Explore Istanbul – Top Things to Do, See and Visit

Discover the beauty of Istanbul with our guide to the best attractions, activities, and experiences. Plan your trip today and explore this amazing city!

Istanbul, the city where East meets West, is a melting pot of culture, history, and natural beauty. With a history that spans over 2,500 years, it is no wonder that this city is a treasure trove of things to see and do. In this article, we will take you on a journey through the top attractions, must-visit neighborhoods, and culinary delights that this unique city has to offer. So, are you ready to explore Istanbul? Let’s dive in!

Historic Sites

Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is an architectural marvel that has stood the test of time. Originally built as a church by the Byzantine Empire, it later became a mosque under Ottoman rule, and is now a museum. Marvel at the stunning dome and beautiful Byzantine mosaics as you step back in time.

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace, another UNESCO World Heritage site, is a must-visit for history buffs. Once the residence of Ottoman sultans, it now houses an incredible collection of artifacts, including the famous Topkapi Dagger and the Spoonmaker’s Diamond. Don’t miss the Harem, where you can get a glimpse of the lavish lifestyle of the sultans.

Basilica Cistern

An underground wonder, the Basilica Cistern is a massive water storage facility built by the Byzantine Empire. The eerily beautiful cistern is supported by 336 marble columns and is home to the famous Medusa head column bases. Can you imagine what secrets lie beneath the surface?

Galata Tower

For breathtaking panoramic views of Istanbul, head to the Galata Tower. This medieval stone tower, built by the Genoese in 1348, offers a 360-degree view of the city. Make sure to bring your camera for some stunning shots!


Grand Bazaar

Shopaholics, rejoice! The Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s oldest and largest covered markets, is a shopping paradise. With over 4,000 shops selling everything from carpets to jewelry, spices, and souvenirs, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Don’t forget to practice your haggling skills to get the best deals!

Spice Bazaar

Aromatic and colorful, the Spice Bazaar is an essential stop for foodies. Here, you’ll find a vast array of spices, teas, dried fruits, nuts, and Turkish delight. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and let your senses guide you through this culinary haven.


Istanbul Archaeology Museum

The Istanbul Archaeology Museum, comprising three separate museums, is a treasure trove of artifacts spanning millennia. With its vast collection, including the Alexander Sarcophagus and the Treaty of Kadesh, this museum is a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum

Dive into the world of Turkish and Islamic arts at this fascinating museum. The collection, housed in the historic Ibrahim Pasha Palace, includes carpets, calligraphy, ceramics, and more. Be sure to check out the breathtaking collection of antique carpets that are considered some of the finest examples in the world.

Chora Museum

The Chora Museum, once a church and later a mosque, is home to exquisite Byzantine mosaics and frescoes that are among the finest in existence. Step back in time and discover the beauty of these magnificent artworks, which depict scenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary.



The historic heart of Istanbul, Sultanahmet is home to some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace. Wander the cobbled streets and take in the rich history that surrounds you at every turn.


Beyoğlu, a vibrant district on the European side of Istanbul, is known for its bustling shopping street, Istiklal Avenue, and the lively Taksim Square. The area is also home to numerous art galleries, theaters, and cafes. It’s the perfect place to experience Istanbul’s modern, cosmopolitan side.


Kadıköy, located on the Asian side of Istanbul, is a trendy neighborhood with a laid-back atmosphere. With its bustling market, street art, and lively bar scene, it’s a great place to explore on foot. Don’t miss the opportunity to sample some delicious street food while you’re there!


Bosphorus Cruise

A Bosphorus Cruise is an unforgettable way to experience Istanbul’s unique geography, as the city straddles two continents. Enjoy stunning views of waterfront mansions, Ottoman-era palaces, and modern skyscrapers as you glide along this historic waterway.

Prince’s Islands

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city with a trip to the tranquil Prince’s Islands. These car-free islands are perfect for leisurely walks, bike rides, or horse-drawn carriage tours. Make sure to visit Büyükada, the largest island, for its beautiful wooden mansions and panoramic views.

Emirgan Park

Located on the European side of the city, Emirgan Park is a beautiful green space that offers respite from the urban jungle. With its colorful tulips, walking trails, and stunning Bosphorus views, it’s the ideal spot for a picnic or a leisurely stroll.

Culinary Delights

Traditional Foods

Istanbul’s rich culinary scene is a testament to its diverse history and culture. Be sure to try traditional dishes such as baklava, kebabs, meze, and pide. Wash it all down with some Turkish tea or coffee for an authentic experience.

