Sightseeing in Istanbul Effortlessly combining ancient Ottoman mosques with contemporary culture and nightlife, Istanbul has become one of the world`s hottest destinations. The Turkish city is packed with historic buildings, modern galleries and enlightening museums to keep visitors busy during the day and at night it comes alive with youthful locals flocking to the latest hip new bars and clubs. Tourists can visit the intriguing Topkapi Palace, the Byzantine splendour of Haghia Sophia, the delightfully fragrant spice market or the tranquillity of Yildiz Park. Whether you are interested in exploring the colourful culture of this historic city, marvelling at architectural wonders or enjoying contemporary entertainment, Istanbul has something for you. A must see for any visitor is the spectacular Blue Mosque, also known locally as the Sultan Ahmet Mosque. The beautiful structure is situated in the oldest part of the city and is one of Istanbul`s most famous landmarks. The gorgeous curves and multiple minarets create a stunning exterior and inside the breathtaking blue tile designs that give the mosque its name create a truly unique space. Tourists are welcome every day except during prayer time and, as with most place of worship, visitors should remember to dress appropriately, including covering the legs and shoulders. Female visitors should cover their hair. For an exhilarating insight into Istanbul`s mercantile past, try a shopping trip to the Grand Bazaar. This immense marketplace has been around since the mid 15th-century and getting lost amongst its labyrinthine lanes is an unforgettable Istanbul experience. Put your haggling skills to the test and hunt for bargains among stores selling everything from tourist trinkets to gold jewellery, textiles and leather goods. No matter what time you go the Grand Bazaar is likely to be crowded and manic so do keep an eye on your purse and be prepared for some persistent sales pitches. For an educational experience that will appeal to all ages, the somewhat underrated Archaeological Museum in the Gülhane area offers an interesting respite from the bustle of the city. Five thousand years of Turkish history is thoughtfully displayed in the three buildings of this complex. There are some quite incredible archaeological finds in here, including a copy of a document from the 13th century BC. It is worth setting aside at least half a day to really explore this treasure trove of ancient artefacts. For a completely different cultural experience, the more recent Istanbul Modern is a large gallery dedicated to modern art. Art fans will love wandering through this renovated warehouse admiring abstract paintings, photographs and sculptures produced by local artists. The works on display highlight Istanbul`s position as the gateway between Europe and Asia as both western and eastern influences can be detected in much of the collection. The museum also houses a lovely restaurant with fine views over Old Istanbul. After a day of culture and history, night time in Istanbul offers visitors the perfect location to really relax and let their hair down. New bars seem to open every week so it is always a good idea to chat to locals and find out where the hottest places to be seen are during your visit. Whether you prefer intimate live music venues, the pumping sounds of international DJs or something in between, you can find it in Istanbul. The city also offers cultural entertainment and it is well worth checking out the upcoming programme of the Istanbul State Opera and Ballet to see what is showing during your trip. Whatever your tastes and however long you have to spend in Istanbul, you can be sure that you will never be bored. There are so many sights to explore that the only difficulty might be choosing which to see first. It is perhaps no wonder that so many visitors to Istanbul find themselves planning their next visit before they even leave. Luckily, with so many great travel deals available, there is no reason not to visit again soon. Çiçek Pasaji (Flower Passage) An icon of Beyoglu's past and present, the Çiçek Pasaji occupies a stunning rococo arcade, the original of which dates to 1876. It was constructed as a bazaar and apartment building shortly after the 1870 Beyoglu fire, when it soon became known as the Cité de Pera. After World War I, Russian aristocrats settled in alongside the cluster of florists and thus the building acquired its present name. This is also where the tradition of tables spilling out onto the street got started. The entire affair collapsed in 1978 due to neglect but was reconstructed a decade later. Today the soaring space teems with meyhanes and beer halls, staffed by a collection of eager, competing, and vociferous waitstaff. The arcade follows an "L" shape with the long portion running parallel to the adjacent Sahne Sokagi, better known by the name of the merchandise sold here: fish. Çinili Camii This mosque was built for the Valide Sultan Kösem, mother of Murat IV, in 1640. This simple square-planned mosque is entirely reveted, both inside and out, in precious Iznik tiles. The porch and minaret are baroque additions. Çiragan Palace Hours Hotel common areas open 24 hr.; the bar and restaurant have individual hours Location Çiragan Cad., Besiktas Transportation Bus: 22, 22RE, 25E, 30D, 40, 40T, 42, 57UL, DT1, DT2, or U1 Phone 0212/258-3377 Prices Free admission From the first wooden summer mansion built on the spot in the 16th century to the grand waterfront palace that stands today, the Çiragan Palace was torn down and rebuilt no less than five times. Now a palace of sumptuous suites that make up part of the adjacent Hotel Kempinski Istanbul, the palace takes its name from the hundreds of torches that lined these former royal gardens during the festivals of the Tulip Period in the latter part of the 18th century. The foundations were laid in 1855 when Sultan Abdülaziz ordered the construction of a grand palace to be built as a monument to his reign. The architect, Nigogos Balyan, ventured as far as Spain and North Africa to find models in the Arab style called for by the sultan. The fickle Abdülaziz moved out after only a few months, condemning the palace as too damp to live in. Murad V (who in 1876 deposed his uncle Abdülaziz), Abdülhamid II, and Mehmed V were all born in the palace. Murad V spent the final 27 years of his life imprisoned here, while his brother (who deposed him shortly after Murad V bumped his uncle) kept a watchful eye on him from the Yildiz Palace next door. After Murad V's death, the Parliament took over the building but convened here for only 2 months because of a fire in the central heating vents that spread and reduced the palace to a stone shell in under 5 hours. (Some of the original doors were given as gifts by Abdülaziz to Kaiser Wilhelm and can now be seen in the Berlin Museum.) In 1946 the Parliament handed the property over to the Municipality, which for the next 40 years used it as a town dump as well as a soccer field. In 1986 the Kempinski Hotel Group saved the shell from yet another demise, using the palace as a showcase of suites for its luxury hotel next door. Since its opening, the Çiragan has laundered the pillowcases of princes, kings, presidents, and rock stars, carrying on at least a modern version of a royal legacy