This blog post couldn’t come at a more opportune time considering TripAdvisor recently announced that Istanbul, Turkey is the most popular travel destination in the world according to its 2014 Travelers’ Choice Awards for Destinations. And frankly, we couldn’t be happier! Knowing that travelers across the globe long to visit Istanbul, our list captures some of the can’t miss sights sprawled across this lavish city. Here’s what you absolutely need to see during your next trip!
1. Istanbul Modern Art Museum
While Istanbul boasts a handful of exquisite art museums that display Turkey’s artistic creativity and feature work that you simply won’t find anywhere else, the Istanbul Modern Art Museum showcases our cultural identity with gorgeous modern and contemporary art exhibitions. With permanent and temporary exhibition galleries, a photography gallery, spaces for educational and social programs, a cinema, design store and an extensive library, there is always something new to experience at this museum. And if you’re hungry, the museum’s restaurant offers delectable international cuisine with an unbeatable view of the Bosphorus and the Old City.
2. Misir Apartment Building
As a city that possesses so much history, the number of picturesque historical buildings is almost endless. However, tourists and residents alike agree that the Misir Apartment Building is one of best buildings for art lovers. Designed in 1910 for the last Khedive of Egypt, this building is filled with wonders. Inside, you will find some of the finest contemporary art galleries, such as Galeri Nev, Galerist, and CDA, that merely amplify the distinctive features of the building itself, namely the wide marble steps, ironmongery balustrade, green glass tiles and the stone floor tiles. Treasuring its rich history, the coffee house, the House Café, and the rooftop restaurant and bar, 360, mirror the sentiments of the building by contrasting their décor with the building’s historical elements.
3. Istiklal Caddesi
Known as Istanbul’s main pedestrian artery, this is the ultimate place to “people watch”. Geared toward tourists, the Istiklal Caddesi is filled with shops that flaunt Turkish delicacies, ceramics and other souvenirs that you can browse while watching the city at work and at play. Branching off the main artery are many other streets that are just brimming with adventure and waiting for you to explore. Your stroll through the streets would not be complete without a trip to Tünel Pasaji, which is a peaceful arcade-style passageway located at the end of Istikal Caddesi. Here, you will find one of the hippest parts of the city as it contains chic cafes, antique shops and used-book stores.
4. Blue Mosque
Neighboring the infamous Aya Sofya, the Blue Mosque is only a short walk away and is easily noticeable thanks to its domed silhouette. In tact since the early 17th century, the artifacts contained inside are quite rare. Even the Blue Mosque itself is rare, as is one of a few mosques in the world that has six minarets. And if you’re wondering why it’s called the Blue Mosque, its name is attributed to the Iznik tiles that adorn its interior walls. To appreciate this magnificent architecture, insiders recommend entering the mosque through the Hippodrome’s side entrance, which is on the west side of the mosque.
5. Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamam
What would a trip to Istanbul be without visiting a Turkish bathhouse? A recent addition to the roster of acclaimed Ottoman bathhouses within the city, the Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamam became a bathhouse in 2011 and is now coveted for the splendor of its design, which features acres of marble. What could be better after a day spent strolling Istiklal Caddesi than a massage and warm water to soak your tired, aching feet? With the soothing sound of running water creates a tranquil ambiance that must be experienced at least once.
Visit Istanbul to see why it’s the hottest place to visit in 2014! Book your stay with Hotel Buyuk Keban today and wake up in the heart of the Old City, where treasures like these are only a short trip away.