A trip to remember forever: seven places to visit in Istanbul. Photo
Istanbul, the capital of Turkey, is experiencing its stellar time right now as millions of tourists head there every spring and every fall. Therefore, endless queues surround the attractions.
However, Istanbul has a lot of attractive places to walk around that ordinary travelers don't realize. OBOZREVATEL tells about little-known corners of the city, which will allow you to feel the magic of Turkey without huge crowds of people.
- Jewish neighborhood Balat
Head to the Jewish neighborhood of Balat in Fatihu to experience the rich culture and architectural charm of the European part of the city with fewer tourists.
This colorful neighborhood is not just a nice place, but one of the oldest and most authentic neighborhoods in Istanbul. There are many synagogues, churches, mosques, museums and attractions. Balat is a place where different religions coexist and where the old meets the new. Young creative people, street artists and charming cafes give a second wind to this iconic neighborhood.
- St. Irene Cathedral
In 2022, about 14 million people visited the legendary Hagia Sophia Cathedral. You'll have to stand in line for over an hour to get inside. Instead of frying in the sun in line for Hagia Sophia, head to its little sister, St. Irene.
St. Irene Cathedral is Istanbul's second largest Byzantine church. It was built in the 4th century by Emperor Constantine the Great. Since that time it could not be destroyed neither by fires, nor by riots, nor by earthquakes. The interior of Irene Cathedral is not as chic as that of Hagia Sophia, its history is no less fascinating. The building has been a church, a Roman temple, a mosque, a military museum and even an army warehouse.
- Beylerbey Palace
After taking a scenic ferry to the Asian side of Istanbul at Üsküdar, you will see the Ottoman imperial palace that most tourists leave out. Beylerbey Palace is usually overshadowed by Istanbul's more famous royal landmarks, Dolmabahce and Topkapi Palaces.
Beylerbey's two dozen rooms and six halls attract with priceless Egyptian carpets, sumptuous crystal chandeliers and stunning opulence. The real highlight is the intricate ceilings painted with intricate story compositions and calligraphy. Beylerbey Palace is visited by fewer tourists than any other royal place in Istanbul.
- Flower Passage
The Flower Passage is a trendy covered courtyard on Istiklal Street in Galatasaray Square. Called "the shrine to Turks' love of long, friendly group dinners", the Passage is filled every night with bustling tables of friends and families enjoying drinks and dinners until the wee hours of the morning.
In the 1960s, the Passage was a bustling street of working-class merchants, but in the 90s it was remodeled and transformed into the upscale heart of Istanbul's nightlife. Today it is a trendy spot for locals and foreigners alike.
- EMAAR Square Mall Observation Deck
At the height of EMAAR Square Mall in the Usquedar area, there is a secret that tourists don't know about. Climb to the 48th floor for a 360-degree view of the city. Brave visitors can take a stroll on the glass SkyWalk.
EMAAR SkyView is popular with locals, especially at sunset. However, tourists haven't really caught on yet, so it's a great attraction to get away from the crowds.
- Aksemsettin Street
A culinary journey along Aksemsettin Caddesi Street can transport you to Damascus. Unlike the tourist-crowded restaurants in Galata and Sultanahmet, there's always room at these Syrian family-run eateries. It's easy to find specialized dishes here that are almost impossible to find outside of Syria.
- Nevmekian Sahil Library
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