Street Food

Istanbul’s street food scene is both delicious and affordable. Don’t miss out on trying mouthwatering treats like simit (a sesame-crusted bread ring), balık ekmek (fish sandwich), and roasted chestnuts. These on-the-go options are perfect for fueling your adventures around the city.

Fine Dining

For those looking to indulge in a more upscale dining experience, Istanbul has plenty to offer. The city boasts numerous fine dining establishments, where you can savor contemporary Turkish cuisine or international dishes with a twist. Treat yourself to a memorable meal with stunning views of the Bosphorus or the city’s iconic landmarks.

Religious Sites

Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque)

One of Istanbul’s most iconic landmarks, the Blue Mosque, is an architectural masterpiece and a symbol of the city’s rich religious heritage. With its six minarets and stunning blue Iznik tiles, the mosque is a must-see for any visitor. As you step inside, you’ll be awed by the grandeur of its domed ceilings and the intricate calligraphy adorning the walls.

Süleymaniye Mosque

The Süleymaniye Mosque, designed by the renowned architect Sinan, is another breathtaking religious site in Istanbul. Commissioned by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, this mosque is a testament to the grandeur of the Ottoman Empire. Don’t miss the chance to explore its serene courtyards and beautiful gardens, offering a peaceful escape from the bustling city.

Modern Attractions

Istanbul Modern

Art lovers should not miss the Istanbul Modern, Turkey’s first museum of modern and contemporary art. Located in a converted warehouse on the Bosphorus waterfront, the museum boasts an impressive collection of Turkish and international artworks, as well as temporary exhibitions by emerging artists. Be inspired by the creativity on display and gain a new appreciation for Turkey’s vibrant art scene.

Dolmabahçe Palace

Dolmabahçe Palace, built in the 19th century, is a stunning example of European-influenced Ottoman architecture. This opulent palace, which served as the final residence of the Ottoman sultans, features magnificent rooms adorned with chandeliers, gold leaf, and marble. The palace’s breathtaking Bosphorus views only add to its allure.

Entertainment and Nightlife

Galata Bridge

The Galata Bridge, spanning the Golden Horn, is not just a means of crossing from one side of the city to the other; it’s also a hub of activity, offering stunning views and lively entertainment. Watch fishermen casting their lines or enjoy a meal at one of the many seafood restaurants beneath the bridge. As the sun sets, the bridge comes alive with bustling bars and cafes, making it a perfect spot for a night out.

Nevizade Street

Nestled in the heart of Beyoğlu, Nevizade Street is a lively and colorful hub for nightlife. Lined with meyhanes (traditional Turkish taverns), bars, and restaurants, this narrow, cobbled street is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Experience Istanbul’s vibrant night scene, indulge in delicious meze, and enjoy live music and entertainment as you make your way through this lively district.

Family-Friendly Activities


Miniaturk, an open-air miniature park, offers a fun and educational experience for the whole family. The park features over 120 detailed models of Turkey’s most famous landmarks, including the Hagia Sophia and Selimiye Mosque. This unique attraction provides a wonderful way to discover Turkey’s rich history and culture in a single visit.

Aqua Florya

Aqua Florya, located near Atatürk International Airport, is an impressive shopping mall that also houses one of Turkey’s largest aquariums. With over 15,000 marine creatures, a rainforest, and a 5D cinema, this family-friendly attraction offers hours of entertainment for visitors of all ages.

Shopping Malls

İstinye Park

İstinye Park is an upscale shopping mall located in the İstinye neighborhood, offering a mix of luxury and high-street brands, along with numerous dining options. The mall’s beautiful architecture and open-air spaces make for a delightful shopping experience. Don’t miss the chance to visit the mall’s outdoor green spaces, where you can take a break and enjoy the surrounding scenery.


Kanyon, situated in the Levent district, is a strikingly designed shopping mall that seamlessly integrates shopping, entertainment, and dining options. With its unique architectural design and a wide variety of high-end stores, Kanyon offers a one-of-a-kind shopping experience in Istanbul.

Traditional Shows and Performances

Whirling Dervishes

The Whirling Dervishes are a mystical Sufi order known for their mesmerizing spinning dance, called the Sema ceremony. This spiritual performance is a beautiful representation of the journey towards divine love and is a must-see for anyone visiting Istanbul. There are several venues around the city where you can witness this captivating ritual, such as the Hodjapasha Cultural Center and Galata Mevlevi Museum.

Turkish Night Shows

Experience a memorable night out in Istanbul by attending a Turkish Night Show. These vibrant performances feature traditional Turkish music, folk dances, and even belly dancing. Enjoy a delightful dinner while being entertained by talented performers in an authentic, captivating atmosphere.

