Top to See in Istanbul

Süleymaniye Mosque

Sitting high on the hill above Sultanahmet district, the Süleymaniye Mosque is one of the most recognized landmarks of Istanbul. It was built for Süleyman the Magnificent by the famed Ottoman architect Sinan between 1549 and 75. The interior, dominated by its soaring 53-meter-high dome is notable for its harmonious proportions and unity of design. Outside in the tranquil garden area is an interesting Ottoman cemetery.

Dolmabahçe Palace

The sumptuous and ornate Dolmabahçe Palace shows the clear influence of European decoration and architecture on the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century. Built by Sultan Abdülmecid I in 1854, it replaced Topkapi Palace as the main residence of the sultans. The formal gardens are punctuated with fountains, ornamental basins, and blooming flower beds.

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts (Türk ve Islam Eserleri Müzesi)

Housed in the palace of Ibrahim Pasa, who was Grand Vizier for Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, this museum is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in Ottoman and Islamic art.

Other Amazing Tours in Turkey

Cappadocia

The surreal, swooping rock valleys of Cappadocia are every photographer's dream. Cliff ridges and hill crests are home to rippling panoramas of wave-like rock or wacky-shaped pinnacles that have been formed by millennia of wind and water action. If you don't feel like hiking for the views, this is one of the world's top destinations to take a hot air balloon ride.

Ani

The beautiful red-brick buildings still crumbling away amid the steppe grass have a mesmerizing effect on all who visit. Don't miss the Church of the Redeemer or the Church of St. Gregory, with their elaborate stone masonry and fresco remnants still visible.

Pergamum

Turkey has an abundance of Greco-Roman ruins, but none can be so romantically placed as ancient Pergamum in modern-day Bergama. Once home to one of the ancient world's most important libraries, Pergamum's remaining temple remnants now preside dramatically on a hilltop.

Did you Know These Facts About Turkey?

Geography

Turkey has 4,454 miles of coastline. The interior consists of mountains, hills, valleys, and a high central plateau. The western coastal plains are generally more densely populated and industrial than are the central and eastern regions, except for Ankara on the central Anatolian plateau. Because Asia Minor had been home to Lydians, Hittites, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, and Ottomans over the centuries, it is dotted with historic monuments.

Food

In the winter, many Turks eat a breakfast of bread with hot soup. In the warmer seasons, they commonly eat bread and jam, hard- or soft-boiled eggs, white cheese made from sheep's milk, salty olives, and warm milk or hot tea with milk. A typical noon meal consists of vegetable and meat stew with a side dish of rice or bulgar pilaf and salad, with fruit for dessert. Borek or dolma may substitute for the stew. Sweet desserts, such as baklava, are served on special occasions. The evening meal is usually lighter, consisting of leftovers from noon or a kebab with salad. Ordinarily, only water is drunk with noon and evening meals.

About us

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Mari Ashburnum and Luis Lockridge

Founders of Mari - Luis Travel Agency

Aside from our small-group tours, we also offer private tours for individuals, groups and families. Our experienced team is available to help you plan your journey seven days a week.

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