of the original. The palace grounds spread along 390m (1,300 ft.) of coastline and can only be visited as part of a stop-off at the main hotel, preferably from the seaside garden terrace, which provides ample views of the Palace Sea Gate, the Palace Garden Gate, and the main building itself. A cluster of secondary palaces that now serve mainly as schools are located outside the hotel's perimeter, while the one called Feriye has been restored as an elegant restaurant and cinema complex. Ahrida Sinagogue Hours / Visits by appointment only via the Balat Foundation Address / Vodina Cad. 9 Location / Extension of Kürkçüçesme Sok., Balat Transportation / Ferry: Fener; bus: 36CE, 399B, 399C, 399D, 44B, 55T, 99, or 99A from Eminönü Phone / 0212/523-4729, Balat Foundation 0212/523-7407 The first synagogue in Istanbul was constructed by a group of Macedonian Jews emigrating from the town of Ohri, for which the synagogue is named. It dates to the first half of the 15th century, when Istanbul was still under Byzantine rule, but after Macedonia had already fallen to the Ottomans. Over the next 500 years, the congregation grew to include Jews from Spain, Germany, and Russia. The synagogue was restored in the 17th century. Much of the Jewish community in Balat has moved on to other of the city's neighborhoods, but the synagogue still operates for a much-reduced number of remaining congregants. The most striking feature is the bima, constructed in the form of a ship's bow. The recurring images of boats, seen etched above doorways and windows around the neighborhood, represent the lifeline provided to the expelled Jews of Spain in 1492 by Beyazit II. Arap Camii (Arab Mosque) Hours / Open daily at prayer times only Location / Fütühat Sok., Karaköy Transportation / Tram: Karaköy; Tünel to Karaköy; IDO Ferry from Kadiköy; bus: 28, 28T, 30D, 35, 74, 74A, 80, 91O, or 99A Phone / No phone Several stories compete in regards to the origins of this building. According to one source, the mosque dates to the Arab siege of A.D. 718, after which it was converted by Dominican Friars into a church. According to John Freely, author of the heavily researched Strolling through Istanbul, the building was constructed by the Dominicans between 1323 and 1337. The building has undergone quite a bit of repair and additions; it is now once again (if one believes the earlier version) a mosque topped by a belfry/minaret, with an interior courtyard and sadirvan (fountain). Arch of Theodosius Location / Ordu Cad. (opposite Istanbul University), Beyazit Transportation / Tram: Beyazit There's very little left apart from the toppled Triumphal Arch scattered on either side of Ordu Caddesi, discovered during the construction of Beyazit Square in the 1950s. Nevertheless, there's something intangibly momentous wandering through such a thickly layered cultural metropolis and stumbling upon the main gate into the city ruled by the last sovereign of the Roman Empire. The arch was built adjacent to the Forum of Theodosius, which the emperor modeled on the Forum of Trajan in Rome. The forum, or what's left of it, remains buried several feet below Beyazit Square. It was also called the Forum Tauri, after the colossal bronze bull that greeted visitors at the center of the city. From the remains, researchers were able to reconstruct (on paper, at least) the monument: The arch was composed of a high center arch flanked by two shorter lateral arches supported by eight sets of four columns topped by Corinthian capitals. Earthquakes and routine sieges on the city reduced much of the forum to rubble well before the arrival of the Ottoman Turks, and many of the buildings constructed later used the site as a marble quarry (some of the columns in the Basilica Cistern originated here, for example). Atatürk Kültür Merkezi (Atatürk Cultural Center) Location / Taksim Square Transportation / Tram: Kabatas; Funicular: Taksim; Nostalgic Tram: Taksim; Metro: Taksim; bus: 25T, 35C, 40, 54HT, 55T, 61B, 80T, 87, 93T, 96T, 559C, or E50 Phone / 0212/251-5600 There is talk of tearing this monstrosity down, but apparently the building has its defenders, if the level of dissent is any indication. The building dates to 1969 although a fire in 1970 required it to undergo significant repairs. The center houses the State Opera and Ballet, a theater company, and an exhibition gallery. Atik Ali Pasa Camii Location / Divanyolu, next to the Column of Constantine Transportation / Tram: Beyazit Phone / No phone A smaller version of the Ulu Camii in Bursa and similar in style to the original Fatih Camii before it was destroyed in the 1766 earthquake, the Atik Ali Pasa represents a transition between Selçuk and traditional Ottoman architecture. The mosque was the center of a complex built in 1496 by the eunuch Grand Vizier of Beyazit II, Hadim Ali Pasa. The tekke, or dervis lodge, soup kitchens, and part of the medrese were razed for the widening of Divanyolu. Atik Mustafapasa Camii Location / Cember Sok. between Mustafa Pasa Bostani Sok. and the Golden Horn highway Transportation / Ferry: Fener; bus: 36CE, 399B, 399C, 399D, 44B, 55T, 99, or 99A from Eminönü There have been several theories as to the origins of this former Byzantine church, but none has emerged as the fitting piece to the puzzle. Some say that it was built by Leo I in A.D. 458 for SS. Peter and Mark. A second theory puts construction in the 9th or 10th century A.D. and suggests that if this were so, it would have been the earliest example of a dome-in-cross church in Constantinople and therefore the precursor for the type of church that spread all over Russia in the 11th century. The building lay abandoned after the Ottoman conquest until it was converted into a mosque several decades later; the dome dates to this period of reconstruction, and many of the early architectural features were lost. Aya Nikola Kilisesi Address / Abdülezel Pasa Cad. 255 Location / Ayakapi Transportation / Ferry: Fener; bus: 36CE, 399B, 399C, 399D, 44B, 55T, 99, or 99A from Eminönü Phone 0212-521-2602 The waterfront location of St. Nicholas is an appropriate one for a basilica dedicated to the patron saint of mariners and children. It dates at least to 1538, the year in which the Patriarch of Jerusalem makes mention of it. The current basilica, which was constructed in the courtyard of the ruins of the earlier church, dates only to 1837. It served as the metochion to the Vatopedi Monastery of Mt. Athos (Aynaroz in Turkish or Agion Ores in Greek). The feast of St. Nicholas is celebrated here every December 6. Aya Triada Ermeni Katolik Kilisesi Hours / Open for Sun mass. Off hours, knock and a caretaker may let you in Address / Kurabiye Sok. 2 Location / Meselik Sok., (next to the side entrance to Haci Baba Restaurant), Taksim Transportation / Tram: Kabatas; Funicular: Taksim; Nostalgic Tram: Taksim: Metro: Taksim; bus: 25T, 35C, 40, 54HT, 55T, 61B, 80T, 87, 93T, 96T, 559C, or E50 Phone 0212/244-1358 The striking presence above Taksim Square of the dome/semi-domes of this Armenian Catholic Church was quite revolutionary when the church was built in 1880. Under Ottoman rule, domes were prohibited for use in non-Muslim places of worship. But that all changed during the Tanzimat reforms. The church, which is still in use, is the largest Eastern Orthodox Church in Istanbul. The