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Top places to see in Turkey and Istanbul



Extraordinary Turkey … the location at the middle between East and West influences. Sultan Ahmet I’s grand architectural gift to his capital was this beautiful mosque, commonly known as the Blue Mosque today. Built between 1609 and 1616, the mosque caused a furore throughout the Muslim world when it was finished, as it had six minarets (the same number as the Great Mosque of Mecca). A seventh minaret was eventually gifted to Mecca to stem the dissent. The mosque gets its nickname from its interior decoration of tens of thousands of Iznik tiles. The entire spatial and color effect of the interior makes the mosque one of the finest achievements of Ottoman architecture. A great sightseeing joy of a trip to Istanbul is wandering amid the gardens sandwiched between the Blue Mosque and the Aya Sofya to experience their dueling domes in twin glory. Come at dusk for extra ambience, as the call to prayer echoes out from the Blue Mosque’s minaret.

Located in the city of Bodrum in southwest Turkey, Bodrum Castle was built by the Crusaders in the 15th century as the Castle of St. Peter. It is one of the world’s best preserved monuments dating back to medieval times. The castle now operates as a museum, with the focus on the Museum of Underwater Archaeology. It overlooks the internal marina of Bodrum filled with millions of dollars worth of sailing crafts.

Not to be missed, the mighty ruin of Ephesus is a city of colossal monuments and marble-columned roads. One of the most complete, still-standing Roman cities in the Mediterranean region, this is the place to experience what life must have been like during the golden age of the Roman Empire. A sightseeing trip here will take at least half a day to cover the major highlights and longer, if you really want to explore, so make sure that you plan your visit so you don’t feel rushed.

Turkey is awash with ancient cities, making it tough to select just one for this list. However, the most popular of these attractions is Ephesus near modern Selcuk. It contains some of the best preserved Greek and Roman ruins in the world and remains a well-trodden part of the tourist trail from nearby resorts such as Kusadasi and Izmir. Some of the most impressive attractions at Ephesus include the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian and the ancient theatre. Many visitors will explore this city in combination tours with Miletus, Didyma and Priene.

Istanbul experiences hot summers and cold winters so the ideal time to visit the city would be from late March till May and from September till mid-November. During Spring, the weather becomes warm during the day and cooler at night, with less rain. You can expect high temperatures between 18 and 27 degree Celsius. Istanbul guided tours in Spring will show you the colourful Tulips blossom, which plays a significant role in Turkish culture and history. Before booking any Istanbul tours or whipping out our spreadsheets to figure out a daily budget. The cost of your trip to Istanbul will vary depending on your individual needs. The cost of food and drink can be very little if you want to try some of the street food your money will go a long way. The transport costs are reasonable, everyone should try the tram that runs through Istanbul’s Istiklal Street and is very cheap at less than a Euro. Extra details about Istanbul private tours.

Topkapi Palace is one of the must-see attractions in Istanbul that combines history and stunning scenery in an experience that is not to be rushed. Rich in the history of the Ottoman Empire, the Topkapi Palace is surrounded by five kilometers (3.1 miles) of stone wall with 27 towers. Topkapi, which dates back to the 15th century, is situated on a hill overlooking the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. At one time it was an official royal residence of the Ottoman Empire sultans and seat of Turkish government, but is now a museum that is considered the largest and oldest palace in the world. Visitors can get a glimpse of the harem’s quarters, where the government worked, a collection of old weapons used by the sultans, the palace kitchens with a huge porcelain collection, and the treasury with its collection of jewels and clocks.