Fun things to do in Istanbul

  • Sultan Ahmet Mosque - Blue Mosque, Istanbul, TR
    Sultan Ahmet Mosque - Blue Mosque,...
    by TrendsetterME
  • Sultan Ahmet Mosque - Blue Mosque, Istanbul, TR
    Sultan Ahmet Mosque - Blue Mosque,...
    by TrendsetterME
  • Grand Bazaar
    by smirnofforiginal

Most Viewed Things to Do in Istanbul

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    Vialand amusement park and shopping mall

    by hokomoko Written Apr 14, 2014

    This is a Disneyland style amusement park in Istanbul with a large shopping mall in Eyüp district. There are public buses from Eminonu area and also service buses from Taksim. A very interesting place for kids and youth . Here there is a large roller coaster also.

    Bus nr from Eminonu: 47 and 47 E
    " " Sisli : 49K and 49 Y
    " " Yenikapi: 39D

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    A little unusual - Isbank Museum

    by Donna_in_India Updated Mar 16, 2014

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    We stumbled upon this museum while looking for someplace else and were encouraged inside by the guards who seemed a little bored by the lack of visitors. It turned out to be very interesting.

    The bank was established in 1924 on the order of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk as the first bank of the Republic of Turkey. The museum displays information and memorabilia related to the bank's development. There are numerous old documents, photos, advertising and promotional materials, etc. I thought the old banking tools and communications devices were so interesting - the adding machines, typewriters, and computers. But my favorite place was the lower level with the many safety deposit boxes and the very cool safe.

    It's definitely worth a stop in. Allow 30-60 minutes.

    Open daily 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. except Mondays, the first days of Islamic Religious Festivals and New Year's Day

    No admission charge

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    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    Visit at least a few mosques...

    by Donna_in_India Updated Mar 16, 2014

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    There are literally thousands of mosques in Istanbul. You will surely visit the most famous, Sultan Ahmet Cami (Blue Mosque). A few others that are almost always recommended to see include Rustem Pasa Cami (for its Iznik tiles), Suleymaniye Cami (for its size and beauty), and Sokollu Mehmet Pasa Rustem (for its elegance and harmony).

    I do recommend stopping in some others that you pass during your travels. But after seeing several mosques, there comes a point where you just get “mosqued” out! After seeing 5 or 6 you go into “automatic” – taking your shoes off, covering your head and entering. By this time maybe only something extremely different or beautiful will catch your eye. You cannot see them all and you should not even try although I do recommend stopping in some others that you pass during your travels. Some are small and simple and some extravagantly beautiful. It’s best to pick a small sample of the best of each type to see. But it did become difficult to pass a huge mosque complex and not go in “just to see”!

    MOSQUE PROTOCOL:

    Many mosques have rules posted outside. Some are more strict than others about allowing entry, particularly when it comes to dress, and others will supply a cover-up if you are not dressed appropriately. It is probably better to err on the side of caution. Women should have a scarf for their heads and a shawl, etc. to cover arms and legs if necessary.

    The following are from actual mosque signs (Blue Mosque):

    Please remove your shoes and place them in the shelf or put them in a bag.

    The ladies should wear a scarf and long skirt.

    The gentlemen should be in trousers not in shorts.

    Should not speak aloud inside the mosque.

    Photograph should not be taken during the prayers.

    Should wait at the rear until the prayer ends.

    Should not go beyond the area allocated for visitors.

    No smoking (sign in the courtyard).

    The following are from Yeni Camii (New Mosque):

    Please take your shoes off and do not step on the entrance with your shoes.

    Please cover your head and arms.

    Do not enter with short, bermuda, and miniskirt.

    An attendant at the entrance of most mosques will direct you with your shoes and supplying a coverup (if available and needed). At the New Mosque you were not allowed to touch the ground with your shoeless feet. You had to stand on the ground, remove one shoe and place your foot on the mat. You then had to balance to take off the other shoe without touching the ground or the mat until the shoe was off. If unsure what to do, ask the attendants or watch others.

    Some mosques don't allow photography at all and some only allow photography without a flash. Be sure to know how to turn your flash off!

    Most importantly, do realize that a mosque is a place of worship so please be respectful!