facade features two symmetrical clock towers, best admired from inside the expansive garden courtyard, where the space is shared with a number of domesticated farm animals and friendly feral cats. Ayadimitri Kilisesi (St. Demetrios Kanavis Kilisesi) Location / Corner of Mustafapasa Bostani Sok. and Agacli Çesme Sok., Balat Transportation / Ferry: Fener; bus 36CE, 399B, 399C, 399D, 44B, 55T, 99, or 99A from Eminönü This 13th-century Byzantine church housed the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate from 1597 until the Patriarchate moved to its current location in 1601. A church bearing this name has existed on the site since 1334, but the current church dates only to the first half of the 18th century. Ayasofya (Haghia Sophia or Saint Sophia) Hours / Tues-Sun 9am-4:30pm Location / Sultanahmet Transportation / Tram: Sultanahmet Phone / 0212/522-1750 Prices / Admission 10TL to the grounds/museum; an additional 20TL for the second floor gallery For almost a thousand years, the Ayasofya was a triumph of Christianity and the symbol of Byzantium, and until the 16th century, maintained its status as the largest Christian church in the world. The cathedral is so utterly awesome that the Statue of Liberty's torch would barely graze the top. Erected over the ashes of two previous churches using dismantled and toppled columns and marble from some of the greatest temples around the empire, the Ayasofya (known in Greek as the Hagia Sophia and in English as St. Sophia, or Church of the Holy Wisdom) was designed to surpass in grandeur, glory, and majesty every other edifice ever constructed as a monument to God. Justinian began construction soon after his suppression of the Nika Revolt, indicating that combating unemployment was high on the list as well. He chose the two preeminent architects of the day: Anthemius of Tralles (Aydin) and Isidorus of Miletus. After 5 years and 4 months, when the construction of the Ayasofya was completed in A.D. 537, the emperor raised his hands to heaven and proclaimed, "Glory to God who has deigned to let me finish so great a work. O Solomon, I have outdone thee!" Enthusiasm for this feat of architecture and engineering was short-lived, because 2 years later, an earthquake caused the dome to collapse. The new dome was slightly smaller in diameter but higher than the original, supported by a series of massive towers to counter the effects of future earthquakes. Glass fittings in the walls were employed to monitor the weight distribution of the dome; the sound of crunching glass was an early warning system indicating that the weight of the dome had shifted. Several more earthquakes caused additional damage to the church, requiring repairs to the dome (among other sections), which was increased in height thanks to the support provided by the addition of flying buttresses (additional buttresses were added at two later dates). In 1204 the Ayasofya was sacked and stripped down to the bare bones by the Crusaders, a desecration that robbed the church of precious relics and definitively divided the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches. After Mehmet II penetrated the city in 1453, his first official stop was to this overwhelming symbol of an empire that he had conquered, and with his head to the ground, he invoked the name of Allah and declared the great house of worship a mosque. In the years that followed, several adjustments were made to the building including the covering over of the frescoes and mosaics, due to the prohibition of Islam against the representation of figures. (The Iconoclastic movement of the 8th and 9th centuries had similarly disavowed the use of figural depictions and icons, during which many of the frescoes and mosaics were defaced, destroyed, or cemented over; any figural representations seen today date to after this period.) A single wooden minaret was erected (and later replaced by Mimar Sinan during restorations in the 16th c.), and three additional minarets were added at a later date. The altar was shifted slightly to the right to accommodate a mihrab indicating the direction of Mecca, and an ablution fountain, along with a kitchen, was erected in the courtyard. Ayasofya was converted from a mosque into a museum by Atatürk in 1935, after a painstaking restoration led by Thomas Whitmore of the Byzantium Institute of America. Mosaics and icons that were previously defaced or whitewashed were rediscovered and restored. Excavations are continuing to reveal the foundations of the church built by Theodosius. While this enduring symbol of Byzantium still has the power to instill awe after so many additions and reconstructions (including tombs, schools, and soup kitchens during its tour of duty as a mosque), the exterior's original architecture is marred by large and boxy buttresses; you'll get more of a representation of the intent of Justinian's original from the inside. On your way in, notice the stone cannonballs lining the gravel path of the outer courtyard. These are the actual cannonballs used by Mehmet the Conqueror in his victorious 1453 battle for the city. The main entrance to Ayasofya leads to the exonarthex, a vaulted outer vestibule that was reserved for those not yet baptized. The inner narthex, or vestibule, glistens with Justinian's original gold mosaics embellished with floral and geometric patterns. The most central of the nine doors leading into the nave of the church, called the Imperial Gate, is topped by a mosaic of the Christ Pantocrator holding a book with the inscription "Peace be with you. I am the Light of the World." He is surrounded by roundels portraying the Virgin Mary, the angel Gabriel, and a bearded emperor, believed to represent Leo VI asking for forgiveness for his four marriages. Through the Imperial Gate is a sight that brought both emperors and sultans to their knees: a soaring dome that rises 56m (184 ft.) in height (about 15 stories) and spans a width of approximately 31m (102 ft.). Light filters through a crown formed by 40 windows and ribs, glittering with the gold mosaic tiles that cover the entire interior of the dome. At its decorative peak (including the side aisles, semi-domes, inner walls, and upper galleries), Ayasofya's interior mosaics covered more than 4 acres of space. Eight calligraphic discs, four of which are the largest examples of calligraphy in the Islamic world, ornament the interior and bear the names of Allah and Mohammed (above the apse); the four successive caliphs, Ali, Abu Bakr, Osman, and Omar (at each of the four corners of the dome); and Ali's sons Hassan and Huseyin (in the nave). The main nave, side aisles, apse, and semi-domes are covered with mosaics and frescoes, depicting religious and imperial motifs or floral and geometric designs. At the center of the space is a square of marble flooring called Coronation Square, believed to have been the location of the emperor's throne, the place of coronation and therefore, in the minds of the Byzantines (or at least the emperor), the center of the universe. Up in the southern gallery are some of the best mosaics in the church (restoration just recently completed; thus the additional entrance fee), including the Deesis (a composition depicting Christ, his mother, and St. John the Baptist), considered to be one of Byzantium's most striking