The Ayasofya Camii (also: Hagia Sophia, meaning “Holy Wisdom”) is a very well known mosque and former Christian church in Istanbul, Turkey. Today it is serving as a museum. It is still in restauration phase but the vast domes are impressive and it is very interesting to see the differences between the religions in this building: the images of Christianity removed and replaced against words.
When it’s hot in Istanbul, Turkey there aren’t too many places to go to. The Yerebatan Sarnıcı or Basilica Cistern is one of those. Located close to the Ayasofya and the Blue Mosque the sunken palace offers a good refreshment. It dates back to the year 532 and the pillars of the cistern are today illuminated in different colours reflecting on the water.
One of the must-sees in Istanbul, Turkey is Topkapı Sarayı – the Topkapı palace. It is located in Sultanahmet, not far away from the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia on a land tongue between the Golden horn and the Marmara sea. It has been built after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 by Sultan Mehmed II.
The Sultan Ahmet Camii (“Blue mosque”) of Istanbul, Turkey is located directly opposite to the Hagia Sophia in Sultanahmet. It received its inofficial name because of the blue tiles on the interior walls. It was built from 1609 on and stil serves as a mosque. If you compare it directly to the more famous Hagia Sophia you will find that it is much more beautiful – from the outside (with plenty of minarets) and inside. It looks like a mystic castle.
When visiting Istanbul, Turkey there is no way around to visit one of the main squares, the Taksim. It was once a main water hub which the name refers to. And if you go there you can use the main shopping street – İstiklal Caddesi. Numerous shops add up from Galata to Taksim. If you start at Galata bridge (Galata Köprüsü) you can simply walk up the hill towards the Galata tower and you can’t miss the main street.
The Galata kulesi (Galata tower) is a beautiful watchtower in Istanbul, Turkey located in the city quarter of Beyoğlu, directly on the hill close to the Galata bridge (Galata Köprüsü). It is named after the place it is built on, a part of Istanbul known for its bars and music venues. From there you’ll have wonderful views on the Golden horn (Haliç), the Bosphorus and the touristic Sultanahmet.
The Kapalı Çarşı in Istanbul, Turkey is better known as the Grand Bazaar – a vast roofed market with many legends surrounding it. You can easily get lost in the long narrow streets with mostly cheap goods. It consists of 61 covered streets with around 3000 shops and it has been built from the year 1455 on in the district of Fatih.
I found it on Lonely Planet. And yes: if it is on Lonely Planet it isn’t probably a secret hint and quiet place. But it was! Maybe I was only there in the right time of the year. The Hotel Empress Zoe is a wonderful hotel in Sultanahmet, the touristic corner of Istanbul, Turkey – only a five minutes walk from Hagia Sophia.
I visited the Atatürk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey several times – mostly to catch a connecting flight. It isn’t a pretty airport, but an important hub and the biggest airport in Turkey. It is the home base of one of my favorite airlines – Turkish – and moves 20 million passengers a year. But in fact its days are already counted: a new airport is being build right now and will be opened in 2017.