Posted 21 October 2022
There is no place like Istanbul in the world. Istanbul is a metropolis of layers and contrasts, spanning two continents, Europe and Asia. It is a city where old and modern coexist, with ancient sites like Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace rubbing shoulders with frenetic clubs and colourful cafés. The city never stands still.
Istanbul is Turkey's cultural centre, with a profusion of independent galleries and imaginative eateries. Also, it is Turkey’s transit hub with flights to and from all around the world. Each area has its own particular personality and feel, and it is easy to spend weeks in Istanbul and never see it all. But, that is what makes it so intriguing. Always, there is something beckoning you back for more. So, grab a cup of Turkish coffee and a slice of pistachio baklava and prepare to be enthralled by this unique metropolis.
The following are the top reasons that make Istanbul your next stop:
The Hagia Sophia, perhaps Istanbul's most famous monument, has a long history as a religious landmark. It was built as a Christian church in the 6th century and its name means ‘holy wisdom.’ It has also served as a mosque and, more recently, as a museum.
Tour this piece of stunning historical architecture and UNESCO World Heritage Site, marvelling at the unique mosaic tiles on the interior. Embrace the magical aura of the vast shrine while learning about one of the best destinations to visit in the world's intricate past.
The famous dome of the building can be viewed from all around the city and is best appreciated at sunset from a rooftop in Istanbul. The Hagia Sophia is one of the unique destinations to see in Istanbul and should not be missed.
The Dolmabahce Palace, located on the edge of the famed Bosphorus Strait, is a magnificent palace erected in the 1800s by the empire's sultan. This opulent castle comprises 16 unique buildings and is filled with paintings, sculptures, and historical treasures like teaware and Bohemian crystal.
Visit the most famous palace in Turkey and marvel at its classic Ottoman features and style. Enjoy the regal marble stone, Hereke rugs and the spectacular collection of oil paintings as you stroll through the well-preserved palace interior.
Enter the main hall and explore chambers such as the secretariat's rooms, the crystal staircase, the red room, and the ceremonial hall. On the exterior, you can see the imperial gate, gorgeous gardens, the swan and harem ponds, and the iconic clock tower, which stands over 100 ft tall.
Blue Mosque, also known as Sultanahmet Mosque, is one of Turkey's most renowned landmarks and a must-see in Istanbul. This historical monument was built in the 1600s, combined with Islamic and Byzantine architectural features.
Both the beautiful exterior and the detailed interior will take your breath away. More than 20,000 hand-crafted ceramic tiles cover the walls. Over 200 stained glass windows create dramatic lighting, contributing to the Blue Mosque's appeal and magical aura. Spend some time in the courtyard area, which is an excellent place to watch people.
This historic hippodrome and public area in the heart of the old city has been a gathering place since the Byzantine era. As you travel by the monument ruins that remain, learn about the history of this place.
You can practically visualise the exciting events that took place in the square, imagining the horse racing activities and the chariot that it was famous for.
The Serpent Column, the seven Statues of Porphyrius and Walled Obelisk, constructed to honour a legendary charioteer from the 6th century, are among the highlights. The 16th-century German Fountain at the other end is well worth a look.
The Basilica Cistern is a renowned tourist site that provides a unique view of the city's past. A visit here will let you travel back in time to the 6th century to discover Istanbul's largest historic cistern, which once lay beneath Stoa Basilica, a vast public area.
View the 336 old columns reused from other structures and temples in this fascinating underground chamber as you wander along wooden corridors in an area that formerly stored over 20,000 sq ft of water as part of its historical function. Several prominent films have used the Basilica Cistern as a background.
So, what are you waiting for? Pick your phone up, discuss with your family and friends, fix your plan, make bookings for your trip and get ready to explore Istanbul.
Even for brief visits, Indians require a visa to enter Turkey. To gain access, Indian citizens must present a valid passport and visa. Applying for an online Turkey tourist visa for Indians takes only a few minutes. The accepted visa is normally e-mailed to the passenger within 24 hours.
When flying from Indian cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, or Bengaluru, you will land at Istanbul's Atatürk Airport. Direct and stopover flights to Istanbul are available, with the shortest flight duration from Mumbai being 6 hours.