Türk ve Eserleri Müzesi)

Originally the 16th century palace of Süleyman the Magnificent's Grand Vizier Ibrahim Pasha, this museum contains more than 40,000 artefacts from the 8th to the 19th century. Its carpet collection includes some of the finest rare textile pieces in the world, and its illuminated manuscript exhibits are also the standout highlights.

Address: Sultanahmet, Atmeydanı Sok 46, Istanbul,
Telephone: +90 212 518 1805
Opening times:

Tue-Sun 0930-1730

Website: http://www.istanbul.gov.tr/tarihi-ve-turistik-mekanlar
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No