The Historical Landmarks in Istanbul are numerous. You will find some amazing monuments in Istanbul built during the eras of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic. Many of these are still standing and serve as a part of the city’s history.

The preservation of these historical landmarks is necessary so that future generations can enjoy them. In this article, I will discuss some of the most important ones located in Istanbul.

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9 Historical Landmarks in Istanbul You Must See

1. Sultanahmet ( Blue Mosque )

At the beginning of our trip to the glorious past of Istanbul, you will get acquainted with its “Old City.” This is a historic district, in the middle of which is located its center Sultanahmet ( Blue Mosque ). The whole atmosphere of the Old City of Istanbul is imbued with the spirit of the great events of the past centuries. And now, in the central place of the old city, an active life is in full swing.

On Sultanahmet SquareIstanbul is the center of attraction for tourists who flock here from many countries. Hundreds of thousands of travelers come to this historic place to visit the ancient Sultanahmet Square. As its history, texture, and structure fascinates the tourists, it has been amazing for years.

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2. Hagia Sophia

The magnificent building of this Christian church with its grandeur symbolizes the glory of Byzantium’s “golden age.” Now on the premises of this cathedral is the museum of Hagia Sophia. And more than six centuries ago, it was called the “Church of the Wisdom of God” or the Temple of Holy Wisdom, as well as the Cathedral of St. Sophia.


It was built in 537 and was the largest of all Christian churches for over a thousand years. This continued until St. Peter’s Basilica was built in Rome, which began operating in 1626.

The church of Hagia Sophia has a dome height of fifty-five and a half meters. Four large columns support the dome that covers the temple, and its diameter is thirty-one and a half meters. But initially, this temple was a small basilica.

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3. Blue Mosque

Not far from the Hagia Sophia is the majestic building of the Blue Mosque. It was ordered to be built by the 14th Ottoman Sultan, Ahmet the First. He used his funds to finance the entire construction process fully. For this, the mosque is called by his name Sultanahmet.

And also, due to the predominance of blue color in the interior decoration of this mosque, it was given another name-the, Blue Mosque. Its architect was one of the best students of the famous Ottoman architect Sinan – Sedefkar Mehmet Aga, nicknamed “the jeweler.”

For seven years, he led the construction of this masterpiece of Ottoman architecture and completed it in 1616. Following the instructions of Sultan Ahmet the First, instead of the traditional four minarets for the mosque, the architect Sedefkar built six of them. And the Sultanahmet mosque, in terms of the number of minarets, is equal to the main shrine of the Islamic world – the Masjid Al-Haram mosque, which is located in Mecca.

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4. Dolmabahce Palace

Be sure to visit the magnificent Dolmabahçe Palace, one of the architectural masterpieces of the world. This luxurious palace complex is an outstanding monument of Ottoman architectural art.

It was built from a combination of Baroque, Neoclassical, and Ottoman architectural traditions. Its construction lasted for a long eleven years and was completed in 1853.

This palace was intended for the new residence of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire. During the construction of the Dolmabahce Palace, fourteen tons of gold were spent on its decoration. The premises of this palace consist of 285 rooms and 46 halls.

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5. Topkapi Palace

Since 1924, the Topkapi Palace has been a museum, and until that time, it was the residence of the rulers of the Ottoman Empire.

Therefore, another name for Topkapi Palace sounds like Saray or Sultan’s Palace. Now this famous museum surpasses all other museums operating on Turkey’s territory in terms of its attendance.

Topkapi Palace is located on Sarayburnu Cape and is separated from the city by the long fortress Wall of the Sultan. The total area of the palace complex is approximately eighty thousand square meters.

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6. Mausoleums of the Ottoman Sultans

The magnificent tombs of the five rulers of the Ottoman Empire are located on the territory of the Hagia Sophia complex.

Here the great Ottoman sultans sleep forever near the graves of numerous members of their families. The ashes of the sultans rest in large sarcophagi, which are installed in mausoleums.

These free-standing funerary structures are called “turbe” in Ottoman architecture. They are built for the representatives of the highest nobility and serve as a gateway to eternity. Turbes are monuments that traditionally have six or eight corners.

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7. Galata Bridge

A new business card of Istanbul can call this original two-level drawbridge, which consists of two floors. This is a newly restored historical bridge that existed in this place back in the Ottoman era.

The bridge consists of 2 floors; it is movable. It existed during the Ottoman era but was recently reconstructed. Located in Golden Horn Bay, it connects several districts. The structure does not interfere with the passage of large ships at sea. The total length of the bridge is 490 m, width-42 m.

The lower floor is presented in the form of a cafe and a pedestrian zone. The upper one is for transport: trams, buses, and cars. The second floor also boasts wide sidewalks, so it’s one of the fishermen’s favorite spots.

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8. The Maiden Tower (Kiz Kulesi)

The Maiden Tower (Kiz Kulesi) is considered one of the most famous symbols of Istanbul. It is located on a small, natural island two hundred meters from the shore in Uskudar and rises 23 meters above the waters of the Bosphorus.

The Maiden Tower (Kiz Kulesi) is a picturesque three-tiered building of unusual architecture, which has been decorating the Bosphorus Strait for many centuries. The official history of the tower began in 411 BC, when Athens, victoriously ending the war with Sparta, decided to control the strait finally.

For this purpose, a watchtower and a customs office were erected on a small rocky island located not far from the coast, collecting duties from passing ships.

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9. Galata Tower

The Galata Tower is an iconic landmark in Istanbul. Today, it is visible from many places in the city, and thousands of tourists take pictures of it on their gadgets.

The tower is located in the city district of Beyoglu, on the northern shore of the Golden Horn Bay, in a place where Genoese and other Europeans used to settle. Today, the tower has a height of 61 meters and above sea level (together with the hill) 140 meters.

Given that the tower is visible from afar-it will not be difficult to get to it. Just keep in mind that the place where the tower is located in pedestrian, and you will not get to its base.

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