EXPLORE THE CITY
The Sultanahmet Square (Sultanahmet Meydani) is the old historic quarter of Istanbul and here you will find some of the most significant historic monuments of Istanbul. The district was named after Sultan Ahmet I, the builder of the Blue Mosque which sits at one end of the leafy square. Facing the Blue Mosque at the opposite end of the square is the magnificent Hagia Sophia.
Many of Istanbul’s Byzantine and Ottoman monuments were built in the Old City and with the many historical attractions in and around Sultanahmet Square, this is the ideal location to start any sightseeing tour of Istanbul.
A good place to start your visit of the Sultanahmet quarter is at the Hippodrome which was once the centre of public life in Constantinople. The Hippodrome was the scene of ferocious chariot races which the Byzantines enjoyed, much like the gladiator fights that the Romans loved. There’s not much left of this stadium, but significant monuments here include the Obelisk of Theodosius, the Serpentine Column and the Column of Constantine. There’s also a pretty domed fountain commemorating the visit of Kaiser Wilhelm II to Istanbul in 1898. The Hippodrome is now a public park which runs the length of Blue Mosque complex.
When it comes to Istiklal Street (Istiklal Avenue), it is a must for all travelers in Istanbul. Istiklal Street which means “Independence Avenue” is a 1,5 km. long colorful pedestrian street and grand boulevard cutting through Beyoglu and full of all kind of shops, restaurants, cafes, street shows and it is located by the Taksim Square.The nostalgic tram runs through the length of the Istiklal Street. Istiklal Street is also one of the best places to see in Istanbul.
Located in the Taksim neighborhood of the Beyoglu district, Istiklal Avenue, once known as Grande Rue de Pera, is one of the most popular streets in Istanbul and without a doubt, is one of the most popular meeting points, a center for leisure activities and beautiful streets in Istanbul. Istiklal means “Independence” in Turkish. Istiklal Street runs all th way from the Taksim Square, northern end, and ends on the Tunel Square, southern end. On the half way, there is a break on the Galatarasay square.
Things to Do & See
Istiklal Avenue is the busiest street in Istanbul. And, every single day and night, in both summer and winter, on any hour of the day you can always see a flood of both locals and tourists here. Istiklal Street is situated within the district of Beyoglu, formerly called Pera, which is the centre of arts and culture. Istiklal Avenue runs all the way from the Taksim, northern end, and ends at the Tunel Square, southern end, which leads to Galipdede Street and than to famous Galata Mevlevihanesi (Dervish Lodge) with its historic gate and if you go further downhill, to famous Galata Tower.
Istanbul is a city of many contradictions. It is Asian and European, modern and ancient, religious and secular, mystical and practical and what makes it so appealing is the co-existence of all these opposing qualities.
Visitors will find Istanbul a melting pot of many attractions. The large variety of attractions range from grand palaces to ancient mosques, historic museums to bustling bazaars, exotic belly dancing performances to whirling dervishes.
Many of Istanbul’s tourist attractions are on the European side of the Bosphorus and concentrated in Sultanahmet area, once the heart of the Imperial Centre of the Ottoman Empire. Some of the main tourist sites include:
Sultanahmet Mosgue (the Blue Mosque)
Kapali Carsi (Covered Market)
Yerebatan Sarnici (the Basilica Cistern)
The Museum of Islamic Art
Taksim Square in the Beyoğlu district is where many of the 4 and 5-star hotels are and it is also the commercial centre of Istanbul.
Things to do in Istanbul
No visit to Istanbul is complete without a visit to the Grand Bazaar. It is a 15-minute walk from the Sultanahment area or you can catch the tram.
Tea vendor near Hagia Sophia
The Egyptian Spice Market is another of the Istanbul bazaars where visitors will be fascinated by the colours and smells of the spices and the liveliness of the market. Some of the stallholders enjoy having a chat even if you are not in the market for their goods.
Istanbul can be overwhelming and if you are a first-time visitor, the best thing to do is to start with an orientation tour of the city. The Istanbul City Hop-on Hop-off tour is primarily a guided city tour on a double decker bus, however you may hop-on and off at a few selected stops enroute.
Meethink Club is a social sharing club.
Members who are members of this club will be able to use the most wonderful venues they can do in the most special places of Istanbul, meeting offices, meeting halls, galas and special organizations.
They will be able to stay at special prices in all hotels of Istanbul and perform their desired activities.
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