Sports and Activities

Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe Football Matches

Istanbul is home to two of Turkey’s most popular football clubs, Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe. Attending a match between these fierce rivals is an unforgettable experience, as the passion and energy of the fans create an electric atmosphere. If you’re a sports enthusiast, be sure to catch a game at either Türk Telekom Stadium or Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium.

Hamam (Turkish Bath)

No visit to Istanbul would be complete without experiencing a traditional Turkish bath, or hamam. This centuries-old practice of cleansing and relaxation is an essential part of Turkish culture. Unwind in a historic hamam, such as Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamam or Çemberlitaş Hamam, and allow yourself to be pampered with a rejuvenating scrub and massage.

With its rich history, diverse culture, and endless array of attractions, Istanbul is a city that truly offers something for everyone. From the awe-inspiring architecture of its ancient landmarks to its bustling markets, world-class museums, and lively entertainment scene, the city invites you to embark on a journey of discovery and adventure. So pack your bags and let the magic of Istanbul captivate you, as you explore all that this enchanting city has to offer.


Colors of Turkey. Expatriate Women Explain Turkey To The World

What’s the social climate of Turkey? Before committing business resources, many foreign investors and global executives need to accurately gauge the society of a country as well as its economic temperature

Now an internationally bestselling book reveals intimate and surprising intelligence about what foreigners can expect from life in Turkey.

Created in Istanbul by two American writers married to Turks, Tales from the Expat Harem: Foreign Women in Modern Turkey invites you into the Turkey that 32 women from 7 nations know, spanning the entire country and the last four decades in true tales of cultural conflict and discovery. Women from diverse professions –archaeologists, missionaries, clothing designers, scholars, Peace Corps volunteers, journalists, entrepreneurs and more– illuminate their expatriate journeys of assimilation in humorous and poignant travelogue. Go to weddings and workplaces, down cobbled Byzantine streets, into boisterous bazaars along the Silk Road and even deep into the feminine powerbases of steamy Ottoman bathhouses.

Praised for its perceptive views on Turkish culture by professors to politicians (including Turkey’s own Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül), the collection is recommended worldwide by National Geographic Traveler, Lonely Planet Turkey (2007), the International Herald Tribune, and the Daily Telegraph (UK).

Top Turkish business executives like Demet Sabanci Çetindogan (VP of the Turkish Businesswomen’s Association, board member of BOSSA and owner of Fashion TV Turkey) gifts this entertaining book to executive and protocol counterparts, while embassies and consulates rely on Tales from the Expat Harem as an orientation text for incoming foreign service personnel.

In the first year of its release the Turkish-grown expatriate literature collection has become national #1 bestsellers in both Turkey (Dogan Kitap) and North America (Seal Press), and is a top 10 bestseller in the UK. It has also entered the halls of higher education in North America where it’s being studied in four universities. What do the women of Expat Harem divulge about Turkey that you need to know?

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500th Anniversary of Piri Reis is commemorating through Turkey

Join us to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Piri Reis in Turkey. Learn more about the legacy of this great explorer and his impact on world exploration

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) organizes memorial events in 2013 to mark the 500th anniversary of the famous world map of Ottoman admiral and cartographer Piri Reis.

The Piri Reis Map, named for the famed Ottoman admiral and cartographer who authored it, was exhibited between 23 January and 11 February at Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace Museum in an exhibition organized by the Bilkent Cultural Initiative for the 500th anniversary of the map’s creation.

A similar exhibition, which displays the second map made by Piri Reis in 1528-1529 as well as his most famous world map dating back to 1513, will be exhibited in Antalya. Antalya Promotion Foundation (ATAV) in collaboration with Kepez Municipality, and Antalya Branch of Chamber of Survey and Cadastre Engineers will carry out the exhibition at Antalya Erdem Bayazıt Culture Center until March 29, 2013.

The Piri Reis exhibition features his famous work Kitab-ı Bahriye, which Piri Reis presented to Süleyman the Magnificent in 1526, the first version of the book, written in 1574, as well as the Harita-ı Ekalim, which was made with the help of the Kitab-ı Bahriye.

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Istanbul Solidifies Its Ranking As A Top Ten International Congress Destination

Istanbul has solidified its ranking as one of the top ten international congress destination, delivering a unique destination experience to delegates. Discover its culture, cuisine and attractions!

Thanks to expanded facilities and widespread recognition of Istanbul as one of the world’s trendiest and most exciting cities, the city has solidified its place in the Top Ten of the ICCA Rankings and will continue hosting ever more major congresses, such as the upcoming World Dental Federation (FDI), World Federation of Energy Regulators (WFER) and World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS).

