Byzantium, Constantinople, European Capital of Culture 2010, Europe’s Best Destination 2012, your very own vacation destination in 2013: by any name, Turkey’s beating heart is Istanbul, and throughout the ages it has never ceased to enchant and fascinate. Istanbul is a mega city – a thriving metropolis that continues to surprise visitors with its cuisine, cosmopolitanism, and culture. No other city can lay claim to a history like Istanbul’s: it has, after all, functioned as the capital of four separate empires!
The Old City: The Heart of Istanbul History
If you are visiting Istanbul, then consider staying in the Old City on the Historical Peninsula. It is where all of Istanbul’s remarkable history is at its most tangible and visible. For a great hotel in the best and most convenient area of the city, check out the Hotel Büyük Keban. We are right in the midst of it all: art and architecture, music and cinema, fashion and food. Our affordable and comfortable hotel is within walking distance of must-see marvels: the Grand Bazaar, Gulhane Park, the Blue and Sultanahmet Mosques, the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, the Basilica Cistern, and the Beyazit and Galata Towers – to name but a few. Let us Recommend our Top Five Attractions that you must see during your visit:
Süleymaniye Mosque – One of Istanbul’s most stunning landmark, the Süleymaniye dominates the city skyline. It was designed by the great Ottoman-era architect Sinan for Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. It has recently been restored to its original splendor and is considered the finest of the 42 surviving mosques he designed for Istanbul.
Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque – The early 17th-century Blue Mosque is one of only a handful of mosques in the world to boast six minarets, along with its main dome and eight secondary domes. Its fine craftsmanship is further distinguished by – and nicknamed for – the fine cerulean İznik tiles that line its interior. It is also famous as the tomb of the great Sultan Ahmed I, the leader who lent his name to the mosque and the surrounding neighborhood.
Topkapi Palace – If there is one absolute must-see in Istanbul, it has to be the Topkapi Palace, which housed generations of Ottoman sultans. A maze of lush green courtyards, opulent architecture and delicate kiosks, the Topkapi boasts a treasury of crown jewels as well as exquisite views over the Sea of Marmara, Bosphorus and Golden Horn.
Hagia Sophia – Widely considered the building that changed the course of European architecture, this structure has functioned as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral, the Patriarchate of Constantinople, a Roman Catholic Cathedral and a mosque. Built in 360 C.E., this exquisite landmark blends the influences of Eastern and Western civilizations. The magnificent mosaics that adorn its interior vary from religious imagery to geometric ornaments to portraits of royalty.
Basilica Cistern – Constructed in the sixth century and then forgotten for centuries, this underground marvel is one of the city’s most unusual and interesting sites to visit. It once was part of a massive and complex water storage and transportation system, and is chock-full of quirky sights, such as an upside-down head of Medusa that was essentially Roman garbage foraged by the cistern’s architects just a few centuries later.
We invite you to see all we have to offer, located right near these must-see marvels. Contact the Hotel Büyük Keban today!