Steeped in history and culture, this town has so much to offer. With some of Turkey’s most stunning buildings, there is plenty in this town to keep you busy for the perfect week away or a long weekend city break.
There are some outstanding hotels in Istanbul. The Luxury 5* Park Hyatt Istanbul – Maçka Palas is a great example of incredible architecture in itself located in the heart of the shopping and fashion district and a stones throw from the local attractions.
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is known commonly as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles that line the inside walls. The building, constructed between 1609 and 1616 is simply breath taking. The building is still used as a mosque today but is also a famous tourist attraction. The interior of the mosque is lined with more than 20,000 hand made ceramic tiles in more than 50 tulip designs at lower levels. The upper levels of the mosque are predominantly the blue tiles that it is famous for. More than 200 stained glass windows with tiny, intricate designs allow in natural light.
The Beylerbeyi Palace was constructed between 1861 and 1865 as a summer residence and place to entertain the heads of state. The palace has an outstanding reception hall with a pool and a fountain and numerous crystal chandeliers. The terrace gardens are beautifully manicured and a number of kiosks serve the perimeter. Certainly opulent, this is a stunning building in the City.
The Dolmabahçe Palace and it’s Clock Tower served as the main administrative centre of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 – 1922 and is a fine example of a mono block palace incorporating a number of architectural styles. Queen Victoria offered a gift of the world’s largest Bohemian chandelier which hangs in the center hall and has 750 lamps. Open to the public most of the week, the building is now largely used as a museum and well worth a visit to marvel at the opulence.
The Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora is considered as one of the most stunning examples of a Byzantine Church still in existence. The majority of the structure of the building was constructed between 1077 and 1081with a large redecoration carried out in 1320. The building was converted from a church to mosque during the Ottoman era before becoming a museum in 1948. The Chora Church has an excellent display of original and re-created mosaic artwork that adorns the walls, floors and ceilings. It is detail in these mosaics, how intricate they are, that really make this a must see building.
For something a little different, head to the Istanbul Sapphire for an outstanding view both of a stunning modern building and of the old town from it. The recently completed sky scraper comes in at 238mover 54 floors. The building itself is spectacular and full of mod cons for your visit including a 4D experience. The 360 degree observation deck at the top is a must do attraction to get the best view of the town. It’s simply breath taking. Head down a few floors to experience a table with a view at the fantastic Movempick restaurant.
Whether you are visiting for a day, a weekend or a week long holiday, Istanbul has so much to offer. The town is seeping with history and culture and these buildings are some of the highlights to consider taking in on your trip.