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15 Unmissable Attractions in Istanbul

A precious mosaic from the Theotokos Pammakaristos church
A precious mosaic from the Theotokos Pammakaristos church | © G.dallorto / WikiCommons
When talking about Istanbul’s most important attractions the first things that spring to mind are the popular sights of Sultanahmet such as the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapı Palace, and Grand Bazaar. However, Istanbul has so many more sights that shouldn’t be missed after experiencing the usual tourist attractions.

Dolmabahçe Palace

Architecture Museum, History Museum
The exterior of the very pomp Dolmabahçe Palace | © Abhijeet Rane / Flickr
After inhabiting the Topkapı Palace for more than 400 years, Sultan Adbulmejid I decided to move the court to the grand Dolmabahçe Palace due to its location by the Bosphorus and its more European style of décor and architecture, which was quite popular during that time.
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Touristy, Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
Tue - Wed:
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Fri - Sun:
9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Fatih Mosque

Known as the Fatih Sultan Mehmed Cami in Turkish, this stunning mosque was named after the Ottoman sultan Mehmed the Conqueror who captured Constantinople in 1453. Built between 1463 and 1470, and later rebuilt in 1771 after a major earthquake, the structure also had a school of traditional Islamic sciences, which was established by the Persian astronomer Ali Qushii.
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Beylerbeyi Palace

View of the Beylerbeyi Palace's exterior | © Kyle / Flickr
One of the many beautiful palaces around Istanbul that served the leisure of the Ottoman sultans, Beylerbeyi is often overlooked because of its location on the Asian side, but its embellished architecture, lavish décor and beautiful garden are very much worth a visit.
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Zeki Paşa Yalısı

Istanbul’s Bosphorus mansions are very famous and the best way to see them is by taking a boat tour that goes up and down the famous strait. On your way past the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, make sure to take a good look at this beautiful mansion that was built by the French architect Alexandre Vallaury and is currently on sale (for quite the price of course).
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Çağaloğlu Hamam

Health Spa
The marble main bath hall of the Çağaloğlu Hamam | © Çağaloğlu Hamam
No visit to Istanbul is complete without experiencing the Turkish Bath and the historic Çağaloğlu Hamam is the perfect place to do so because it’s like a journey back in time to the 18th century when the hamam was built.
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Tophane-i Amire

The domes of the formerly Ottoman Tophane-i Amire | © Ggia / WikiCommons
The former armory built during the reign of Ottoman sultan Mehmed II, Tophane-i Amire is where cannons and cannonballs were manufactured and also why the neighborhood is called Tophane (dwelling of the cannons). The beautiful structure now serves as an art center run by the Minar Sinan Fine Arts School where exhibitions and events are held frequently.
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These recommendations were updated on March 27, 2018 to keep your travel plans fresh.