Spectacular places in Istanbul

If the world was a single state, Istanbul would be it’s capital. Napoleon Bonaparte
Istanbul embraces two continents with one arm reaching out to Asia and the other Europe. Therough the city’s heart, the Istanbul Strait, course the waters of the Black Sea, the Sea of Marmara and the Golden Horn.
The onetime capital of three successive empires; Ottoman, Byzantine and Roman. Istanbul today honors and preserves the legacy of its past while looking forward to a modern future.
It is Istanbul’s endless variety that fascinates its visitors. The museums, churches, palaces, grand mosques, bazaars and sights of natural beauty seem innumerable. Reclining on the western shore of the Starit at sunset contemplating the re d evening light reflected in the windows of the opposite shore you may suddenly and profoundly understand why so many centuries ago settlers chose to build on this remarkable site. At such times you can see why Istanbul is truly one of the most glorious cities in the world.

Spectacular Places

On a finger of land at the confluence of the Strait, the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara stands the Topkapı Palace, that maze of buildings that was the focal point of the Ottoman Empire between the 15th and 19th centuries. In these opulent surroundings the sultans and their court lived and governed. A magnificent wooded garden fills the outer, or first court, In the second court, on the right, shaded by cypress and plane trees, stand the palace kitchens, which now serve as galleries exhibiting the imperial collections of crystal, silver and Chinese porcelain. To the left is the Harem, the secluded quarters of the wives, concubines and children of the sultan, charming visitors with echoes of centuries-intrique.
Today theird court holds the Hall of Audience, the Library of Ahmet III, an exhibition of imperial costumes worn by the sultans and their families, the famous jewels of the treasury and a priceless collection of miniatures from medieval manuscripts. In the center of this innermost sanctuary, the Pavilion of the Holy Mantle enshrines the relics of the Prophet Mohammed brought to Istanbul when the Ottomans assumed the caliphate of Islam. (Open every day except Tuesday).

The facade of the Dolmabahçe Palace, built in the mid-19thcentury by Sultan Abdulmecit, stretches for 600 meters along the European shore of the Strait. The vast recption salon, with its 56 colomns and four-and-a-half ton crystal chandelier with 750 lights, never fails to astonish visitors. At one time, birds from all over the world were kept in the Bird Pavilion for the delight of the palace’s privileged residents. Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic, died in the palace on November 10, 1938. (Open every day except Monday and Thursday)
In the 19th century, Sultan Abdülaziz built the Beylerbeyi Palace, a fantasy in white marble set amid magnolia-filled gardens, on the Asian shore of the Strait. Used as the Sultan’s summer residence, it was offered to the most distinguished foreign dignitaries for their visits. Empress Eugenie of France was among its residents. (Open every day except Monday and Thursday)
In addition to the State Pavilions at the Yıldız Palacecomplex, the compound includes a series of pavilions and a mosque. It was completed by Abdülhamit II at the end of the 19th century. The Sale, the largest and most exquisite of the buildings, reveals the luxury in which the sultans lived and entertained. Set in a huge park of flowers, shrubs and trees gathered from every part of the world, the palace grounds offer one of the most beautiful panaromic views of the Strait. Because of restoration work, only the Sale and park are open to the public. (Open every day except Tuesday) The Goksu Palace, also known as Küçüksu, takes its name from the streams which empty into the Strait near the tiny palace. Built by Abdulmecit in the middle of the 19th century, it was used as a summer residence. (Open every day except Monday and Thursday) Originally built in the 18th century and later restored by various sultans, the Aynalı Kavak Summer Pavilion assumed its name, Mirrored Poplar, when its famed mirrors, a gift from the Venetians, were installed in 1718. This palace on the Golden Horn is one of the most beautiful examples of traditional Turkish architecture. (Open every day except Monday and Thursday) The 19th-century Ihlamur Pavilion is named for the linden trees that grow in its gardens. Now in the heart of metropolitan Istanbul, when it was orginally constructed, the pavilion was in the rolling countryside that surrounded the city. The Merasim Pavilion was used for offical ceremonies while the Maiyet Pavilion sheltered the sultan’s entourage and, on occasions, his harem on their excursions out of the palace confines. (Open every day except Monday and Thursday)