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    • Religious Travel
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    • Architecture

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    Military Museum - Askeri Muze

    by WulfstanTraveller Updated Feb 2, 2014

    Istanbul possesses an excellent Military Museum (Askeri Muze). Not to be confused with the naval and air force museums, this one focuses on the history of the Turkish army from the earliest Ottoman period. It contains a wide range of artifacts, weapons, uniforms, and the like. These include a portion of the chain which the Byzantines used to block the entrance to the Golden Horn as well as Janissary uniforms, and artillery used in the defence of the Dardanelles/Canakkale during the ill-fated Allied attempt to push their fleets up it in WWI and which led to the Gallipoli campaign. There is also a display on Enver Pasa, the Young Turk Ottoman minister of war who led Turkey into WWI on the side of the Central Powers.

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    Get the Museum Pass

    by magor65 Written Jan 7, 2014

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    The Istanbul Museum Pass is a card that allows you to enter nine museums within 72 hours (starting with your first visit). It costs 85 TL and can be bought in a few places including Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Chora and also online (http://www.muze.gov.tr/museum_pass)
    The nine museums for which a pass is valid are:
    1. Hagia Sophia
    2. Topkapi Palace ( including Harem)
    3. Chora
    4. Archeological Museum
    5. Mosaic Museum
    6. Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts ( closed at the time of my visit - August 2013)
    7. Galata Mevlevi House Museum ( doesn't include a whirling Dervishes performance)
    8. Museum for the History of Science and Technology in Islam

    We bought the pass and visited the first five museums. Calculating the costs, we had a little gain. Another advantage is that you don't have to stand in queues to buy tickets. On the other hand, you have to squeeze as much museum visiting as possible in three days. After going to five ones and wasting quite a lot of time looking for the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts only to find out that it wasn't open (nobody had informed us that it was closed for alterations), we decided to skip the other three. After all. sightseeing is not all about museum visits.

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    Ayasofya - interior

    by magor65 Written Jan 5, 2014

    The main entrance to Hagia Sophia (Ayasofyia) leads through Imperial gate in the past used only by the Emperor himself. The moment you come inside, you are struck by the immense size of the construction. The nave is carried by a dome of 30 m in diameter, which is carried on four pendentives and supported by four massive pillars. Procopius, a Byzantine historian, put it that way: "It seems not to be founded on solid masonry, but to be suspended from heaven by that golden chain and so cover the space".
    Unfortunately, many of the beautiful mosaics covering the walls of the temple have been lost completely. From what remains, the mosaic of the Virgin Mary with the child, which is in the apse, is one of the most impressive. She's sitting on the backless throne, holding little Jesus in her arms and two archangels Michael and Gabriel are on her both sides. (Gabriel is partly and Michael largely destroyed).
    To see other mosaics it is recommended to climb the galleries. Hagia Sophia has two levels: a ground floor and galleries above. A part of the gallery was used as an imperial lodge, from which an empress could observe a service.
    In the upper south gallery we can see Deesis considered to be the finest mosaic in the church. It dates back to 1261 and shows Jesus standing between Mary and Saint John.

    Hagia Sophia was declared a UNESCO wrld Heritage Site in 1985.
    The museum is open every day except Mondays.
    Entrance fee is 25TL

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    Hagia Sophia as a mosque

    by magor65 Written Jan 4, 2014

    The year 1453 started another chapter in the life of Hagia Sophia. On May 28th Mehmed II marched into Constantinople and the Ottoman empire took over. Promptly, Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque. The mosaics were covered by paint or plaster, four minarets added, the monograms of four caliphs put on the pillars and other changes made. But the temple kept its name "Holy Wisdom" (Sophia means wisdom in Greek)

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    Top ten things to see/ do in Istanbul

    by magor65 Written Jan 1, 2014

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    This is my personal (subjective) list of top attractions in Istanbul. Of course, everybody has their own preferences, depending on interests, age, expectations, etc. I'm sure this megacity will satisfy everyone's tastes.
    1. Sultanahmet with its must-see attractions: Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque
    2.Topkapi Palace including Harem ( although you have to pay extra to enter harem, it's worth it.)
    3. Basilica Cistern - a breathtaking underground construction
    4. Chora Church with its amazing early Christian mosaics and frescoes
    5. Eyup - it's not the mosque itself that made the biggest impression on me, but the whole atmosphere of this area which for muslims is the site of ptlgrimages and one of the holiest destinations of Islam
    6. Galata Bridge - the views from the bridge are great, especially towards the evening and it's a fantastic place to have a beer while looking at Bosphorus
    7. Istiklal Caddesi - one should join the crowds in this street for people watching, shopping and just for fun. It's really vibrant and different from Old Istanbul
    8. Bosphorus Cruise - we went on a full Bosphorus cruise by a public ferry and it was superb. Fantastic views of European and Asian sides
    9. A trip tp Prince Islands - after a hustle and bustle of Istanbul, the trip was a soothing break
    10. Suleymaniye Mosque - a great example of Turkish islamic architecture. Less crowded than the Blue Mosque, so it's easier to feel its atmosphere.

