There are many more attractions to behold in the old town, including the Topkai Palace – once the centre of the Ottoman world power –, the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. The Blue Mosque is a magnificent 17th-century building erected by Muslim architects in response to the Hagia Sophia, which was once the largest church in Christendom. Today the mighty Hagia Sophia is a museum and an impressive cultural monument. Not far from these two places of worship is the spice market, which is definitely worth a visit. Enjoy the aromas of Oriental spices, fragrant teas and medicinal herbs. The ‘Grand Bazaar’, however, is considerably larger and also worth visiting.
Istanbul looks even more beautiful from the water. Take a cruise down the Bosporus. Or a short ferry ride to Asia. After the hectic hustle & bustle of the city, the Princes’ Islands in the Sea of Marmara are a veritable oasis of tranquillity. There are no cars here. But a carriage ride around the main island, Büyükada, is highly recommended.
Our tip: Visit a hammam
Nothing could be more relaxing than a trip to a Turkish bathhouse. But only once you’ve been lathered up (which is not the gentlest of processes).
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