The Maslak Pavilions ona shady green hill were conceived by Sultan Abdülaziz as hunting lodges. These are particularly noteworthy as superb examples of the late 19th-century Ottoman decorative style. The Malta Pavilion is presently used as an inexpensive restaurant while both the Maslak Pavilion and Limonlu Gate are open as cafes. The Florya Atatürk Sea Pavilion served as a summer residence for Turkish presidents, begining with Atatürk. Built in 1935 in a T-shaped design on land jutting out over the Sea of Marmara, this building serves as a showcase for some of the loveliest examples of early 20th century furnishings.

Museums in Istanbul

Museums info in Istanbul for travellers.
The Basailica of Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom), now called the Ayasofya Museum, is unquestionably one of the finest buildings of all time. Built by Constantine the Great and reconstructed by Justinian in the 6th century, its immense dome rises fifty five meters above the ground and its diameter spans 33 meters. Linger here to admire the building’s majestic serenity as well as the fine Byzantine mosaics. The Archaeological Museums are found just inside the first court of the Topkapi Palace. Included among its treasures of antiquity are the celebrated Alexander Sarcophagus and the facade of the Temple to Athena from Assos. The Museum of the Ancient Orient displays artifacts from the Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Hatti and Hittite civilizations (Open every day except Monday). Originally built in the 15th hundred years as a kosk, or pavilion, by Mehmet the Conqueror, the Cinili Kosk, which houses the Museum of Turkish Ceramics, contains beautiful 16th-century specimens from Iznik and fine examples of Seljuk and Ottoman pottery and tiles (Open every day except Monday). Like the Ayasofya Museum, St Irene Museum was originally a church. It ranks, in fact, as the first church built in Istanbul. Constantine commissioned it in the fourth century and Justinian later had the church restored. The building reputedly stands on the site of a pre-Cristian temple (Open every day except Monday, but requires special permission for admission).


The dark stone building that houses the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art was built in 1524 by the Grand Vizier to Suleyman the Magnificent, Ibrahim Pasa, as his residance. It was the grandest private residence ever built in the Ottoman Empire. Today it holds a superb collection of ceramics, metalwork, miniatures calligraphy, textiles and woodwork as well as some of the oldest carpets in the world (Open every day except Monday). Across the road from the Ibrahim Pasa residence may be the Museum of Turkish Carpets which contains exquisite antique carpets and kilims gathered from all over Turkey (Open every day except Sunday and Monday). Near Hagia Sophia may be the sixth-century Byzantine cistern known as the Yerebatan Cistern. Three hundred and thirty-six massive Corinthian columns support the immense chamber’s fine brick vaulting (Open every day). The Mosaic Museum preserves in situ exceptionally fine fifth and sixth-century mosaic pavements from the Grand Palace of the Byzantine emperors (Open every day except Tuesday).The Kariye Museum, the 11th-century curch of “St. Savior” in the Chora complex, is after Hagia Sophia, the most important Byzantine monument in Istanbul. Unremarkable in its architecture, inside the walls are decorated with superb 14th-century mosaics.

Illustrating scenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary, these brilliantly colored paintings embody the vigor of Byzantine art. In restored wooden houses in the area surrounding the church you can enjoy tea and coffee in a relaxed atmosphere far removed from the city’s hestic pace (Open every day except Wednesday). The Aviation Museum in Yesilkoy traces the development of flight in Turkey (Open every day except Monday). In the Military Museum the great field tents used by the Ottoman armies on campaigns are on display. Other exhibits include Ottoman weapons and the accoutrements of war. The Mehter Takimi (Ottoman Military Band) can be heard performing Ottoman martial music between 3:00 and 4:00 pm. (Open every day except Monday and Tuesday).

