Sultanahmet is the heart of historic Istanbul and is home to many of its top tourist sites. With so many important sites to visit here, it can be hard to squeeze everything in with a limited amount of time.
The court of the Ottoman Empire from the 15th to the 19th centuries, Topkapi Palace is the second most visited tourist destination in Istanbul, behind only Ayasofya.
Around Sultanahmet Square is where you’ll find the city’s biggest cistern, it’s grandest mosque, and the iconic Ayasofya which is Istanbul’s most revered tourist attraction.
With enough time and imagination, looking at these remarkably detailed sarcophagi was like reading storybooks carved in stone.
No first-time trip to Istanbul is complete without a visit to the Grand and Egyptian Spice Bazaars, both of which can easily be reached from Sultanahmet on foot.
We had already seen all of Istanbul’s major sites so we wanted to do something that was still fun but a little more relaxed on our fifth and final day. Going on a scenic all-day cruise of the Bosphorus — an experience that some say is one of Istanbul’s greatest pleasures — was exactly that.
Despite being out of the way, this tiny museum that’s just a fraction of the size of its more celebrated counterparts was my favorite historic site in Istanbul. The mosaics and frescoes adorning its walls and ceilings are drop dead stunning.
As enticing a reason as any to cross the Bosphorus into Asia, Çiya Sofrası has been hailed by more than one source as possibly the best restaurant in all of Istanbul.
Turkish food is described as the continuation of Ottoman Empire cuisine. The Ottomans fused Central Asian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Eastern European, and Balkan cuisines to create one of the world’s most diverse and influential cuisines.
Dürümzade: Home to Some of the Best Wraps in Istanbul, Turkey (As Seen on No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain)
We ate many delicious things in Turkey, but if I had to eat just one dish for the entire two weeks, then I would happily choose dürüm. And not just any dürüm, but the dürüm from Dürümzade, hailed by Anthony Bourdain as some of the best wraps in Istanbul.