After last week´s post featuring the impressive Topkapi Palace, I just couldn’t let go of the city of Istanbul – not yet! Let´s talk more about all the place I’ve managed to see during my layover. Even though I tried to be extremely organized and fast to cover everything I planned, one day in Istanbul – was definitely not enough.
With a population of 15 million – just imagine that traffic! So, in case you have a brief stop in this largest Turkish city – keep in mind that in order to visit several places in one day, you’d rather be choosing those located close to each other: plan your trip efficiently. And if you have more than just one day – check this 3 Days In Istanbul Itinerary.
Let´s face it: Istanbul in one day sounds like a challenge, but why not?!
Istanbul Layover: One Day in the City
Must See Places
1.The Sultan Ahmed Mosque
The most emblematic Turkish landmark built between 1609 and 1616 years during the rule of Ahmed I, known as Blue Mosque or The Sultan Ahmed Mosque. Here, you should mind the dress code for women: head, legs, and arms covered. I was wearing a long skirt (and as a solo female traveler, was “modestly” dressed for this trip in general, just in case). Although bringing something for my head has totally slipped my mind – so, I ended up buying a scarf in one of the local shops nearby (in the Blue Mosque they are supposed to provide you with skirts and headscarves, but it´s always great to have the one that is yours).
An ultimate architectural phenomenon and a monument for both Byzantine and Ottoman Empire – Hagia Sofia. Built in 537 AD as an Orthodox cathedral of Constantinople, Hagia Sofia was converted into an Ottoman mosque under Mehmed the Conqueror in 1453. It is currently a museum. I´d recommend you to check the opening hours here.
3. The Grand Bazaar
I´m terrible at bargaining and markets always feel too crowded and overwhelming for me. However, being in Istanbul and not visiting one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world would be impossible. The Grand Bazaar is touristic, but you could still get there many local products and decorations. I normally go for the rose tea, rare spices and Turkish delights for souvenirs. An authentic Turkish tea set is something I wanted to have at home for a while (typical Turkish tea itself is quite strong for me, but I love those hand-painted saucers and glasses with Ottoman ornaments). But last time my layover on the way back home was too short, so I couldn’t buy one.
4. The Basilica Cistern
Built in 532, the Basilica Cistern is the largest surviving Byzantine cistern in Istanbul. It has 336 columns and is able to store up to 80,000 cu meters of water. What a subterranean structure!
6.The Topkapi Palace
After watching the popular Turkish Tv Show called The Magnificent Century ( Muhtesem Yuzyil in Turkish) I just couldn´t miss the Topkapi Place. Check more details and photos here.
Istanbul is absolutely one of those citied I´d love to travel back. The Ottoman history is waiting to be uncovered around every corner, while the Turkish markets literally give you a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in this vibrant culture! Make sure to check this best Istanbul itinerary, to make the most of your trip.
Have you ever been to Istanbul? Which site has impressed you the most?