Five Things Not To Miss In Istanbul

22.August 2013

Our Journey

Istanbul is a fantastic destination for a city break. The ancient city is packed with museums, galleries and monuments to keep culture seekers happy, and there are plenty of trendy places to eat, drink and party for those looking for some well-deserved rest, relaxation and entertainment.

Fly with Emirates to Istanbul and experience their award-winning service, so you can arrive at Turkey’s largest city in style.

There are many sights to cram into your stay, but if you’re short on time here are five not to be missed:

St. Saviour Church

The tiny St. Saviour Church in Chora contains rare and intricate Byzantine artwork in the form of frescos and mosaics dating back to the 14th century. It’s a rare and fascinating opportunity to see some early artwork which some believe to be unparalleled. The site was converted into a mosque in 1511 and then turned into a museum in 1945 so that visitors could learn about the historic monument. Some of the artwork is in excellent condition and shows highly advanced technical skills for the age.

City walls

The original stone walls of the city were once an impressive defensive landmark. They remain one of the largest Byzantine structures standing today. The 6.5km (four mile) circular wall was constructed during the reign of Theodosius II (408-450). It wrapped around the city to protect it from sea or land attacks. Parts of the wall have been restored and other areas remain in its original state.

Blue Mosque

This stunning monument is one of the main tourist attractions in the city. It’s known as the Blue Mosque thanks to its interior blue tiles. The beautiful landmark has a large dome, six minarets and eight smaller domes. Check out the opening times before you visit as it’s a working mosque and is closed during prayer time.

Grand Bazaar

You can’t take a trip to Turkey without visiting a bazaar. Weave your way through the rows of market stalls and try some friendly bartering with the locals. Don’t buy the first thing you see; make sure you have a good walk around to get a feel for what’s a reasonable price to pay. Arm yourself with a hat, sunscreen, a bottle of water and a calculator to get the best out of the experience.

Istanbul Modern

After visiting endless historic monuments, it’s refreshing to step into the Istanbul Modern; a contemporary art exhibition space that aims to collect, preserve and exhibit modern art and make it accessible to all. With an emphasis on sharing Turkey’s artistic talents and showing off its cultural identity, the gallery is a fabulous place to lose a few hours. You’ll find a cinema that screens world cinema movies and a popular restaurant that offers sweeping views across the Bosphorus to the minarets of Sultanahmet and out to the Marmara Sea.

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Istanbul has many more incredible museums and monuments. Visit this vibrant city and experience the unique culture for yourself. Hang out in the tea gardens and coffee houses, take a traditional Turkish bath and sip a cocktail on a roof top bar with awe-inspiring views of the city skyline. You won’t be disappointed.

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