Istanbul first broke into the, world’s Top 10 Congress Destinations in 2010, hosting 109 congresses according to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). This year, according to ICCA’s most recent data, Istanbul has solidified its place in the Top Ten by hosting 113 congresses, a four congress increase over 2010, in 2011, making the city the 9th most popular congress destination worldwide.

Reinforcing its status as a venue of choice for the most prestigious international events, Istanbul has recently attracted multiple major congresses. Two of the congress Istanbul has hosted this year were 15th International Inner Wheel Convention IIW, with 3,500 delegates, and Association of Women’s Rights in Development AWID, with 1,800 delegates. Istanbul will be hosting several more major congresses later this year, such as 28th Annual Meeting of European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology ESHRE, with 7,000 delegates expected; 30th World Congress on Endourology and Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy WCE, with 3,000 delegates expected; 4th Congress of the European Academy of Paediatric Societies EAPS, with 2,500 delegates expected.

Among some of the future prestigious congress that Istanbul has recently won are World Dental Congress FDI, which will be held in 2013 with 15,000 delegates expected, World Federation of Energy Regulators WFER, which will be held in 2015 with 1,000 delegates expected and WFNS World Congress of Neurosurgery 2017, expected to have 10,000 delegates.

With seven purpose-built convention centers and three exhibition centers large enough to accommodate even the biggest international fairs, Istanbul can easily accommodate large international congresses such as WDF and WFNS. With over 72.000 total guestrooms and 85 five-star and deluxe hotels, Istanbul offers meeting planners a variety of options, including top international and domestic hotel brands, at a variety of price points.

Moreover, Istanbul offers three separate but integratable meeting and exhibition clusters in the Airport District, the Conference Valley and the Golden Horn, augmented by new centers being constructed on both continents, and existing centers being updated and expanded. Combined with unique incentives afforded by Istanbul’s historic venues, palaces, cisterns and more, Istanbul presents meeting planners with a variety of remarkable options to create a truly outstanding event.

Another factor in Istanbul’s success as a congress destination is easy accessibility from anywhere in the world. Turkish Airlines, a member of the Star Alliance, offers almost 200 direct destination flights between Istanbul and five continents, meaning that two billion people live within six hours’ flying time of Istanbul. With two airports, one on the Asian side of the city and the other on the European side, Istanbul is served by nearly 300 international airlines.

The Istanbul Convention & Visitors Bureau (ICVB) designed the strategy integrating tourism sector participation, destination branding and face-to-face marketing that helped Istanbul climb from 46th in the ICCA rankings just a decade ago, to its current position in the Top Ten. ICVB’s General Manager, Mrs. Elif Balcı Fisunoglu, says, “We are pleased with Istanbul’s 2011 performance, which increased by four congresses over 2010’s to a total of 113. Istanbul is on the short list of virtually every major event, and that naturally shows up in the results. Our mission is to continue communicating to meeting planners that Istanbul offers unrivalled flexibility and the confidence of knowing that all facilities are new and technologically up-to-date. Now that we have solidified Istanbul’s place in the Top Ten, we remain committed to achieving our objective of a Top Five ranking in the next 3 – 5 years.”


The Water Mansions of Istanbul

Explore the canals of Istanbul and uncover the secrets of the city’s majestic water mansions. Learn the stories behind these remarkable structures and experience the city’s unique charm

Yali, is a Turkish word meaning a waterside mansion. It also means shore or strand in Greek. During the Ottoman period these mansions on the waterside were named “Sahilhane”. Istanbul is the only city in the world through which the sea passes and it has a history of some 2700 years. Initially, and for many subsequent centuries, Istanbul was located on an historical peninsula between Sarayburnu and Edirnekapi. Building in the Bosphorus area which is 30 km. long began during the Byzantine period, with the building of the first monasteries. Later, small fishing villages started to appear on its shores. During the Tulip Period (1718-1730), waterside mansions followed one another, these creating a necklace of pearls. The name Bosphorus is derived from the mythical name of Io, the favorite of Zeus. Zeus had to turn her into a cow in order to protect Io from his jealous wife Hera, and it actually means “the river of the cow ”.

The Water Mansions of Istanbul, also known as Yali in Turkish, are an architectural wonder that has stood the test of time. These elegant mansions are located on the shores of the Bosphorus Strait, where the elite of Istanbul have made their homes for centuries. They are a symbol of the city’s history, culture, and luxury.

