Hg2 : The Hedonist

A Hedonist’s guide to…

Istanbul

Milion
Not exactly a destination but a point of interest as you walk past on your way to the Hagia Sophia, this broken column is a swift reminder of Constantinople's importance in the Roman Empire.
Approach to the city by water
Approach Old Istanbul as visitors over the millenia would have done and feel the years roll away...
Whirling Dervishes
Undeniably uber-touristy, we nevertheless recommend that you give in to your urges to watch the Dervishes whirl away... 
Hippodrome
Holding some of the most ancient artefacts in Istanbul, the HippodRome was once the scene of intense rivalry...
Underground Cistern
Not the most important of cultural attractions, the Underground Cistern nevertheless has a rather zen charm...
Islamic Arts Museum
Turkish carpets, illuminated Korans, calligraphy wood carvings, porcelain and much much more is on show in this house-Museum. Located in the HippodRome just opposite the Blue Mosque.
Pera Museum
Classic and contemporary art gallery that puts on some amazing exhibitions...
Archaeology Museum
For swift immersion in Istanbul's intriguing history, spend a day visiting the 20 gallery archaeology museum and the neighbouring Topkapi Palace.
Church of Christ in the Chora
A must for lovers of Byzantine art, this 14th-century Museum formerly a church and mosque is in itself a popped lesson in Istanbul's complex history.
Belly Dancing
Head to (where else?) Beyoglu for belly-dancing shows. If they prove inspirational, there are plenty of clubbing venues nearby for you to try out some belly moves of your own on the dance floor.
Süleymaniye Mosque
One of the three buildings that define Istanbul's skyline, the stunning Suleymaniye Mosque was built in the 16th-century as an Ottoman riposte to the Hagia Sophia.
Süreyya Opera House
One of the city's most important opera houses on the shores of the Bosphorus...
SALT
MiniaTürk
Perfect if you have the kids in tow, tick off all the major sites with a quick trip to the MiniaTurk park on the Golden Horn.
Dolmabahçe Palace
The superbly self-important ornate baroque style of the Dolmabahçe Palace speaks of a building designed to impress...
Atatürk Cultural Centre
One of the few reasons to go to unlovely Taksim Square, the Ataturk Cultural centre is the home of the State Opera and Ballet, the Symphony Orchestra and the State Theatre Company.
Atatürk Museum
The three floors of the Atatürk Museum are filled with memorabilia that gives an insight into the man behind the reinvention of the Turkish identity.
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
Seat of the eastern branch of the Greek Orthodox Church; sit (or stand) and stare in wonder.
Traditional Music Clubs
Book ahead to secure a table at Kallavi 20, one of the best meyhanes to hear traditional Turkish folk music. Knock back enough raki and you'll soon feel Turkish enough to join them on the dance floor.
Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque
Located opposite the Hagia Sophia in Sultanahmet, the Blue Mosque was built to prove (unsuccessfully) that Islamic architects could build a structure as wonderful. Nevertheless, it's a must-see.
The Bosphorus Tour
Whether by ferry, boat tour or private water taxi, a trip on the Bosphorus is an essential part of any trip to Istanbul. The full cruise is a 6 hour tour from Eminonu to the mouth of the Black Sea.d
Topkapi Palace Museum
Sited on a promontory overlooking the confluence of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus, the Topkapi is within walking distance of Sultanahmet's other cultural treasures.
Sakirin Mosque
Beautiful contemporary mosque, designed by an avant-garde female architect...
St Stephen’s Cathedral
Still used by the Bulgarian community for whom it was originally built in 1871, St Stephen's Cathedral is located on the short of the Golden Horn.
Rumeli Hisari
Built by Mehmet II in 1452 as part of his conquest of Byzantium, the castle played a pivotal role in the campaign. In its most recent incarnation, it is now an open air theatre.
Sakip Sabanci Museum
Past temporary shows have included Dali and Picasso, this Istanbul gallery is fast becoming an institution...
Mosaic Museum
Tucked away by the Blue Mosque, this unprepossessing building houses a mosaic floor depicting bucolic and mythological scenes. Afterward invest in more modern artefacts in the Arasta Bazaar.
Kallavi
A fasil music bar that really gets the locals jigging about in an orgy of delight...
Kiz Kulesi
An immensely popular landmark despite its lack of historical or architectural significance, the Maiden's Tower is located just off the Asian Shore on a rocky outcrop.
Hagia Sophia
Built by Justinian in AD537, the Hagia Sophia was the largest building on earth for a millennium. With its absolutely stunning interior, if you see one thing in Istanbul, see the Hagia Sophia.
Istanbul Modern
Housed in a former warehouse in Karaköy, Istanbul Modern is one of the few places in the city to see Turkey's more recent artistic achievements.
Galata Tower
This 14th-century tower was converted by the Ottomans into a prison with one hell of a view over the city...
City Walls
Walk the length of the wall from the Yedikule Fortress on the Sea of Marmara or the ruined Byzantine Blachernae palace on the Golden Horn.
Calligraphy Museum
Well worth a detour from the nearby Grand Bazaar, the Calligraphy Museum houses a beautiful if fragmented collection of Korans, tugras, seals and calligraphic writing.
Arter
The most striking of the many appearing contemporary art spaces appearing in Istanbul...
Adali Meyhane
Live Turkish music on the 8th floor of a hotel...
A look inside Istanbul’s SALT Beyoğlu gallery
Funded by Turkish bank Garanti, SALT was unveiled in April as the city's new contemporary gallery. To be quickly followed by SALT Galata in October.

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