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Best things to do in Istanbul
While you are in Istanbul, we highly recommend you to do the following mentioned things as much as possible.
 
1- Visit the Spice Bazaar. 
This is the second largest covered market after the Grand Bazaar. You can buy spices, nuts, dried fruits, Turkish coffee, loose leaf tea, and even Turkish delight!
 
2- Go to a whirling dervish show.
Turkey is home of Sufi whirling dervishes. it’s a unique religious ceremony.
 
3- Listen to the call of prayer in the Blue Mosque area.
The most beautiful call of prayer takes place in the Blue Mosque area. One muezzin would sing out part of the prayer and then the second muezzin would respond from the other minaret. It is a magical thing to experience, so if you find yourself in the area during prayer time, I suggest you take a seat at one of the park benches and just listen to ezan. 
 
4- Eat a kumpir in Ortakoy.
Kumpir is a loaded baked potato. The server mixes the potato with cheese,butter and other things that you may like till it’s light and fluffy, and then you can choose from an assortment of toppings including olives, hot dogs, pickles, corn, peas and more things. It’s the perfect snack to go mainly in Ortakoy district of Istanbul.
 
5- Have a bath in a historical Turkish Bath. 
While you are in Istanbul and tired of visiting museums and historical places, just give  break for yourself and reward yourself with a Turkish Bath. Scrub and massage would leave all your tiredness. The hamam is segregated into male and female only areas.
 
6- Take the Historical Train in Taksim.
Take the red train in Istiklal sreet through the from one end of the strip to another. The streetcar has a decidedly vintage feel and it makes for a pleasant journey through Istanbul’s shopping hub.
 
7- Walk across Galata Bridge.
You should definite experience passing the bridge from Eminonu side to Karakoy side, see the local fishing people and see the fishmongers in Karakoy then choose your fish and they can cook for you and have it pleasurely.
 
8- Taste a bagel with a cup of tea.
You can pick up one of these tasty bagels and taste it with a cup of tea by watching the boats passing through the bosphorus.
 
9- Take a boat tour down the Bosphorus. 
Bosphorus is the jewel of Istanbul and you may discover the beauties of bosphorus from your boat. You’ll ride past Dolmabahçe Palace, the Rumeli Ruins, the Maiden’s Tower, and many mosques, mansions, and gardens along the way.
 
10- Drink Turkish tea.
You should drink tea out of a tulip-shaped glass. Turkish tea is prepared in a rather unique way using a teapot that has two level: one to boil the water, and the other to brew the tea. You then pour the tea into the glass and dilute it with the hot water so that it’s made to your taste. You can also buy a packet of Turkish Tea and take home to make your own tea. We recommend you mainly Caykur brands.
 
11- Eat borek.
Borek is a traditional Turkish pastry made of flaky dough. It can be stuffed with feta cheese or minced meat as a savoury treat, or if you prefer something sweeter, you can eat it plain with a little bit of icing sugar sprinkled overtop. It is the main thing that the merchants hav efor their breakfasts in Istanbul. You may buy your borek and a cup tea and join them in a borek shop.
 
12- Visit Hagia Sophia.
It is an Architectural wonder of the World. Built at 6th century and it has a long history which has seen it go from Eastern Orthodox cathedral, to Roman Cathedral, back to Eastern Orthodox cathedral, to mosque, and now it’s a museum. The exterior may not seem too impressive, but once you’re inside and you catch a glimpse of the heavenly domes and ancient mosaics, you will be in awe and admire the beauty of Hagia Sophia.
 
13- Visit Rustem Pasha Mosque. 
This is the first example of the great Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan building a mosque to an octagonal plan.
Although small, it is beautifully proportioned and the interior is covered in some of the most exquisite Iznik faience (colored tiles) ever produced.
The Rustem Pasha Mosque was built by a famous Croatian, Rustem Pasha (1500-1561), one of the Grand Viziers of the Ottoman Empire and married to the daughter of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, Mihrimah Sultan. In 1561, it was designed by Mimar Sinan ("Sinan the Architect") for Grand Vizier Rüstem Pasha using a style that is very different from the simplicity of Sinan the Architect and that period. Iznik tiles are the decorative elements that zoom out from the simplicity of the mosque.     
It is in the seaside of Eminonu district . The ceiling of the mosque contains a central dome, the diameter of which is 15.50 meters and is surrounded by full and half-domes that provide support to the central dome. You can also visit the small shops by the mosque and a have a cup of Turkish tea in one of the tea shops in here.
       