Ataturk’s former residence in Sisli now serves as the Ataturk Museum and displays his personal effects (Open every day except Saturday and Sunday). The grand imperial caiques used by the sultans to cross the Strait are among the many other interesting exhibits of Ottoman naval history that can be seen at the Naval Museum located in the Besiktas district (Open every day except Monday and Thursday). Also in Besiktas is the Museum of Fine Arts that houses Turkish paintings and sculptures from the end of the 19th century to the present (Open every day except Monday and Tuesday). The City Museum, located within the gardens of the Yildiz Palace, preserves and documents the history of Istanbul since the Ottoman conquest (Open every day except Thursay). Also within the gardens are the Yildiz Palace Theatre and the Museum of Historical Stage Costumes, with its richly decorated scenery and stage, and its exquisite costumes (Open every day except Tuesday). The Rahmi Koc Industry Museum, in the suburb of Haskoy on the coast of the Golden Horn, was an Ottoman-period building, formerly called Lengerhane, for iron and steel works. Today it houses exhibites on industrial development (Open every Monday).

Kabataş–Taksim Funicular

Kabataş–Taksim Funicular

Kabataş–Taksim funicular in Istanbul (simply named funicular) connects the two popular places of Istanbul: the shore of Bosphorus – Kabatas Station, and the main known Istanbul square – Taksim Station. Two wagons changing each other in just 3 minutes interval without any stops, when one wagon is on the top – on Istiklal Street, the second one is on the bottom – on the Bosporus shore. Without stops, from 06:00 till 00:00.

Kabataş–Taksim funicular in Istanbul was opened in 2006 in the European part of the city. Funicular is designed to simplify and expedite the movement of passengers between the two popular areas of the European part of the city: Kabatas and Taksim. On this branch move two wagons, each of which is pulled up or lowered down, by powerful electric motors and wire ropes. Travel time, as the waiting time of landing is very small and is measured in minutes. It is important to remember that the underground transport artery of Istanbul called Funicular (Füniküler), and in any case do not use the name Tunnel (Tünel), which is an entirely different place in Istanbul.

Kabataş–Taksim Funicular

Why is it so easy to use the funicular in Istanbul?

Funicular is an element that connects the transport arteries of Istanbul, going through all parts of the multi-million city, including European and Asian parts.

What more of convenience of funicular?

Firstly, using the funicular in Istanbul, you can quickly drive top the Galata hill and Taksim Square. The lower cable car station is located near to the passenger port of Kabatas berths, as well as the eponymous final stop of tram TR1.

Second, on top of the funicular stop (Taksim), you can make a connection to M1 metro station (Taksim – Levent). It is particularly convenient that the passengers can change the transport without leaving underground.

Finally, on the top of funicular at Taksim Square focused a lot of bus and dolmuş stations, which allows relatively easy to get to any area in the northern European side of Istanbul.

Moreover, only a few dozen meters from the upper exit of the funicular located station of “historical” tram, which runs on Istiklal Street – a favorite place for walks of inhabitants and many guests of Istanbul

The fare in Kabataş–Taksim funicular in Istanbul

The entrance of each stations of the funicular equipped with electronic turnstiles. Electronic readers of turnstile mechanisms allow the different ways to pay. It is plastic tokens, which can be bought on most tram stations of Istanbul. Akilli Bilet – reusable token, which looks like trinket. And Istanbul Kart – plastic card to use for pay in all transportation of Istanbul (excluding taxis). All this items – tokens, Akilli Bilet and Istanbul Kart, can be bought and replenished in the kiosks near to stations

The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

In the center of Istanbul, not far from tram station ‘Tophane’, you can find Istanbul Museum of Modern Art. It’s one of most popular museums to visit in Istanbul, because each day there held a lot of exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. Located directly on the shores of the Bosporus, the museum amazes both for its size – more than 8,000 square meters, and exhibits that are presented in it.

