Istanbul is Turkey‘s most valuable and most developed city. This city has a history of tens of thousands of years. It is not possible to visit Istanbul in one day as a bridge connecting Asia and Europe. For this reason, we have explained the general characteristics of the city to you in the name of Istanbul Guide (Part 1). In Istanbul Guide (part 2), we will talk about the historical peninsula, the center of old Istanbul. This region which exhibits works of Ottoman Empire, Byzantine, Roman and Latin empires is very valuable. When you come to Turkey you can take a day to visit the monuments and historical sites in this area. We will explain in detail the places to visit in the historical peninsula of Istanbul. Sultanahmet Square (Hippodrome – Horseshoe Square), Sirkeci, Eminönü, Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, Blue Mosque, Beyazit Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Topkapi Palace and many historical places are located within this region.
Istanbul Historical peninsula is the most visited point of the city by tourists. For this reason, there are many hotels, restaurants, cafés. Here you can use the Bağcilar – Kabataş tram line for easy access. This means of transportation passes through the historical peninsula from beginning to end. Once you land in Sultanahmet Square, you can see many places like Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Basilica Cistern. You can easily visit this part of Istanbul when you have a day of traveling.
Istanbul Historical Peninsula attractions
As we have mentioned before, the historical peninsula is one of the oldest centers of Istanbul. For this reason, there are quite a lot of places to visit in this area. Istanbul In order to make it easier for visitors to Turkey, we will tell you where to start and when to start with a simple route map. As mentioned in our guide, if you plan your holiday, you can see the beauty of Istanbul without missing it.
The journey begins …
Our first stop for Istanbul’s historical peninsula is Fatih. This region is actually a region with a very large prescription during the Ottoman Empire period. For this reason, you can see historic monuments, streets, glass, medresses from the ottoman period. So we decided to start the journey from here. Fatih, we advise you to be careful when you are in the neighborhood. Local people and business owners are accustomed to tourists here. However, especially in recent times the population has increased and the conservative sector has begun to live here. Contrary to Turkish customs, traditions and principles of religion, comfortable attitudes (such as kissing in the street) can put you in a difficult situation. In addition, the Muslim people pray five times a day. If you want to examine the architecture and art of the historic mosques such as Fatih Mosque, Şehzade Mosque in Fatih district, you should pay attention to the rules that will be followed in these areas. We recommend that you take a short time to the Fatih district for the journey we started early in the morning. The reason for this is that Istanbul has more places to be seen in the later parts of the historical peninsula. After touring Fatih district, we pass Valens Aqudact. When we go to Fatih main street, we will see the big city hall on the right side of the road. After the municipal building, follow the main road and continue on the road. You will see the subway exit on the left side of the road. If you want, you can go to the places of Istanbul like Mecidiyekoy, Yenikapi, Levent, Taksim. But these neighborhoods are not within the historical peninsula. For this reason, we continue on the road.
In Vezneciler, we follow the road on the left side without changing our route from the metro exit. Approximately 100-150 meters after the mosque Suleymaniye will face. Süleymaniye Mosque is one of the most valuable works of art dating from the ottoman period. The mosque was built by Mimar Sinan for the magnificent Suleyman. There is a very large courtyard. It is a unique work in terms of architecture. It is visited by many domestic and foreign visitors throughout the year. Here are certain rules you need to keep up. The Muslim population pray five times a day. For this reason, you should go outside the prayer hours inside the glass. They may want you to close your head before they enter. You can visit the Suleymaniye cami in about half an hour. After visiting here, you can go to istanbul university, which is right in front of the glass, and you can have hot Turkish tea at “Lalezar” tea garden just behind you. (more..)
