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Things to Do in Istanbul - page 4

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Sadberk Hanim Museum (Sadberk Hanım Müzesi)
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The Sadberk Hanim Museum was established by the Vehbi Koc Foundation and named in honor of Vehbi Koc’s deceased wife, Sadberk. Featuring the private collection of Sadberk Koc, the museum consists of two 19th century villas in the Buyukdere neighborhood of Istanbul. Opened in 1980, the main building, known as Azaryan Yalisi, covers about 4,300 square feet and includes a ground floor gift shop and tea room. Exhibits include gold coins of the Ottoman Empire and Turkish Republic, Islamic and Ottoman art, Iznik tiles and ceramics, Chinese and Turkish porcelains, Beykoz and Bohemian glassware and women’s traditional costumes.

An adjacent building, known as the Sevgi Gonul Wing, opened in 1988 and houses archaeological exhibits from Turkey’s pre-Islamic period. Considered a fine example for contemporary museums, it was honored with the Europa Nostra Award the same year.

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Istanbul Museum of Modern Art (Istanbul Modern Sanat Müzesi)
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Known simply as Istanbul Modern, the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art opened in 2004 in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul. Sitting in a converted warehouse on the banks of the Bosphorus, the museum features contemporary works of art by Turkish artists.

Istanbul Modern has two exhibition halls. On the upper floor, you’ll find the museum’s permanent collection, displayed in chronological order so that it showcases the development of Turkish modern and contemporary art over time. Works range from painting and sculpture to installation and video. The lower floor includes a Temporary Exhibition Hall that hosts conceptual shows and retrospectives, as well as large-scale and international exhibitions. A Photography Gallery often hosts photography exhibitions by both Turkish and foreign artists and Pop-up areas feature exhibitions in architecture, design, video and new media.

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More Things to Do in Istanbul

Yedikule Fortress (Yedikule Hisari Müzesi)

Yedikule Fortress (Yedikule Hisari Müzesi)

Also known as the Fortress of Seven Towers, the Yedikule Fortress is located just over 3 miles southwest of Sultanahmet. It was first built as the Golden Gate during the reigns of Theodosius I and II in the 5th century. With enormous doors covered in gold, the gate had four towers and was the ceremonial entrance to the city for those arriving from Europe. After the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, Mehmet the Conqueror added three towers to the structure to transform it into a fortress, treasury and prison. The towers today are known as the Armory Tower, the Flag Tower, the Sultan Ahmet III Tower, the Dungeon Tower (also known as the Tower of Inscriptions), the Top Tower, the Tower of the Treasury and the Young Osman Tower, where Sultan Osman II died while imprisoned.

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Troy (Truva)

Troy (Truva)

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It’s true, you need a fairly active imagination to people the ruins of Troy and bring this legendary site to life. But of the many names from history books and epic cinema, the legend of Troy is one that truly resonates.

Before being overcome by invasion and earthquake, the fabled city of Troy ruled from around 3,000 BC to 1,000 BC. Today, it is an area of archaeological excavations and ruins.

A stately model of the famous wooden horse of Troy guards the ruins, a replica of the vehicle that brought the invading Greeks inside the walls of Troy. You can climb inside the horse for elevated views of the ruins.

The Excavations House provides several models of Troy over the millennia, to give an idea of the city’s former glory and layout. A circular path leads amongst the ruins with signboards to help explain the various walls, fortifications, temples and remains of houses.

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Bursa

Bursa

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Standout architectural gems in Bursa include the Green Mosque (Yesil Camii) and Green Tomb (Yesil Turbe), early examples of the Ottoman style and featuring carved marble, calligraphy and glazed tiles. Merchants have gathered at Bursa’s Koza Han caravanserai since 1490, and the covered market dates back to the 14th century. Shop for traditional shadow puppets and sensuous silks, before visiting the vast imperial Great Mosque with its 20 domes and dozen pillars. While you’re here in Bursa, enjoy a doner kebap in the town where this favorite Turkish snack was born. Bursa serves up the original and best kebaps in Turkey, topped with tomato sauce, yogurt and melted butter.
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Gallipoli Peninsula (Gelibolu Yarimadasi)

Gallipoli Peninsula (Gelibolu Yarimadasi)

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For many Australians and New Zealanders visitors, Gallipoli is the focus of their trip to Turkey.

During World War I, the tiny cove on the Dardanelles was the site of a long and entrenched skirmish between Turkish and Allied troops. Horrendous casualties resulted on both sides, and for the Allies the operation was a failure.

