Sultanahmet, also called the Old City, is home to popular tourist attractions and historic monuments including the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapı Palace. The area is a peninsula bordered by the the Golden Horn to the north, the Marmara Sea to the south, the Bosphorus to the east and the old city walls to the west. Sultanahmet is essentially what used to be known Constantinople. Recent excavations indicate that the area has been inhabited for more than 8,000 years ago, which makes the city one of the oldest still-inhabited spots of the world. Istanbul, or Byzantium as it was called then, was settled by Greek colonists from Megara in Greek mainland in 667 BC. They founded their city at Seraglio Point (Sarayburnu) which is now occupied by Topkapı Palace. The peninsula was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985.
Arasta Bazaar is situated in the southern shadow of Istanbul’s world famous Blue Mosque. The market sits above what was once the Byzantine Great Palace of Constantinople.
Basilica Cistern is the largest of the hundreds of ancient cisterns that lie beneath Istanbul. Commissioned by Justinian and built in 532, it is largest surviving Byzantine cistern in the city.
The Blue Mosque was built between 1609-1616 and features six slender minarets. The mosque draws its name from the thousands of blue tiles lining the interior.
Four Season Hotel in Sultanahmet was formerly a prison. Many of the elements from the original structure remain including the original wooden doors and marble pillars.
Hagia Sophia was built in the 6th century. Commissioned Byzantine Emperor Justinian, it is generally considered the most important example of Byzantine architecture.
The Hippodrome of Constantinople was an arena for chariot racing during the Byzantine Empire. It was constructed in 203 AD, during the reign of the emperor Septimius Severus.
Horhor Flea Market (Horhor Bit Pazarı) is located in the Fatih District. This remote six story flea market is filled with more than 200 antique shops.
Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. With 61 covered streets and over 4,000 shops, it attracts more than 250,000 visitors daily.
The Spice Market is one of the largest bazaars in Istanbul. Originally funded by taxes on imports from Egypt, the market’s Turkish name is Mısır Çarşısı (Egyptian Market).
Topkapı Palace is a large museum located in Istanbul, Turkey. For more than 400 years, it served as the main residence and administrative headquarters for the Ottoman Sultans.
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