After touring the Suleymaniye cami, we follow the road to Istanbul University and go to the Beyazit Square. Here you can visit the historic Beyazit mosque. You will see the tram stop and the bus stops when you get to the Beyazit square. If you want, you can go to a different part of Istanbul by bus or tram. If you go to the right side of the tramway, you will go to the “Laleli” neighborhood to shop. We will continue to the left side of the tramway. You can see Grand Bazaar entrance about 50 meters ahead on the left side of the stops. Grand Bazaar is a closed shopping center built during the ottoman period. Today it is still actively used. Within the Grand Bazaar you can buy various spices, Turkish desserts, jewelery, Turkish carpets and much more. Do not go to Eminönü exit after touring the historic bazaar. Because you can not see works like Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern which are located on the historical peninsula of Istanbul. For this reason, we go out again from the door where we entered the historic bazaar. Note: You do not need to pay any fees to enter Grand Bazaar. We will follow straight on the tramway. (more …)
Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern
Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern are the most wondrous and most visited historical monuments of Istanbul’s peninsula. When you follow the tramway, the first thing you see on the right side of the road is the Blue Mosque. You can see Hagia Sophia right opposite her. There is Basilica Cistern in front of Hagia Sophia and on the left side of the road. Hagia Sophia is located on the back of Topkapı Palace. This is a great glamor in terms of having four wonderful works gathered at the Sultanahmet square.
Hagia Sophia check-in times and entrance fee: 09:00 – 17:00 fee: 40 TL (12 -13 Dollars)
Blue Mosque entrance hours and entrance fee: If there is no restoration work, you can visit the mosque every hour of the day. Entrance is free.
Basilica Cistern entrance fee and entrance hours: 09:00 – 17:30 fee: 20 TL (6 dollars)
We can go on our first visit to the Blue Mosque. It is one of the most important works of the Ottoman period. He managed to protect as much as the sun. You can see the Islamic motifs in the mosque as well as the unique architecture. You need to visit outside the prayer times of the mosque. As we mentioned earlier, there are some rules that must be observed in the mosques. You need to pay attention to this rule.
After visiting the Blue Mosque, you can visit Hagia Sophia. Hagia Sophia is among the most valuable architectural works of the world. This remains from the Byzantine period was used as a church and a mosque. Today it is open to visitors as a museum. Inside you can see very valuable mosaics. The mosques in Hagia Sophia have hidden meanings. Here you can read the hidden meanings of the Hagia Sophia mosaics.
The Basilica Cistern is located just opposite Hagia Sophia. After paying a certain admission fee, you can visit the Basilica Cistern. You can spare less time because this tremendous historical monument is smaller than Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Do not forget to see the Medusa head inside the Basilica Cistern.
Topkapi Palace is open between 09:00 – 17:30 hours. Topkapı Palace entrance fee is around 40 TL (12 – 13 dollars). Topkapi Palace is the biggest palace of the Ottoman period. It consists of sections such as a harem, kitchen, treasure room. Today it is open to visitors as a museum. You can visit every part of the palace, but there is an extra fee for the harem part.
Relaxation Time at Gülhane Park…
We are heading towards the end of our journey. I guess you will be very tired after these trips. Wait a little. After leaving Topkapi Palace, you can go to Eminönü side by following the tramway again. On the right side you will see the Gülhane Park. Gülhane Park is one of the oldest parks of Istanbul history. You can go to the Archeology Museum in Istanbul if you want to enter this park which is connected to the Topkapi Palace. If you feel very tired by yourself, you can relax in the Gülhane park. In the summer you can comfortably lie on the grass in the park. You will see lots of tulips in the gardens park. The lalas, which are an important symbol in Ottoman architecture, are spread throughout the park with its colorful varieties.
Last Stop Eminonu
After leaving Gülhane Park, you can go to Eminönü which is the oldest city of Istanbul by following the tramway again. Eminonu is a very crowded district from which you can see historical places like Galata bridge, galata tower. If you want, you can eat fish bread from fish bakery sellers who are symbols of the city in Eminönü. The prices are quite reasonable. However, those who prefer more luxurious restaurants for food and those who want to consume different dishes of yada turkish cuisine can read the Istanbul guide (part 1). In the Istanbul guide (part 1) we explained the places you can stay in the city and the quality restaurants you can eat. We are ending the journey to the historical peninsula of Istanbul. You can enjoy Istanbul in one day by visiting all of these beautiful places without missing details. You can ask us about what you are curious about in Istanbul or Turkey.