Top 10 MUST-SEES in Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul Turkey | Bel Around The World

Turkey holds a special place in my heart, because of the generous hospitality that the locals offer, despite me being a stranger in this foreign land (Read: Why Everyone Loves Turkey). It lends itself a distinct character because of its heavy Islamic influence, which is probably the very reason why a Euro-trip will not be complete without visiting Turkey.

MUST-GO when in Istanbul:

1. Grand Bazaar

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, TurkeyIstanbul, Turkey

I love the variety and vibrancy of what the shops in here have to offer. Interestingly, when we asked a shopkeeper to recommend a little coffee shop where we can sip Turkish tea and take a break from all the walking, she immediately phoned for the “tea boy” to bring 2 cups of tea over to her shop. We thought she’d misunderstood us, so we tried to explain again, that we wanted to buy tea from a coffee shop. Next thing we knew, she brought out her chairs for us to sit down to wait for the tea to arrive! So there we were, two Asian tourists, sitting by a jewellery shop sipping our teas. Haha!

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

8am to 8pm
Closed on Sunday
Free

2. Spice Bazaar

Istanbul, TurkeyIstanbul, Turkey

You can find all sorts of spices, Turkish delight treats and different type of tea leaves that Turkey is famous for right in this indoor market! It can be overwhelming, with every stall selling almost the same merchandise. It appears to be increasingly commercialised, as if the reason why the market stands is thanks to the steady stream of tourists looking for local souvenirs.

Istanbul, Turkey

8am to 7.30pm
Closed on weekends
Free

3. Blue Mosque

Istanbul, Turkey

Blue Mosque is so called because of the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior. It was built from 1609 to 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I. It is made of Ottoman and Islamic architecture.

Istanbul, Turkey

8am to 8pm
Open daily
Free

4. Hagia Sophia

Istanbul, Turkey Hagia Sophia is a former Christian patriarchal basilica, later an imperial mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. It’s inspired by the Byzantine architecture.

9am to 7pm
Open daily
30TL (SGD 15)

5. Basilica Cistern

Istanbul, Turkey

I first heard about the Basilica Cistern while reading Inferno by Dan Brown. In the book, this place is the final destination of Robert Langdon’s quest to find the plague. Langdon described it so well that I can almost imagine the real thing. It got me fascinated at how this “Sunken Palace” can actually exist.

Istanbul, Turkey

This underground cistern consists of marble columns rising from the water level. The cistern is a rectangular structure measuring 140m by 70m. There are 336 columns, each 9m high. There are 12 rows with 28 columns in each row, 4.8m from each other. This helps distribute the ceiling’s weight equally through the columns.

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

The highlight of the Basilica Cistern is the 2 Medusa heads that are used as plinths. They are masterpieces of sculpture art in the Roman Period.

There are many myths surrounding Medusa, including the most famous story of how one would be turned into stone if one casts a glance at Medusa into stones. In the Byzantine period, the cistern’s water was used by the imperial palace and residents.

9am to 5.30pm (winter), 6.30 (summer)
Open daily
20TL

5 Comment

  1. NemanjaF says: Reply

    Good and really informative article. Istanbul is beautiful and very photogenic city. As a photographer I worked on a small video project about Istanbul. Enjoyed 10 days there with all my senses.
    One day in Istanbul:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cllhHMyZht0

    1. Thank you Nemanja! Amazing video you’ve got! If you don’t mind, I’d love to share it on this post! Let me know! 🙂

  2. NemanjaF says: Reply

    Isabel, I’m glad you like it and off course you can share it 🙂
    I have more videos on my youtube channel and be free to use/embed them to your posts:)

    1. Hi Nemanja,

      Have shared it on this post. Thanks for sharing your video with me! 🙂

  3. […] have your visa to Turkey ready, you surely need this, check out my blogging buddy’s “Top 10 Must Sees in Istanbul” and this is a guide for your transportation around Istanbul, how to properly dress, and […]

Leave a Reply