Istanbul is that Turkish city that has been fortunate enough to belong to two continents – Asia and Europe. This city also happens to be considered one of the greatest metropolia in the world. It was around 1000 years BC when the city was the Constantinople capital of the Byzantine Empire before it was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. When the Turkish Republic was established, the city was renamed officially as Istanbul and it now holds the magnificent remnants of rich and long history. Along with the illustrious history and diverse culture, this city is proud to offer some of the best tourist sites in the world.
Istanbul’s the Big Four
Istanbul is known all over the world for its Big Four – the four most popular attractions; Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Aya Sofya, and the Grand Bazaar. There are of course other equally great attractions and structure on this side of Turkey, but visiting the Big Four is a must for every traveller to this nation.
Topkapı Sarayi (Topkapi Palace): The Topkapi Palace was originally built in the fifteenth century by Mehmet the Conqueror and this glorious structure became the Ottoman Empire’s rule of the seat until the nineteenth century. This huge complex offers a dazzling exhibit of Islamic art and the opulent courtyards that link a maze of luxuriously decorated rooms are perfectly lined with elaborate hand-painted tile-work. The whole structure is bounded by fortification tower and walls. Topkapi Palace is said to be the Harem where the Ottoman sultan’s concubines and their children lived.
Blue Mosque: The Blue Mosque is Sultan Ahmet I’s impressive architectural contribution to his beloved capital. This magnificent mosque was built in the early 1600s and its six minarets became a big issue within the Muslim community around the world because it has the same exact numbers of minarets like the Great Mosque of Mecca. To stem the dispute, a seventh minaret was given to the Great Mosque of Mecca. The name of the mosque came from the beautiful colour effect of the Iznik tiles placed on the mosque’s interior.
Aya Sofya: The Aya Sofya or the Hagia Sophia is considered as one of the most precious landmarks of Istanbul. The Aya Sofya was the Byzantine Emperor Justinian’s boastful declaration of his empire’s technical ability and wealth.
Grand Bazaar: When it comes to shopping, one of the most visited Turkish markets is the Grand Bazaar. It is popular because of its immense size and it is also considered as the very first shopping mall in the world.
There are other attractions and places that you can visit in Istanbul. But if you miss one of the Big Four, then your Turkish vacation is not complete.