    Hammam - Turkish bath ... we postponed going to one and somehow didn't do it in the end. But I'm sure it must be a great experience. Next time ...

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces

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    Byzantine church

    by solopes Updated Dec 26, 2013

    For a week I repeated to myself each time I crossed Taksim square "I must visit that church", but I always moved forward, without finding the entrance. In my last day I decided to find the entrance, which stands in a narrow interior street, a bit tricky to find. Well, it is a byzantine church in regular use, and when I went there, it was closed.

    In my next week in Taksim it will be visited in one of the first days!

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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    Tophane fountain

    by solopes Updated Dec 26, 2013

    Standing between Ali Paça and Nusretiye mosques, by the sea, this square fountain built in 1732 by the sea (now, a few more meters away) is the third of Istanbul in size, with all the four walls showing the same decoration.

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    Rumeli Kavagi, Istanbul, TR

    by TrendsetterME Written Nov 19, 2013

    "Rumeli Kavagi" is a small fishermans village on the European Side of Istanbul, located at the very far end of the Bosphorus where Marmara Sea meets the Black Sea.

    There are several seafood restaurants which are mostly full especially on weekends by the locals and also by some tourists.

    Best way to reach there is by private car, but also local public busses serve from Taksim and Sarıyer districts every 30 mins by the time period of about 08am to 22pm.

    Nice place to spend time to make a long walk on the shore or sip a coffee on the small cafes on the beach.

    Enjoy ... :)

    Related to:
    • Water Sports
    • Fishing
    • Food and Dining

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    Museum of Innocence, Istanbul, TR

    by TrendsetterME Written Nov 15, 2013

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    Actually the famous Nobel-laureate Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk published a novel with the same name as "The Museum of Innocence" on August 29, 2008.

    Pamuk has established an actual "Museum of Innocence", based on the museum described in the book.

    It is housed in a building in the Cukurcuma neighbourhood of Beyoglu, Istanbul and displays a collection evocative of everyday life and culture of Istanbul during the period in which the novel is set. Originally, the museum was scheduled to be exhibited at Frankfurt’s Schirn Kunsthalle in October 2008, during the annual Frankfurt Book Fair but the exhibition was cancelled. In 2010, Pamuk still hoped that the museum would be opened in 2011. After much delay, the museum was finally inaugurated in April 2012. Although created later, the museum and the novel were conceived of in tandem, displaying the obsessive romance between two Istanbul families, as well as eternalizing a perspective on upper-class Istanbul in the 1970s. The project was supported by Istanbul 2010 – European Capital of Culture.

    According to the book, the museum allows free entry to those who bring a copy of the book. A ticket placed in the 83rd chapter of the book will be stamped before ushering the reader in.

    Museum can be visited each day of the week except Monday ...

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    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits

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    Cukurcuma Mosque, Istanbul, TR

    by TrendsetterME Updated Jul 27, 2013

    As soon as you enter Cukurcuma Street just on the right you will see a 16th century piece of art "Cukurcuma Mosque" ...

    Its a masterpiece of "Sinan the Architect". Across it there came a 18th century piece Omer Aga Fountain.

    One of the favorite antique-hunting areas is the district called Cukurcuma is in Beyoglu, the neighborhood's name is officially Firuzaga Area but everyone knows it as Cukurcuma when it comes to antiques, so the mosque itself is also known as "Cukurcuma Mosque".

    Have a walk at the Cukurcuma Street and enjoy this little historic Mosque ... :)

    Related to:
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    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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    Galata Bridge

