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Istanbul has been home for many different societies and civilizations. Thanks to the traces of the civilizations, the city hosts many different cultural and historical artifacts, it was selected as the 2010 European Capital of Culture. There are a countless number of places to visit in Istanbul.
While you are in Istanbul, it is impossible not to see the Maiden's Tower, which has become one of the elegant symbols of Istanbul. The Maiden's Tower, which has become one of the most romantic places in Istanbul, is a structure built on a small island off the Üsküdar district. This structure, which dates back to 2500 years ago, has witnessed many periods from Ancient Greece to the Byzantine Empire, from the Byzantine times to the Ottoman period. Historically, it has been used for many purposes such as collecting taxes from ships, hospitalizing quarantine patients, and setting up defense and radio stations. Today, it serves as a restaurant and cafe to domestic and foreign customers who want to witness the cultural wealth of Istanbul.
As it is known, the list of places to visit in Istanbul is quite long and very difficult to choose from, but Hagia Sophia is a masterpiece that deserves to be on the list of places to visit in Istanbul. The history of Hagia Sophia dates back to the ancient times and is known as one of the oldest cathedrals in history. It was built by the Eastern Roman Empire. When it was first built it was named Megale Ekklesia, which means a “big church”. After the 5th century it started to be called with its current name, Hagia Sophia. This name, which means “sacred wisdom”, is considered one of the three attributes of God in the Orthodox sect of Christianity. After he conquered Istanbul, Mehmet the Conqueror ordered Hagia Sophia to be a mosque. With this order, the minarets of Hagia Sophia were built by Grand Sinan, one of the most precious architects of his time. While visiting this masterpiece, which has served as a home for both Christianity and Islam, do not forget to examine the domes, doors, and mosaics! Located in the Sultanahmet Square of the Fatih district, Hagia Sophia receives millions of visitors every year.
The Princess Islands in Istanbul are a collection of islands that bring history and nature together; they are famous for their location and natural beauties. The Princess Islands consist of 9 islands in total. However, only Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burgazada, Kınalıada and Sedefadası are inhabited. There is no permanent and regular settlement on Sivriada, Yassıada, Kaşık Island, and Rabbit Island. Büyükada is the largest and most visited island among the Princess Islands. The Aya Yorgi Church, Islands Museum, Virgin Mary Church, and the house of Reşat Nuri Güntekin, a famous Turkish author, are among the places you can stop by while getting around the island. During summer, the demand for Princess Bay Beach, Aya Nikola Beach, and Nizam Beach is quite high. To go to the island, you can take the ferry from different districts as Kadıköy and Beşiktaş. Heybeliada, which is not as crowded as Büyükada, continues to fascinate its visitors with its lush nature. You can start your tour by renting a bicycle in Heybeliada, where you arrive by taking the ferry to the Islands. The Aya Yorgi Cliff Monastery, Heybeliada Naval High School, Hüseyin Rahmi Gürpınar Museum, and Beet Yaakov Synagogue are among the must-see places on the island. Before leaving Heybeliada, you should watch the panoramic view of Istanbul from Heybeliada Seminary School. Kınalıada and Burgazada are quieter than Heybeliada and Büyükada. Do not forget to visit the museums on these islands, which are also frequented by visiors for their quiet beaches.
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