14- Visit the underground Basilica Cistern.
The Basilica Cistern is the largest of the ancient underground water cisterns found across Istanbul. Most of the columns in the cistern appear to have been recycled from the ruins of other buildings, and among them you’ll find two carvings of Medusa’s head used as column bases, as well as a column with tear shaped engravings believed to have the power to make your wishes come true. You can throw a coin for your wishes to come true. 
 
15- Taste Turkish delight.
It is known as lokum to locals, Turkish delight is a popular gummy treat. You can buy your Turkish delight from one of the well known delight shops and you can choose from flavours that include rose, cinnamon, mint, strawberry, lemon, orange, kiwi, pomegranate and apple. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed! We do not recommend you to buy the ready packed ones, just taste first and buy it then they pack it for you.
 
16- Indulge your sweet tooth with baklava. 
It is delicious dessert that Turks use to make and taste for generations. Baklava is made with layers of phyllo pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup, this is what you need at tea time! It might be the main things that you mau purchase to take home for your friends. Karakoy Gulluoglu is a main place for high quality baklavas.
 
17- Drink a glass of Ayran with your meal. 
Ayran is a main drink that Turks have it with their meals. Ayran is considered the national drink in Turkey and it is a cold yogurt beverage mixed with salt and water. It’s mainly preferred in summer seasons.
 
18- Test your bargaining skills in Grand Bazaar.
Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar or Spice Market is a place for serious shoppers. You’ll notice that some streets specialize in certain goods with those shops selling nothing but leather, silverware, carpets, ceramics, souveniers or spices. There will be lots of glittery things to catch your eye, so you may want to come prepared to spend some money and try to get some discounted rates with your bargaining skills. 
 
19- Smoke sheesha.
Enjoy your Argilah, nargile, sheesha, hubbly bubbly – whatever you call it, there is an ample supply of hookah bars in Istanbul where you can lounge around while you smoke the water pipe and sip on a class of tea or coffee. You may g oto Medrese near Grand Bazaar or Tophane for a hookah or you may have it in many places in Istanbul.
 
20- Eat a doner kebap. 
It is a famous Turkish dish made with meat cooked on a spinning vertical rotisserie. The meat can be lamb, beef, or chicken, and it’s served in a pita with vegetables and a few toppings. It’s a tasty and affordable lunch which you can find in any part of the city. There are some famous döner restaurants in every district of Istanbul, you may choose one of them for your lunch or dinner.
 
21- Enjoy the view from Galata Tower. 
Take the second oldest underground metro from Karakoy Tunel and reach to Galata then visit Galata Tower in Beyoglu. There is something magical about the pointed cylindrical roof, and the views from the outer balcony are breathtaking.
 
22- Buy a glass lamp.
The colourful glass lamps you’ll see hanging in almost every establishment in the city make a great souvenir to take back home. If you are looking for a bargain on these, you can purchase it anywhere in Istanbul but you may get it to better value out of the main touristy areas; you’d be surprised at how drastically the prices drop. 
 
23- Dine with the best view of Istanbul
If you like to have your meal with a great view that won’t break your wallet, I recommend Hamdi Restorant. It views Suleymaniye Mosque, Rustempaşa Mosque, Galata Tower, and the Bosphorus. 
 
24- Go to a Turkish Night with belly-dancing show. 
If you like to have more of an entertainment holiday, then you’re in luck because Hodjapasha Dance Theatre (the same venue that puts of the Whirling Dervish performance), also has folkloric and belly-dancing performances. Or Pomegranate Tour arranges Turkish Night Show on Boat with Belly Dancing and you may join us pleasurely.
 
25- Visit the Chora Church. 
It is one of the famous and well known Byzantine churc but may not be the largest of the Byzantine churches, the highlight are the various mosaic panels which recreate biblical scenes and still dazzle centuries later.
 
26- Visit Beylerbeyi Palace. 
Means Lord of Lords, is situated on the Asian side of Istanbul. The palace was built along the banks of the Bosphorus and it was used as the summer residence by the Ottoman Sultans.
 
27- Take a cooking class. 
Taking a cooking class might help you enough how to cook Turkish foods. You can buy some spices to use them for your meals. 
 
