Istanbul: the 7 wonders
Istanbul: what to see?
Only a few days and a lot of things to see.
Everyone, when in Istanbul for the first time, want to see a lot of things and usually doesn’t know where to start.
Obviously, you can’t see everything but some tips will help you to choose what to do and to organize the visitis.
Here is our top 7 of the best things you can’t loose in Istanbul.
1. Blue mosque
It’s the Queen of the city, and a must see before everything else.
Magic in the night and wonderful during the day.
I dreamed this place for years!
We suggest you to bring with you socks because you can’t take your shoes in the mosque an I stayed inside for an hour only because Pasquale gave me his socks! 🙂
The second tips: go there early in the morning (9 am it’s opening time), in order to avoid long queues and to see the mosque almast empty.
In order to choose the right time for the visit, remember to check the official website the prayer times because in that moments of the day tourists cannot enter.
- Official website: Moschea Blu
- Duration of the visit: about 45 minutes except time of the queue (you can see it in ten minutes too but it’s very difficult to not take hundreds photos inside)
- Cost of the visit: free (as all the mosques of the city)
2. Basilica cistern
Only a few minutes walking from the blue mosque there is another magic place.
The stairs took us in the cellar and we were totally involved by the music similar to the yoga lessons one and the columns reflected in the water.
It seams like an enormous zen garden.
There is a corner in which you can take photos with typical costumes.
We couldn’t resist!!!
Send us your photos too 🙂
Only one tip: don’t be rushed!
Enjoy this atmosphere and loose yourselves in this place so ancient.
This cistern was built in 532 when, during the Holy Roman Empire, Giustiniano I asked for this building.
- Link to the official website (for opening time and tickets): Basilica cisterna
- Duration of the visit: about 1 hour and a half (including the photos but not the time of the queue)
3. Saint Sofia
To hear “Saint” in this city sounds strange!
Why there’s a church in front of one of the most famous mosques of the world?
Saint Sofia, today, is a museum and the emblem of fusion a little bit kitsch between catholic and muslim culture.
The basilic was for centuries the biggest of the world and it was rebuilt two times because of blazes.
In the half XV century it was transformed in a mosque.
Today, after the umpteenth rebirth, is a museum.
- Official website: Santa Sofia
- Duration of the visit: about 3 hours (excluding the time for the queue)
4. I Bazar
Istanbul is the chaos of its bazars too.
If I close my eyes I hear the noise of the crowd, thefragrance of apple tea and I see the colours of lamps shining in the shops.
The best known is the Grand Bazar, king of chaos, of faked bags and rolex.
It isn’t the best place to buy souvenirs, you can find the same things everywhere and often pay it less.
Only some shops show information plaques that says: “Fixed prices”
Excluding those shops you have to negotiate everything.
The epice bazar or egiptian bazar is smaller but you can find every kind of spices and I really loved all those colours and aromas!
You will find it in one of the most conservative zone of Istanbul and the most beautiful thing is to loose yourself through alleys and colours of this neighborhood.
5. Topkapi Palace and Harem
The visit to Topkapi Palace need half a day.
There are lots of buildings to visit and no one doesn’t worth!
There is the possibility to buy a ticket to visit only the palace without the HArem but, trust us, don’t make this mistake!!
The Harem is the best part of the Palace.
Inside the Harem there is the wonderful sultan’s hall with a click here you’ll find a little bit of it), a room with mother-of-pearl walls and rooms decorated with beautiful blue paints.
The Harem, in spite of the great number of tourists, is a place in which everyone feels like the protagonist of one of the tales in “A thousend and one night”.
It’s a place where everyone dreams so it is really unmissable.
Walking in the Harem we crossed fabulous terraces on the sea with incredible fountains.
But there isn’t only the Harem, in this fortress there are rooms dedicated to sultans’ treasures. They are breathtaking!
Cribs coverd with diamonds and precious stones, gold, sapphire and the famous “Diamond of the spoons’ Merchant”, one of the biggest diamonds of the world (86 carats).
Words cannot explain how much this stone shine, there is so much light that eyes can’t see the shape.
There are rooms dedicated to muslim relics such as the cane that, in muslims’ opinion belonged to Moses.
Going to the exit there are two big buildings at the left of the road.
They are the old kitchens of the Palace and there is an exposition of plates, glasses, silverware and all the things that, long time ago, turned prepared tables in paints full of colours.
- Official website: Palazzo Topkapi
- Duration of the visit: half a day
6. Solimano’s mosque
We reached this mosque climbing in a little uphill road at the exit of the Egiptian Bazar.
Please, do it!
Loose yourselves in the alleys, in the chaos that only turkish people manage.
Eat unknown sweets that smells like honey, even if the seller said that is “cheese”.
We reached the ,mosque very tired for the heath and for the climb. We seated under the mosque and tried this very good sweet.
The Solimano’s mosque is very majestic and we rested looking at Istanbul from the top and at the see.
7. Istiklal Caddesi
Crossing Galata Bridge, we reached the modern part of the city.
Istiklal street is the hearth of night life, there are lots of shops, guys that sing and dance in the road and most of all street food everywhere.
We haven’t the courage to eat mussels but the sweet bretzel with nutella was delicious!
If you want to have an idea of how many people live this zone, you should know that more ore less 3 millions people frequent this road every weekend.
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