mosaics, in spite of the missing lower two-thirds. This mosaic is one of the oldest, dating to the 14th century. Opposite the Deesis is the tomb of Henrico Dandalo, the blind Venetian doge whose success in diverting the Fourth Crusade to Constantinople resulted in his capture of the city in 1204. Along the balcony railing near the deesis is the graffiti of a 9th-century-A.D. Viking -- the equivalent to "Halvdan was here." At the far end of the gallery near the apse are two additional mosaics: one depicting Empress Zoë with her third husband, Constantine IX Monomachus, separated by a figure of Christ, and a mosaic portrait of Emperor John II Comnenus, his wife, Empress Eirene, and their son, Prince Alexius (extended onto the panel on the wall to the right). Exit the church through the small Vestibule of Warriors in the inner narthex opposite the ramp to the upper gallery. Previously used as an entrance, this is now an exit, so you're forced to turn around to view the mosaic lunette depicting an enthroned Virgin Mother and Child, flanked by Constantine proffering a model of the city and Justinian offering a model (inaccurate) of the Ayasofya. (A mirror has been placed above the current exit to alert you to the mosaic behind you.) I Wish I May, I Wish I Might -- According to legend, when construction of the Ayasofya reached the height of a man, the construction team set out to get a bite to eat, leaving their tools under the watch of a small boy. An angel appeared and urged the boy to fetch the men so that they could return to the work of building God's house. When the boy told the angel that he promised not to leave the tools unattended, the angel promised to keep an eye on everything until his return. After leaving the site and thus breaking his promise, the boy was never allowed to return, and the angel continues to wait for him. Go to the entrance of the basilica proper, to the left of the Imperial Door; legend has it that the angel grants a wish to all those who successfully complete a 360-degree circle with their thumb in the hole of this wish-worn column. Ayazma and the Church of St. Mary of Blachernae Location / Mustafapasa Bostani Sok., Fener Transportation Ferry: Fener; bus 36CE, 399B, 399C, 399D, 44B, 55T, 99, or 99A from Eminönü This unremarkable church sits atop the site of one of the most celebrated shrines to the Virgin Mary in Byzantium. But even before Constantine set foot inside the city walls, the spring located on this spot was considered sacred. Citizens of Constantinople made regular pilgrimages to the spring, and in the 5th century A.D., Empress Augusta Pulcheria, wife of Emperor Marcian, had a church built on the site. Sometime between A.D. 457 and 474, Emperor Leo I added a marble statue of Mary, from whose hands flowed the holy water of the spring, as well as a sacred pool. He later added a chapel to house the relics of the Virgin Mary, which included the holy robe stolen by citizens of Constantinople on pilgrimage to Jerusalem and a gold and silver icon of the Virgin. This icon was paraded along the battlements when the city was under siege by the Avars in A.D. 626 and is credited with saving the city. According to another tradition, the Holy Shroud (of Turin) was brought here in A.D. 944. The church succumbed to the wrath of the iconoclast period, and later, to fire. The church, and indeed the entire complex of buildings, was destroyed by fire in 1434. A replacement chapel was built in 1867, and later other sections were added on. Balikpazari (Galatasaray Fish Market) Hours / Daily dawn to dusk. Restaurants open until late Location / Istiklal Cad., opposite the Galatasaray Lisesi (near Mesrutiyet Cad.) Transportation / Nostalgic tram; Tünel from Karaköy This fish market is a colorful cluster of much more than just fishmongers. Having just undergone a period of restoration (which in my opinion whitewashed some of the charm out), it also contains dükkan (small grocers), souvenir sellers, restaurants, tempting tantuni joints (fast-food sellers of fried spiced beef), and other must-try street food vendors. I'm a bit anxious that eventually it will homogenize into just another outdoor shopping mall, but let's just cross our fingers and not get ahead of ourselves. Running perpendicular to Sahne Tiyatro Sokagi are three very picturesque alleys as well as an unobtrusive Armenian Church. The Üc Horon Ermeni Kilisesi (also called the Surp Yerrortuyan, both meaning Holy Trinity; Balikpazari 24Ab/6r) is a working church and the largest Armenian Church in Istanbul. It dates to 1838. To the right of Sahne Tiyatro Sokagi is Nevisade Street, a narrow cobbled mews overflowing with traditional meyhanes. One can barely squeeze by on a summer's eve, which makes it half the fun. Try to nab a seat on the upper balconies (or roof terraces) if you can; these are often closed from October through April. From Sahne Tiyatro Sokagi branch off the quieter Duduodalar Street and the Avrupa Pasaj. The Avrupa, or European Passage, used to be reveted in mirrors designed to enhance the light emitted by the then-gas lamps, and thus was formerly called the Aynali Pasaji or Mirrored Arcade. Here is a pleasing mixture of high-end antiques sellers, Anatolian textile boutiques, and down-market souvenir shops. Beyazit Mosque (Beyazit Camii) Location / Yeniçeriler Cad., across from the Beyazit tramway stop Transportation / Bus: 36A, 36CV, 36D, 36V, 37C, 37Y, 38B, 39B, 39Y, 77A, or 86V Beyazit II, son of the Conqueror, is remembered kindly by history as one of the more benevolent of sovereigns, and indeed, in Turkey, he has been elevated to a saint. The mosque and complex bearing his name is the oldest surviving imperial mosque in the city (its predecessor, the Fatih Camii, succumbed to an earthquake and was reconstructed in 1766). The complex was built between 1501 and 1506 using materials taken from Theodosius's Forum of Tauri, on which it is built. Again, the architect of Beyazit Camii looked to the Ayasofya, employing a central dome buttressed by semi-domes and a long nave with double arcades, although the mosque is half the size of the church. The Beyazit Mosque also borrows elements from the Fatih Mosque, imitating the system of buttressing and the use of great columns alongside the dome. Thanks to Sultan Beyazit II's patronage, the Ottomans found a style of their own, which served as a bridge to later classical Ottoman architecture. The sultan, who died in 1512, is buried in a simple tomb, decorated in mother of pearl and stained glass, at the back of the gardens. Beylerbeyi Palace (Beylerbeyi Sarayi) Hours / Daily 9am-4pm Transportation Ferry: from Eminönü, ferry to Çengelköy or Üsküdar, and then bus 14M, 15, 15B, 15C, 15ÇK, 15F, 15H, 15KÇ, 15M, 15N, 15P, 15R, 15S, 15SN, 15U, or 15Y Phone 0216/321-9320 Beylerbeyi, built under Sultan Abdülaziz by another member of the talented Balyan family of architects in the European style of Dolmabahçe, was the second palace to be built on the Bosphorus and served as a summer residence and guest quarters for visiting bey (dignitaries) during their visits to the city. The shah of Iran and the king of Montenegro were guests here as well as the French Empress Eugénie, who admired the palace so much that she had the design of the windows copied on the Tuilleries Palace in Paris. It's a bit