The Water Mansions were first built during the Ottoman Empire, when wealthy families used them as summer homes. They were designed to provide a respite from the heat of the city, with their open-air design and proximity to the water providing a cool breeze that would refresh the occupants. Today, they continue to serve as a testament to Istanbul’s rich past.

Each mansion is a unique work of art, with its own distinct style and design. The mansions were built by master craftsmen, who used local materials to create intricate wood carvings, colorful tiles, and ornate balconies that decorate the facades. These mansions have withstood the test of time, and their beauty is just as awe-inspiring now as it was centuries ago.

The Water Mansions are not just a collection of buildings, but rather a lifestyle. They are a symbol of wealth, luxury, and elegance. These mansions offer a glimpse into the lifestyle of the elite, and provide a sense of exclusivity and prestige to those fortunate enough to call them home.

Imagine waking up to the sound of the Bosphorus, with the gentle breeze cooling your skin and the scent of sea salt in the air. This is the lifestyle that the Water Mansions of Istanbul offer. The mansions provide a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the city, with their serene surroundings and breathtaking views of the water. They offer a sense of peace and tranquility that is hard to find in the modern world.



This is a building in Emirgan which derives its name from the Iranian Emir Han. He had been a close friend of Sultan Murat IV. This is the oldest water mansion on the European coast. It was built by Yusuf Pasa in 1780. Its name is related to Serif Abdullah Pasa, who had been governing the Ottoman region including Jordan, Syria and Iraq. He took over the possession of the house in 1948. During the final restoration of this building, now owned by the Ministry of Culture, fabulous frescoes have been revealed.


The yali called “Pakize Hanim”, adorns the entrance to Yeniköy. Its present owner is Koray Construction Company. On the southern side towards Istinye, there is another yali belong ing to Recaizade Ekrem Bey. He was one of the most important authors of the later Ottoman Empire, and a member of the literary group called “Servet-i Fünun”. On the northern side, is the mansion which at present belongs to the Uzan family.


This mansion, built in the Neo Baroque style by Alexandre Vallaury, architect of the famous buildings of Osmanli Bankasi and Pera Palas Hotel, was later bought by Misbah Muhayyes, the previous owner of Pera Palas. When Agatha Christie visited Istanbul to write her novel “Murder on the Orient Express”, she was a guest in this mansion. The current owners are the Uzan family.


This mansion was bought by the son of Sultan Abdulhamit II in 1911, therefore, carries his name. It has 64 rooms and it is one of the biggest yalis on the Bosphorus. It includes a large wooden house in the back garden. The present owners are the Erbilgin family, and its estimated value is 60 million US dollars. After the Kibrisli mansion, it has the longest pier on the Bosphorus. When Misirli Ahmet Ihsan Bey, bought the mansion, it was known as the Misirlilar Yalisi.


This mansion which has a Neo Classical architectural style, burnt down in recent years. It was later renovated by the Turkish State. Its original owner Sait Halim Pasa was a Grand Vizier in the Ottoman Palace for five years. Despite his efforts to keep the Empire impartial during World War I, he finally had to sign the treaty which obliged the Ottoman Empire to enter the war on the side of Germans. Later he was exiled to Malta, and was assassinated in in Rome1921.


This mansion was designed in 1906 by the famous architect, Raimondo D’Aronco. He was the same architect who had built the summer residence of the Italian Consulate in Tarabya. As it was built for the twin daughters of Sultan Sara, it was also called the “twins’ mansion”. Immediately beside the port of Yeniköy whose ancient name is Neopolis, the building was later sold in two seperate parts. They were called Faik Bey Yalisi and Bekir Bey Yalisi, respectively.


Huber Yali takes its name from its former owner Huber. He was the representative of Krupp, the company which had been selling weapons to the Otoman Empire towards the end of the 19th century. Its land covers approximately 9 acres. One of the former Turkish presidents, Kenan Evren, had the mansion renovated, and it subsequently became the summer residence of the Turkish presidency. According to a story related to the mansion. It was given as a bribe to the lady-in-waiting of Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon. It was rumored that she had had an affair with Sultan Abdülaziz.


Abdülhamit II, who is also known as the Red Sultan, had passed his adolescence years in this mansion. He had later given it as a present to Kaiser Wilhelm against his acceptance of re-establishing the navy of the Ottoman Empire. This group of houses were designed by the Belgian architect Cingra, and located in Tarabya, whose name is derived from the fact that this location was a center for therapy. These buildings have an orchard of approximately 45 acres, and it is one of the greenest spots in the Bosphorus.



The Debreli Ismail Pasa yali, built in the Turkish Baroque style in 1778 near the Mosque of Beylerbeyi, was burnt down, like many others over the years. Since its restoration, it is now a boutique hotel. The original plan of the building was designed by the architect Alexandre Vallaury in 1890. For those wishing to spend a night in an historical water mansion, prices start from 160 Euros.


