- What’s On
The peninsula of the Old City was Constantine's New Rome and Ottoman Stamboul. Here are the key sights: Topkapı Palace, Ayasofia, the Süleymaniye and Blue Mosques, the Covered Bazaar and much else. Take good shoes. The Old City was the subject of Cornucopia 50, the first of the Istanbul Unwrapped series of the magazine.
One of the world's most exhilarating urban landscapes greets you as you approach the gritty historic district of Eminönü, at the entrance to the Golden Horn.
The starting point for any visitor to the city, Sultanahmet encompasses Ayasofya, the Hippodrome, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art and the Mosque of Sultanahmet, the Blue Mosque. Behind Ayasofya lies the Topkapı.
From Topkapı Palace on the heights above Seraglio Point (Sarayburnu) successive sultans had a sublime view of the world. Marked by Seraglio lighthouse, this is where The Sea of Marmara turns into the Golden Horn.
Everything the heart desires can be found in the maze of shops in these ancient market streets. Like a medieval shopping mall, the bazaar is one of the most animated and colourful parts of the city.
Beyazıd Square, with the Orientalist Gates of Istanbul University, is the Old City's historic hub, a starting point for the Süleymaniye and bazaars (via the Sahaflar (book bazaar)). Visit Beyazit Mosque and the Hamam Culture Museum.
The Land Walls of Constantinople are far too rarely visited. One of the great wonders of Byzantine engineering, they are slowly in the process of being unkindly restored. Hurry to see them in their glorious decay before they have been entirely Disney-ified.
Fatih is a palimpsest waiting to be discovered. It is both a quarter and the municipality that administers the historic peninsula. Here we cover the area between the Aqueduct of Valens and the Fortress of the Seven Towers.