dusty, and not as grand as Dolmabahçe, but worth a visit if you're on the Asian side and looking for a diversion. Beylerbeyi, which replaced Abdülmecid's previous palace, was completed in 1865 on a less extravagant scale than the one on the European shores, employing only 5,000 men to build it. Although less grand and weathered by time, Beylerbeyi has some features worthy of a visit, not least of all the terraced garden of magnolias at the base of the Bosphorus Bridge. The monumental staircase to this marble palace is fronted by a pool and fountain which served as much to cool the air as to look pretty, and the floors are covered with reed mats from Egypt that act as insulation against dampness. The grounds contain sumptuous pavilions and kiosks, including the Stable Pavilion, where the imperial stud was kept. Ironically, Abdülhamid II spent the last 6 years of his life admiring Dolmabahçe from the other side of the Bosphorus, having been deposed and kept under house arrest here until his death in 1918. Binbirdirek Sarniçi Hours / Daily 9am-9pm Address / Imran Öktan Sok. 4 Location / Binbirdirek Mah (opposite the Post Office), Sultanahmet Transportation / Tram: Sultanahmet Phone 0212/518-1001 The name means "Cistern of 1,001 Columns," -- in spite of the actual presence of only 224. The cistern is thought to have been built by Philoxenus, a Roman senator and companion of Constantine the Great, as part of the Lavsus Palace. It is the oldest cistern in the city, and at 3,610 sq. m (38,858 sq. ft.), is the second-largest covered cistern (Yerebatan is the largest). The cistern was later used as a warehouse for the manufacture of silk yarn, but was then abandoned to the ignoble fate of garbage dump. As part of the process of recovery, 7,000 truckloads of detritus had to be removed. The current holders of the concession take advantage of the extremely atmospheric ambience as a background for a restaurant and waterpipe cafe, a wine bar, and patisserie as well as a venue for events. Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii) Location / Sultanahmet Transportation / Tram: Sultanahmet Phone 0212/458-0776 Season / Closed to visitors during prayer times This grand bubble of masonry, one of the great and defining features of Istanbul's skyline, was constructed between 1609 and 1617 by Sultan Ahmet I, who was not only driven by a desire to leave behind an imperial namesake mosque, but was also determined to build a monument to rival the Ayasofya. So great was the Sultan's ambition that he had one unfortunate architect executed before finally choosing Mehmet Aga, probably a student of Sinan, who came up with a plan commonly accepted as impossible to build. The design is a scheme of successively descending smaller domes that addresses the problem of creating a large covered interior space. The overall effect is one of such great harmony, grace, and power that it's impossible to walk away from this building unaffected. There are several legends associated with the construction of the six minarets. One says that the sultan's desire for gold minarets -- altin in Turkish -- was understood as alti, or six. Whatever the reasoning, the construction challenged the preeminence of the mosque in Mecca, which at the time also had six minarets. The ensuing scandal, both in and out of Istanbul, resulted in the sultan's ordering the construction of a seventh minaret at the Kaa'ba. The mosque was completed after just over 6 1/2 years of work and to this day remains one of the finest examples of classical Ottoman architecture. The original complex included a soup kitchen, a medrese (Muslim theological school), a primary school, a hospital, and a market. A türbe, or mausoleum, stands at the corner of the grounds near the Hippodrome and Sultanahmet Park, and houses the remains of the Sultan Ahmet I, his wife, Kösem, and three of his sons. It also contains some fine examples of calligraphy on cobalt blue Iznik tile. The main entrance (for worshipers; tourists must enter from a portal on the south side) is off the Hippodrome, beneath the symbolic chain that required even the sultan to bow his head when he arrived on horseback. Walk straight through the garden up to the main marbled courtyard of the mosque and you'll see an ablution fountain, no longer in use. The working ablution fountains are located at ground level of the northern facade facing the Ayasofya. Visitors should enter from the opposite side (from the Hippodrome entrance, follow the garden path diagonally to your right to the south side of the mosque). If you plan your visit during the morning hours when the sun is still angled from the east, the first effect once inside will be one of blindness as the light penetrates the stained glass, creating an illusion of false darkness. As your eyes adjust, the swirling blues, greens, reds, and yellows from the tile and stained glass increase the impression of immensity and grandeur. The abundant use of decorative tile represents the pinnacle of Iznik tile craftsmanship, evident in the rich yet subtle blues and greens in traditional Ottoman patterns of lilies, tulips, and carnations. The overall dominance of blue prompted the mosque's early visitors to label it the Blue Mosque, a name that sticks to this day. Lateral half domes resting on enormous elephantine columns (actually called elephant foot pillars) enhance the sense of open space, but critics contend that the pillars are too overbearing and cumbersome. The elegant medallions facing the mihrab bear the names of Allah and Mohammed; the ones opposite are decorated with the names of the first four caliphs who ruled the Islamic world. Bodrum Camii or the Myrelaion Location / Lâleli Cad., Mesipasa Cad., Laleli Transportation / Tram: Laleli The story of this building is inextricably tied to the life of Romano Lakapenos, son of Armenian peasants whose father was an imperial guardsman. His biography is, as expected, tortuously long and convoluted, so suffice it to say that Lakapenos distinguished himself as a militarily and politically savvy individual who became the trusted friend, and then father-in-law, of the young Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. In A.D. 920, a year after the wedding of his daughter to the under-aged emperor, Lakapenos was crowned co-emperor, and in later years bestowed the same honor upon his own sons Christopher, Stephen, and Constantine. Around the time of his ascension to the throne, Lakapenos acquired a building, itself with a bit of history. Here we go again: The building once was an unfinished 5th-century-A.D. rotunda so huge that if completed would have been second in size only to the Pantheon in Rome. Later, it was surmounted -- by the help of a raised platform -- by a building reportedly used as a market and place of executions. When Lakapenos bought the building, he had it converted into a monastery and added the adjoining church, called the Myrelaion, or Place of Myrrh (finally, to the punch line). The oversize foundation of the church allowed it to sit at the same level of the palace. The church is built on a dome-in-cross plan, which makes it the first of its type of all of the churches of the same type in Constantinople. When converted to a mosque, the Ottomans called it Bodrum Camii, or mosque with a cellar. The adjoining palace has been