14 Famous Landmarks of Istanbul

Istanbul is a huge city with thousands of landmarks. Most of them are historic buildings dating back hundreds of years, especially to the Byzantine and Ottoman Empire.

Some landmarks are more famous than others are, but all serve one common purpose as an identifiable object on the horizon.

Here are my 14  favourite postcard style pictures of  some  landmarks in Istanbul.

Famous Landmarks of Istanbul

1 – The Hagia Sophia is a former church, mosque and now one of the most visited museums in Istanbul.

Hagia Sophia of Istanbul

2 – Rumelihisari Castle stands overlooking the Bosphorus and was built in 1452.

Rumelihisari Castle

3 – 14 tons of gold and 131 handmade silk carpets were used in the decoration of  Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahce palace

4 – Berlerbeyi Palace was a summer home of Ottoman rulers and the name means “Lord of Lords”

Beylerbeyi Palace

5 – The Istanbul Military Museum showcases one thousand years of war in the region.

Istanbul Military Museum in Istanbul

6 – Possibly the most famous landmark, the Blue mosque has stood proud since 1616

Blue mosque- Istanbul

7 – Located underground, the Basilica cistern also contains the upside heads of Medusa.

Basilica Cistern in Istanbul

8 – Galata Bridge is the place where cheap and delicious fish sandwiches are sold.

Galata Bridge in Istanbul

9 – The Dolmabahçe Clock tower is 27 metres high and was built in 1895

Dolmabahce Clock Tower

10 – Flower passage is now full of restaurants but its history talks about the Russian women that used to sell flowers there

Flower passage

11 – The best way to see across the horizon of Istanbul is from Galata tower, which is 66.90 metres tall.

Galata Tower

12 – Topkapi Palace was the original palace of the Ottoman rulers.

Topkapi Palace

13 – Located off Istiklal Avenue,  French Street is the place to be seen at night time.

French Street

14 – The obelisk of Theodosius was originally erected in the old hippodrome of Constantinople.

Obelisk of Theodosius

Readers Question? Which is your favourite Istanbul landmark?


Additional note : The clever folks over at Print Runner helped me to produce this list of famous landmarks in Istanbul. They also help travel businesses to  promote  city landmarks using Postcard and Brochure printing services online.

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Hi. My name is Natalie Sayin and I am the author of The Turkish Travel Blog. I am an Internet addict with a passion for history. Read my story here or leave a comment below to join the discussions.
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  1. says

    Super photo-post Natalie – your photography is going a bomb!

  2. says

    I loved Istanbul. Didn’t have nearly enough time there, but at least I got to see it.

  3. says

    Ah, Istanbul. I really fell in love with this city this summer!

    I loved some of the lesser-visited mosques a lot, but Hagia Sofia really stands out to me as my favorite place. I don’t care how “touristy” it is – it is nothing short of breathtaking.
    Amanda wrote about..My Bulgarian Babas

    • says

      I am following your stories Amanda. You have published some great photo posts from Istanbul. So glad you had the chance to experience this wonderful country.
      Natalie wrote about..Is Trabzon The City Of Love?

  4. says

    Photos have come out really well Natalie. We’re the same as you – still so much to see in Istanbul. We make sure we’re there at least once a year and I bet we’ve not even seen half the city.
    Turkey’s For Life wrote about..Izmir – Turkey’s Windy City

  5. says

    Love Istanbul. Just spent a week there at the end of July. Nice set of pics though I prefer Suleymaniy mosque rather than The Blue One. The latter seems to be overrated and the first one – underrated.

  6. says

    Great list. And gorgeous photos! Istanbul seemed to me like the kind of city that you could go many many times and still not see everything. That’s the sign of a good place!
    Turtle wrote about..The mysterious Lycians

  7. David says

    Great post.

    I’m on a ‘mission’ to photograph every Ancient Egyptian Obelisk in the world, and this is one of the few I have left.

    I didn’t realise Istanbul had so much stuff there. We’ll definitely tick it off the list very soon.

      • David says

        Looking forward to it.

        I’ve booked a secret valentine day trip with my wife.

        Partly becuase I love her and want to take her away for the weekend, and partly becuase I want to photograph another obelisk 😀

  8. says

    Brilliant article. It was a few years back when I was in Istanbul. Been to some of the places but not all of it. Hence more reason to come back for more. I remember going to a museum, can’t remember if it was Hagia Sophia or the Blue Mosque but I saw some historical artefacts from India which I had read in the history books. I really liked the place, want to come back for more.
    Shalu Sharma wrote about..State of Bihar – Places of interest and tourist attractions

  9. jolly joker says

    very nice post.
    i would like to add chora church on the list if i were you, but i am not :) if you didn’t have any chance to see it, make a visit next time when you will be in istanbul again, you might like it.

    • says

      Thanks JJ – put it on my list of places to see next time

    • says

      Looking forward to when you make it Mary so I can read your articles

  10. says

    Wow… I didn’t know that it’s this beautiful in Istanbul. The French street is my favorite view. Is it always that pinkish in that street?

  11. says

    Ahh, Istanbul! I used Galata Tower to navigate when I first got into the city, it helped a LOT! The Blue Mosque is my favourite, and I had a great fish sandwich around the Galata Bridge area. I can’t wait to go back in July 😀
    Tom @ Waegook Tom wrote about..The Double Whammy Review!

  12. basil says

    Your photos sadden me as Galata Bridge was one of the planned destinations of a dear friend, the one who was on vacation in Istanbul when she dissappeared and recently found murdered.

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