14 Famous Landmarks of Istanbul

posted in: Istanbul 47

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?


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Hi. I'm Natalie, a freelance travel blogger and writer specializing in the country of Turkey. I love hot summer days, historical sites and coffee.

47 Responses

  1. Miguel

    The Blue Mosque never fails to amaze me every time I see it in photos! 🙂

  2. Istanbul is an amazing city! There are so many interesting sites. The Dolmabahce Palace and Berlerbeyi Palace look stunning.

  3. Great travel tips in what to see in Istanbul. I lived in this incredible city for 4 months and I appreciated all the moments I spent there. Great location, great people, great city. Thank you for this article. Greetings from MOROCCO!

  4. It is very sad news Basil and even more so for you as she was a close friend. I hope they find the people that did that to her and she can rest in peace.

  5. basil

    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.

  6. Thanks Lori and thank you for reading

  7. Lori

    Lovely selection – and photos! Loved the post!

  8. great to hear you are coming back Tom – do you know where you will be heading yet?

  9. 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 😀

  10. Yes Jemma – it really is that pink!!

  11. 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?

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

  13. We hope to see these sights in person one day.

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

  15. jolly joker

    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.

  16. What a wonderful present. I am sure you will both have a great time

  17. David

    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 😀

  18. Definitely come back Shalu -there is so much more to enjoy

  19. 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.

  20. It is easy to spot David and right next to the blue mosque. You will also love the other landmarks as well

  21. David

    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.

  22. Very true Turtle. I think I would need to live there to get to know it properly.

  23. Do it sooner rather than later Travel freak

  24. These photos are gorgeous! One day I will make my way to Istanbul!

  25. Turtle

    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!

  26. I have heard a few people say that Alexey. Suleymaniy is still on the list of places to visit for me. Loved your photos of Miniaturk btw

  27. Hagia sophia is one of my favourites as well Stephanie

  28. I think I have only seen a quarter of it TFL. I can understand the blogs that purely devote themselves to the city. They have enough material to write for years to come!

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. I loved the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia

  32. 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.

  33. Amanda

    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.

  34. Thank you ET – glad you liked them

  35. Thanks Ali – looking forward to anymore posts that you and Andrew have about Turkey

  36. That is a wonderful post Ozlem – I left a comment as it reminded me that life is quite good here in Turkey. I really do sometimes take things for granted, but that post made me look at life from the outside in.

  37. Gorgeous photos and good article!

  38. Ali

    I love Istanbul! Great photos!

  39. What wonderful memories this post brings Natalie, thank you for the wonderful photos as always, never get tired of them.
    You were in my latest post with your Kalkan-art scene post – really enjoyed the vibrant art scene there, so inspirational.

  40. Do you mean your list of places to go Mark? If so, visit as soon as possible. It is a photographers dream

  41. That is the problem Darlene – many people go for four days and it is not long enough. I have been three times now, and still need to return as there are other things I want to see

  42. Thanks Alan – I keep trying. Just the editing process, that I need to be careful of. Sometimes I go above board

  43. Do it Angela, I never tire of the city and have only seen half of it. I think to understand it properly, I would need to live there for at least a year.

  44. Beautiful landmarks – already on the list but this confirms Turkey belongs on it. Sigh!

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

  46. Alan

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

  47. Angela

    Beautiful Istanbul, I had a great time there, would love to go again.