These days Gallipoli is synonymous with the incompetence of Britain’s leaders and the sacrifice of the empire’s Commonwealth soldiers. The leader of the Turkish troops was none other than Ataturk, who went on to lead Turkey into the modern era.

The Gallipoli Peninsula is now a national park, with moving memorials to those who died here almost a century ago. Antipodean visitors come here in their thousands to commemorate ANZAC Day on 25 April.

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Green Mosque (Yeşil Cami)

Green Mosque (Yeşil Cami)

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Located in the city of Bursa, the Green Mosque is part of a larger complex that also includes a madrassah, tomb, kitchen and bath. Commissioned by Sultan Mehmed I Celebi, it was built between 1419 and 1421 in an architectural style that would later become known as “Bursa Style.” Based on a reverse T-plan, the mosque was made of sandstone and covered with marble panels. Two minarets that could only be accessed through the sultan’s apartments were added later.

The Green Mosque likely got its name from the blue green tiles that once adorned the exteriors of its domes. Similar tiles still embellish the interior walls and ceiling. The imposing entrance features two marble sofas on either side and a variety of inscriptions and arabesques, including a long Arabic inscription in bronze above the door. Underneath the central dome sits white marble fountain with an octagonal pool. An earthquake damaged the mosque in 1855, after which it underwent extensive renovations.

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Koza Han

Koza Han

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The Koza Hani, also known as the Cocoon Inn, was a caravanseri commissioned by Sultan Bayezid II in the late 15th century. Constructed in the city of Bursa, it was intended to provide income for the sultan’s mosque in Istanbul. As the final stop on the Silk Road from China, the han was a place where merchants could try to sell the last of their goods, particularly silk.

Intricate turquoise tiling adorns the entrance to the han, which soon gives way to a cozy garden setting in the center courtyard. In classical Ottoman style, the structure features two stories of galleries surrounding an inner courtyard, with nearly 100 rooms altogether. An absolution fountain and small prayer room sit in the middle of the courtyard and cells to the east of the han were built as stables and storage rooms. The Koza Hani remains an active bazaar today and its tradition of being a center for the silk trade continues.

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Bursa Grand Mosque (Ulu Cami)

Bursa Grand Mosque (Ulu Cami)

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A major landmark of early Ottoman architecture, the Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in the city of Bursa. Designed and constructed at the end of the 14th century, the mosque features twenty domes supported by twelve large columns and two minarets. It is said that the twenty domes were built instead of the twenty separate mosques that Sultan Bayezid I had promised for winning the Battle of Nicopolis in 1396.

Nearly 200 inscriptions from major calligraphers of that time cover the walls inside the Grand Mosque and, despite its overall size, the interior is dimly lit and feels peaceful and intimate. A fountain where visitors can perform ritual ablutions sits below one of the domes, lit from above by a skylight. With a horizontally spacious design, the Grand Mosque is a contrast from later Ottoman mosques that have a more vertical emphasis.

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Anzac Cove (Anzak Koyu)

Anzac Cove (Anzak Koyu)

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Anzac Cove is the small cove on Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula where the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed during World War I. It then became the primary base for Australian and New Zealand troops during the eight-month Battle of Gallipoli. The landing date, April 25, has since been designated as Anzac Day and serves as a day of commemoration for the 60,000 Australians and 18,000 New Zealanders who were killed during the war.

Today, Anzac Cove is the site of an annual Anzac Day memorial service, held at dawn on April 25 and attended by thousands of Australian and New Zealand tourists every year. Until 1999, the service was held at the Ari Burnu War Cemetery, but has since moved to a new site on North Beach known as the Anzac Commemorative Site. A monolith at the Ari Burnu Cemetery displays the words of peace and reconciliation that Ataturk delivered to the first visitors to the Gallipoli battlefields in 1934.

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Green Tomb (Yesil Türbe)

Green Tomb (Yesil Türbe)

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The Green Tomb is a mausoleum of Sultan Mehmed I Celebi that forms part of the Green Mosque complex in Bursa, Turkey. Perched high on a hill in the Yesil neighborhood, the tomb stands above the rest of the complex. Built shortly after the death of the sultan in 1421, the exterior of the tomb features blue green tiles similar to those you will see at the Green Mosque. However, most were replaced after an earthquake significantly damaged the tomb in 1855.

The interior of the Green Tomb is richly decorated, beginning with carved wooden doors and colorful Iznik tiles that adorn the entry portal. Inside, blue green tiles cover the lower portion of the walls and floral themes are evident throughout the tomb. One niche features a mosaic depicting a garden of carnations, roses and hyacinths while the tiles on the royal catafalque form additional flower designs.

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