A city famous for its traditional charm, Istanbul is one of the most important centers of Turkey. With a great architecture and history to boast of, the Turkish city dates back a very long time. Istanbul offers a heady mix of the traditional and the contemporary and this makes it a haven for globe-trotters from all places on the earth. With a great variety on offer, Istanbul has numerous spots that appeal to the tourists. Few of the most famous, which are a must see for visitors to the city are discussed under.
The Turkish and Islamic arts Museum: This is a great treasure trove which has items dating back to as early as the 8th century. From specially decorated Korans to carpets form the Seljuk era; tourists can see immensely valuable items in the museum. The items are all important pieces of history and high on antique value as well. There are artistic displays from the Ottoman era as well. The museum is actually part of the palace of Ibrahim Pasha. The building itself is well-maintained and the foundation is the original one from the 1500’s. There is a small admission fee and the museum remains open from 9 am to 5 pm on all days except Monday.
The Basilica Cistern: One of the best cisterns in Istanbul, this architectural gem lies below the Stoa Basilica. It covers a huge area of about 1000 meter squares and has 336 columns made from marble. It is alternatively termed as the Sunken Palace Cistern. This structure was used to store water in the times of emperor Justinian. The structure was lost but rediscovered much later and toady this stands as a unique monument. The place is of historic importance as well since the Topkapi Place was fed with the water from this cistern. An admission fee is needed here as well and the timings are between 9 am to 5:30 pm daily.
The Bosphorus Cruise: Take a small TurYol or a ferryboat on a cruise up Bosphorus. Taking about an hour, the cruise offers one of the loveliest collections of sights. Check out the Dolmabche Palace, the six palaces of the Ottoman Dynasty (including the Topkapi Palace), Selimiye barracks (associated with Florence Nightingale), the Mecidiye mosque and the lovely Bosphorus Bridge. Catch the Kuleli naval Academy, the Fortress of Europe, the famed Bebek and the Bosphorus University amongst a lot of other spots.