This beautiful mansion which adorns Beylerbeyi, originally belonged to the Kalkavan family and was later sold to Ömer Sabanci. Besides being one of the 15 water mansions on the Bosphorus which belong to the Sabanci family, it has been used as a set for “Topkapi”, the cult film of 1960’s, in which Melina Mercuri and Peter Ustinov played the major roles. The film was about an attempt to steal the famous Topkapi dagger from the Topkapi Palace.


Located in Çengelköy this mansion was famous for its interior decorations and for its very high value. Its most recent tenant was Aysegül Nadir Tecimer, the wife of a wealthy businessman. It derives its name from its original owner Sadullah Pasa. During the reign of Sultan Abdülhamit II, he was exiled for having been among the conspirers who were said to have plotted a coup bringing Sultan Murat V to the throne. He was not allowed to return to the Ottoman capital after completing his terms as Ottoman Ambassador to Berlin and Vienna. He later committed suicide. Sadullah Pasa was one of the important figures of the literary school of Tanzimat.


The most striking element of this mansion, built for Mahmut Nedim Pasa, the Ottoman Ambassador to Austria, is its tower. The inspiration for the tower was from the buildings of Vienna and Prague, where Mahmut Nedim Pasa had lived. His heirs have donated this building in Vaniköy, to the Turkish Red Crescent Organization, but last year it was sold to Yalçin Sabanci for three million US dollars. Pasa had been a Governor and also a Grand Vizier of the Empire. Due to his pro-Russian stance, he was called Nedimof.


The Edip Efendi yali is situated in Kandilli at one of the narrowest points on the Bosphorus. This is where the currents are the strongest. It was named after a much respected government officer of the Ottoman Empire. This yali has become a popular news item during Prime Minister Özal’s reg i me, because its most recent owner Ugur Mengenecioglu has been involved in a bribery scandal. A former tenant in this yali, Dorina Lady Neave, described life on the Bosphorus during the previous century , in her book “Romance of the Bosphorus”.


This mansion of the 1800’s was called the Manford House. It was bought by a Greek shipowner, called Licardopulos following the British occupation of the city. Hadi Bey, a laywer, later took possession of it exchanging it with his property in Thessaloniki, Greece.It is painted with a special red ochre dye, used for these watermansions. It has become one of the most beautiful houses on the Bosphorus, following recent renovations.


Kont Ostrorog Yali is the most beautiful and historical building on the Bosphorus. The Polish-born Leon Ostrorog an expert in islamic law, served as a consultant to the Ottoman Empire. He married Jeanne, a daughter of one of the Galata bankers, the Lorando family. Among his famous guests was the French writer Pierre Loti. The present owner of the house is Rahmi Koç.


The Abud Efendi yali was bought by Abud Efendi in the beginning of 1900’s. Garabet, who was the architect of this yali was from the Armenian Balyan family. They built many of the palaces and important buildings in Istanbul. Abud Efendi’s daughter Belkis, who had been a prominent figure on the Istanbul social scene in 1920’s, had a fabulous wedding ceremony in this mansion.


Kibrisli Mehmet Emin Pasa was a Grand Vizier during the reigns of three Sultans, This yali is situated near the old Küçüksu beach and it has a private pier of 64 meters. It is still owned by the same family. The Iraqi King Faysal, and the important poet Yahya Kemal are among the many guests who have stayed here. In 1980’s when there was feverish land purchasing by Arabs, the orchard of this mansion, changed ownership. The British born wife of the Pasa wrote a book called “Thirty Years in the Harem” in 1872.


In 1390, Yildirim Beyazit built Anadoluhisari, which is the castle on the Asian side of the Bosphorus. This was the narrowest part of the Bosphorus and he built it intending to capture Istanbul easily. The Komodor Remzi Bey Yali was built next to and it was rebuilt in 1917. Later, it was sold to the General Mümtaz Aktay. The present owner since 1970 is Sevinç Inönü, the daughter of the famous Turkish shipowner Ali Sohtorik. She is also the wife of Erdal Inönü, who, in turn, is more famous for his political career than for his academic prowess in physiscs.


The Göksu stream, also referred to as the “Sweet waters of Asia”, flows into the Bosphorus in Anadoluhisari, previously called Güzelce. One of the most beautiful yali in this region is the Bahriyeli Sedat Bey Yali. This house was built in the Neo Baroque style and was constructed by the grandfather of Sedat Bey, Mustafa Resit Pasa. Because of the magnificient tree in its garden, it is also called the Magnolia Yali.


