Few cities even come close to having as much historical significance as Istanbul, Turkey. This city has hosted many different societies, dating back to the very earliest civilizations. Especially during the eras of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, Istanbul became home to lavish and powerful dynasties, which left their marks culturally and architecturally. In order to fully appreciate the magnificence of Istanbul, it is worth visiting many of these historical sites during your travels through Turkey.


Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque is also known as The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, as it was commissioned by Sultan Ahmed I in the early 1600s. Ahmed’s goal was to build a mosque that could compete with the nearby Hagia Sofia, and he certainly succeeded.

This mosque caused quite a stir back when it was completed in 1616, and it continues to be an iconic landmark in Turkey. The Blue Mosque is known for its 6 minarets, and ornate interior. This is an excellent historical site to visit in Istanbul, as it is located within Sultan Ahmed Square, and is surrounded by many historically relevant and interesting complexes.

The Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey


Topkapi Palace

The Topkapi Palace was the central palace during the height of Ottoman Empire, for approximately 300 years. Travellers can now visit this palace in order to view priceless historical works that originated from various conquered lands. This includes ancient weaponry, jewellery, art, caftans, and many other interesting pieces.

This palace is also home to the breathtaking Tower of Justice, as well as four beautiful courtyards, including a water fountain commissioned by Sultan Ahmed. The Topkapi Palace is certainly a must see destination for anyone interested in the Ottoman Empire and the rich history of Turkey.

 Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey


Galata Tower

If you would like to get a sweeping view of the entire city, Galata Tower is the ideal historical landmark. This medieval turreted tower was originally constructed as a defensive tower in 1348, and has been rebuilt and renovated several times since. The tower has been used over the centuries as a jail, a watchtower, and for many other purposes. Today, people visit the tower to enjoy breathtaking views of the city and a magnificent restaurant.

Galata Tower, Istanbul, Turkey


Dolmabahce Palace

The Dolmabahce Palace served twice as the seat of the Ottoman Empire, and was also the home of the first president of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. This 19th century palace is quite the sight to behold, with its grand rooms and ornate colourful interiors and neoclassical architecture. One of the most luxurious rooms in the Dolmabahce is the Throne Hall, which contains a chandelier that was a gift from Queen Victoria.

Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul, Turkey


Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia, or Aya Sofya, was once the largest cathedral in the world, and is now a remarkable museum that displays historic works representing two of the world’s major religions: Islam and Christianity. The Hagia Sophia served as a centre for the Eastern Orthodox Church in the 6th century until it was converted to a mosque in 1453 under Sultan Mehmed II. With its impressive dome and four minarets, this museum is considered one of the most famous historical sites in Istanbul.

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey


A World of Ancient Wonders Awaits You in Istanbul

The list of historical landmarks we’ve provided here is by no means exhaustive. There are many other sites to behold, such as the Beylerbeyl Palace, The Basilica Cistern, the Chora Church, as well as numerous others. You might also visit the Istanbul Archeology Museums, as well as the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum in order to gain a better understanding of this country’s rich heritage. The bottom line is that your travel itinerary for your Turkey Holidays should leave plenty of room to fully explore the many ancient treasures spread throughout Istanbul.