WHAT TO SEE
For the tourist who likes ancient architecture or religion there are an abundance of mosques and churches to visit all over the city. There are plenty of religious and historical things to see in Istanbul.
St. Sophia’s Church – 1 hour: One of the most famous is the Ayasofa or Hagia Sophia, St Sophia’s in English. Built in the Byzantine period, it was a church for almost 1,000 years, then a mosque for over 400 and was turned into a museum in the nineteen-thirties.
The Blue Mosque Istanbul – 1 hour: The SultanahmetCamii, known in English as the Blue Mosque is famed for its blue ceiling tiles. Istanbul sightseeing can never be complete without a visit here,
Yerebatab Cistern – 30 minutes: The old water reservoir, built from recycled marble was started by the Emperor Constantine. It is now possible to walk through it. It takes maybe half-an-hour. There are also historical walks that can be taken seven days a week. They can be tailor made to your request and take as much time as you please.
Topkapi Palace – 2/3 hours: The archetecturally magnificent former residence of the Ottoman Sultans is now a museum with many fine examples of porcelain, scrolls, carpets, murals as well as an extensive collection of jewellery and treasures.
Grand Bazaar - all day: Ignore the shiny modern shopping malls and head into the heaving narrow streets for an authentic Turkish haggle. Enjoy tea whilst being persuaded to buy a carpet and don’t leave without at least one helping of Turkish delight. Shopping in Istanbul is fun like none other!
Take in a ‘hammans’, a Turkish bath or smokers can try a nargile, the water-pipe. There’s no end of places to see and things to do in Istanbul.
As you would expect of a cosmopolitan city, Istanbul offers a lot in terms of nightlife. There are bars and clubs to suit all tastes. Whatever music you prefer, you can find it in Istanbul. Punk, funk, rock, jazz and house are there for the asking. If you enjoy bar hopping, visit Kadife Street on the Asian side. Traditional Turkish bars, with traditional music, can be found in all neighborhoods.