Central Istanbul

This guide divides central Istanbul into four distinct areas, each with its own chapter. Three areas lie on the southern side of the Golden Horn.

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace

Seraglio Point is a raised promontory on which stands the sumptuous Topkapi Palace. Two architectural masterpieces, Haghia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, dominate the area of Sultanahmet.

The pace of life is quite different in the Bazaar Quarter, a maze of narrow streets filled with frenetic commerce.

The Grand Bazaar In The Bazaar Quarter

The Grand Bazaar in Bazaar Quarter

North of the Golden Horn is Beyoglu, which for centuries was the preferred place of residence of Istanbul's foreign communities, and is still markedly cosmopolitan in atmosphere.

Topkapi Palace, Seraglio Point

This 18th century marble pavilion, the Library of Ahmet III, stands in one of the courtyards of Topkapi Palace.

The walls of the palace grounds now enclose Gulbane Park as well as many other historic buildings.

Istiklal Cadesi Beyoglu

The Grand Bazaar In The Bazaar Quarter

This quaint former coffee house stands at a junction in the labyrinthine old shopping complex at the heart of the city's Bazaar Quarter.

Istiklal Cadessi Beyoglu

Old fashioned trams shuttle up and adown the pedestrianized street that forms the backbone of this area.


The six slender minarets of the Mosque of Sultan Ahmet I, better known as the Blue Mosque, soar above the spacious square in the middle of Sultanahmet, Istanbul's most historical district.

View Across Sultanahmet, Blue Mosque


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