The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul collects, carefully keeps and makes available a pieces of modern art for connoisseurs. As part of its commitment to the exchange and promote the works of modern art of Turkey in the international art world, Istanbul Museum of Modern Art is involved in a wide range of inter-state activities. In addition to the permanent and temporary exhibition galleries, photo exhibitions, art-classrooms for education and social programs, the museum offers visitors to spend time in the modern-art-cinema, restaurant made in a modern style, store, or find a book in the extensive library.

The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

Expositions in Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul has two main exhibition halls. The permanent collection of the museum is located on the first floor. In the large hall, the works of outstanding artists are exhibited in chronological order, here you can get acquainted with the exhibits demonstrating the development of art of Turkey since its inception and up to the present day.

In the exhibition hall, you can feel the development dynamics of the various art forms of Turkey that reflect the social, cultural, economic and political components of society. The collection includes a wide range of exhibits, ranging from painting and sculpture, and ending with the media installations, mostly video.

On the second floor simultaneously held several temporary exhibitions and photo located a photo gallery. It hosts conceptual shows and retrospectives, presenting examples of art in modern Turkey.

Often showplaces are used for large-scale international exhibitions. In the photo gallery you can see the reflection of development of modern art in the world, mainly in Turkey. In addition, the gallery hosts exhibitions of famous photographers from Turkey and abroad. For modern sculpture genre, Modern Istanbul assigned different hall.

In addition, Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul conducts a lot exhibitions in architecture, design, video and new media fields.

The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

Library of the Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul

The ever-growing collection of the library contains more than 9,000 books and various science magazines. Main represented themes are the history of Turkish art and national artists, the publications about theory and practice of art, as well as the art of photography. All information about the Library collection of the Museum of Modern Art is available through the online catalogs of the automated library system, which facilitates the search of the desired book. Many publications are presented in electronic form. Visitors often surprised with unusual design of the library of the museum, where a lot of paper books are hanging from the ceiling.

Museum shop

The shop of the Museum of Modern Art offers a wide collection of gifts, ranging from art books to the original souvenirs, gifts and accessories, which will remind you about your visit to museum for long years.
Colorful catalogs and reproductions of paintings will give the chance to share your memories with your friends. In addition, the shop sells jewelry, stationery and accessories from world famous designers. Visitors of the museum can claim 10% discount to the value of the selected goods.

The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

Excursions in the Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul

Free guided tours by organized groups are available on Thursdays and Sundays at 5:00 pm. Groups include 4 to 12 people. Tours must be reserved in advance. To reserve first call to: 0212 334 73 41.

Forty-five-minute long paid excursions can be bought for individuals or for groups of 4 to 12 people on Mondays. Languages: Turkish or English. Cost 10TL per person.

Audio guides on Turkish or English are available for 10TL and are designed for a 45-minute self-guided tours at the Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul

The restaurant in the Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul

The unique view of the Bosporus and the old town, a spacious outdoor terrace, large windows of the main hall, stylish décor and a varied menu – what else is needed to create the ideal conditions for rest and a leisurely enjoying of delicious dishes and desserts?

If you decide to take a break from visiting the museum, a quick snack or prefer a leisurely meal, surfing on the Internet, thanks to the free WiFi, then a restaurant in Istanbul Museum of Modern Art will be probably the best choice.

The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

The cost of visiting the Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul

Adult ticket price to museum is 17TL, for groups (minimum 10 people) – 14TL, for students – 9TL but only on Thursdays, children under the twelfth years may enter for free. For citizens of Turkey the entrance is free each Thursday. The museum is closed on January 1 and every first day of any religious holiday.

Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul is located near the mosque Nusretiye. You can reach the museum by bus or tram T1, coming on Tophane stop. In addition, the museum has its own paid parking for cars from 5 to 20 TL (hours/day).

Flower Passage – Çiçek Pasaji – in Istanbul

Flower Passage - Çiçek Pasaji – in Istanbul

‘Flower passage’ (Cicek Pasaji) is a historical sight in Beyoğlu district. Partially restored and reconstructed, the passage liked by the tourists and owners of several restaurants.

In the early 19th century on the territory, where a modern building is placed, was a fully wooden theater of Michel Naum and Joseph Naum brothers. After a fire in 1831 the building was completely destroyed.