replaced by concrete blocks. Bucoleon Palace Location / Kennedy Cad., Sultanahmet (Aksakal Cad. intersects with Küçük Ayasofya Cad. near the Küçük Ayasofya Camii) Transportation / Tram: Sultanahmet or Çemberlitas Imagine the lapping of the Marmara Sea onto the base of the palace ramparts, and visualize a continuous arcade of columned windows above a stepped portal flanked by twin lions allowing access to the palace by sea. These were the features of the Bucoleon Palace, the main living quarters of the Great Palace from the 9th to 11th centuries A.D., when the imperial family moved to Blachernae above the Golden Horn. The Bucoleon palace was mostly in ruins, and whatever remained was regrettably demolished to make way for the commuter railway. All that's left today is a bleak wall of arched windows, visible from the sea-facing side of Sultanahmet just outside of the entrance to Aksakal Caddesi. Those lions, by the way, are now in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. Buhara Özbekler Tekkesi ve Mescidi Hours / Hours and admission to be established upon completion of restoration Location / Özbekler Sok., Sultanahmet Transportation / Tram: Sultanahmet or Çemberlitas (exiting Sokullu Mehmet Pasa Mosque, turn right) This dervis lodge dates to 1692. Built by Ismail Bey, presumably to serve the minority Özbek community, it features a bi-level design due to the slope of the hill on which it is constructed. The lodge is currently undergoing restoration and should be open by the time you read this. Caferaga Medresesi Hours / Daily 9am-6pm Location / Caferiye Sok., Sogukkuyu Çikmazi 1 (next to the Ottoman Hotel), Sultanahmet Transportation / Tram: Gülhane or Sultanahmet Phone 0212/513-3601 Built in 1559 by Sinan on the order of one of the eunuchs to the harem, this medrese hardly ever makes the guidebooks. It's actually one of those rare "living historical places," offering art and music exhibitions, as well as workshops and courses on a variety of traditional Ottoman art forms. Rooms are also designed to be exhibition spaces for the works created by the students within. The courtyard oasis is a perfect place for a break from pounding the hard pavement of Sultanahmet. Church of SS. Peter and Paul Hours / Mon-Sat 7am-5pm; Sun 10:30am-noon. Ring the doorbell Address / Galata Kulesi Sok. (also written as Kuledibi) 44 Location / Just down the steep hill from Galata House restaurant on the right where the street curves, Galata Transportation / Tram: Karaköy; Tünel to Karaköy; IDO Ferry from Kadiköy; bus: 28, 28T, 30D, 35, 74, 74A, 80, 91O, or 99A Phone 0212/249-2385 Secreted behind an unobtrusive pink and purple gate is a Dominican church built in 1604 by the Genoese. The church was destroyed twice by fire then was rebuilt by the renowned Fossati brothers from 1841 to 1843. The exterior of the church -- essentially a narrow alleyway enclosed by high walls -- is covered in inscriptions. The main treasure of the church is the famous icon of Mary Odighitria (the guide). According to tradition, Luke himself painted the icon. Although its authenticity has never been proven, this seems unimportant to those who gaze upon it. At the back of the church is a well-preserved section of the original Genoese defensive walls. Church of St. Theodore Location / Tirendaz Sok., Vefa Transportation / Tram: Beyazit. From Sifahane Sok., walk down Molla Semsettin Camii Sok, and turn right. You'll see a seemingly out of place redbrick domed building We really know very little about the origins of this Byzantine church. Scholars are not even sure as to which St. Theodore the church was dedicated. Still, we can at least narrow down the construction of the building to a 200-year period between the 12th and 14th centuries. The church was predictably converted to a mosque immediately after the conquest and is alternatively known as the Kilise Camii (Church Mosque) and the Molla Gürani Camii, after the Kurdish scholar, tutor to Mehmet the Conqueror, and the first Mufti of Istanbul. Inside are what appear to be a number of recycled 6th-century-A.D. architectural elements (columns, capitals, supports). The building underwent a restoration in 1937, during which mosaics were revealed from under the whitewash. These are located primarily in the south dome of the exonarthex depicting the Virgin Mary surrounded by prophets. Church of Theotokos Pammakaristos (Joyous Mother of God Church, now the Fethiye Camii) Hours / Thurs-Tues 9am-5pm Location / Fener Transportation / Bus: 90 from Eminönü or 90B from Beyazit. From the Kariye Camii, follow Draman Cad. (which becomes Fethiye Cad.); turn left onto Fethiyekapisi Sok. (just before the road bends sharply to the right) Phone / 0212/635-1273 (Ayasofya Museum Directorate) Prices Admission 2YTL ($1.75/76p) This church was built in 1292 by John Comnenus, probably related to the royal family, and his wife Anna Doukaina. Later additions and renovations were made, including the construction of a side chapel in 1315 to house the remains of Michael Glabas, a former general, and his family. In 1456 the Orthodox Patriarchate moved here from the Havariyun and remained here until 1586. Five years later, Murat III converted the church into a mosque and renamed it in honor of his conquest over Georgia and Azerbaijan. To accommodate a larger inner space for prayer, most of the interior walls were removed. The interior of the church/mosque contains the restored remains of a number of mosaic panels, which, while not as varied as those at the Kariye Camii, serve as another resource for understanding 14th-century Byzantine art. In the dome is a representation of the Pantocrator surrounded by prophets (Moses, Jeremiah, Zephaniah, Micah, Joel, Zechariah, Obadiah, Habakkuk, Jonah, Malachi, Ezekiel, and Isaia). In the apse Christ Hyperagathos is shown with the Virgin and St. John the Baptist. The Baptism of Christ survives intact to the right of the dome. Church of the Pantocrator (Zeyrek Camii) Hours / Open daily at prayer times only Location / Zeyrek Transportation / From Atatürk Bulv., follow Itfaiye Cad. and take the first street to the right This former monastery church is one of the most important historic landmarks of the Byzantine period; however, because the structure is in a sad state of neglect, a detour here can only be recommended in tandem with a stroll through the narrow streets of the Zeyrek neighborhood. Dedicated to St. Saviour Pantocrator, the building is actually a composite of two churches and a chapel, making it the second-largest church in Istanbul after Ayasofya. The monastery was founded by Empress Eirene, wife of John II Comnenus, who completed the south church prior to her death in 1124. She was also the first to be buried here (her sarcophagus was moved in the 1960s to the Archaeological Museum, but now resides in the exonarthex of the Ayasofya). The northern church was added by the emperor (her husband) after Eirene's death and dedicated to Virgin Eleousa, the Merciful or Charitable. Nothing remains of its original ornamentation. The emperor also had the churches connected through the jerry-rigging of a chapel between the north and south church, which also required the demolition of part of the exterior walls of the two buildings. The minbar (pulpit), added when the church was converted into a mosque in