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Insurance Article

7 Best Places to Visit in Istanbul

May 26 2015
Protect your home from financial losses

Experience the Culture and Heritage of the Iconic City of Istanbul

Istanbul is the only city in the world that spreads over two continents, Asia and Europe. A narrow strip of sea, the Bosphorus Strait, splits the city right across its centre. It has historical sites dating back to the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods displaying its glorious past.

Travel to Istanbul and discover history unfold and experience the extraordinary culture of this union of the East and the West. Istanbul tourism has really picked up pace in the last decade with more and more travellers discovering this enchanting city. Check out the following places to visit in Istanbul to know more about this fascinating city.

Hagia Sophia

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A spectacular historical marvel displaying 30 million golden tiles on its interior, it is amazing how this 6th-century structure has survived the test of time. The greatest Christian cathedral of the middle ages, the Hagia Sophia was later converted into an imperial mosque in 1453 by the Ottomans and finally opened as a museum in 1935. Chosen as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1985 the domed monument, adorned with captivating mosaics, is on top of the Istanbul sightseeing list. Legends say that if you stick your thumb in the copper part of “Weeping column” and your thumb comes out moist, you are cured of all physical ailments. Also, some of the key scenes of the famous James Bond movie, Skyfall was shot here.

Grand Bazaar

Exquisite lanterns in the bazaar

A shopper's paradise, this colourful and chaotic bazaar with 61 streets and 5,000 shops truly recaptures the lost charm of old Istanbul. Be prepared to bargain for some of the region's exquisite jewellery, hand-painted ceramics, spices, embroideries and antiques! Walk a bit more to reach the famous Spice Bazaar where you will find dried fruits, nuts and delicious desserts.

Topkapi Palace

A breathtaking glimpse into the nation's history

The court of the Ottoman Empire between the 15th and 19th centuries, Topkapi Palace was once home to mighty sultans, their concubines and ambitious courtiers. The subject of colourful stories, it boasts of magnificent pavilions and a sprawling harem that gives an interesting insight into the lives of its erstwhile occupants. The Palace offers a vantage point view of the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus Strait, and the Sea of Marmara. The gold decorations on the walls and ceilings are a treat to the eyes. The main areas to visit in the palace include Courtyard of the Black Eunuchs, Sultan Ahmet's Kiosk, the Courtyard of the Concubines & the Sultan's Consorts, the Quarters of the Valide Sultan, the ornate Privy Chamber of Murat III and the Double Kiosk/Apartments of the Crown Prince.

Istanbul Aquarium

A view of  the region's diverse aquatic life

Submerge yourself in sea life in this dazzling thematic aquarium, one of the largest in Europe. Witness effects such as wind, fog and water come alive in its 5D movie houses. A great place for kids and families, the aquarium houses 15,000 land and sea creatures of over 1,500 species. You can also enjoy wonderful Turkish cuisine at the restaurant with mesmerizing waterfront views.

Sultan Ahmed Mosque

The Blue Mosque, Istanbul

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque because of the blue tiles surrounding its interior walls. 260 bulbs flood the interior of the mosque with bright lights. Adorned with a cascade of domes and six slender minarets, the mosque is a classic example of Turkish architecture. The interiors are built with over 20000 handmade ceramic tiles featuring beautiful floral designs. It is advisable to wear covered clothes during the visit even though shawls and garments are available at the gateway.

Basilica Cistern

Take a stroll in a forest of marble columns

Built in the 6th century, this fascinating monument is an ancient cistern that lies beneath the city of Istanbul. Before being converted to a cistern to provide water to palaces, a great Basilica stood in its place, hence the name. If you have watched the James Bond flick From Russia With Love, you will find yourself at the very location that Bond and Kerim Bey used as an escape route.

Chora Church

A majestic mosaic adorns one of the many domes of the Chora Church, Istanbul

This beautiful Byzantine church, laden with iconic mosaics, and frescoes from the 14th century, is home to some of the most artistic displays of that time. During the Ottoman era, the Church was converted into a mosque. Finally it was converted into a museum in 1948.

Before You Travel

Istanbul is among the world's top tourist destinations. However, you may face scamming taxi drivers, purse-snatchers or even find it difficult to avail some necessary medication.

These might be a cause of concern for your safety and health. To insure yourself from such difficulties while you are travelling abroad, it is advisable to opt for a travel insurance plan.

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