Istanbul, Turkey travel attractions with walking tours? If there is one thing that we wanted to try in Turkey was Turkish Coffee. We’d had it all over the world, but to have it in its country of origin was beyond heavenly. It takes great preparation to make this tiny little cup of caffeine, but the effort is worth it as it’s one of the most delicious and rich blends of coffee you will ever have. Don’t drink it to the last drop though, the bottom of the cup is filled with coffee grinds. (the secret ingredient perhaps?) The waterfront is filled with bars and clubs and this is where the hip young professionals of the city hang out. Dave and I clearly didn’t hang out here as we’re neither hip nor young, but we did take a stroll through the city and had a glass of wine!
As described above, Sultanahmet is home to the city’s most important attractions like Ayasofya, Topkapi Palace, the Basilica Cistern, and the Blue Mosque. No first-time visit to Istanbul can be complete without visiting all these places. Travelers pressed for time can click on the link below to learn how you can visit these attractions in one day. But if you have more time, then it would be best to spread them out over two days. You can check my post on the top attractions at Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul for more pictures and information, but here’s a quick rundown of what you a can find there.
The Basilica Cistern is the biggest ancient subterranean cistern beneath Istanbul’s teeming streets. Constructed during the 6th century, it was used to provide water for the city’s palace and other important buildings. It covers around 9,800 square metres (105,000 square feet). Although it can hold a huge volume of water, just a small amount covers the floor today. The ceiling is supported by grand columns, a few of which have ancient carvings, and the roof has arches and cross-shaped vaults. It is atmospheric, photogenic, and slightly spooky! Descend the 52 steps into the cistern and let your eyes adjust to the gloom. Be wowed by the sheer size of the cistern hidden beneath the streets and follow the walkways round the huge underground complex, seeing small lights reflecting in the waters and the many columns spread out before you. Don’t miss the two columns with carved Medusa heads on their bases; one of the pillars is upside down, making the snake-haired lady even more interesting. Discover additional details on Free walking tour in Istanbul.
For a closer look at the glory of the Ottoman Empire, you should go to Topkapi Palace during your trip to Istanbul. Topkapi Palace was built in the 15th century. Mehmed the Conqueror ordered the construction of the palace in 1459. At first, the palace was named Yeni Saray, or the New Palace. Before this palace, the Sultan used to live in the Old Palace in Beyazit Square. The name was changed to Topkapi Palace in the 19th century. Topkapi means canon gate. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, Topkapi Palace was turned into a museum in 1924. The palace, occupying a vast area of around 592,600 to 700,000 m2, has hundreds of rooms and chambers, but not all of these rooms are accessible for tourists. Only some of the most important ones are open to the public.
The best way of visit and understanding the modern Istanbul: history, politics, culture, tradition, street food and – of course – cold local beer. This Istanbul walking tour has it all. We started at Taksim Square, passed through different neighborhood and ended up with an amazing sunset by the sea on the Asian side, Kadikoy. We came to know a lot of things about local life in Turkey that otherwise we wouldn’t get to know. I highly recommend it!’ Explore even more info at https://www.freeistanbultours.com/.