the 15th century, is composed of recycled fragments of Byzantine sculpture. Although the building preserves some of its original decoration (marble pavement, door frames in the narthex, marble apse), it's almost impossible to get a sense of the interior, as each section has been blocked off by wooden partitions. Column of Constantine Location / Corner of Yeniçeriler Cad. (where the avenue changes its name from Divanyolu and behind the Çemberlitas Tram stop) and Mahmut Pasa Yokusu, Çemberlitas Transportation / Tram: Çemberlitas When Constantine established the city on the hill as the capital of the Roman Empire, one of his first projects was the construction of a forum, built just outside the then-city walls. The forum was circular with two monumental gates, and at its center Constantine erected a monumental column carved of red porphyry stone and topped by a Corinthian capital bearing his own likeness. A drawing by Melchior Lorick (1561) contains an illustration of the column showing a relief on the north, Senate-facing side of the base. The Forum of Constantine is said to have been the inspiration for Bernini in his conception of St. Peter's Square in Rome. The column has been a victim of earthquakes and elements: In A.D. 418, part of the base cracked, prompting its reinforcement via the use of a ringed metal brace (additional braces were added later), and in 1106, the statue of Constantine was toppled by a hurricane. Manuel Komnenos presided over the first restoration of the monument, placing a simple cross atop the column in place of the destroyed statue of the emperor. Since then, periodic repairs have been done to cracks in the marble, and in 2003 a full-fledged, comprehensive restoration was begun. Cumhuriyet Aniti/Republican Monument Location / Taksim Square Transportation / Tram: Kabatas; Funicular: Taksim; Nostalgic Tram: Taksim; Metro: Taksim; bus: 25T, 35C, 40, 54HT, 55T, 61B, 80T, 87, 93T, 96T, 559C, or E50 Punctuating the entrance to Istiklal Caddesi (which means "Independence Street") is this monument to the republic. The sculpture, created by the Italian sculptor Pietro Canonica, symbolizes the War of Independence on one side. The opposite side is a representation of the Republic of Turkey. The monument was erected here in 1928 inside an arched foundation designed by Istanbul-born architect Gulio Mongeri. Dolmabahçe Palace (Dolmabahçe Sarayi) Hours / Tues-Wed and Fri-Sun 9am-5pm (last tour leaves at 4pm) Location / Dolmabahçe Cad., Besiktas Transportation / Tram: Kabatas; Funicular: Kabatas; bus: 22, 22E, 22RE, 25E, 26, 26A, 26B, 27SE, 28, 28T, 29C, 29D, 30D, 325YK1, 41E, 43R, 46K, 52, 58A, 58N, 58S, 58UL, 62, 63, or 70KE Phone / 0212/236-9000 Extending for almost .8km (1/2 mile) on a tract of landfill on the shores of the Bosphorus is Dolmabahçe Palace (appropriately translated as "filled garden"), an imperial structure that for the first time looked to Western models rather than to the more traditional Ottoman style of building. The architect of Dolmabahçe was Garabet Balyan, master of European forms and styles amid a long line of Balyan architects. At a time of economic reform when the empire was still known as "The Sick Man of Europe," Sultan Abdülmecid II sank millions into a palace that would give the illusion of prosperity and progressiveness. The old wooden Besiktas Palace was torn down to make room for a more permanent structure, and the sultan spared no expense in creating a house to rival the most opulent palaces of France. While many of his subjects were living without the basics, the sultan was financing the most cutting-edge techniques, tastefully waiting until the end of the Crimean War to move in, even though the palace was completed much earlier than that. The result is a sumptuous creation consisting of 285 rooms, four grand salons, six galleries, five main staircases, six hamams (of which the main one is pure alabaster), and 43 toilets. Fourteen tons of gold and 6 tons of silver were used to build the palace. The extensive use of glass, especially in the Camli Kösk conservatory, provides a gallery of virtually every known application of glass technology of the day. The palace is a glittering collection of Baccarat, Bohemian, and English crystal as well as Venetian glass, which was used in the construction of walls, roofs, banisters, and even a crystal piano. The chandelier in the Throne Room is the largest one in Europe at 4.5 tons, a bulk that created an engineering challenge during installation but that has withstood repeated earthquake tests. The extravagant collection of objets d'art represents just a small percentage of items presented to the occupants of the palace over the years, and much of the collection is stored in the basement awaiting restoration. Tours to the palace and harem accommodate 1,500 visitors per day per section, a stream of gaping onlookers shod in blue plastic hospital booties distributed at the entry to the palace to ensure that the carpets stay clean. Tours leave every 20 minutes and last 1 hour for the Selâmlik and around 45 minutes for the Harem. If you're short on time, choose the Selâmlik. Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople Hours / Daily 8:30am-6pm Address / Sadrazam Ali Pasa Cad. 35/3 Location / Fener Transportation / Bus: 36CE, 399B, 399C, 399D, 44B, 99, 99A from Eminönü, 35D from Balat, or 55T from Taksim Phone 0212/531-9670 The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is the surviving legacy of a religious empire that dominated the affairs of Christians worldwide for more than 1,100 years. After the fall of Rome in A.D. 476, Constantinople inherited unrivaled leadership of the Christian world under the name "Rome of the East" and "New Rome." The Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbians, Romanians, Albanians, and Georgians who adhered to the Eastern Orthodox creed were referred to as "Romans" (thus the reason why many an Istanbul church include the word "Rum" in its title). While the pope continued to reject the primacy of the Bishop of Constantinople (soon after given the title of Archbishop), the influence of the Patriarch of Constantinople nevertheless grew under the patronage of the emperor. The initial seat of the Patriarchate was pre-Constantine Hagia Irene, now in the first court of Topkapi Palace. Upon Justinian's completion of the Ayasofya, the Church was rooted here for the next 916 years (with a brief respite when the Byzantine Court was forced to flee to Nicaea after the Fourth Crusade in 1204). The Ottoman conquest displaced the Patriarchate to the Havariyun (or Church of the 12 Apostles, now lost under Fatih Camii), before it moved to the Church of the Pammakaristos (Fethiye Camii) in 1456. In 1587, the Eastern Orthodox Church moved to the Church of the Virgin Mary in Vlah Palace, and then to St. Demetrios in Balat. The Patriarchate settled into its current spot in The Church of St. George (Ayios Yeoryios) in 1601. In the 19th century, assertions of national independence and religious autonomy whittled the influence of the Patriarchate, until its reach was constricted to the borders of the Turkish Republic and a mere handful of semi-autonomous communities abroad. Still, the Orthodox community considers the Ecumenical Patriarchate one of the two most prominent Christian institutions in the