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Istanbul

Culture of Istanbul. Places to visit - old town, temples, theaters, museums and palaces

A view from Daphne hotel of Istanbul Istanbul is home to numerous old buildings and religious sites. Hagia Sophia Cathedral is one of the most popular places of interest among tourists. It was built in the beginning of the 6th century. After the capture of Constantinople the great cathedral was converted into a mosque. In 1934 the building of the cathedral was turned into a museum. Nowadays visitors can see here priceless collections of art objects.
Discovering the architecture of Istanbul from bird's eye view! Hagia Sophia, Suleymaniye Mosque, Galata Tower, Maiden Tower, New Mosque, Ortakoy Mosque, all those monuments are defining the image of Istanbul … Open
The mosque of Sultanahmet is a more recent religious monument. The building of the masque was completed in 1616. This is one of the most beautiful mosques of the city, which is famous not only by its elegant architecture, but also by carefully selected interior decoration. Travelers should also not forget to visit Sultanahmet Meydanı – the most famous square of the city and an ancient hippodrome. During the reign of emperors the square was the venue for gladiator fights. Thousands of townspeople gathered here to watch this exciting spectacle.
Fans of excursions will find much interesting in visiting Yedikule fortress, which now hosts the exhibition of a museum. The castle was built by Byzantine craftsmen and was long used as a prison. Today in several halls of the fortress you will find collections of antique torture instruments. The museum is open for all guests. The building of beautiful Dolmabahce Palace was completed in 1853. The palace has the right to be considered the most luxurious palace of the city. As many as 14 tons of gold and 40 tons of silver were used for the interior decoration of the palace. Dolmabahce Palace has become a real synonym of "oriental luxury". Copyright www.orangesmile.com
East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet... wrote Rudyard Kipling in one of his poems. However, there is a place on Earth, where this wise statement simply doesn’t … Open
Topkapi Palace is a no less interesting architectural monument, which construction started by the order of Mehmed II and took place more than four centuries ago. Inside the beautiful palace is stored a priceless artifact - a mummified hand in a silver frame. According to an ancient legend, the hand belonged to Prophet Muhammad. Many interesting stories and legends are connected with Topkapi Palace, which may be very interesting to hear for every traveler. The bridge of Galata is another interesting attraction. It was built in the late 19th century. Today the bridge is not only an important historical object, but also a popular entertainment center. Here you will find spacious and viewing platforms, cozy restaurants, and various shops.
In the section below, you can get one of our excursion tickets or city discovery tours over Istanbul and surroundings. Our website offers 10-30% lower ticket prices, when compared to the offline purchase on the spot.

City tours, excursions and tickets in Istanbul and surroundings

Plan your own excursion through Istanbul: churches, museums and castles

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

» Topkapi Palace can be considered the whole city located on the territory of Istanbul, because the total area of the palace is more than 700 thousand square meters, and the length is about 5 kilometers.
» Topkapi Palace houses a vast collection of treasures including jewelry, costumes, weapons and sacred artifacts. Major exhibits include cape and sword of the Prophet Mohammed and his collection of porcelain, which is the third most important in the world.
» The fifth largest diamond in the world, which is set in silver and surrounded by 49 smaller diamonds, is kept in the Treasury of the Palace.
» One of the main attractions of the Palace, Harem, is a protected and prohibited place. Only people, which were very close to the Sultan, including his family, wives, concubines, eunuchs and servants had access there. Entrance to the Harem was strictly forbidden to outsiders; all inside was run by the mother of the Sultan.
» The Palace has being the official residence of the Ottoman Sultans for almost 400 years.

Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul

» Ceilings and walls of Dolmabahce are decorated with hundreds of kilograms of gold. Interior chambers are decorated with antique French furniture. The palace has the room completely made of crystal. The bath here is of marble and carpets of silk.
» All clocks in Dolmabahce Palace show 9.05 am. This time is a time of death of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (Ottoman and Turkish reformer). He died there November 10, 1938.
» The name of the palace translates as ‘filled garden’.
»  The ceiling of the main hall of Dolmabahce is decorated with the chandelier weighting four and a half tons. It was a gift of Queen Victoria.
» Dolmabahce Palace is adorned with paintings of the Russian artist Ivan Aivazovsky. Sultan Abdul Hamid II ordered about 40 works depicting the Bosphorus, the sea, and views of the city. The artist received the highest Turkish award, Osmani order, decorated with diamonds.

Church of St Sergius and Bacchus, Istanbul

Location on the map:   Facts: » The Church of St Sergius and Bacchus is one of the oldest surviving churches in Istanbul built in 527-529 years.
» The Church of St Sergius and Bacchus served as the prototype for the Basilica of San Vitale and the Cathedral of St. Sophia (hence the second name of the church, the small Hagia Sofia).
» The church is dedicated to St. Sergius and Bacchus, who were soldiers of the Roman Empire and occupied important positions, until it became clear that they were secret Christians. The soldiers were severely tortured. Then Bacchus was killed, and Sergius was beheaded.
» During the Balkan Wars, thousands of refugees have found shelter here at the church.
» Serious damage to the construction was caused by the immediate vicinity of the railway. For this reason, UNESCO has included the church of St Sergius and Bacchus in the World Heritage List, where endangered objects are mentioned.
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What to visit during two-day excursion in Istanbul

Turkish Baths
Where: Vezirhan Cad. No, Istanbul; Telephone: +90 212 522 79 74;
Topkapi Palace
Where: Babihümayun Cad., Sultanahmet, Istanbul; Telephone: +90 212 512 04 80;
Aya Sofya
Where: Ayasofya Meydani, Sultanahmet, Istanbul; Telephone: +90 212 522 17 50;
Sultanahmet Or The Blue Mosque
Where: Hippodromen, Sultanahmet, Istanbul; Telephone: +90 212 518 13 19;
Süleymaniye
Where: Prof Siddik Sami Onar Cad. Sultanahmet, Istanbul; Telephone: +90 212 514 01 39;
Chora Monastery / Kariye Camii
Where: Kariye Camii Sok. Edirnekapi, Istanbul; Telephone: +90 212 631 92 41;
Boat trips
Car rental on OrangeSmile.com Rentals in Istanbul

Photogallery of cultural heritage of Istanbul

Landmarks of culture on Istanbul map: art-galleries, monuments, palaces, etc

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Excursions over cultural sights of neighbours of Istanbul

Culture guide to Istanbul. Which fascinating sights to visit once you are in Istanbul: temples, museums, churches, museums, theaters and castles. Recommendations (with addresses, phone numbers and links) on the places 'must visit' in Istanbul. Plan your own city excursion by using this page info!
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