Zarif Mustafa Pasa Yali is one of the most beautiful and valuable mansions on the Bosphorus. It was purchased by Kani Bey, the coffee magnate of Sultan Mahmut II. in 1800’s. When the yali was originally built, it was composed of three sections: the Harem, the Selamlik and the Boat-house. It was originally three times bigger than its present size. In 1848, it became the property of Zarif Mustafa Pasa. The mansion was built on the ruins of a Byzantine monastery. The Ayazma (sacred water source) of the monastery is still in its garden.


Built in 1699, this is the oldest mansion on the Bosphorus. It has a marble fountain from which a jet of water spouts upwards, and its ceilings are decorated with flowers and geometrical designs. Unfortunately, it is in ruins, because of neglect. The original owner Hüseyin Pasa was a member of Mevlevi sect. Five Grand Viziers stemmed from the Köprülü family of the Ottoman Empire. Huseyin Pasa was the fourth Grand Vizier. Pierre Loti appealed to the authorities for the Amcazade mansion to be saved.


It is estimated that this mansion was built in 1895 by one of the officers of Abdülhamit, Nuri Pasa. For many years Rahmi Koç lived in this house. When Rahmi Koç moved to the Kont Ostrorog yali in Kandilli, this house was left to his son, Ali Koç. It is believed that Nuri Bey’s painter son Hami eloped with the daughter of Marki Necip, who was the owner of the neighboring mansion.


Necip Bey was a French aristocrat. He accepted the Muslim religion in order to be able to get married to Melike Aliye Hanim. The building behind the mansion which has a tower, was the winter residence of Necip Bey. The yali, which now belongs to the Demirören family, was burnt down in 1983, and it has been subsequently renovated. The original building dates back to the end of 1800’s.


Salih Efendi, a graduate of the first medical school in the Ottoman Empire during the reign of Sultan Mahmut II, was the head physician for three sultans. He was interested in botany. He developed a special kind of rose named after him, which he personally grafted, and this rose was called “Hekimbasi”. During the spring, the mansion’s garden became a paradise of colours. It is one of the rarest mansions on the Bosphorus which still keeps its original architectural style and its original furniture. The present occupants of the mansion are the family members of Salih Efendi, who died in 1905.


Yaglikçi Haci Resit Bey Yali was restored by Barlas Turan in 1980’s. Situated in the cove of Kanlica, it was originally built in 1850’s. The neighboring mansion was given as a gift to Princess Rukiye, the daughter of the Ottoman Governor of Egypt, Abbas Halim Pasa. This house, is surrounded by the grove of Mihrabad. The house was purchased in 1957 by Özdemir Atman, a famous name within the Turkish Jockey Club.


Kadri Pasa bought this mansion when he married the daughter of the famous palace physician of Sultan Abdülmecit, Ismail Pasa. Kadri Pasa had been a Grand Vizier and later he became the Governor of Edirne. He died in 1883. The heirs of the Pasa restored the present building after a ship had crashed into the mansion, causing serious damage. Next to the yali is the house of a prominent Turkish singer Sezen Aksu, and on the other side is the mansion of Cem Boyner. The period of architecture of this Kanlica mansion dates mainly to the 1850’s.


The famous cosmetic cream, Krem Pertev, was produced in the 1960’s by one of the early pharmacists of Turkey, Ethem Pertev. He was born in 1871, and is the second owner of this mansion also known as Sarayli Hanim Yali. After the death of Ethem Bey, his children continued to run his pharmacy in Aksaray, and sold the mansion in 1932 to a ship’s captain. Built in the Art Nouveau architectural style, this house has been successfully renovated in recent years.


The port of Kanlica is called “Glaros”, meaning sea gull. In Ottoman times, people drove oxcarts, called “kagni”, and when they went to Kanlica it meant that they were going to a place which could be reached by kagni. Bosphorus village known as Kanlica is famous for its yoghurt, and the mansion Haci Ahmet Bey is also located there.. This yali was built during the reign of Sultan Abdülhamit II, who ruled the Empire for 33 years. It now belongs to the Ramazanoglu family. Atatürk is said to have visited the house in the circumcision ceremony of one of their sons.


In the place of Yagci Sefik Bey Yali, there was an earlier mansion belonging to Cemile Sultan, the sister of Sultan Abdülhamit II. In 1905, Sefik Bey, a successful businessman and also the founder of Association of the Naval Fleet, built this magnificient yali. The larger of the two parts of the house is the Haremlik – reserved for women, and the smaller building is the Selamlik – reserved for men. As you travel towards Çubuklu from South to north, you see the 7-8 Hasan Pasa Yali and the Rasim Pasa Yali, recently turned into a boutique hotel.