world, the other being the Holy See in Rome. Today, the Patriarch and Archbishop of Constantinople is primus inter pares or "first among equals," among the 14 autonomous and semi-autonomous Patriarchates-in-communion that make up the Eastern Orthodox Church. The present church was built in 1720 on a traditional basilica plan. It seems to lack the grandeur one would expect of its station, but the building was constructed under the Ottoman prohibition against non-Muslim use of domes or masonry roofs on their places of worship. Instead, it is topped by a timber roof. The gilded iconostasis provides some insight into the opulence one imagines of Byzantium. The Patriarchal Throne is believed to date to St. John Chrysostom Patriarchate in the 5th century A.D. His relics and those of St. Gregory the Theologian, which were hijacked after the 1204 Crusader sacking of the city, were brought back from Rome by Patriarch Bartholomew in 2004. In the aisle opposite these relics are the remains of the female saints, St. Euphemia, St. Theophano, and St. Solomone. There are also three invaluable gold mosaic icons including one of the Virgin, as well as the Column of Flagellation. The small complex is comprised of the modest Cathedral, the Patriarchate Library, administrative offices, and the Ayios Harambalos spring. Eyüp Sultan Mosque (Eyüp Sultan Camii) Location / Eyüp. Meydani, off of Camii Kebir Cad. and north of the Golden Horn Bridge Transportation Bus: 37C, 39, 39B, 39Ç, 39D, 39O, 39Y, or 48A The holiest site in Istanbul as well as one of the most sacred places in the Islamic world, the Eyüp Sultan Mosque was erected by Mehmet the Conqueror over the tomb of Halid bin Zeyd Ebu Eyyûb (known as Eyüp Sultan), the standard-bearer for the Prophet Mohammed as well as the last survivor of his inner circle of trusted companions. It is popularly accepted that while serving as commander of the Arab forces during the siege of A.D. 668 to 669, Eyüp was killed and buried on the outskirts of the city. One of the conditions of peace after the Arab siege was that the tomb of Eyüp be preserved. The burial site was "discovered" during Mehmet the Conqueror's siege on the city, although the tomb is mentioned in written accounts as early as the 12th century. A little village of tombs mushroomed on the spot by those seeking Eyüp Sultan's intervention in the hereafter, and it's still considered a privilege to be buried in the nearby cemeteries. The Girding of the Sword ceremony was traditionally held here. In this Ottoman enthronement rite, Osman Gazi's sword was passed on, maintaining continuity within the dynasty as well as creating a connection with the Turk's early ideal of Holy War. Eyüp is a popular spot animated by the small bazaar nearby, crowds relaxing by the spray of the fountains, and little boys in blue-and-white satin celebrating their impending circumcisions. Unfortunately, it's a natural magnet for beggars as well. The baroque mosque replaces the original that was destroyed in the earthquake of 1766, but the real attraction here is the türbe, a sacred burial site that draws masses of pilgrims waiting in line to stand in the presence of the contents of the solid silver sarcophagus or meditate in prayer. Dress appropriately if you're planning to go in: no shorts, and heads covered for women. The line moves quickly in spite of the bottleneck inside the tomb; take a few moments to sense the power of the site. On Friday's at noon, there's an outdoor performance of the Mehter Band in the large square outside the mosque, and on Sundays, the plaza is filled with families parading around their little boys dressed like sultans (a pre-circumcision tradition). Catch the Ottoman Mehter Band Outdoors -- That must-see Ottoman Mehter Band that I tout so much no longer requires that you head over to the Military Museum in the middle of your day. There's now a performance every Friday, an hour and a half prior to noon prayers, right in front of the Eyüp Sultan Mosque. After the music and a visit to the mosque complex, hop onto the brand-new cable car for the 2-minute ride up to the top of Pierre Loti Hill. A Cafe Near the Eyüp Sultan Mosque -- If you've made it all the way to Eyüp to visit the mosque, take a short detour to Pierre Loti, Gümüssuyu Balmumcu Sok. 1 (tel. 0212/581-2696), a cafe of legend and a spectacular spot for serene views of the Golden Horn. The legend goes that French naval officer Julien Viaud fell in love with Aziyade, a married Turkish woman, during his first visit to Istanbul around 1876. The young woman would sneak out of her husband's harem when he was away for the chance to spend a few fleeting moments in the arms of her lover at his house in the hills of Eyüp. After an absence from Turkey of 10 years, Viaud returned to find Aziyade had died soon after his departure. Viaud gained fame during his lifetime, and his stories are romantic accounts much like the one of legend. This cafe, on the hill of Eyüp, was a favorite of his, and for reasons unknown, became known as Pierre Loti Kahvesi. Eyüp's historic cemetery is on the hill next to the cafe. The cafe is open daily 8am to midnight; no food or alcohol is served here; avoid weekends, when nary an empty table will be your reward for the ride up. A cable car from near the Eyüp Mosque makes the trip up to the top of the hill a little bit easier than walking up, although you may want to walk down through the old Ottoman cemetery. Fatih Mosque and Complex (Fatih Camii ve Külliyesi) Fener Rum Erkek Lisesi (Fener Roman Boys School) Gül Camii Galata Mevlevihanesi Galata Tower and the Galata Neighborhood Galatasaray High School (Galatasaray Lisesi) Grand Bazaar (Kapali Çarsisi) Hippodrome Hirka-i Serif Camii (Mosque of the Holy Mantle) Istanbul Archaeology Museum (Arkeoloji Müzesi) Istanbul Museum of Modern Art Küçük Ayasofya Camii (Church of the Saints Sergius and Bacchus) Kabasakal Medresi Kalenderhane Camii Kiz Tasi or the Column of Marcian Leander's Tower (or the Maiden's Tower, or Kiz Kulesi) Marmara Sea Walls Metochion of Mount Sinai Mihrimah Camii aka Iskele Camii or Mihrimah Sultan Camii Military Museum Mosaic Museum Museum of Calligraphy (Türk Vakif Sanatlari Müzesi) Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts Naval Museum (Deniz Müzesi) New Music Museum in Üsküdar Nuruosmaniye Külliyesi Pera Museum Rüstem Pasa Külliyesi Rumeli Fortress (Rumeli Hisari) Süleymaniye Mosque and Complex (Süleymaniye Camii ve Külliyesi) Sabanci Museum in Emirgan Sehzade Külliyesi (Crowned Prince Mosque Complex) Selimiye Barracks/Florence Nightingale Museum Sogukçesme Sokagi Sokullu Mehmet Pasa Camii Sphendrome St. Antoine Italyan Katolik Kilisesi (Italian Catholic Church) St. Mary of the Mongols/Kanli Kilise St. Savior in Chora (Kariye Müzesi; formerly the Kariye Camii) St. Stephen of the Bulgars (Bulgar Kilisesi) Sultanamet Prison Tünel Pasaji Taksim Maksemi (Water Distribution) Tekfur Sarayi (Byzantine Palace) The New Queen Mother's Mosque (Yeni Valide Camii or Yeni Camii) The Theodosian Sea Walls Topkapi Palace (Topkapi Sarayi) Vakiflar Hali Müzesi (Foundation Carpet Museum) Valens Aqueduct (Bozdogan Kemeri) Yedikule (Seven Towers Fortress) Yeralti Camii (Underground Mosque) Yerebatan Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnici) Yildiz Palace and Park (Yildiz Sarayi ve Parki)