24 Hours in Istanbul: A Stroll Through History

Istanbul is a city that has international influences around every block while maintaining a strong Turkish culture. This mix makes this city a must-visit destination on any bucket list. Without further ado, let’s go through your options if you are spending 24 hours in Istanbul.

Eat a Turkish Breakfast in Karakoy

This seaside neighbourhood is full of local breakfast options. It is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Istanbul and boasts some great restaurants and cafés to start off your day at. Along its narrow streets, you can get a traditional Turkish breakfast. This usually consists of bread, jams and spreads, cheese, olives, certain vegetables, and eggs with sausage (sucuklu yumurta). Don’t forget to finish it off with Turkish coffee. You will definitely be full for your day of touring.

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Explore the History of the Hagia Sophia

This architectural marvel was built in 537 as an Orthodox Church for the Byzantine Empire. It has, however, been through a lot since then. When the city was still called Constantinople under the Byzantine Empire, it fell to the growing Ottoman Empire and was converted to a Mosque to represent the city's new rulers. When Turkey became a republic, the Hagia Sophia was converted into the museum it still is today. If you have time, go explore the Basilica Cistern underground.

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Take a Cruise on the Bosphorus

One of the great parts of Istanbul is that it is split between Europe and Asia. It is separated by the Bosphorus Strait and connected by bridges. The water is a great vantage point from which to view both sides of the city. Major landmarks, restaurants and other cultural features can be seen from the Bosphorus. That is why there are several tour options. You can go for a long or short period of time and have different experiences depending on what you’re looking for. This can be done day or night and don’t forget to book in advance.

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Get a Souvenir and a Snack from the Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar is a large covered shopping district that was opened in 1461.You can get anything there, including gold bracelets, furniture, carpets, antiques, leather goods and clothes. Many of these things are locally made. It is visited by between 250,000 and 400,000 people a day and has established itself as a major landmark in the city of Istanbul. When you are tired of getting lost in the 64 streets of the bazaar, you can stop and drink some Turkish tea.

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Admire the Tile at the Blue Mosque

This active place of worship is also called the Sultanahmet Camii. It consists of blue tiles on the inside of the Mosque which is how it got its name. It was finished in 1616 in honour of Sultan Ahmed I. The Mosque is closed during the five daily prayer times and people are required to take off their shoes. Women must cover their heads when they enter the building. The structure is a beautiful thing to behold and definitely a must-see site in Turkey.

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Go for a night out in Ortaköy

Ortaköy is a former fishing village turned Istanbul neighbourhood. It has now become a popular and trendy district for locals and young professionals. It has become a centre for nightlife with several settings available for tourists to enjoy from nightclubs to hookah bars.

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Take a Picture from the Galata Tower

The Galata tower was built in 1348 and has served multiple purposes over the course of history. It has been a lookout tower to see over the city walls, a prison for prisoners of war and a lookout for artists to depict the city. It is the perfect place to take pictures of the skyline.

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This is only a fraction of the fun things this giant city has to offer. Have a great trip, travellers!