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 eccentric,Internet addict with a passion for history. I really shouldn't travel because I can not read maps and always lose my way! But hey, that never stops me and it is part of the fun! Leave a comment below to join the discussions.
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  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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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