The Church of St. Saviour in Chora or Chora Museum.
This Christian art is known for all its magnificent, rare Byzantine mosaics and frescoes dates back to early 16th century. We definitely recommend Chora Museum as one of the great sights to see in the City of Istanbul.
Turks have been smoking the “narghile” , hubbly bubbly since the 17th century. There are many cafes and restaurants lined with narghile cafes along the strip by the “Amerikan Pazari” in Tophane. You can give it a try even if your not a smoker but if you are not really into it then you might enjoy traditional Turkish Coffee or “Turk Kahvesi” served in a special, tiny porcelain cup and experience a Turkish narghile”parlour. “Enjoyer Cafe” is a popular choice among tourists while “Erenler Cay Bahcesi” is more of student friendly venue.
Prince’s Islands are set off Istanbul’s Asian shore, mainly elite summer houses of the locals are found here. Reached only by the sea, no cars or other motor vehicles are allowed on these peaceful islands. “Kinali”, “Burgaz”, “Heybeli” each of these islands has an atmosphere of it’s own. “Buyukada” is the largest of all, where you can take a phaeton ride around the island or enjoy fresh seafood served at the local restaurants. You can see a condensed mixture of true Istanbul dwellers: Greeks, Jews and Armenians rub shoulders with the Turks in the local square. Trail-walking, bike rentals, horseback riding are attractions available on the islands. There are also several Orthodox religious sites on the islands. To reach the Prince’s Island take a ferry from Kabatas (European Side), Kadikoy (Asian Side) or Bostanci
Byzantine Wonder: Hagia Sophia
A true architectural marvel, Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) stands in the core of the City of Istanbul. It was built as a Byzantine church between AD. 532-537, then converted into a mosque during the Ottoman reign (1453-1931) and now serves a museum. Hagia Sophia stood as “the world’s largest cathedral” for almost a thousand years until the Seville Cathedral was built. It’s massive dome and vast interiors are absolutely mesmerizing. Byzantine architecture at it’s peek, Hagia Sophia Museum is a major site to be seen in Istanbul.
Travel Along The Bosphorus
Bosphorus is a natural water channel or a strait connects Black Sea to Sea of Marmara which is eventually connected to Mediterranean. It also separates two continent from each other Asia and Europe. Take a ferry from Eminonu, sailing along the Bosphorus between two continents, these half hourly commuter ferry services are truly a magical way of getting across this one of the worlds busiest waterways. It is literally an intercontinental experience which is totally unique . It’s a relaxing trip especially on a sunny day to enjoy nice Istanbul weather and a great way to see the waterfront Ottoman mansions, lush parks on the shore of Bebek, Ortakoy and Besiktas.
Turkish Bath – Hamam
The public baths or Hamams date back to Roman times and inherited by Ottomans and got strongly linked to the Islamic tradition of cleansing and ablutions – a ritual for washing the hands, arms, face and feet with running water before praying. The Hamam is a sure and fine way of getting clean, where you lay on a hot marble slab, your skin is scrubbed and kneaded by one of the Hamam attendants . You wear the tradition bathing clothes the only cloth that you are given. It is better to stick with the touristic hamams including “Galatasaray Hamami” ,”Cemberlitas Hamami” and “Cagaloglu Hamami”.
The Center Of The Ottoman Empire, Topkapi Palace
The heart of the empire, part command center and part archetypal Eastern pleasure dome, elegantly decorated “Topkapi Palace” is the home of the Ottoman power. The Sultans ruled the empire from here for almost four centuries. This “UNESCO World Heritage Site” takes at least half a day to visit for this place has many impressive features. Imperial Treasury, Harem Section and the innermost courtyards are not be missed.
Traditional Carpet Shopping In The Grand Bazaar
When visiting the Grand Bazaar you should take a full day, be prepared with time a calculator and a notepad as there are over 5.500 sellers to choose from. Haggling is a most and a delightful experience. Along with carpets galore there are local handcrafts, handbags, purses, leather goods , coats, jackets any more . When haggling to get the best price, one thing to remember is the shop holders pay their rent in gold – a steep seven kilos a year for the place along the main avenue in the shopping Grand Bazaar.