29- Visit Miniatürk. 
Miniature park is home to small-scale recreations of structures found in Istanbul, Anatolia, and other Ottoman territories that today lie outside of Turkish borders. It might give you a brief idea fort he places you couldn t visit while in Turkey.
 
30- Taste some Sutlac for dessert. 
It is the Turkish version of rice pudding. It is said that the recipe made in Topkapi Palace contained rose water. You can also get this dish with chopped walnuts and raisins, which I think adds a nice flavour.
 
31- Take a day trip to the Princes’ Islands. 
It might be an escape from the crowd of the city. Let Pomegranate Tour arrange your Daily Princes Islands tour for you. The Princes’ Islands is a cluster of 9 islands which lie off the Asian shores of Istanbul. During the Byzantine and early Ottoman period, members of dynasties who fell out of favour were often sent to exile there. Today it is a popular place for people as a day trip , and the only form of transportation in the island is horse and cart , very romantic. You should definitely try it.
 
32- Visit the Blue Mosque
Also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, the Blue Mosque is a unique mosque with its 6 minarets and blue domed exterior. You’ll want to dress modestly and if you’re a woman you’ll need to wear a scarf over your head as this is still a functioning mosque. You may get the scarf and skirt at the entrance of the mosque for free. If you book a Daily city tour of Istanbul from Pomegranate Tour then Blue Mosque is part of the tour.
 
33- Go to the Maiden’s Tower. 
Many stories are told about Maiden’s Tower but local tale says that the tower was built by a wealthy man who was trying to protect his daughter from a prophecy spoken by an oracle – a prophecy foretelling the death of the man’s daughter by a snake bite. To prevent these words from coming true, the father built a tower to keep his daughter safe in the water. Of course a snake would eventually find it’s way to the tower when the father came to visit with a basket full of fruit.
 
34- Go to Emirgan Park
It is one of the largest public parks in Istanbul and it is located along the banks of the Bosphorus. Enjoy your day at Emirgan Park actually in Tulip Festival days.  
 
35- Taste Turkish ice cream. 
It is called dondurma which literally means freezing. What makes Turkish ice cream different from other types of ice cream is that it has a rather sticky texture and it is a bit more resistant to melting. Also watch the ice cream show of the sellers while you are trying to catch your ice cream, avaragely you will try two or three minutes to catch your ice cream.
 
36- Watch a football match. 
Istanbul has an extensive list of football clubs, so if you’re in town during the football season, you can catch a live game of footy. You should g oto the football matches of Besiktas, Fenerbahce, Galatasaray while you are in Istanbul.
 
37- Taste pomegranate juice. 
Stop at one of the many street stands and order yourself a cup of freshly squeezed pomegranate juice. It’s both tart and sweet, and the antioxidants offer great health benefits. Pomegranate is a national fruit of Turks.
 
38- Visit the Suleymaniye Mosque. 
The Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia may be better known, but the Suleymaniye Mosque is the largest mosque in Istanbul. After you visit Suleymaniye mosque, taste some dry beans from one of the restaurants near the mosque then visit some copper shops in the area then walk to Vefa district of Istanbul by watching old Istanbul houses.
 
39- Go to Horhor for Kebabs.
If you like kebabs then just walk to Horhor, Aksaray. Horhor is a well known area for the famous Turkish Kebabs.
 
40- Walk around the Hippodrome.
Today it is a public square, the Hippodrome of Constantinople was a place for horse racing and chariot racing. During the Byzantine empire, this place would have been the beating heart of social activity.
 
41- Go to the Ortakoy. 
Just take a public bu sor taxi to Ortakoy then spend some time there and taste a kumpir then visit Ortakoy Mosque. This mosque stands along the waterfront of Ortakoy pier square. Ortakoy Mosque is unique in the sense that it is a perfect example of Baroque architecture.
 
42- Visit Topkapi Palace. Topkapi Palace is the largest royal residence in Istanbul and it served as the main residence to the Ottoman Sultans for almost 400 years. If you book a Daily city tour from Pomegranate Tour then Topkapi Palace is part of the tour.
 
43- Visit Dolmabahce Palace
It was home to 6 different sultans towards the end of the Ottoman period. While in the past the Sultan and his family had lived in Topkapi Palace, times were changing and the Ottoman’s felt Topkapi was lacking the luxury and style of the new era. Naturally, a new palace had to be built. 
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