Hagia Sophia is arguably Istanbul’s most famous landmark. The building attracts millions of tourists each year with its design and intriguing history, so there is a good chance you’ll also want to check it out when in Istanbul. If that happens to be the case, we recommend sticking in the area for a bit longer and checking out these awesome nearby tourist attractions as well.
Located just some 500 feet from Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern is a water supply system used during the Byzantine Empire. It was built back in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian I and it was used for centuries in various capacities. In the 1980s it was turned into a museum and became a tourist hotspot thanks to its remarkable setting.
Topkapi Palace has an important place in the history of Istanbul, serving as a residence for Ottoman sultans during the 15th and 16th centuries. It also had several other important functions including housing the imperial treasury, library, and court. After the Ottoman Empire ceased to exist in the early 20th century, the palace was turned into a museum. Nowadays, tourists can explore some of its rooms like the treasury and also see items from the Ottoman era including weapons, clothes, and valuables like Spoonmaker’s Diamond.
Blue Mosque was constructed in the early 17th century as an imperial mosque and still serves its function as a place of worship. However, the building also became a popular tourist attraction over the years thanks to its stunning design that incorporates Byzantine elements with traditional Islamic architecture. Blue Mosque also has an intriguing interior dominated by hand-painted ceramic tiles in patterns of flowers, fruits, and trees.