In conclusion, the Water Mansions of Istanbul are a true masterpiece of architecture and design. They are a symbol of Istanbul’s rich history and culture, and a testament to the city’s elite. These mansions offer a lifestyle of luxury, exclusivity, and prestige that is hard to match. If you ever have the chance to visit Istanbul, make sure to take a stroll along the Bosphorus and marvel at the beauty of the Water Mansions.


Elite Athletes to run at The Runfire Cappadocia

Witness the top athletes from around the world competing in the Runfire Cappadocia. Join us to see some of the most elite athletes running the race!

We are thrilled to announce that elite athletes from all over the world will gather to run at The Runfire Cappadocia, the premier trail running event that promises a breathtaking experience for runners and spectators alike. This year’s event promises to be bigger and better than ever, and we cannot wait to share the excitement with you.

Why The Runfire Cappadocia is the Ultimate Trail Running Destination

The Runfire Cappadocia is a must-visit destination for trail runners who are looking for an extraordinary adventure. This unique event is held in the stunning Cappadocia region, famous for its natural beauty and otherworldly landscapes. The route of the race takes runners through ancient cities, vineyards, valleys, and stunning rock formations, providing a truly unforgettable experience.

With its stunning scenery and challenging terrain, The Runfire Cappadocia has quickly become one of the most popular trail running events in the world. Every year, elite athletes from all over the globe flock to the region to participate in the race and enjoy the unique hospitality and culture of Cappadocia.

What to Expect at The Runfire Cappadocia

The Runfire Cappadocia is a four-day event that offers something for everyone. The race itself is divided into three categories: the 119 km Ultra-Trail, the 63 km Medium-Trail, and the 30 km Short-Trail. The trails are challenging and technical, with steep ascents and descents, and runners must navigate varied terrain, including rocky paths, narrow ridges, and forest trails.

Apart from the race itself, participants can expect to enjoy a range of exciting activities during their stay in Cappadocia. The region is famous for its hot air balloon rides, and participants can take advantage of this unique experience to take in the stunning scenery from above. They can also visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Goreme National Park and explore the ancient cave dwellings and underground cities that the region is famous for.

The Culture and Hospitality of Cappadocia

The hospitality and culture of Cappadocia are second to none, and runners can expect to be treated to an unforgettable experience during their stay in the region. The locals are friendly and welcoming, and participants can expect to be greeted with open arms and treated like family. The region’s cuisine is also a highlight, with a range of delicious traditional dishes made from fresh, local ingredients.

The Runfire Cappadocia is a truly unique event that offers trail runners an unforgettable experience. With its stunning scenery, challenging terrain, and rich culture and hospitality, this event is a must-visit for anyone who loves trail running. We cannot wait to see elite athletes from all over the world come together to take part in this extraordinary event and to share in the magic of Cappadocia.

The Runfire Cappadocia Ultra Marathon will test the limits of the elite athletes under conditions of extraordinary landscapes, from mountains, beaches and river valleys, to underground cities and tunnels.

It is taking place in Cappadocia, Turkey from July 20 to 27.

The Runfire Cappadocia starts in Uçhisar and runs through the Valley of the Pigeons, passing Damsa Dam, Yüksek Kilise (Analipsis Monastery), Güzelyurt, Ihlara Valley, Mt. Hasan and the Salt Lake before crossing through Çavuşin and the Ürgüp and Göreme valleys and ending back in Uçhisar.

Runfire Cappadocia will be run on a surprise six-stage course exceeding 124 miles and encompassing climbs up to 5,577 feet, salt lake flats, valleys, spectacular rock formations and UNESCO World Heritage sites as well as the underground cities and tunnels that have made Cappadocia famous around the world as a tourism destination.

For families and friends of the competitors as well as running enthusiasts interested in watching this premier event, Cappadocia’s hotels, restaurants and unique attractions and activities provide additional reasons for planning a trip to Turkey. Top attractions include hot air ballooning over an astonishing fairyland of rock formations, cave churches and galleries, historic underground cities built for thousands of residents and world-class wineries.

Beginning and ending in Uchisar, competitors will be given the exact route at the start of the race and are limited to basic supplies in a backpack, including food. Organizers provide water and tenting areas for overnights. Professional medical teams are available 24/7.

In addition to the Runfire Ultra-Marathon, the event features four-day corporate races, with teams of four running 6-9 miles a day and opportunities for individuals to test themselves in four- and six-day races.