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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 11 February, 2024
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

With its 53m-high dome and trademark slender minarets, this is Istanbul’s grandest mosque and a Byzantine beauty.

Modelled on the Hagia Sophia and designed by the greatest Ottoman architect, Mimar Sinan, it was built in 1558 for the most powerful of Ottoman sultans, Suleyman I, also known as ‘The Magnificent’, and houses the mausoleums of both the sultan and Mimar Sinan.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

It’s a short walk from the Grand Bazaar/University area (nearest tram stop: Beyazit): get there by way of the evocative Prof Siddik Sami Onar Caddesi, lined with historic teahouses.

Dress respectfully (long trousers and shirt with sleeves for men; knee-length skirt, sleeves and a headscarf for women) and be prepared to leave your shoes at the entrance.

When to do it

The mosque is open all year round, seven days a week, except during prayers (half an hour after the call to prayer). Also avoid the main services on Friday mornings and early afternoons, unless you’re a Muslim.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Istanbul Old City: Basilica Cistern - Blue Mosque - Grand Bazaar

Istanbul

Istanbul Old City: Basilica Cistern - Blue Mosque - Grand Bazaar
Visit the historic ‘old town’ of bustling Istanbul on this tour. Photo opportunities await at Sultanahmet’s notable religious sites including the Underground Basilica Cistern and Blue Mosque. Wander through aromatic spice markets after exploring the Byzantine heritage of the Hippodrome. Witness the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empire influences in this part of Turkey's great metropolis. Tour the historic reference points of the old town with an English speaking tour guide Benefit from a smaller tour group that can be customised to your interests Sample Turkish delights in the Grand Bazaar and visit a local carpet workshop Enjoy the best scenery of Istanbul from Blue Mosque

Price: €30

Min age: 7

Rating 4.84 / 5 [44 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Best of Istanbul: Basilica Cistern - Blue Mosque - Grand Bazaar

Istanbul

Best of Istanbul: Basilica Cistern - Blue Mosque - Grand Bazaar
Explore the vibrant and storied "old town" of Istanbul on this tour, where you'll have the chance to capture incredible photographs at renowned landmarks such as the subterranean Basilica Cistern and the Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet. Take in the aromatic delights of the spice markets and delve into the rich Byzantine heritage of the Hippodrome. Be inspired by the local art and craft scene, and discover the secrets of traditional carpet weaving during a visit to a historic carpet workshop. • Enjoy priority access and skip the ticket lines at the Basilica Cistern • Indulge in Turkish delights at the bustling Grand Bazaar • Try your hand at weaving loom if you're feeling adventurous. • Benefit from a smaller tour group that can be customised to your interests

Price: €30

Min age: 7

Rating 4.88 / 5 [34 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo

Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Istanbul

Marmara Region, Turkey

Large illuminated mosque at night with sea in background

Exotic, inexhaustible and dynamic – East meets West head-on in this mesmerising city metropolis, famed for its extraordinarily rich history, superb food and shopping, and mind-blowingly magnificent, over-sized mosques.