Istanbul Travel Hacks!
Hi everyone! If you are visiting Istanbul, this is a perfect blog post to learn the most common questions about Istanbul Turkey! In this article, we went deep into and prepared a great guidebook for your potential Istanbul Travel!
General information about Istanbul Turkey!
Istanbul is the heart of the country since it is the Finance, Commerce, and Trade center of Turkey! The population of Istanbul is around 16 – 18 million. And, it is the most crowded city of Turkey since it offers many different business opportunities to the locals. However, the common mistake is; Istanbul is not the capital city of Turkey. Once upon a time, it was the capital of the Ottoman Empire. However, the capital has been moved to Ankara with the foundation of the Modern Turkish Republic in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
Some of the famous destinations in Istanbul!
Istanbul is a very well improved city in Tourism. And, it catches the attention of millions of travelers from all around the World! There are thousands of Hotels, touristic destinations, activities, historical places, and local experiences that awaits you. The main historical places are as below; Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Süleymaniye Mosque, Chora Museum, and Basilica Cistern, all of those located in a very close distance to each other.
Hagia Sophia is a breathtaking monumental building which was constructed during the Byzantine period and became the symbol of that time. It is located in the center of Sultanahmet Street and the opposite side of the Blue Mosque. It is very easy to walk if you are staying in a Hotel located in Sultanahmet. Or, even very easy to access by tram or public transportation. It has great architectural beauty, frescoes, and mosaics represents the golden age of the Byzantine time in Constantinopolis.
Once the Fatih Sultan Mehmet, one of the very important emperors of the Ottoman Empire, has conquered the Constantinapolis, Hagia Sophia converted into an active Mosque. And, it has become a symbol of the conquest of Istanbul. This structure witnessed many earthquakes and suffered great damage. However, thanks to some renovations held by Mimar Sinan, one of the best-known architects in history, it still maintains its magnificent stance and welcomes its visitors.
In 1935, after Mustafa Kemal Atatürk has founded the modern Turkish Republic, he converted into the Hagia Sophia from a Mosque to a Museum. And, presented it in service of these religions both Muslims and Christians. Here is the official link where you may see more about: Hagia Sophia!
In 10th of July 2020, with the signature of the Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is the President of the Republic of Turkey, Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque again.
Sultanahmet Camii or called Blue Mosque is a very historical and meaningful example of Islam. It is located in Istanbul in Sultanahmet Street, on the opposite side of the Hagia Sophia. Sultanahmet Camii/Mosque also known as the Blue Mosque because of the interior walls adorned with blue tiles. Sultanahmet Camii was built at around 1609 – 1616, during the rule of I. Ahmet Pasha. Besides, it is still an active mosque, also open to visits of the tourists. There is no entrance fee to visit and explore this unique artwork comes from the earlier time of Islam. However, we do recommend to check praying times to visit this art-work!
Topkapi Palace is a very large museum located next to the Hagia Sophia in Sultanahmet Street. Around the 15th and 16th centuries, it has been served as the main residence and administrative place of the Ottoman Sultans.
In 1453, Fatih Sultan Mehmed has conquered Constantinapolis and 6 years later he has ordered the construction of Topkapi Palace. So, the constructions started in 1459. The first name of this place was New Palace. In the 19th century, it has been turned to Topkapi Palace, meaning Cannon Gate. With major renovations at around the 1509 earthquake and the fire in 1665, the Palace expanded over the centuries. There are four main courtyards and many small buildings in this Palace complex.
When Mustafa Kemal Atatürk has founded the modern Turkish Republic in 1923, the Palace has been converted into a museum. And, it awaits its visitors today as a magnificent museum of Istanbul. There is an entrance fee of 80 Lira per person (please check, can be raised at the year you visit), and no need to have pre-arranged tickets since you may obtain from the entrance gate. Here is the official link where you may see more about: Topkapi Palace!
Where to stay in Istanbul?
Istanbul is a huge Metropol city and there are Hotels all around it! If you are going to visit the historical & cultural places of Istanbul, we do highly recommend you staying in Sultanahmet / Old-City of Istanbul.
If you are at the end of your Istanbul Travel and looking for a closer hotel to the airport, the most important life-saving advice we may provide to you is about Istanbul New Airport; there were 2 airports in Istanbul. One is called Istanbul Atatürk Airport(IST), and the other is called Sabiha Gökcen Airport(SAW). Istanbul Atatürk Airport is closed and moved to a new location called Istanbul New Airport(IST). However, there are still hotels on online platforms(booking.com, hotelspro.com, etc) called Istanbul Airport Hotel which is located close to the previous Istanbul Airport. So, check the address details of your Airport and the hotel you book. So, there would be confusion or misunderstanding unless you know this information! Seems all great now since you know it 🙂
What about Honeymoon couples? The best area to stay in Istanbul for a Honeymoon is around Haliç and Beşiktaş! You may find several Hotels with a Bosphorus view, and spend an unforgettable time!
The main travel tips of Istanbul!
- There are two Airports! You should be careful while choosing your arrival and departure flights; Istanbul New Airport (IST) and Sabiha Göhcen Airport (SAW).
- Istanbul is a very large and crowded city, all the places in Istanbul are not safe to have an overnight stay. Better to have a Hotel around Sultanahmet and Taksim Regions. This can also save your time to join many activities and Tours in Istanbul.
- Better to have a minimum of 2 Days in Istanbul. At least to visit the main highlights of the city.
- The most interesting places in Istanbul located on the European side. However, you can leave a day to visit the Asian side of Istanbul too, if you have enough time.
- You can find many nice restaurants in Istanbul. However, if you would like to experience real Turkish Cuisine, the right place would be the local places such as; Ephesus, Cappadocia, etc… And, in Istanbul, you should better ask the price before your order.
- Summer is humid and hot around 30 – 40 degrees. Winter is snowy and cold around -15 to 0. So, better to bring suitable clothes.
- No need to have pre-arranged entrance tickets for the Museums, you may purchase them at the entrances.
- It is always better to book a tour in Istanbul. Because it is a large city and there are many things that you do not know. So, having a guided tour can save time, money, and effort. Plus, you may have more detailed information about the treasures of Istanbul.
Best time to visit Istanbul and best time to go Turkey!
Turkey has 4 seasons; Summer, Autumn, Winter, and Spring! It is a different experience to visit Turkey in every single season! The busiest travel time is between May to September! Especially Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus, and Pamukkale maybe a little too hot and crowded for some travelers who are not used to it! On this hand, we always recommend March – April, and October for the best time seekers!