In 1846, Bartolomeo Bosco sponsoring the construction of new theatre on the place of burned Naum’s brothers Theater. Giovanni Bartolomeo Bosco – famous magician from Italy, who was always a welcome guest in Istanbul. Later, the grateful people of Istanbul began to call new theater – “Bosco Theatre”. The architecture of the new building follows the basic principles of Italian Opera. The theater had three tiers with a total capacity of 1,500 seats.

Flower Passage - Çiçek Pasaji – in Istanbul

In 1870, the “Bosco Theatre” again completely destroyed in a fire. The land where theater was placed was sold to Christakis Zografos – one of the most respectable banker of Ottoman Empire. Christakis Zografos decided to build a big trading center – passage, as he has seen in Europe. He asked Kleanthis Zannos, architect from France, to design and build passage. Only after 6 long years building of passage was finished. And Christakis Zografos named passage – Cité de Péra.

On the first opening, Cité de Péra had 24 shops and 18 dwellings (apartments). Not a surprise, that the most popular shops were in Cité de Péra passage. Bakery Maison Parret & Vallaury, Japanese shop Nakumara, tobacco shop Acemyan, flower shop Natural Dulas, and others.

After small time, Istanbul residents started to call Cité de Péra simply – Christakis Passage. In the aisles between shops all places filled with flower sellers. Passage was the best place in Istanbul to find various flowers. Thanks to flowers seller, very soon Cité de Péra also known as Christakis Passage people renamed to Flower Passage – Çiçek Pasaji.

Flower Passage - Çiçek Pasaji – in Istanbul

In mid of 20th century all flower seller moved to the bigger Egyptian Bazaar. But, the name of Flower Passage is left, and now, everyone knows that building as Flower Passage – Çiçek Pasaji.

After the World War II the Flower Passage is gradually gets empty and becomes unusable, however, like many other buildings built along the Istiklal Avenue.

But, in 2005, the Çiçek Pasaji, after a long renovation once again opened its doors to the public.

Today, on the first floor there are several restaurants, loved by a tourists. Having a dinner, tourists may consider non-traditional for the Istanbul architecture, vaguely reminiscent of passages, for example of France. Also, surely visit the nearby “European passage” – a sample of the exquisite French-style passages.

Istinye Park

Istinye Park Shopping Mall

Istinye Park is officially opened in 19 October 2007 at Maslak/Istanbul. Prime minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President of Syria Bashar al-Assad joined the opening ceremony of Istinye Park. The Mall is constructed by Dogus Group and Orjin Group cooperation. Istinye Park Mall is built on 130.000 square meters land and the surface area is 264.000 square meters. There are 300 different shops, 12 cinemas and a hypermarket located in Istinye Park Shopping Mall. Continue reading “Istinye Park”

Kanyon Shopping Mall

About Kanyon Shopping Mall

Kanyon Shopping Mall is located at Istanbul/Levent, a prestigious neighborhood. It’s not only a huge shopping mall but also a residential tower. Kanyon Shopping Mall opened it’s doors to visitors in 2006. It has 4 floors and more than 170 shops inside. It’s located on 250.000 m² and 40.000 m² of these is for shopping. Kanyon is one of the biggest construction projects of Europe. There is a downtown tax refund office at Harvey Nichols for international customers. Continue reading “Kanyon Shopping Mall”

Chora Museum – Complete Guide (Mosaics, Frescoes and History)

The Chora Museum, located in Edirnekapi, is one of the original structures of East Roman art with its architecture, mosaics and frescoes. It was converted into a mosque during the era of Bayezid II in the year 1511. However, it was used as a mosque for 434 years without any damage made to the mosaics and frescoes left by the East Romans. It was converted into a museum by the decree of the Ministerial Cabinet in 1945. The museum, which also offers audio guidance services, is open to visitations everyday except for Wednesdays. Continue reading “Chora Museum – Complete Guide (Mosaics, Frescoes and History)”