    by traveloturc Written Jun 29, 2013

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    Galata Bridge located in Eminönü District of the historical peninsula connects Eminönü to the Golden Horn. Citizens well known for hunting curiosity and ingenuity throughout history use the bridge for fishing, the pedestrian path of the bridge used for pulling the abundance of the sea to the ashore....This is my area which I ve spend all my youth ...
    Many bridges were built over the Golden Horn throughout the history but these bridges have lost their function due to various reasons. After the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmet (the Conqueror), the first bridge not known its technique and style was built between the districts of Kasımpaşa and Ayvansaray with the order of Fatih Sultan Mehmet.
    Drawing a bridge project on the Golden Horn to ensure the transition was proposed to famous artist Leonardo Da Vinci by Sultan Beyazıt II in the 16th century. There are two rumors, one of which is that Leonardo Da Vinci drew the project but it wasn’t accepted by Sultan Beyazıt and the other one is that Leonardo Da Vinci was given up the journey to the Ottoman Empire by the Venetians. As a result, the bridge project had been suspended for about four hundred years.
    After the mysterious bridge of Fatih Sultan Mehmet, the second bridge, built on the Golden Horn by Sultan Bezmialem, during period of Sultan Mahmut II in the 19th century, has been “Hayratiye Bridge” today’s Atatürk Bridge. It connects Azapkapı District of Beyoğlu to Unkapanı District.
    “Cisr-I Cedid” bridge which is considered the ancestor of Galata Bridge was built during the period of Sultan Abdülmecit again in the 19th century. The bridge has been called names such as “Pigeon Bridge”, “New Bridge”, “New Mosque Bridge” and “Great Bridge”.
    The new Galata Bridge wanted to make French built from hundred and five thousand gold coins between the years of 1870 and 1912 but it was built by a British company because there was a problem between France and Germany.
    In 1912, another bridge was built for three hundred and fifty thousand golden coins because old bridge no longer met the needs. But the new built bridge had been damaged in May 1992 by a fire of which reason hadn’t been detected. A part of the bridge burned had been repaired and placed in more internal parts of the Golden Horn to ensure the transition between Hasköy and Feshane. Today, burning “Galata Bridge” is used to transfer from Hasköy to Feshane.

    Today’s “Galata Bridge”
    Galata Bridge was built for the fifth and last time thirty one months later after the last fire and it was finished in December 1994. The length of the bridge is four hundred ninety meters and wide of the bridge is forty two meters. Also the bridge has an opening up the middle part which allows passing the ships.
    Galata Bridge has a feature being one of the largest bridges in the world which have on the rail line. The rail line is a tram.
    In 2003, restaurants and cafes at the bottom of Galata Bridge were opened to the public. People not content with watching the view of the Golden Horn can be part of the landscape in these places open until the first light of morning.
    Briefly you can go fishing on the Galata Bridge or you can eat a fish at the bottom restaurants with a glass of drink. You will feel the blue waters of the Golden Horn flowing under your feet. We hope you will see the magic places whether you come from any other country or you live in Istanbul.

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    Unkapanı Atatürk Bridge

    by traveloturc Written Jun 29, 2013

    Popularly known as “Unkapanı Bridge”, the bridge’s real name is “Atatürk Bridge”. The structure connects the Historical Peninsula of Istanbul and Beyoğlu. The bridge is located between Azapkapı district in Beyoğlu and Küçükpazar district in Fatih. It can be defined as continuation of the Atatürk Boulevard between Aksaray and Unkapanı.
    As the first, Unkapanı Bridge was built in the period of thirtieth Ottoman Sultan, Mahmut II, by next Sultan’s mother “Bezmialem Valide Sultan” in 1836.
    In contrast to the usual, transitions hadn’t been any demand for the bridge by the public so the bridge was called as “Hayratiye Bridge”.
    The bridge has the ability of swimming and the responsibility of the bridge was given to tFevzi Ahmet Pasha, the period’s sea captain. The bridge was completed in the shipyards in the Golden Horn by Fevzi Ahmet Pasha. The length of Unkapanı Bridge was four hundred meters and its wide was then meters. The bridge could be opened and closed not to be banned the ships coming from the Bosporus or Marmara Sea.
    In 1875, a French company had built a bridge made of metal instead of wooden bridge as a result of an agreement and prices of one hundred thirty five thousand gold pieces. The bridge’s length was seven hundred eighty meters and wide of the bridge was eighteen meters and it continued to serve until 1912.
    In 1912, the new bridge was removed and the third Eminönü- Karaköy Bridge named as “Galata Bridge” was mounted. In 1936, the bridge collapsed as a result of a violent storm and Today’s “Atatürk Bridge” was built. Atatürk Bridge is made of wooden like the first “Hayratiye Bridge”. In 1954 Atatürk Bridge was covered with asphalt. The length of the last bridge is four hundred seventy- seven meters and wide of the bridge is twenty-five meters and still it serves to people.
    Amateur fishing can be done in summer and winter on the leaving parts for pedestrians. Also according to the season, mullets, small blue fishes, mackerels and blue fishes are being fished on the bridge.

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