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Mosaic Panel "Judgement Day" inside the Hagia Sophia
First Visit: November 2013
Text and photography by Arthur Jeciel
38. TOP ATTRACTIONS IN TURKEY
December 7, 2013 Last month, I was able to visit Turkey for the first time thus making it my 38th visited country. It was a very short visit to the beautiful city of Istanbul together with the Singelresor group but nonetheless very fruitful as we were able to make the most of our stay.
Here are some of my recommendations in case you would be visiting Turkey in the future.
The Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque): Famous for its Iznik tiles and being unique with six minarets, the mosque was built in the name of Sultan Ahmet from 1609-1616.
Topkapi Palace: With its beautifully decorated gardens and impressive building complex, this used to be the Imperial Residence of Ottoman Sultans. Inside these buildings, you will see exhibits of Imperial treasury, Chinese porcelain, weapons, calligraphy and holy relics among others.
Saint Sophia (Hagia Sophia): Considered as one of the greatest marvels of architecture, it was constructed as a basilica in 6th Century AD on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinianus. After being an imperial mosque between 1453 and 1931, it had been turned into a museum in 1935.
The Hippodrome: This used to be the center of sportive events (chariot races and athletics) and political activities of the city during the Roman and Byzantium periods. Here you can see the Obelisk of Theodosius, the Serpentine Column and the German Fountain of Wilhelm II.
The old City Walls (The Walls of Constantinople): The walls are a series of defensive stone walls that have surrounded the city of Constantinople (known today as Istanbul) still standing after so many centuries.
The European Fortress (Rumelihisari): The fortress is located on a hill at the European side of the Bosphorus, so make sure you take the boat for a Bosphorus Cruise.
Spice Bazaar or Egyptian Bazaar: With mystical smells of different aromas from various spices, this is a must visit place when travelling to Istanbul.
The Grand Bazaar: If you think the Egyptian Bazaar didn't satisfy your shopping pleasures, this certainly will. Offering authentic experience in a competitive souk, the bazaar offers souvenirs, jewelry, carpets, tiles and a whole lot more in over 3000 shops.
Beylerbeyi Palace: Built between 1861 and 1865 as a summer palace and pleasure palace to entertain dignitaries and royalty, this is definitely a palace you shouldn't miss. One is not allowed to take pictures inside so you have to visit it to appreciate the elegance and beauty of the interior.
The Bosphorus Bridge: Also called as the First Bridge, it is one of two suspension bridges spanning the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul that connects Asia to Europe. It is 1,560 meters long and is the 21st longest suspension bridge span in the world.
Kadikoy: A lovely district with numerous bars, cinemas and bookshops, it is considered as the cultural center of the Anatolian side of Istanbul.
Basilica Cistern: It is one of the few early architectural examples that have survived till the present age. It was built during the reign of Emperor Justinianus in the 6th century, the age of glory for Eastern Rome.