Istanbul is like a big cake, with layers and layers of history piled on top of one another. Welcome to the Sultanahmet, the city's historic heart, and an awe-inspiring hotspot for visitors. This walk is an easy introduction to some of Turkish culture. Get your bearings before you start discovering Istanbul. Walk past tons of bronze-plated history, through an ancient stadium and learn why Kaiser Wilhelm was treated with suspicion by the Sultan...
Byzantine Hippodrome, Obelisk of Theodosius, Sultanahmet Square, The Blue Mosque, Arasta Bazaar,Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art
The route begins outside the entrance to the University of Marmara, directly facing the Byzantine Hippodrome in Sultanahmet. Use the tram and get off at the Sultanahmet stop. Use the Obelisks to find your way, as the tour begins just a few steps from them.
Places to stop along the way:
You can buy your Museum Pass from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art. There are many small cafés and restaurants along the tram line. If you're interested in the Turkish Bath, there's one just opposite the Blue Mosque named Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam.
Best time of day:
Winter: Best time to do this walk is early in the morning at around 9:00 am. That leaves time to explore the Blue Mosque before the noon prayer at 12:00.
Summer: Avoid midday hours in the summer. The Hippodrome is not shaded. It will be crowded between 09:00 - 11:00am. Rather do the walk between 4pm and 6pm. You can then watch the spectacle of locals slowly making their way to the mosque to pray.
Keep an eye on your belongings, it is a crowded area in the summer. There will be people who approach you to sell stuff and invite you to their carpet shops. Don't go! Ladies require a headscarf to enter the mosque. In the summer there will be a line for the mosque. The Blue Mosque is closed for visits at times of prayers.
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